Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, hits out at 'hateful' abuse, 'cruel' bullying during pregnancies

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, has said she experienced "cruel" online bullying and abuse, the "bulk" of which occurred during her pregnancies.

Speaking on stage at an event at the South by Southwest festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, on Friday, Meghan said, "I keep my distance from (social media) right now just for my own wellbeing."

"The bulk of the bullying and abuse that I was experiencing in social media and online was when I was pregnant with Archie and with Lili, and with a newborn," she continued.

"And you just think about that and you have to really wrap your head around why people would be so hateful. It's not catty. It's cruel," she added.

The duchess gave birth to Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, her first child with husband Prince Harry, on May 6, 2019. The couple then welcomed Lilibet "Lili" Diana Mountbatten-Windsor on June 4, 2021.

In March 2019, the British royal family royal told social media users to show "courtesy, kindness and respect" when interacting with its online posts, after repeated cases of online abuse directed at Meghan and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. This followed Kensington Palace asking social media firms for help in combating the boom in abuse, which included sexist and racist comments.

The palace staff also began devoting more resources to filtering and deleting comments targeting Meghan, and blocking abusive Twitter and Instagram accounts.

"In the digital space and in certain sectors of the media, we have forgotten about our humanity. And that has got to change," Meghan went on to say. "Because I understand there's a bottom line, and I understand that a lot of money is being made there. But even if it's making dollars, it doesn't make sense."

Meghan and Harry relocated with Archie to California after stepping back from the British royal family in 2020, and have frequently criticized press intrusion into their lives in the UK and US. The couple filed a lawsuit in California that year over paparazzi photographs of their then-toddler, Archie.