Meghan Markle Praises Prince Harry as a 'Hands-on' Dad to Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet

The Duchess of Sussex, 42, opened up on a panel at the SXSW Conference about just how supportive Prince Harry is as a father

<p>Astrida Valigorsky/Getty; SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty</p> Meghan Markle and Prince Harry appear at the 2024 SXSW Conference

Astrida Valigorsky/Getty; SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry appear at the 2024 SXSW Conference

Meghan Markle is opening up about Prince Harry's “hands-on” parenting style.

On Friday, the Duchess of Sussex, 42, made an appearance at the SXSW Conference, joining an International Women's Day panel called "Breaking Barriers, Shaping Narratives: How Women Lead On and Off the Screen" along with Katie Couric, Brooke Shields and author/sociologist Nancy Wang Yuen.

Related: Meghan Markle Teams Up with Katie Couric and Brooke Shields on International Women's Day Panel at SXSW

Meghan shared about what her experience was like as a brand-new mother — and how bullying on social media caused severe negative impacts on her mental health.

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

"... When you're a new mom, it's a really vulnerable time," the Duchess of Sussex explained. "The effect that social media can have on new mothers, even just the lack of sleep because they spend all this time scrolling, but it can also be really dizzying for them to see this portrayal of motherhood that looks so perfect when we all know it's not perfect. We all know that it's messy."

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The SXSW opening panel and conversation were moderated by Errin Haines, host of The Amendment podcast and editor-at-large for The 19th.

Related: Meghan Markle Says Online 'Bullying' Peaked While Pregnant with Archie and Lili: 'It's Not Catty, It's Cruel'

Gesturing towards Prince Harry, 39, who sat front and center for the panel, Meghan thanked him for his support during her early days of parenthood, and revealed that he is “such a supporter of me and my family.”

"I'm fortunate in that, among the privileges I have in my life, I have an incredible partner," Meghan said. "My husband is such a hands-on dad and such a supporter of me and my family. That I don't take for granted. That is a real blessing. But a lot of people don't have that same level of support. So I think for us, it's about putting safeguards in so women and moms especially cannot feel like they're even more vulnerable when they go online."

The Duchess of Sussex has previously been open about how much Harry has supported their family throughout difficult times. In February, he appeared on Good Morning America where he discussed his life as a father to the couple’s kids — ages 2 and 4 years old, respectively.

"I can't tell you. That's classified. It's top secret!" he joked when asked about what he’s like as a father.

"No, the kids are doing great," he added. "The kids are growing up like all kids do, very, very fast. They've both got an incredible sense of humor and make us laugh and keep us grounded every single day, like most kids do. I'm just grateful to be a dad."

Related: Prince Harry Opens Up About Home Life with Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet: ‘They Make Us Laugh’

In 2022, the prince also opened up to PEOPLE about his respect for military service members — as he’s long been an advocate for the military and veterans, supporting them through projects like his Invictus Games — and he also revealed why he “promised himself” he’d be out of the military before getting married and having children.

"Being a dad certainly adds another emotional layer to it," the Duke of Sussex told PEOPLE when about his support for service members. "When I was in the Army, I promised myself I would be out before having a wife and kids, because I couldn't imagine the heartache of being apart for so long during deployment, the risk of possibly getting injured and the reality that my family's lives could be changed forever if that happened."

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