“Oh my God, I want to hug her!” Clinton told BBC Radio 5 Live host Emma Barnett on Tuesday.
“I feel as a mother I just want to put my arms around her,” added the former First Lady, who has often talked of developing “skin like the hide of rhinoceros” through her decades of taking flak in Washington, D.C.
“I want to tell her to hang in there, don’t let those bad guys get you down. Keep going, do what you think is right,” she continued.
The 2016 Presidential candidate — who is on a publicity tour for The Book of Gutsy Women, co-authored by daughter Chelsea Clinton, 39 — added that Meghan should be given a break because all she’s done is fall in love and look to raise a family.
🗣️"Oh my God, I want to hug her!"— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) November 12, 2019
Former Presidential candidate and First Lady @HillaryClinton tells @EmmaBarnett she believes the treatment of Meghan has been “heart-breaking and wrong”
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“She has made her own way in the world,” Clinton told the BBC. “Then she falls in love, and he falls in love with her, and everybody should be celebrating that because it is a true love story. You can just look at them and see that.”
Clinton, 72, added, “You know, it’s not easy. And there are some techniques that can be learned along the way, some humor, some deflection, whatever, which I’m sure she will come to. But it is tough what she is going through. And I think she deserves a lot better.”
Today. 10am. On @bbc5live do join us. Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea have written a book on gutsy women. We spoke for a long time. I was probably most struck by Hillary’s candour about what she calls her gutsiest personal move: the decision to stay with Bill Clinton 1/2 pic.twitter.com/sgJt51TyZA— Emma Barnett (@Emmabarnett) November 12, 2019
Meghan publicly revealed her difficulties with the British press in the recent ITV documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, where she opened up about her struggle to cope with the relentless attacks from the British tabloids.
“I never thought that this would be easy, but I thought it would be fair,” she told ITV News anchor Tom Bradby. “That’s the part that’s really hard to reconcile.”
On the last day of the royal couple’s Africa tour it also emerged that the Duchess of Sussex, 38, is suing The Mail on Sunday for publishing a “private and confidential” letter to her father, Thomas Markle, 75, at a “time of great personal anguish and distress.”
Shortly after the announcement, husband Prince Harry also released an unprecedented statement describing Meghan as a victim of a “ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son.”
“I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been,” added the Duke of Sussex, 35, — who is himself suing News UK (owner of The Sun newspaper) and MGN (former owner of The Mirror) over alleged illegal interception of voicemail messages.
Having been in the spotlight for decades, Clinton knows better than most what it’s like to have every aspect of your personal life raked over in public.
🗣️"It was a decision that we talked a lot about between the two of us"@ChelseaClinton and @HillaryClinton reveal to @EmmaBarnett they talked “a lot” about whether Hillary should stay with Bill— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) November 12, 2019
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In Meghan’s case, the grandmother of three believes the criticism has been driven by a combination of sexism and racism.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt of it,” Clinton told the BBC. “Even if you go back and look at social media from the time the engagement was announced, race was clearly an element in it.
“And to think that some of your [British] — what we would call mainstream media — actually allowed that to be printed in their pages, or amplified, was heartbreaking and wrong.”
🗣️"Never, never, never say never" @HillaryClinton refuses to rule out running again to be President of the USA— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) November 12, 2019
To hear @EmmaBarnett's full interview with Hillary and @ChelseaClinton, check out #EmmaBarnettGetsAnswers on @BBCSounds
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The solution, according to Clinton, is for Meghan to give it time and concentrate on what matters most: family.
“It’s one thing to be told what it’ll be like when you step onto the biggest stage with the brightest spotlight, joining the royal family,” said Clinton, “yet it is still really hard to imagine.”
She continued, “It takes some getting used to having your every move scrutinized and analyzed and, frankly, things made up about.
“I really wish her and her husband the very best because they are struggling to have a life of meaning and integrity in their own terms — and that’s hard enough if you’re just walking around in today’s world, but if you’re on that big a platform it’s really difficult.”
Clinton added “You know, people don’t choose who they fall in love with — they fall in love. And she is an amazing young woman. She has an incredible life story. She has stood up for herself.”
As for her own future, Clinton was asked by Barnett if she is “ruling out” a presidential run in 2020 and responded, “I, as I say, never, never, never say never. I will certainly tell you, I’m under enormous pressure from many, many, many people to think about it. But as of this moment, sitting here in this studio talking to you, that is absolutely not in my plans.”