"I've always valued independence," the Duchess of Sussex said

Meghan Markle is speaking out about being "silenced" by the royal family.

During her conversation with Oprah Winfrey on Sunday, the Duchess of Sussex was asked if she was "silent or silenced" in the early period of her royal life with Prince Harry.

"I've always valued independence. I've always been outspoken, especially about women's rights, and that's the sad irony of the last four years, I've advocated for so long for women to use their voice," Meghan, 39, told Oprah.

For more on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's interview with Oprah, listen below to the episode of PEOPLE Every Day.

"And then I was silent," the soon-to-be mother of two said before Oprah asked: "Were you silent, or were you silenced."

Meghan responded, "The latter."

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Oprah With Meghan And Harry
Meghan Markle
| Credit: CBS/Youtube

As the public learned Meghan was romantically involved with Harry, she said she was "given a very clear directive from the moment the world knew Harry and I were dating to always say, 'No comment.' "

And it wasn't just Meghan.

"That's my friends, my mom and dad. We did it, I did anything they told me to do," she said as she recalled thinking that she would be "protected" by the royal family.

"That was really hard to reconcile because it was only once we were married and everything started to really worsen that I came to understand that not only was I not being protected, but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family," Meghan said. "They weren't willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband."

And when asked about her dynamic with the family, including Queen Elizabeth, Meghan explained to Oprah: "It's hard for people to distinguish the two, because it's a family business right, there's the family, and then there's the people that are running the institution, those are two separate things."

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Meghan added, "It's important to be able to compartmentalize that because the Queen, for example, has always been wonderful to me."