In a widely criticized move, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, stepped back from royal life in March 2020. For their first televised interview since then, the two sat down with Oprah Winfrey to elaborate on their reasons, explaining they were essentially pushed to that point after being hounded by the press and receiving little support from the royal family. During the tell-all, Prince Harry also told Oprah what Princess Diana would have thought about Megxit, saying she’d be “angry” and “sad” that things got to that point.
Why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left the royal family, in their own words
As the Sussexes explained in the interview — which aired on the evening of March 7 — they fully intended to dedicate the rest of their lives to their royal duties when they wed in 2018. But with that came a torrent of problems.
A big issue was how they were portrayed in British tabloids, which often ran negative headlines. Both said they eventually sought advice on how to deal with it, but their concerns were allegedly brushed off.
Meghan seemed particularly upset over the alleged lack of action from the communications team, as representatives would refute “the most ridiculous story for anyone, things that are super artificial and inconsequential,” but not for them. “And they knew it wasn’t true.”
After years of this, it started to take a toll on their mental health, with Meghan admitting she started to have thoughts of suicide. She also noted that she tried to get help, but the institution behind the royals allegedly told her that it wouldn’t look good.
Prince Harry said that “lack of support and lack of understanding” was what ultimately led to their January 2020 announcement that they were stepping down.
Prince Harry commented on what Princess Diana would have thought about their departure in the interview
When Oprah asked what his mom, who died in a 1997 car accident, would think about their exit, Prince Harry replied: “I think she would feel very angry about how this has panned out, but ultimately, all she’d ever want is for us to be happy.”
He also told Oprah that his inheritance from Princess Diana supported them after the royal family allegedly cut them off financially following their leave. In hindsight, he thinks she sensed a point would come when he’d really need that money.
“Touching back on what you asked about what my mum would think of this — I think she saw it coming,” he continued.
“And I certainly felt her presence throughout this whole process,” he added. “I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you with my wife by my side. Because I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for her going through this process by herself all those years ago, because it’s been unbelievably tough for the two of us, but at least we had each other.”
What the couple is up to now
Since leaving the United Kingdom, the Sussexes have purchased and settled into a Santa Barbara, California mansion with their 1-year-old son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
Now working with Netflix and Spotify, the couple has become financially independent, just as they said they would in their statement about stepping down. Though it’s not the outcome they imagined, the two, who are expecting a baby girl in 2021, seem optimistic about the next part of their lives.
How to get help: In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor at the free Crisis Text Line.
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