Though Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s announcement that they were stepping back as “senior” members of the royal family came as a shock to many last week, Harry’s frustration with The Firm goes back years.
While some, like Princess Diana’s former royal chef Darren McGrady, blamed Meghan for Harry’s decision to leave, the Duke of Sussex has routinely expressed his disdain for the difficulties that come with being born a royal. In a candid interview with Newsweek in 2017, Harry spoke about struggling with his status.
“My mother died when I was very young. I didn’t want to be in the position I was in, but I eventually pulled my head out of the sand, started listening to people and decided to use my role for good,” he said at the time. “I sometimes still feel I am living in a goldfish bowl, but I now manage it better.”
He also admitted that no one in the royal family actually wants the throne, saying that those in power are doing it “for the greater good of the people.”
“Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don’t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time,” he said. Harry still felt that people desire the “magic” of the royals, saying that “the British public and the whole world need institutions like it.”
He also said at the time that he wanted “to make something of my life” as senior member of the royal family while the focus was still on him.
“I feel there is just a smallish window when people are interested in me before [William’s children] take over, and I’ve got to make the most of it,” he said.
The comment about living in a goldfish bowl echoed sentiments the prince expressed during a chat with The Telegraph in April 2017.
“I have probably been very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions when all sorts of grief and sort of lies and misconceptions and everything are coming to you from every angle,” he said then.
The duke has also said before that he’d thought of walking away from the life he was born into, especially after leaving the military in 2015.
“I felt I wanted out but then decided to stay in and work out a role for myself,” the prince told royal expert Angela Levin for her 2018 biography titled “Harry: Conversations With the Prince.”
Last week, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced that they will be moving into a new role within the royal family after “many months of reflection and internal discussions.”
It appears Harry and Meghan have been planning the move for a long time, as they registered for their new website ― which announced their plans for the future ― back in March 2019. They also filed for a trademark on their new foundation with the U.K.’s Intellectual Property Office back in June, though it was published on Dec. 19, 2019.
Queen Elizabeth announced Monday in a poignant statement that she was “entirely supportive” of Harry and Meghan’s new ventures and new life.
“Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family,” she said.
Finally, details regarding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s new life were revealed in a statement on behalf of the queen and Buckingham Palace on Saturday.
While Harry and Meghan will remain the Sussexes, they are no longer working members of the royal family and will step back from all royal duties. They will not receive public funding as of spring 2020 and will repay the British public for the nearly $3 million spent renovating their U.K. home, Frogmore Cottage.
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