Prince Harry Hinted At Leaving the Royal Family Long Before He Met Meghan Markle

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are coming off the heels of a huge announcement: They are no longer working royals. Though they are technically still royalty and will keep their titles (Minus the “HRH”), a lot of things are about to change.

Many people are blaming the move on Meghan’s distaste for royal life, though Harry has since said publicly that it was his decision to pull the Sussexes out of the royal family. And he may have hinted at a departure long before he met his wife.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | Steve Back/Getty Images

Prince Harry made it clear that he is taking his family out of the spotlight

With all the breaking news about Harry and Meghan lately, it’s hard to know what to believe. But the prince finally spoke out about the couple’s decision to leave the royal family, and his words made it clear that their departure was not Meghan’s doing.

“The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one I made lightly,” Harry announced at a dinner in London on January 19. “It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges.” Harry’s comment about “so many years” hints that he was feeling some type of way about royal life before he even met Meghan.

Harry struggled in the limelight growing up

Prince William, Harry’s older brother, seemed to always have a poise about him that Harry did not. Harry was a bit wilder and didn’t always think through his actions before doing them. But he bared a great burden in his mother’s death, and he never fully got the help he needed in dealing with her passing.

Harry recalled to Newsweek in 2017 that he had a very difficult time with the crowd that appeared at his mother’s funeral. Harry said that no child “should be asked to do that, under any circumstances.” He admitted that his difficulty in handling his mother’s death contributed to a downward spiral as a young adult.  

Harry’s spiral as a young adult may have hinted at an eventual departure

Rather than handle his problems with poise as his brother did, Harry lashed out. He started partying hard, and he often drank and smoked too much. Harry was once photographed naked at a party in Las Vegas, and it wasn’t a good look for the prince. But the spiral might have hinted that Harry wanted to leave the family long before Meghan entered his life.

It seemed that the royal role was too much for him. But when things settled down and Prince William helped pull him out of his rut, he was able to perform his royal duties well. However, the pressure of his marriage to Meghan in the royal spotlight mirrored the pressure he felt in dealing with his mother’s passing. And, from Harry’s past behavior, he doesn’t handle that pressure well.

The queen’s official statement about Harry and Meghan’s departure

The prince said in 2017 that he ‘didn’t want to be in the position’ he was in

Harry also revealed to Newsweek that when he was younger, he “didn’t want to be in the position” he was in as a royal. He was willing to admit that in 2017 because he was in a good place, but it makes sense that once the media negativity set in after his marriage, he would feel that way again.

Harry made the official decision to leave the royal family at the beginning of 2020, though it appears that it had been on his mind for years before that — and likely was much deeper than just his marriage to Meghan.