Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Serving a ‘Life Sentence’ That Doesn’t Allow Them To Leave Their Royal Duties

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have had a challenging year in the spotlight with constant media scrutiny taking its toll, but it seems they really don’t have the choice to abandon their royal life. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who conducted the couple’s wedding, has some thoughts on why the couple is serving a “life sentence” in their roles.

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry | TOBY MELVILLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Prince Harry and Markle spoke out about the critical attention

During their emotional interviews in the documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, Prince Harry and Markle shared some insight into how much of a toll the media scrutiny has taken on them.

Markle has been under so much scrutiny, she explained how crushing it’s been, noting: “I’ve said for a long time to H — that’s what I call him — it’s not enough to just survive something. That’s not the point of life. You’ve got to thrive, you’ve got to feel happy. I think I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip. I tried. I really tried. But I think what that does internally is probably really damaging.”

She continued: “The biggest thing that I know is that I never thought that this would be easy, but I thought it would be fair and that’s the part that’s really hard to reconcile.”

Prince Harry also explained how concerning their year has been, sharing: “Part of this job, and part of any job, like everybody, means putting on a brave face and turning a cheek to a lot of the stuff, but again, for me and for my wife, of course there is a lot of stuff that hurts, especially when the majority of it is untrue.”

Prince Harry continued: “But all we need to do is focus on being real, and focus on being the people that we are, and standing up for what we believe in. I will not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mum.”

Markle was called a “remarkable person”

The Archbishop of Canterbury praised the duchess for being a “remarkable person” who has faced “totally undeserved” criticism. He told Emma Barnett of BBC Radio5 Live: “She’s a person of profound humanity and deep concern for people, seeking to carry out her role with every ounce of her being, and I think she’s a remarkable person.”

He further explained: “They (the royal family) are born into it and one of the things, with the great privilege of meeting some of them, that I’m most aware of is their sheer sense of duty and commitment, which means they know this is a life sentence.”

He has immense admiration for the Sussexes

Their struggle means there’s really no escape, as the Archbishop noted: “Even if they decided to withdraw from public life and never take any public money and disappear, they would still be pursued because they’d be the ex-royal. It is genuinely a life sentence without any let-up. I’m so admiring of the way they behave.”

“I would obviously be immensely concerned about all racist behavior and, particularly when it’s someone you know, you just think this is so totally undeserved,” he added. “These sort of portrayals of her you sometimes see.”