Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Taking a Break From Royal Duties Would’ve Been OK By Queen Elizabeth, Author Says

TL; DR: 

  • Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stepped back from royal life in 2020.
  • A royal author says Queen Elizabeth II would’ve been fine with them taking a break as opposed to leaving. 
  • Before taking the throne, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip lived in Malta for two years.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are living in California after stepping away from their senior royal roles. However, a royal author says Queen Elizabeth II would’ve been fine with them taking a break. The reason? She spent time away from royal life.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their plants to ‘step back’ from royal life in January 2020

Not two years after their royal wedding, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their decision to “step back.” In January 2020, they issued a statement outlining their intention to “transition” to a “progressive new role.”

“We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the royal family and work to become financially independent while continuing to fully support Her Majesty the Queen,” they said. “It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.”

Also in their announcement, Meghan and Harry shared they planned to split their time between the UK and North America. Buckingham Palace later released Queen Elizabeth’s brief response

Following meetings dubbed the “Sandringham Summit,” the couple eventually left royal life completely. They famously discussed their decision to step back in a 2021 tell-all interview with Oprah

Queen Elizabeth would’ve understood if Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wanted to take a break from royal life, according to author Andrew Morton

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry sit next to Queen Elizabeth II, who, according to an author says would've understood if Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wanted to take a break from royal life
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, and Queen Elizabeth II | John Stillwell – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Speaking on the Mirror’s podcast, Pod Save the Queen, royal biographer Andrew Morton explained why Queen Elizabeth probably would’ve been fine with Harry and Meghan taking a break from royal life. 

Morton shared the 96-year-old took a break when she and her late husband, Prince Philip, lived in Malta. 

“Back in the late 1940s after they married, the queen and Prince Philip lived in Malta for a while as he was pursuing his career in the Royal Navy,” he continued. “Many thought he would end up as First Lord of the Admiralty as he was such a star.” 

“They never thought for a minute that George VI would die so soon and thought that they would have 20 years or so on the fringes of the royal family,” Morton said. 

Therefore, she likely would’ve understood if the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wanted to do something similar as opposed to leaving royal life completely. “So the queen has always been very understanding of anybody who wants to step back for a few years and just enjoy family life because you’re a long time being a royal,” he said. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle considered living in New Zealand

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who a royal author says would've likely been granted a break from royal duties by Queen Elizabeth II, look on
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | Dominic Lipinski – Pool /Getty Images

Also on the podcast, Morton said Harry and Meghan had considered moving to New Zealand. 

“They were thinking about living in New Zealand and they even spoke to the Prime Minister of New Zealand about this – so they had all kinds of plots and thoughts for their future,” he said.

Ultimately, it didn’t happen because, in Morton’s opinion, Harry’s “cursed with charisma but hates being a prince.” He also said Harry saw Meghan as a “way out” of royal life.

The Prime Minister of New Zealand wasn’t the only person the couple spoke with about moving. Morton said Harry had discussed a “different direction of travel” with Oprah in a London hotel in November 2018. 

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