Princess Diana May Have Inspired Prince Harry’s Initial Move to Canada

Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s initial move to Canada came as a shock for many people. However, a look back at his childhood gives hints about why he made the choice to relocate there temporarily after stepping down as a senior royal. Many royal watchers believe that Princess Diana’s experience is a key factor in Prince Harry’s battle with the tabloid media, and his desire to leave England is because he wants to protect Markle and their son. 

Princess Diana’s actions may have been one important reason that Prince Harry and Markle chose Canada as a temporary new home, before reportedly moving along to Los Angeles. Her choices led the way for her son and his wife to imagine a new way of life. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

Princess Diana traveled to Canada with her sons

Princess Diana was only 21 years old the first time she went on a royal tour of Canada with Prince Charles, leaving one-year-old Prince William at home. Nine years later, however, she and Prince Charles returned with both sons. Although a big part of the reason she brought them along was to start preparing Prince William for his future duties as king, she also famously enjoyed spending time with her boys. 

While their father was busy with royal duties, the young princes joined their mother for less formal events. She took them to Niagara Falls, showing them some of Canada’s natural beauty. The next day the three of them attended a church service at Toronto’s Cathedral Church of St. James. Pictures and videos from the time show the young mother relishing spending time with her children. 

Through the years, Prince Harry has remembered these days fondly. Spending this time with his mother in beautiful surroundings almost certainly planted the seed in his mind. 

Prince William, Princess Diana and Prince Harry smiling together all wearing winter jackets
Princess Diana with her sons Prince William (left) and Prince Harry, 1993 | Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

She once longed to move to another country

After her divorce, Princess Diana started dating Hasnat Khan, a British Pakistani surgeon. She wanted to marry him, but the intense scrutiny of the press made it difficult to be in a relationship. She believed that the only way to escape the tabloids would be to move to Pakistan.

She started researching what she would need to do to move abroad, not only the legal requirements but also how to adapt to the culture and fit in with Khan’s family. In her search for a home that would be safe and give her more privacy, Princess Diana also considered South Africa and Australia.

Ultimately, the relationship with Khan didn’t last. And Princess Diana tragically never found the peaceful life she wanted away from the press. But when Prince Harry started to feel some of the same pressures – wishing to escape the paparazzi and protect his love – he took her example and started to consider options outside of Britain. 

Prince Harry sought out the move

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Today, The Duke of Sussex attends the #ANZACday service at Westminster Abbey with The Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke of Gloucester. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended this service last year in addition to the dawn service. They also paid their respects at the #ANZAC memorial in Sydney during their official tour last fall. Having devoted ten years of service to military duty, including two tours in Afghanistan, The Duke completed his time of service with four weeks with the Australian Defence Force. Their Royal Highnesses remain committed to supporting serving members of the Armed Forces, veterans and the families that support them. #ANZACDay commemorates the anniversary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli in 1915. ANZAC Day is a moment to recognise the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who lost their lives during the landings, and to honour the sacrifices of men and women in all wars. ANZAC Day has been observed annually in London since King George V attended a service at Westminster Abbey, and more than 2,000 Australian and New Zealand troops marched through the streets. Members of The Royal Family have continued to honour the servicemen and women globally, and today HRH The Duke of Cambridge also paid his respects at @AucklandMuseum. The Duke of Cambridge is visiting The Commonwealth country on behalf of The Queen to pay tribute to those killed in the Christchurch attacks earlier this year.

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Many royal watchers accuse Markle of forcing Prince Harry to leave his family and his royal duties behind. However, he insists that leaving was his choice. The intrusive nature of the press coverage reminded him of deeply painful events of his young life, and the tabloids’ relentless criticism of his wife made him desperate to protect her. When the couple’s son Archie was born it became too much for the young royal to take, and he started to plan his family’s escape. 

Whether you agree with Markle and Prince Harry’s move, it seems clear that his motivation is to protect his family. It makes sense that, as he strives to find the peace his mother never had, he would turn to Canada for a potential home, a place she introduced him to. Princess Diana’s life was complicated, but she set a beautiful example for her sons. Prince Harry decided to follow the path she’d once started, and find a safe place to escape to – before it was too late.