Royal Expert Claims Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Exit Was Caused by Queen Elizabeth’s ‘Mistake’

Were Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex forced to leave the royal family? One royal expert believes that, even though the Sussexes’ motivation to step out of the spotlight was key, Queen Elizabeth might have made a mistake that negatively impacted their royal experience.

Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry watch a flypast to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018
Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry | Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced a surprising plan

In January, Prince Harry and Meghan took to Instagram to announce a plan to step back from their royal duties and spend part-time in the UK and part-time in North America. Queen Elizabeth supported their desire to step away from the royal spotlight, but couldn’t grant them their proposal for a half-in/half-out arrangement.

The couple’s official exit date was set for March 31. At the time, Prince Harry addressed how they were disappointed that their road map couldn’t be honored.

“I’ve accepted this knowing it doesn’t change who I am or how committed I am, but I hope it helps you understand what it had come to, that I would step my family back from all I have ever known to take a step forward into what I hope can be a more peaceful life,” Prince Harry said in a speech at the time.

Meghan Markle and Queen Elizabeth attend a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018
Meghan Markle and Queen Elizabeth | Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

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Royal expert believes the queen is to blame for the Sussexes’ exit

In their 2019 documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, Prince Harry and Meghan addressed their concerns about being on the receiving end of constant media scrutiny. Their announcement about stepping back from their duties wasn’t a complete surprise as it would allow them a chance to escape the negative attention.

Commentator Simon Jenkins points to a 1969 documentary as playing a role in Prince Harry and Meghan’s decision to leave. Jenkins explained in a January 2020 New Statesman article, “I blame the queen.”

“Why were the couple, so distant from the throne, in this absurd position in the first place?,” he asked. “The truth is that they were victims of a policy dating back to the 1960s, a decision by the queen to embark on a new concept of monarchy.”

He added, “It was crudely to make a family soap opera.”

The documentary, titled Royal Family, was supposed to show the royals as more ordinary than they had been historically known. Jenkins wrote, “Afterwards the queen (and Princess Anne) thought the film a terrible mistake. She hated it, had it locked away and banned repeats.”

The documentary, according to Jenkins, made the royals more relevant and, in the Sussexes’ case, that spotlight continued to shine on them as celebrities. “By any standards, Harry and Meghan have become staggering celebrities,” he claimed, adding, “They were idolised, their charities blessed, their presence craved.”

Jenkins’ hope is that, now that Prince Harry and Meghan left their royal duties behind, the Sussexes can “enjoy some peace and quiet.”