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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Before Meghan Markle, Prince Harry the struggling 'spare' was already considering a royal exit: experts

Before Meghan Markle ever walked into Prince Harry’s life, the struggling spare had wondered what his life could be like beyond palace walls.

In a resurfaced interview with author Angela Levin, the Duke of Sussex spoke candidly about his desire for an “ordinary life.” His thoughts were shared in Levin’s 2017 column for the U.K.’s Daily Mail as well as her 2018 book, “Harry: A Biography of a Prince.”

“I spent many years kicking my heels, and I didn’t want to grow up,” the now-38-year-old told Levin. “I felt I wanted out but then decided to stay in and work out a role for myself.”

Meghan Markle wearing a creme dress and a matching hat next to Prince Harry in a grey suit and black skinny tie

In a resurfaced 2017 interview, Prince Harry described how he originally wanted out of royal life before carving out a role for himself. (Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)

British royals expert Hilary Fordwich told Fox News Digital it’s likely Harry would have attempted to escape the pressures of being a “spare” beyond his home country whether the former American actress was in the picture or not.

Meghan Markle wearing a white coat and a black dress next to Prince Harry in a blue suit and skinny black tie

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are shown at The Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace on Nov. 27, 2017, in London. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

“This was not to be, and in the process of trying to develop their unique style, there was no compromise in the strict royal regime,” he added.

Harry told Levin that he was “determined to have a relatively normal life” while admitting he hoped to be lucky enough to have children in the future.

He also recalled what it was like walking behind his mother’s coffin during her funeral in 1997.


Prince Harry in military gear

Prince Harry mans a machine gun on Jan. 2, 2008, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. (John Stillwell/POOL/Anwar Hussein Collection/WireImage)

The prince also told Levin he was devastated after his position in the army was leaked by the press. He had to be quickly withdrawn due to security reasons.

“I felt very resentful,” Harry said. “Being in the army was the best escape I’ve ever had. I felt as though I was really achieving something. I had a deep understanding of all sorts of people from different backgrounds and felt I was part of a team. I wasn’t a prince; I was just Harry.”

The 41-year-old became the Duchess of Sussex when she married the prince in 2018. The couple made their royal exit, which was coined “Megxit” by the press, in 2020. They moved to North America.


A close-up of Meghan Markle in her bridal gown

Meghan Markle, an American actress, became the Duchess of Sussex when she married Britain’s Prince Harry in 2018. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex quit royal duties in 2020. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

“It’s true that Harry struggled with his assigned role as ‘the spare’ and for a time actively considered exiting his role as a full-time working royal,” Andersen explained. “He was floundering, but then again, his brother, Prince William, the heir to the throne, also chafed at having every aspect of his life controlled by the palace string-pullers.

The couple cited the U.K. media’s treatment of the biracial duchess as one of the main reasons for their decision to quit royal duties. Since moving to Montecito, California, the pair have detailed their struggles with royal life in televised interviews, a six-part Netflix docuseries, and most recently, the prince’s memoir, “Spare.”

In a recent blow, a London judge rejected Harry’s bid to pay for his own police protection, denying the royal’s request to challenge the U.K. government in court.


Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, is seen at King Charles IIIs coronation

Prince Harry attended his father’s coronation ceremony on May 6, 2023, without wife Meghan Markle. (Ben Stansall)

“The problem is that the Sussexes’ focus is on past resentments, not on moving on constructively,” Fitzwilliams said. “He, however, sees his campaign against media intrusion as constructive. Meghan was undoubtedly the catalyst that led to the change; there seems little doubt this has been a change he has welcomed so far. Who knows, however, where it will lead as the rift with his family is so very deep.”

Harry was able to leave the U.K. and escape the pressures that once plagued him, but one question remains for many royal experts: What now?

“The only thing one has control of right now is what you do today, tomorrow and the next day,” said Fordwich. “Actions moving forward. One can’t change the past, only the present. But he’s driving looking in the rearview mirror.”

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