Prince Harry’s decision to step away from his royal duties was probably one of the most shocking events of the last years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. And although rumors about his and wife Meghan Markle’s relationship with his brother Prince William and the rest of the royal family have never disappeared, they have again become the subject of intense interest after the queen’s death on September 8. According to the new book, however, the couple once considered taking a vacation for just a year before eventually deciding to move to California.
In Valentine Lowe’s book Adapted from The Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown, Prince Harry’s longtime foreign affairs adviser, Sir David Manning, said the Prince and Meghan Markle should have been readily allowed — like other royal couples — to spend time pursuing their own interests. To this end, before they left royal life altogether, they allegedly talked about dedicating a year to charity in South Africa. According to the book (through the Mirror):
Shortly after the wedding, the Queen and Prince Philip settled in Malta, and William and Kate began family life in Anglesey. According to Manning, Harry and Meghan may also leave for a while. A year in South Africa seemed like an obvious choice. A document outlining the options was written, and, as they say, the couple liked the idea of spending a year in Africa.
As Valentine Lowe noted, both Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, and the current Prince and Princess of Wales spent time away from the pressures of royal life. And while Prince Harry and Meghan Markle reportedly liked the suggestion that they should follow his passion for conservation, which would also allow Markle to spend time with her family in the United States again, the plan never materialized. Lowe explains in the book:
In the end, however, the idea never took off. Money and security were probably the two big issues that ruined him. “He hit the sand,— Manning said. “The problems were real, and there was no desire to find resources.”
One can only guess how a temporary leave from royal life would change the situation of Prince Harry and his wife. A year after he and Meghan Markle moved to California, Harry revealed how angry he was about the attention his family had to face. He said it reminded him of what happened to his mom, Princess Diana, who died in a 1997 car crash when her driver tried to escape from paparazzi in France.
Prince Harry and his wife have thrown out some big words in their interview with Oprah, including that Meghan Markle thought very early on that she wasn’t going to fit into the royal family, that she was depressed and that there were awkward conversations about the skin color of their son Archie.
The couple have now settled down with their two toddlers in Montecito, California, and many are looking forward to what happens next. Upon returning to the United States, the former members of the royal family created a production company and signed a multi-year contract with Netflix. Meghan Markle also released a children’s book, The Bench, in 2021.
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