RF. The heartbreaking reason why Harry & Meghan 'fled' the UK after royal exit

Jun 26, 2024
RF. The heartbreaking reason why Harry & Meghan 'fled' the UK after royal exit

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been, from their point of view, “free” from the royal family for several years. After a short stint in Canada, the couple left royal life in 2020 and settled in sunny Montecito, California. The couple has gone into many business ventures, but the truth is many of them have had ties to the royal family.

Because of all they have said about the Firm, Harry and Meghan’s relationship with their UK family is at a low point. The couple were evicted from their UK home, but recent reports suggest that Harry is at least keen to find a permanent place in his home country.

The Sussexes left the UK for good on their so-called “freedom flight.” At the time, the real reason why they left wasn’t entirely clear. But in his book Spare, Harry revealed heartbreaking details about why the UK wouldn’t be their home for years to come.

Harry and Meghan’s move to the US meant a new life far away from everything related to the royal duties they, or at least Harry, had performed for many years.

Prince Harry & Meghan Markle

Leaving the royal family was a huge decision for the then-family of three, but they managed it. Since then, Harry and Meghan have welcomed their daughter, Princess Lililbet, who turned three just some weeks ago.

While the couple has expressed a desire for a more private life, their many accusations against the Royal Family were made clear in their now-infamous Oprah Winfrey interview, Netflix series, other interviews, and, foremost, Harry’s tell-all memoir Spare, which made them front-page news worldwide.

The couple has also started several business ventures, and at the time of writing, Meghan is said to be endeavoring to develop her brand better. American Riviera Orchid, the Duchess’s lifestyle brand, was launched some months ago; however, the initial reception differed from what she expected.

At the same time, just weeks ago, she was criticized for stealing the spotlight as a new flavor of the jam was made public mere hours before Kate Middleton’s return to royal life at the Trooping the Colour.

Danny Lawson – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Harry and Meghan’s relationship with the Firm is terrible. The Duke is not in contact with his brother, Prince William, and Meghan and Kate Middleton are practically archrivals.

Left royal life in 2020

So, how did it all start? On January 8, 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made the shocking announcement that they were leaving royal life.

“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” they said.

“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. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.”

“This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.”

Harry and Meghan concluded, “We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”

Chris Jackson/Chris Jackson/Getty Images

At the time, the BBC reported that neither Queen Elizabeth nor Prince William had been consulted before the statement was made public. Buckingham Palace was said to be “disappointed” and senior royals “hurt.”

The real reason why Harry and Meghan left the royal family

But the decision wasn’t made overnight. After their wedding, royal expert Andrew Morton – the author of Diana: Her True Story – claimed that Harry and Meghan might question leaving the royal family early on during their marriage.

Just days after the wedding, Jonny Dymond, the BBC’s royal correspondent, felt something was off.

“I mean, within days, really …There were stories coming out about how Megan behaved towards staff,” he said in the BBC documentary The Prince and the Press.

Camilla Tominey – who first broke the story of Harry and Meghan’s relationship, added – “We were getting briefings that all was not well, with the relationship between William and Harry, Meghan, and Kate, and the relationship between Harry and Meghan and the royal household.”

Harry and Meghan have explained that they had several reasons for leaving the Firm permanently.

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In an interview with The Cut, Meghan Markle opened up about when she and Harry decided to leave the UK. British press coverage scrutinized the Duchess, affecting her health and relationship with the royal hierarchy.

“We were upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy”

As Harry and Meghan’s lives—and the rest of the Firm—were taxpayer-funded, the tabloids claimed the intense scrutiny was of “public interest.” As a result, the couple suggested they could work and earn their own money instead of being taxpayer-funded.

Meghan explained that “maybe all the noise would stop.”

Moreover, they appealed to the Royal Family to be able to leave the UK behind and instead move to another country in the Commonwealth, perhaps South Africa or Canada. Sadly, the answer was no.

“Anything to just … because just by existing, we were upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy. So we go, ‘Okay, fine, let’s get out of here. Happy to,'” Meghan recalled.

She added that their request wasn’t “reinventing the wheel” and that other royal family members had received the green light for the same arrangement.

Harry, Meghan
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“That, for whatever reason, is not something that we were allowed to do, even though several other members of the family do that exact thing,” Meghan said.

Harry revealed they left “in fear for their sanity and physical safety”

In his book Spare, Harry revealed many things about their royal family and what he felt he had been exposed to. He touched on the subject of why they ‘fled’ royal life.

In his and Meghan’s opinion, they had to leave. Reminiscing about a visit to Frogmore Cottage after Prince Philip’s funeral, Harry said: “How beautiful it all is, I thought. And also how sad.”

“Once upon a time, this was going to be my forever home. Instead, it had proved to be just another brief stop.”

He added: “When my wife and I fled this place, in fear for our sanity and physical safety, I wasn’t sure when I’d ever come back. That was January 2020. Now, fifteen months later, here I was, days after waking to thirty-two missed calls and then one short, heart-racing talk with Granny: Harry… Grandpa’s gone.”

While still senior members of the royal family, Harry and Meghan settled at Frogmore. They renovated the royal estate for around $3 million, and when they stepped down from their royal roles, the couple agreed to pay back the entire price tag to UK taxpayers.

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They were still allowed to keep Frogmore Cottage as their UK base when visiting, but that has changed. According to reports, Charles made his mind up about the future of the property just one day after Harry’s book, Spare, was released – and evicted them.

Harry looking for a “permanent” UK home, royal expert claims

Sources close to Prince Harry and Meghan claimed the couple were “stunned” by the decision.

“Harry and Meghan have until early summer to vacate,” a source told Omar Scobie, who’s known to be close to the Sussexes, reported for Yahoo at the time. “Initially, they were given just weeks, but now they have at least until after the coronation.”

“It all feels very final and like a cruel punishment,” a friend of Harry and Meghan’s added. “It’s like [the family] wants to cut them out of the picture for good.”

Even though Harry and his wife have settled into their newer, more calm life in Montecito and are raising their children, Archie and Lilibet, it appears that Harry may be having second thoughts.

According to Tom Quinn, Harry misses his army and college friends dearly. Sadly, they haven’t visited him in California because “they don’t get on with Meghan.” As a result, it’s been reported that the Duke is now looking for a “permanent” home in the UK.

“As time goes by, Harry misses some aspects of his old life in the UK. Inevitably, the honeymoon period where everything in the States is new and exciting is coming to an end and Harry is looking back at the past through rose-tinted spectacles,” Quinn told the Mirror.

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He added: “He misses his Old Etonian and army friends, many of whom have not visited as they don’t get on with Meghan. Harry is determined to find his own permanent home in the UK, which is partly why he’s continuing his legal action to get the British taxpayer to pay for his security.”

Expert claims Harry ‘regret’ leaving royal life

Tom Quinn isn’t the only one suggesting that Harry might have second thoughts. Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams even says that the Duke’ misses’ royal life—but that Meghan is not interested in a return at all.

For the second year in a row, the Sussexes weren’t invited to Trooping the Colour. According to the royal expert, this has made Harry regret his behavior in the last few years.

“We know they wanted an apology from the Royal Family for how they were treated when they were senior working members of it,” Fitzwilliams told The Sun. “They certainly won’t get that. But I do think there will be a certain amount of regret.

“The military has been a very important part of his life, and I would have thought it only natural that he would have had a feeling of some regret [not being at Trooping the Colour].”

“I think Meghan would be indifferent to a ceremony like Trooping the Colour quite frankly,” Fitzwilliams added.

“I have no idea whether she would or wouldn’t actually watch it, but I don’t think it would mean a great deal to her. If it had done, she would have managed to carve a position within the Royal Family where she could have been of use.”

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