In 2021, Prince Harry compared living in the royal family “a mix between ‘The Truman Show’ and being in a zoo” on “Armchair Expert” and said that in the UK, the media feels ownership over royals that is hard to live with. Unwilling to live that life anymore, Harry stepped down from his royal duties in 2020 and moved to California with his wife Meghan Markle and their son Archie later that year.
A source told Us Weekly that Harry believes the move to the U.S. “is the best decision he’s ever made.” We’re so happy for our adopted royal family, but there is no denying that they could have had many more years of happiness if they had just paid attention to the signs that their life in the U.K. was not sustainable. We’ve gathered all of the red flags in Harry and Meghan’s relationship that told us that their life together would be more of a royal tragedy than a royal fairytale.
Meghan's friends told her not to get involved with Harry
Like any woman in love, Meghan Markle would gush about Prince Harry to her friends early on in their relationship. And, like good friends, those who knew about the relationship between the royal family and the U.K. press tried to warn her not to get in too deep. “When I first met my now-husband, my friends were really happy because I was so happy. But my British friends said to me, ‘I’m sure he’s great, but you shouldn’t do it. Because the British tabloids will destroy your life.’ Meghan admitted in the ITV documentary, “Meghan and Harry: An African Journey,” which aired in October 2019. Because she is American, Meghan admitted she said, “‘What are you talking about? That doesn’t make any sense; I’m not in tabloids.’ I didn’t get it.”
We understand why Meghan would brush off the warning — there is a reason people say love is blind. We’re sure she also doesn’t regret ignoring the advice, but she paid a big price, admitting that she wasn’t happy. “It’s not enough to just survive something,” she said. “That’s not the point of life. You’ve got to thrive, you’ve got to feel happy. And I think I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip … But I think that what that does internally is probably really damaging.”
Princess Diana and Meghan Markle had similar mental health issues
On the surface, Princess Diana and Meghan Markle are very different people. Diana was 19 years old when she married into the royal family, and she came from royalty herself. Meghan was a 36-year-old biracial, divorced woman. Yet, they gave tell-all interviews two-and-a-half decades apart that revealed Meghan and her late mother-in-law have more similarities than the public could’ve ever imagined.
Most notably, they both admitted to struggling with mental health issues. In her 1995 interview with Martin Bashir on BBC’s “Panorama,” Diana said of royal life, “You wake up in the morning feeling you didn’t want to get out of bed. You felt misunderstood and just very low on yourself.” In 2021, while speaking to Oprah Winfrey, Meghan Markle admitted to suicidal thoughts. “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore, and that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought,” she said.
Both women said they asked advisers to the royal family for help and were denied. Meghan said she asked to go to treatment but was “told that I couldn’t, that it wouldn’t be good for the institution” (via CNN). Diana said she wasn’t given help when she experienced postpartum depression after Prince William’s birth. “Well, it gave everybody a wonderful new label,” she said. “‘Diana’s unstable and Diana’s mentally unbalanced.'” Diana said she engaged in self-harming behaviors. Knowing the struggles his mom went through, it’s no wonder Prince Harry saw the red flags eventually and sought a better life overseas with his family.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.
No one taught Meghan Markle royal protocols
One would think that when welcoming an outsider into the royal family, official guidance would be offered to help the newbie acclimate to the rules and regulations. But according to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, nothing like that happened at all. “There was no guidance,” Meghan said in her interview with Oprah Winfrey on CBS (via Insider). But, she was still expected to know the right way to behave. “There were certain things that you couldn’t do,” she said. “But, you know, unlike what you see in the movies, there’s no class on how to speak, how to cross your legs, how to be royal. There’s none of that training. That might exist for other members of the family. That was not something that was offered to me.”
Meghan said she would Google things she didn’t know — like the lyrics to the British national anthem — at night before public appearances. Harry even had to teach Meghan how to do a proper curtesy immediately before she met Queen Elizabeth II. “We were doing the training behind the scenes, because I just wanted to make them proud,” she said. Being scared to ask her in-laws the lyrics to a song should have been a warning sign for Meghan.
The British Press have published harrowing words about Meghan Markle
As a biracial woman, Meghan Markle had to deal with overt racism in the British press that no other member of the family had experienced. Some of the most extreme examples include Daily Mail saying she was “(almost) straight outta Compton” and another piece that referred to her “exotic DNA.” Meghan was held to absurd standards compared to her sister-in-law Kate Middleton.
One of the most strange examples of this involves two headlines about avocados from Express. One criticizes Meghan for eating them, saying the fruit to be “human rights abuse and drought.” Another Express headline praises someone for gifting William an avocado to help cure Kate’s morning sickness while pregnant.
Harry has had to release statements in an attempt to protect Meghan from very early in their relationship. One such statement condemns “the racial undertones of comment pieces” and “the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments,” among other things. “This is not a game – it is her life and his,” the 2016 statement declares. We’re not sure if anyone could prepare for the stress Harry and Meghan have gone through because of the press, but if she’s criticized for eating avocados, they had to know they were fighting an uphill battle.
Meghan Markle's in-laws are allegedly racist
Perhaps the biggest bombshell in Harry and Meghan’s tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey was that some of Harry’s family members are allegedly racist. Meghan said that before their son Archie was born, there were “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born” (via MOJO Story) between Harry and unnamed family members.
When Harry joined Meghan and Winfrey, he said he would “never share” details of the conversation but said, “at the time, it was awkward, I was a bit shocked” (via ET Canada). Winfrey later shared with CBS This Morning that Harry didn’t reveal who was a part of the conversations off-camera either. But she said he did want to make clear that “neither his grandmother nor grandfather were a part of those conversations.”
We won’t speculate as to who had such “concerns,” but the process of elimination leaves a couple of options. After the interview, when asked if his family was racist by the paparazzi, Prince William said (via BBC), “We’re very much not a racist family.” If the alleged conversations actually happened, no matter who asked the insensitive questions, it’s surprising that Harry and Meghan did not flee England sooner.
The royals allegedly did not want to protect Meghan and Archie
Another important revelation in Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey involves the reason why the couple’s son Archie was not given a royal title at birth. There had been speculation that the parents made this choice, but Meghan told Winfrey that’s false. She said it was not their “decision to make” (via CBS News). She wanted Archie to have his title for protection. “…The most important title I will ever have is Mom … But the idea of our son not being safe and also the idea that the first member of color in this family not being titled in the same way that other grandchildren would be,” Meghan said.
Harry and Meghan imply racist intentions behind Archie not having a title, but royal expert Daisy McAndrew told Today that royal protocol dictates that only grandchildren of the reigning monarch have the title of prince or princess, not great-grandchildren. She said that Archie would have likely gotten a title when Prince Charles took over the throne.
The couple claimed that the royal family was uncooperative about giving Meghan protection and suggested she continue working. “When [Meghan] wasn’t going to get security, when members of my family were suggesting that she carries on acting, because there was not enough money to pay for her … There were some real obvious signs before we even got married that this was going to be really hard,” Harry said (via Vanity Fair). At least he admits the red flags were bright.
Harry's insensitive past
In 2020, Prince Harry was honest about the fact that he had and has a lot to learn about white privilege and racism. “I’ve had an awakening as such of my own, because I wasn’t aware of so many of the issues and so many of the problems within the U.K., but also globally as well. I thought I did but I didn’t,” he said in the Evening Standard (via CNN). This type of growth is always good. But the fact remains that there are some incidents in Harry’s own past that at least should have signaled to Meghan Markle that she might face racism from her in-laws.
In 2005, Harry found himself in hot water when the U.K. tabloid The Sun published a picture of him in a Nazi costume with a Swastika on it (via BBC News). At the time, Harry issued an apology via his press office (per CNN). “I am very sorry if I caused any offense or embarrassment to anyone. It was a poor choice of costume and I apologize,” it read. Harry was just 20 years old at the time, so we understand it was a mistake he has learned from. But it’s sad that her husband’s own insensitive behavior foreshadows the struggles Meghan would face with prejudice in the royal family.
Kate Middleton allegedly made Meghan Markle cry because of tights
According to a 2018 report in the British tabloid The Sun, Meghan Markle allegedly made Kate Middleton cry during preparations for her wedding because of demands about bridesmaids’ dresses. While she did not reveal the details of the fight, in her CBS interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan said, “the reverse happened,” implying that Kate actually made her cry (via Entertainment Tonight), adding, “It was a really hard week of the wedding and she was upset about something.” Tatler’ confirmed via a source that the spat was about bridesmaids’ dresses.
Meghan said that Kate has since apologized to her, and she is forgiven. But we are less concerned with the resolution than the fact that it allegedly happened on such a tense week for Meghan. As Meghan told Winfrey, “…I thought in the context of everything else that was going on in those days leading to the wedding that it didn’t make sense to not be just doing whatever everyone else was doing which was trying to be supportive knowing everything that was going on with my dad and whatnot.” Hmm, a sister-in-law who would allegedly pick such a silly fight on such an intense week is definitely an ominous sign of bigger fights to come.
Meghan's family isn't making married life easy for her, either
We’ve been focusing a lot of attention on Harry’s family, but the truth is that many members of Meghan Markle’s brood have made married life extremely difficult for her and her husband. On the week of the Sussexs’ wedding, Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, wavered about whether to attend the royal wedding, at first because of embarrassment over allegedly staged paparazzi photos and then because he reportedly needed heart surgery, TMZ reported. Thomas is known to talk to the press about Meghan often, and the damage it has caused her is so bad that she wrote him a letter begging him to stop.
Meghan told her dad he was “turning a blind eye to the pain [he’s] causing.” She wrote that the stories he manufactures for the press break her heart “into a million pieces” (via The Sun). Meghan’s half-sister Samantha Markle has also said some really mean things about her and has gone so far as to imply that Harry shouldn’t have married her. Once, she shared a picture of Harry’s ex, Cressida Bonas, on Twitter (via The Sun) and wrote, “She is much more like Diana. That’s who Harry should have married.” We just feel bad that Harry and Meghan don’t seem to have many family members they can turn to for support. It probably makes their marriage harder sometimes.
Brothers at war
Prince William and Harry’s relationship has always been in the spotlight, especially since the death of their mother, Princess Diana. Though they’ve had some ups and downs over the years, Us Weekly reported that a true rift did not start until about 2016 when William expressed to Harry that he was moving too fast with Meghan. They eventually patched things up until 2019, when they decided to split their royal charity into two organizations. Harry confirmed a rift in the ITV documentary “Harry and Meghan: An African Journey.” “Inevitably, stuff happens. But, look, we’re brothers, we’ll always be brothers,” he said, claiming that they were on “different paths at the moment.”
In 2020, a source told Us Weekly that William was “blindsided” by Harry’s announcement that he was stepping down from royal duties. Since then, the road has been rocky. They were together in public in 2020 but barely spoke. They have reportedly tried to mend things, but in the CBS interview with Oprah Winfrey, Harry said (via Us Weekly), “The relationship is space at the moment and time heals all things, hopefully.” In 2021, the duo was seen speaking at their grandfather Prince William’s funeral. We understand why tensions are high between the brothers, but we can’t help but wonder where Harry and Meghan would be living today if the boys could have learned to support each other better.
Members of the royal family were allegedly jealous of Meghan Markle
In the CBS interview with Oprah Winfrey, Harry alleged that some members of his family were jealous of Meghan because of how effortless it was for her to connect with the public. “It all changed after the Australia tour,” he said, referencing Meghan’s first big duty as a married royal (via Independent). His mother received similar praise from the public during her Australia tour in 1983. “It was the first time the family got to see how incredible she was at the job. And that brought back memories.”
Instead of embracing Meghan as “one of the greatest assets” his family could have, unnamed family members got colder toward her. “I just wish that we would all learn from the past,” Harry said, referencing his mother’s struggles. Jealousy is natural, but, as Harry notes, the family could have embraced her more to avoid all of this strife.
It may not be royal, but Harry and Meghan's future in the U.S. is bright
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may not have a royal fairytale, but they are living out their own laid-back version of one in California. “I think he is loving the California, west-coast lifestyle, it suits him. He has always been a very laid-back person, he loves nature and being by the ocean, a royal expert at Entertainment Tonight reported (via Express). “So I hear that he is very, very happy.”
The pair has a lot to be happy about. As of this writing, Meghan is due with a baby girl in 2021, the couple revealed to Oprah on CBS (via Entertainment Tonight). They also announced a production company, Archewell Productions, and a deal with Netflix in 2020. They revealed their first project, a documentary series about Harry’s Invictus Games called “Heart of Invictus” that will follow participants of the games in Hauge in 2022 (via CNN). In December 2020, a branch of their company, Archewell Audio, signed a deal with Spotify. “That’s what this project is all about, to bring forward different perspectives and voices that perhaps you haven’t heard before and find our common ground,” Harry said in a podcast trailer (via BBC). Harry and Meghan may not be royal anymore, but it’s not slowing them down. Only white flags ahead.
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