Tuesday, 27 Oct 2020

Prince Harry heartbreak: How Duke announced plans to quit royal life before meeting Meghan

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Prince Harry had suggested living a more “common” life appealed to him months before meeting Meghan Markle for the first time, according to royal expert Marlene Koenig. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced in January their intention to take a step back from the royal spotlight to enjoy a more private life with their son Archie. But speaking to Express.co.uk in May, Ms Koenig suggested Harry had already hinted at the potential of quitting his working role as a senior member of the Royal Family.

Ms Koenig said: “He said years ago, in an interview when he was serving in the military, that he wanted to leave the Royal Family.

“Let them go do what they want to do. I think they will be successful.”

In a 2017 interview, the Duke of Sussex admitted his experience in the army had left him considering to stop being a working royal.

Prince Harry said: “I wasn’t a Prince, I was just Harry. I felt as though I was really achieving something.

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“I have a deep understanding of all sorts of people from different backgrounds and felt I was part of a team.

“We don’t want to be just a bunch of celebrities but instead use our role for good.”

He added: “I felt I wanted out but then decided to stay in and work out a role for myself.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex agreed to a one-year trial period to decide whether they want to sever their working ties with the Royal Family to lead a life as private citizens independent from the pressure and demands of official duties.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle officially stepped down on March 31 after a final round of engagements across the UK and have since relocated with Archie to Los Angeles.

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Asked whether the Duke and Duchess could change their mind and resume their duties, Ms Koenig said: “Absolutely not, not going to happen. They have made their decision and the Queen has accepted it.

“They will keep in touch with their charities and the system will be reviewed after a year.

“By that time I think they’ll be on a financial foothold for themselves, and they will have made more decisions on where they are going to live and what their new non-profit will be.”

Harry and Meghan were expected to launch their new charity organisation Archewell sometime in 2020 but sources close to the couple have since confirmed plans have been put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The source said: “What’s absolutely clear is that they want to get it right and there’s no point in rushing.

“They are settling into a new life, a new era. This is about getting it right and making sure they are able to make the difference they want to make.”

Another royal insider said that Meghan and Harry’s team are still working to prepare for the launch of the organisation despite the delay the pandemic has caused.

The source said: “Everything they’re doing at the moment is part of Archewell.

“Whether COVID, BLM or their ongoing charity work, it’s all part of how they’re working on Archewell and developing their work and focus going forward.

“Their team have been working on hate speech issues, and tech-for-good behind the scenes since the beginning of the year. It was the focus of their visit to Stanford in February.”

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