LIFE

Prince Harry And Meghan’s Friend Says The Couple Feels They’re Being ‘Driven Out’ Of The Family

by Angela Andaloro

The world is still trying to digest the news that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wish to step back from their roles as senior members of the royal family.

It’s a largely unprecedented move they’re making, and what happens next can have major implications for the monarchy moving forward. While the analysis of what this means for the institution has been widespread, there’s been considerably less conversation about what has brought Harry and Meghan to this point.

We know, of course, about the British tabloids’ vicious attacks on Meghan since their engagement was announced. The commentary that’s been printed about her is at best cruel and at its worst, an example of the legacy of racism and sexism that the royal family has worked hard to shake.

Now Harry and Meghan’s close friend Tom Bradby, who interviewed the couple for Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, is speaking out about what brought the couple to this point.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s announcement regarding their royal status has rocked the world. “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 in a statement shared to Instagram. 

“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,” they explained. “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.”

Since the announcement, a lot of the focus of media coverage has been on what this will mean for the monarchy. Harry and Meghan have been slammed by some, while others understand where they’re coming from. Offering more perspective on what has brought them to this point is ITV’s Tom Bradby.

Tom was the reporter whom Harry and Meghan opened up to in Harry & Meghan: An African Journey. As a close friend of the couple, he’s offering a fuller look at what brought Harry and Meghan to make this decision. He emphasizes that this wasn’t easy for anyone involved.

Besides the incessant and negative media attention, there’s also the fact that the monarchy’s focus is on direct heirs. While that leaves much to do for the Prince of Wales and the Cambridges, everyone else tends to be lost in the mix. The resulting tensions have led to “really bad personal splits,” Tom explains.

“There’ve been a lot of fallouts; a lot of harsh things were said around the time of the wedding,” Tom revealed on an ITV broadcast last night. “It’s gone a bit too far. And certainly the rest of the family find Harry and Meghan very difficult and, from Harry and Meghan’s point of view, they’re just being driven out as they see it. And it’s sad.”

“There are going to be so many complications, so many controversies,” Tom continued. “There needs to be a peace deal really soon because this is so toxic. There’s so much anger and, to be honest with you at the moment it looks like it might get worse, not better.”

As Tom sees it, they’re answering the call for a more intimate monarchy. While it’s always been something desired by parts of the public in the UK, the couple is finding the inner workings are more structured in that way as well. “My impression is they’re pretty philosophical about it,” Tom noted.

“[It’s] ‘We are making a break for independence and freedom here,'” he points out. “‘You wanted a slimmed-down monarchy. There’s no place for us in it. We need to learn to live on our own. We want to get on and do that.’”

Tom believes Harry and Meghan are very much leaving the ball in the royal family’s court. “They’re philosophical as in it’s up to [the royal family] — protection, Frogmore, everything else, the titles. You want to take it all away, fine. That’s okay. But it’s sort of up to you,” he explains.

“We’d like to be involved, we’d like to do our charities, we’d like to support the Queen and we’d like to do stuff through the Commonwealth, but we accept that we’ve got no right to do that anymore.”

Tom also explained that talks about the couple setting up shop outside of the UK were going on for quite some time. At the point that information was leaked to the media, Harry and Meghan made the decision to take ownership of the narrative. “Harry has been talking to his family for some weeks about all this,” Tom pointed out.

“And certainly as I understand it what happened is he was asked by members of his family — or at least their officials — to put some of these ideas in writing,” he continued. “He said, ‘I really don’t want to do that because it normally leaks.’ And they were very insistent in order to go forward and discuss it properly it had to be put in writing.”

“He did put it in writing, and it did leak,” Tom said. “So yes, I don’t think [the royal family] got much heads-up as to the actual announcement, but they certainly knew what was going on. I think [Harry] felt once it had been leaked all bets were off.”

As it stands, no one looks like they’ve been trying their hardest with the way the story has been told and retold. The royal family should ultimately decide on a more modern definition of the responsibilities non-heir members should carry out. They should also recognize that Harry’s trauma and complicated feelings around being a royal were issues present before Meghan’s involvement in his life.

On their end, the Sussexes should recognize that change in a centuries-old institution doesn’t always come quickly and work with finding interim solutions as they figure it all out.