How a photo snub led Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to leave the royals
Harry and Meghan quit royal roles after feeling sidelined by the institution, triggered by a photo of the Queen and heirs.
A photo of the late Queen Elizabeth II and her heirs was the last straw for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who decided to quit their senior royal roles after seeing it.
The author of an unauthorized biography, ‘Meghan: A Hollywood Princess’, Andrew Morton, claimed that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex felt that they were being sidelined by the royal institution.
The photo, which was released in 2020, showed the queen with the now King Charles, Prince William and Prince George in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace.
“The royal couple suspected that the entire institution was conspiring against them. As they saw it, the evidence was all around them. The unspoken code was straightforward: the future of the monarchy was assured, with or without Meghan and Harry,” Morton wrote in his book.
Two days after the photo came out, Harry and Meghan announced that they were stepping back as “senior” members of the Royal Family and becoming financially independent. They also said that they would split their time between the United Kingdom and North America and continue to support the queen.
They moved to Montecito, California, with their son Archie, 4, and daughter Lilibet, 2.
Their departure from the UK triggered a deeper rift between Harry and William, which was worsened by Harry’s book ‘Spare’ and his Netflix docuseries ‘Harry & Meghan.’
In the docuseries, the Duke of Sussex revealed that William shouted at him over his decision to leave.
“It was terrifying to have my brother screaming and shouting at me, and my father say things that simply weren’t true, and my grandmother quietly sit there and take it all in.”
He also said that he felt betrayed by his brother, who sided with the institution.
“The saddest part of it was this wedge created between me and my brother, so that he’s now on the institution side. And part of that I get, I understand that’s his inheritance and its already engrained in him that part of his responsibility is the survival of this institution,” he said.
He accused the institution of “institutional gaslighting” and said that Meghan was “being fed to the wolves”.
“They’re happy to lie to protect my brother, but they were never willing to tell the truth to protect us,” he said.
In his autobiography, which came out a few months after Queen Elizabeth died, Harry also alleged that William physically attacked him and pushed him into a dog bowl over a fight about Meghan.
The brothers met for the first time publicly at a memorial for the queen in September 2022, but they did not seem to talk or interact.
Prince Harry did not attend King Charles’ coronation in May 2023. He flew back to the UK for the service, but he sat three rows behind William, Kate Middleton, and their three children.
He left for California right after the service.
Prince Harry also had some good news off the field during the NFL offseason when he got engaged to his girlfriend Jenna Brandt in early July. Brandt is a former collegiate volleyball player at Iowa State and UNI in Cedar Falls.
“My Jenna girl forever. I can’t wait to be your husband and grow together in Christ. Here’s to forever babe. I love you JB!” Harry posted on Instagram, along with some photos of their engagement.