Prince Harry has been a member of the royal family his entire life, but that doesn’t mean that the Duke of Sussex has always enjoyed the job. In fact, Harry was described as a “reluctant royal” for years before he made an official decision to step down from the royal family.
Before he and Meghan announced their decision to step back from their duties as royal family members, Harry spent years rebelling against the royal part of his identity.
“I spent many years kicking my heels and I didn’t want to grow up,” Harry was reported as saying in 2017. He said that during those years of “total chaos” he was close to a nervous breakdown, and said “no one in the royal family wants to be King or Queen.”
Harry even confessed to wanting to step away from his family. “I felt I wanted out but then decided to stay in and work out a role for myself,” he added.
Royal biographer Penny Junor added that Harry was always reluctant to take on his royal duties. “I think there was a real danger at one time that Harry might turn his back on his royal life and his royal responsibilities and go and live somewhere quietly,” Junor said.
Junor, who spoke about this in “Meghan Markle: American Princess” said that Harry was always reluctant to take on his duties. As it turns out, Harry’s decision to stay in the family may have been because of the queen.
“She, like the rest of us, forgave him,” said CBS This Morning anchor Gayle King in the documentary.
Ultimately, Harry made peace with life in the royal family until he met Meghan Markle. Following their marriage, the couple found the media scrutiny around them to be too intense for either of them to handle. That scrutiny played an enormous role in the couple’s ultimate decision to step back from the royal family and attempt to make an independent life for themselves.
“Harry has never worn the mantle of royalty easily. He’s always just wanted to be one of the boys (albeit just one with deeper pockets and more houses than most),” wrote The Daily Mail’s Rebecca English.
“Until he settled down with Meghan, his biggest wish was to go off and live in Africa. ‘I would love to just go and work as a tour guide, you know? Just go off into the bush and be me,’ he would say,” English continued.