It’s safe to say that Prince Harry has a complicated relationship with life as a member of the royal family. The 36-year-old Duke of Sussex announced his intention to step down as a senior working member of the royal family in 2020 before officially relinquishing his role this past spring.
In the time since, Harry has been outspoken about how life as a royal affected him and his family, speaking out several times, including his shocking tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey in March and then again on his Apple TV+ mental health-focused docuseries, The Me You Can’t See.
On Monday, Penguin Random House announced that Prince Harry will be releasing an “intimate and heartfelt memoir” to share for the first time the “definitive account of the experiences, adventures, losses, and life lessons that have helped shape him.”
In a statement released by the publishing company, Prince Harry said his memoir will be a firsthand account of his life “that’s accurate and wholly truthful.” It is expected to be released in 2022.
”I’m writing this not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become,” the statement read. “I’ve worn many hats over the years, both literally and figuratively, and my hope is that in telling my story—the highs and lows, the mistakes, the lessons learned—I can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think. I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to share what I’ve learned over the course of my life so far and excited for people to read a firsthand account of my life that’s accurate and wholly truthful.”
Here’s everything the duke has said about life as a royal:
Days after announcing his decision to step down as a senior royal and relocate to America with his wife, Meghan Markle, and their son, Archie, Harry gave a speech at a private dinner for supporters of Sentebale in London, acknowledging the monumental decision.
“Once Meghan and I were married, we were excited, we were hopeful and we were here to serve. For those reasons, it brings me great sadness that it has come to this,” he said at the time. “The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one I made lightly. It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges. And I know I haven’t always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option.”
He went on to say that the split from his working role with the royal family did not go as initially planned.
“Our hope was to continue serving the queen, the Commonwealth and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible,” he said. “I’ve accepted this knowing it doesn’t change who I am or how committed I am, but I hope it helps you understand what it had come to, that I would step my family back from all I have ever known to take a step forward into what I hope can be a more peaceful life.”
Calling it a “great honor to serve my country and the queen,” Harry added, “I will always have the utmost respect for my grandmother, my commander in chief, and I’m incredibly grateful to her and the rest of my family for the support they have shown Meghan and I over the last few months. I will continue to be the same man who holds his country dear and dedicates his life to supporting the causes, charities and military communities that are so important to me.”
Prince Harry Reveals He Had 'No Other Option' But to Step Back From Royal Family
The Late Late Show With James Corden
Days before his explosive Oprah Winfrey interview, Harry got candid with James Corden on The Late Late Show, while riding on a double-decker sightseeing bus around Los Angeles. It marked his first public interview since stepping down as a senior royal.
“We all know what the British press can be like and it was destroying my mental health. I was like, ‘This is toxic,'” Harry said of moving out of the United Kingdom. “So I did what any husband and any father would do. I was like, ‘I need to get my family out of here.'”
As for “walking away” from the royal family, Harry contested that characterization, saying, “We never walked away, and as far as I’m concerned, whatever decisions are made on that side, I will never walk away. I will always be contributing. But my life is public service, so wherever I am in the world, it’s gonna be the same thing.”
Harry also showed the lighter side to royal life during the interview, revealing the unusual Christmas gift his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, sent his son, Archie.
“My grandmother asked us what Archie wanted for Christmas and Meg said a waffle maker. So she sent us a waffle maker,” Harry said of Her Royal Highness. “So breakfast now, Meg makes up a beautiful organic mix, in the waffle maker, flip it, out it comes. He loves it.”
He also spoke about having Zoom calls with the queen and her now-late husband, Prince Philip, prior to his death.
“Both my grandparents [use Zoom],” Harry said at the time. “We’ve Zoomed them a few times. They’ve seen Archie running around. My grandfather, instead of pressing ‘Leave Meeting,’ he just goes [mimes abruptly closing the computer].”
Prince Harry Shares Secrets of His Life With Meghan Markle and Son Archie
Oprah Winfrey Interview
In March 2021, Harry and Meghan shocked the world when they decided to share their side of the royal exit in an explosive tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey. Though Meghan started off the interview, Harry later joined her, opening up about life in the royal family and his estrangement from his father. Noting that the couple’s decision to step down as senior working royals did not “blindside” his family, Harry said he had three conversations with his grandmother and two with his father, Prince Charles, before he “stopped taking my calls.”
“By that point, I took matters into my own hands. It was like, I need to do this for my family. This is not a surprise to anybody. It’s really sad that it’s gotten to this point, but I’ve got to do something for my own mental, my wife’s, and for Archie’s, as well, because I could see where this was headed,” Harry shared.
Later in the interview, Harry said his father is now taking his calls.
“Yeah. Yeah, he is,” he clarified. “There’s a lot to work through there, you know? I feel really let down, because he’s been through something similar.”
Harry also expressed sympathy for his family members who don’t have the luxury of stepping away as easily.
“My father and my brother, they are trapped. They don’t get to leave. And I have huge compassion for that,” he said.
He also praised Queen Elizabeth, saying, “I’ve spoken more to my grandmother in the last year than I have done for many, many years. My grandmother and I have a really good relationship … and an understanding. And I have a deep respect for her. She’s my colonel in chief, right? She always will be.”
One of the most shocking statements to come out of the interview were Harry and Meghan’s claims that an unnamed senior member of the royal family questioned what their son, Archie’s, skin color would be.
“That conversation, I’m never going to share. But at the time, it was awkward. I was a bit shocked,” Harry said. “That was right at the beginning… ‘What will the kids look like?'”
Why Prince Charles and Prince William May Be the Most Hurt by Harry's Oprah Interview
Harry continued to open up about life in the royal family on Dax Shepard’s podcast in May. Saying that in his 20s he thought he just had to “grin and bear” his problems, the duke said, “The biggest issue for me was that being born into it, you inherit the risk. You inherit the risk that comes with it, you inherit every element of it without choice. I think it’s a really dangerous place to be if you don’t have a choice… Then people will, quite rightly, turn around and go, ‘So what if you didn’t have a choice? It was privilege!'”
He described being a member of the royal family as “a mix between The Truman Show,” a 1998 film about a man who discovers that his whole life is a reality show, “and being in a zoo.”
He also said the suffering he endured was cyclical, noting, “There’s a lot of genetic pain and suffering that gets passed on [in the royal family].”
Prince Harry Compares Royal Life to Living in a ‘Zoo’ and ‘The Truman Show’
The Me You Can’t See
Harry and Oprah teamed up once again in May to bring the mental health-focused docuseries, The Me You Can’t See, to Apple TV+. In the series, Harry is one of several people who opens up about their mental health struggles.
As a member of the royal family, Harry shared that he was told to “just play the game” to make his life easier, but noted, “I’ve got a hell of a lot of my mum in me.”
Harry also shared that the trauma of his mother’s death and subsequently being forced to spend time in the public eye led him to drink and take drugs.
“I was willing to drink, I was willing to take drugs. I was willing to try and do the things that made me feel less like I was feeling,” he said. “But I slowly became aware, OK, I wasn’t drinking Monday to Friday, but I would probably drink a week’s worth in one day on a Friday or a Saturday night. I was by myself drinking not because I was enjoying it, but because I was trying to mask something.”
In the docuseries, Harry also opened up about his wife’s struggles with suicidal thoughts while pregnant with their son and his family’s response.
“I felt completely helpless. I thought my family would help, but every single ask, request, warning, whatever it is just got met with total silence or total neglect,” he said. “We spent four years trying to make it work. We did everything we possibly could to stay there and carry on doing the job.”
For more on how the royal family is reacting to Harry’s comments, watch the clip below:
Prince Harry Says the Trauma of His Mom’s Death Led Him to Drink and Take Drugs
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