Unearthed Prince Harry Interview from 2017 Reveals He Already Wanted Out of the Royal Family—But Stayed for One Reason

 Prince Harry attends King Charles' Coronation
Prince Harry attends King Charles' Coronation

Meghan Markle gets the lion’s share of the blame for her and husband Prince Harry’s exit as working members of the royal family in 2020, but it was Harry who initially wanted out of the royal family, The Daily Mail reports.

“The prince had spoken of his feelings of disengagement and frustration some years earlier, not long after meeting the woman who would go on to become the Duchess of Sussex,” the outlet reports.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend an engagement together in 2017

All the way back to six years ago, comments from Harry revealed he “wanted out” of the royal family and yearned for an “ordinary life,” calling life inside the monarchy a “goldfish bowl” and admitting he had come close to a breakdown on several occasions. Yet he stayed primarily out of loyalty to the late Queen Elizabeth, his grandmother: “I spent many years kicking my heels and I didn’t want to grow up,” he said in an interview with journalist Angela Levin. “I felt I wanted out, but then decided to stay in and work out a role for myself.”

He also revealed in the extraordinarily candid interview that “no one in the royal family wants to be King or Queen,” and “we want to make sure the monarchy lasts and are passionate about what it stands for. We feel that the British public and the whole world needs institutions like this, but it can’t go on as it has done under the Queen. There will be changes and pressure to get them right. Things are moving so fast, especially because of social media, so we are involved in modernizing the monarchy.”

Prince Harry kisses his grandmother Queen Elizabeth on the cheek

This interview took place in June 2017, not quite a year after meeting Meghan and over five years before Her late Majesty passed away last September at the age of 96. The conversation took place before he had even proposed to Meghan; inside a year they would be married. And though Harry and Meghan’s step back was two and a half years away, it already seemed to be percolating: “I am determined to have a relatively normal life, and if I am lucky enough to have children, they can have one, too,” he said. “We don’t want to be just a bunch of celebrities, but instead use our role for good.”

He continued “We are not doing this for ourselves but for the greater good of the people and the monarchy we represent. There is so much negative in the world—we as a family try to bring something positive.”