Prince Harry Always Wanted to Leave the Royal Family and Move to Africa

Longtime royal reporter for the Daily Mail Rebecca English has penned a thoughtful story about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision to resign as senior royals.

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  • Rebecca English of the Daily Mail has penned a thoughtful op-ed about what it has been like covering Prince Harry, including insider details about his personality, motivation, and hopes for the future.
  • Before meeting Meghan, he still wanted out of the Royal Family—but he changed, apparently, after he met her.
  • She's not the only royal reporter who's reacted honestly to the news about Harry and Meghan.

Longtime royal reporter for the Daily Mail, Rebecca English, has penned a sweet-but-honest, thoughtful story about Prince Harry and his and Meghan Markle's decision to resign as senior royals. The whole thing is worth a read, but the most compelling piece of the story really adds to our understanding of Harry and who he was as a person even before he met Meghan. Truth is, he never felt comfortable in the Royal Family.

Harry kept tabs on media coverage.

English explained that Harry always had a keen interest in what the media was saying about him. "I became aware of someone looking over my shoulder...'Just wanted to see what you were saying about me,' [Harry] said with a cheeky grin. 'I always want to know what people are saying about me.'"

Later in the article, she remembers another anecdote: "'If it’s being said about me, then I want to know it,' he would say, pretending to hold a notebook and pen. 'One day I would really love to have my own newspaper column so I can write the truth and tell people what I think.'" An interesting point, considering how Harry and Meghan have a new, very specific media plan to tell their own narrative. And it won't include the small group of British royal reporters known as the rota.

He never wanted the limelight.

English explained that pundits are saying easygoing Harry will be missed, but "never be fooled for a second that he enjoyed it—or even wanted to be there. Rightly, his put-upon media advisers considered this all part of his 'training' as a senior royal, but it was clear to everyone concerned that it was an uphill battle."

Interestingly, "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." (Considering the move that Harry and Meghan are making a move to Canada, this decision also tracks.)

English made sure to point out: "And yet it could also be intensely irritating listening to a young man given every privilege in life, a young man who would never have the pressure of working for a living as the rest of us about his lot in this way." Which, I get.

He changed after he met Meghan.

English does remember the prince fondly, though, even referencing a time he called her personally to praise her professionalism and say he was thinking of her while her son was in the hospital. "Four months later he met his future wife. And the truth is, we have barely exchanged a word since...Are the two events connected? Who knows, but, of course, I suspect yes." Wow.

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Katherine J. Igoe
Contributing Editor

Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

Katherine has a BA in English and art history from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in art business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art (with a focus on marketing/communications). She covers a wide breadth of topics: she's written about how to find the very best petite jeanshow sustainable travel has found its footing on Instagram, and what it's like to be a professional advice-giver in the modern world. Her personal essays have run the gamut from learning to dress as a queer woman to navigating food allergies as a mom. She also has deep knowledge of SEO/EATT, affiliate revenue, commerce, and social media; she regularly edits the work of other writers. She speaks at writing-related events and podcasts about freelancing and journalism, mentors students and other new writers, and consults on coursework. Currently, Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, and you can follow her on Instagram. If you're wondering about her last name, it’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.