Prince Harry Was the Driving Force Behind the Sussexes' Royal Exit

While some corners of the media rushed to pin the blame on Meghan, sources close to Harry stress he'd wanted to step down for quite some time.

Friday, January 8, marks one year since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's bombshell announcement (opens in new tab) that they were stepping down as senior royals—and thus about one year since tabloids started using the phrase "Megxit," which, it turns out, is a pretty inaccurate and unfair way to describe the move. While some corners of the media rushed to pin the blame on Meghan, a source close to Harry revealed that the Sussexes' royal exit was actually his idea.

"It came to the point where he wanted a different way of life," an insider explained to Vanity Fair. (opens in new tab) "Meghan was simply the catalyst." Probably time to retire "Megxit" for good, wouldn't you agree? 

Vanity Fair also revealed that the Sussexes' shock announcement was not how Meghan and Harry wanted things to go. Royal historian Robert Lacey told the magazine, "Harry and Meghan had put a great deal of thought into trying to create something that would work for both sides, but that was all blown when their plans were leaked to the press."

"Harry was trying to get Charles, William, and the queen to approve a plan, which they wanted in writing. Harry wanted to talk face-to-face because he was worried it would leak," Lacey continued. "Reluctantly, he did put it in writing, it did leak, and that led to the Sussexes making the announcement."

A year later, Meghan and Harry are reportedly stronger than ever, despite a painful 2020 in which Meghan experienced a miscarriage (opens in new tab) and both pursued legal action over press intrusion (opens in new tab) and inaccurate stories (opens in new tab)Finding Freedom author Omid Scobie told Vanity Fair, "They’ve proved that they can master the challenge when it comes their way."

"When you look at everything they’ve faced, nothing has gone to plan but they’ve remained positive," Scobie continued, "and it’s the support they give each other that gets them through."


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cape town, south africa september 25 prince harry, duke of sussex, meghan, duchess of sussex and their baby son archie mountbatten windsor meet archbishop desmond tutu and his daughter thandeka tutu gxashe at the desmond leah tutu legacy foundation during their royal tour of south africa on september 25, 2019 in cape town, south africa photo by poolsamir husseinwireimage

(Image credit: Pool/Samir Hussein)

Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.