Celebrities & Pop Culture

Prince Harry Has Always Been Independent, Even Before He Met Meghan Markle

"I am determined to have a relatively normal life," Harry told an interviewer back in 2017.

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Following the news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are stepping back “as senior members of the royal family” and splitting their time between the U.K. and North America, some critics suggested that Meghan Markle has somehow brainwashed her husband, Prince Harry, into turning his back on his family, his country and his royal duties.

But this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, even before Prince Harry, 35, met Markle, there was endless speculation about his future as a member of the royal family. Quite a few pundits suggested that Harry would do his own thing, quite possibly in a part of the world far away from Buckingham Palace.

“He’s a rich young man; he could decide to kiss goodbye to the whole thing,” a friend of Harry’s said, per Penny Junor’s 2014 biography “Prince Harry: Brother, Soldier, Son.” “He could say, ‘I waive my rights to the throne, I waive my rights to any money, I’m not going to live in palaces, I’m going to look after myself and do my own thing.’”

“He would be relatively in his rights to do so, so long as he paid for his own protection and all the rest of it. He’s got enough money,” the source added. (And that he does — Forbes reported that Diana, Princess of Wales, left Prince William and Harry $10 million each, after tax.)

Harry’s charity Sentebale, which he co-founded in 2006, has always been one of his priorities, and it’s never been too much of a stretch to imagine him moving to Lethoso, South Africa, where it’s based — even for part of the time.

Prince Harry In Lesotho With his Charity Sentebale
Getty Images | Chris Jackson

The Sussexes’ official statement, published on the official Sussex Royal website and also posted on their official Instagram account, stated that the couple made the life-changing decision “after many months of reflection and internal discussions.” In order to establish “a progressive new role within this institution,” they would “work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty the Queen.”

“The geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born,” they continued, “while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.”