Prince Harry planned to step back from the Royal Family as early as 2018, claims royal biographer

In the same year, he even spoke to Oprah Winfrey about an interview

Prince Harry
(Image credit: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images/Future)

A royal biographer has revealed that Prince Harry was "looking for a way out" of the royal family as early as 2018, just six months after his and Meghan Markle's royal wedding.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may have shocked the UK public when they stepped down as working royals in 2020, but the plans had been in the works for quite some time - for years in fact. 

Speaking to Marie Claire, royal biographer Andrew Morton claimed that Prince Harry was looking for ways out of the family as early as 2018. He also shared insights into what was happening behind the scenes when Meghan Markle and Prince Harry got married back in 2018 and what did, and did not, influence Prince Harry's decision to leave the monarchy.

He said, "I think the Queen did her best to bring her [Meghan] into the family. I mean, demonstrably so. She took her on public engagements, notably up to Merseyside. She gave her jewellery, pearls and so on. She put her assistant private secretary, Samantha [Cohen], into her office to teach her about, you know, the niceties of the Commonwealth and the monarchy."

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

(Image credit: Taylor Hill/WireImage)

Despite the warm welcome from the Queen, Morton explained that "within six months" of marrying Meghan, Prince Harry was exploring ways to step back from his family.

He told the publication, "I mean, sadly, Harry was talking to Oprah in December 2018 at a hotel in London, discussing interviews, and he was looking for a way out, even then. Yeah, within six months... they married in May 2018, didn't they? Yeah, so it's December, or November."

While it would occur nearly three years after their first alleged meeting, in March 2021, Prince Harry sat down with Oprah as he and Meghan shared details of their struggles within the royal family in a tell-all interview.

In the interview, the couple made a slew of claims about members of the royal family, none of which Morton believes the family saw coming. 

Prince Harry and Prince William

(Image credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage)

When Morton was asked whether the Royal Family sensed that 'trouble' would be coming their way after the wedding, he answered, "No, I don't think they did."

"I mean, you know, they certainly knew that Harry was not happy in the royal family, and as you know, he's been to counseling, psychological counseling," Morton told Marie Claire. "He found it very difficult appearing in public."

"And yet, conversely, he had the Diana touch, he was and is quite a charismatic individual. And so, for that matter, was Meghan, even though obviously both are now the butt of tremendous criticism from people."

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Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Royal News and Entertainment writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.