Prince Harry And Meghan Reportedly Considered Only Taking One Year Off Before Stepping Down And Getting Into Showbiz

Prince Harry’s decision to step away from his royal duties was likely one of the most shocking events to take place in the later years of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. And while the speculation surrounding his and wife Meghan Markle’s relationship with his brother Prince William and the rest of the royal family never really went away, it became a glaring topic of interest again after the Queen’s passing on September 8. According to a new book, however, the couple once considered taking just a year away, before they ultimately decided to relocate to California.

In Valentine Low’s book Adapted from Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind The Crown, Prince Harry’s longtime foreign affairs adviser Sir David Manning said the prince and Meghan Markle should have been readily allowed — as other royal couples have — to spend time pursuing their own interests. To that end, before choosing to leave the royal life altogether, they'd allegedly talked about devoting a year to philanthropy in South Africa. According to the book (via Mirror): 

Soon after the Queen and Prince Philip married, they’d lived in Malta, while William and Kate had started married life in Anglesey. Harry and Meghan could also go away for a while, said Manning. A year in South Africa seemed the obvious choice. A paper was written outlining the options, and the couple were said to like the idea of a year in Africa.

As Valentine Low pointed out, both Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip and the current Prince and Princess of Wales took private time away from the pressures of royal life. And while Prince Harry and Meghan Markle reportedly liked the proposal that they should pursue his passion for conservation — which would have also allowed Markle to spend time again with her family in the United States — the plan never came to fruition. Low explains in the book: 

In the end, however, the idea never took off. Money and security were probably the two big problems that scuppered it. ‘It ran into the sand,’ said Manning. ‘The problems were real, and there was not a willingness to find the resources.’

It can only be speculated how taking a temporary leave from the royal life would have changed things for Prince Harry and his wife. A year after he and Meghan Markle moved to California, Harry spoke about how angry he was about all of the attention his family had to deal with. He said it reminded him of what happened with his mom, Princess Diana, who was killed in a 1997 car crash that occurred while her driver was trying to outrun some paparazzi in France.

Prince Harry and his wife dropped a number of bombshells in their interview with Oprah, including that Meghan Markle thought very early on that she wasn’t going to fit in with the royal family, that she was depressed, and that awkward conversations were had about the skin color of their son Archie.

The couple are now settled with their two little ones in Montecito, California, and many are excited to see what’s next. Upon their return to the U.S., the former royals set up a production company and signed a multi-year deal with Netflix. Meghan Markle hosts the podcast Achetypes, in which she and her guests "investigate, dissect, and subvert the labels that try to hold women back," and she also published a children’s book called The Bench in 2021.

Check out our 2022 TV schedule to see what new and returning shows are headed your way soon. 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.