Every family has a little bit of drama — even royal ones. Following their shocking step away from their senior royal duties in March 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have distanced themselves from their relatives across the pond.
When the couple, who exchanged vows in May 2018, announced their plans to take a break from their senior roles in January 2020, the news came as a big shock to those closest to them. “[Prince] William was blindsided by Harry and Meghan’s decision and statement,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly at the time. “William is incredibly hurt, but at the same time he has his own family to focus on and is trying to move forward with his life.”
Before he and Meghan settled down in California with their son, Archie, the Duke of Sussex attended a series of meetings with his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II and had a “heart-to-heart” about the situation. Despite his decision to leave his position within the palace, Harry “adores” the monarch, a source said at the time.
“The last thing Elizabeth wants is for Harry to feel estranged from his family and she made her feelings clear about this in the meeting,” the royal insider noted.
Nearly one year after their initial step away, Buckingham Palace confirmed in February 2021 that Harry and the Suits alum were not going to return as working royals. One month later, they aired their grievances during a no-holds-barred interview with CBS, claiming that they felt “a lack of support and lack of understanding” from The Firm.
Harry asserted that he didn’t “blindside” his grandmother with the decision, noting, “I have too much respect for her.” His relationship with his father, King Charles III, is a little murkier.
“It was like, ‘I need to do this for my family.’ This is not a surprise to anybody. It’s really sad that it’s gotten to this point, but I’ve got to do something for my own mental health, my wife’s, and for Archie’s, as well, because I could see where this was headed,” Harry explained, adding that the Prince of Wales had “stopped taking” his calls.
More shocking revelations followed, including the allegation that a family member had made comments about the color of Archie’s skin before his May 2019 arrival. (The couple are also the parents of daughter Lilibet Diana, born in June 2021.) Though he refused to name the relative at the time, Harry confirmed that neither the queen nor her late husband, Prince Philip, were involved in the conversations.
Many of the prince’s extended family members have kept relatively quiet about the drama, but both Charles and William have been hurt by Harry’s words. The monarch has tried to mediate the situation, seemingly to no avail.
“With the way things are going, Charles may never forgive Harry, which hasn’t gone down well with Elizabeth,” a source told Us in May 2021. “She feels that he’s putting his pride before the best interest of the monarchy. … It’s drama she can do without.”
While Harry and Meghan visited the queen in England in April 2022 during a pit stop on their way over to the Invictus Games in the Netherlands, the couple made their first official return to royal events in June 2022, during Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee — a four-day event that honored her 70 years on the throne. “They wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” a source told Us at the time.
The pair brought both their little ones along for the trip. While son Archie was born in the U.K., the occasion marked Lilibet’s first time meeting her great-grandmother. The late monarch passed away later that year in Scotland at age 96.
Sign up for Us Weekly’s free, daily newsletter and never miss breaking news or exclusive stories about your favorite celebrities, TV shows and more!
Scroll down to see where Harry and Meghan stand with the rest of the royal family: