Britain’s Prince Harry has said he stepped back from his royal duties because the “toxic” British press had been destroying his mental health, adding he had not walked away from public service.
Last week, Buckingham Palace announced that Queen Elizabeth’s grandson and his American wife Meghan had made a final split with the royal family, and would not be returning as working members and would lose their patronages.
Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, sent shockwaves through the monarchy in January 2020 when they revealed their intention to step back from royal duties and embark on a new life across the Atlantic.
“It was never walking away. It was stepping back rather than stepping down, there was a really difficult environment as I think a lot of people saw,” Harry said in an interview with James Corden, host of the “Late Late Show” in the United States.
“We all know what the British press could be like, and it was destroying my mental health, I was like this is toxic. So I did what any husband and what any father would do is like, I need to get my family out of here.”
Before they moved to California, the couple had complained about the British tabloids’ treatment of Meghan, whose father is white and mother is African-American, some of which they said were considered as bullying or racism.
Earlier this month, Meghan successfully sued one tabloid for breaching her privacy by printing extracts of a letter she wrote to her father while last month Harry won a libel case against the same paper over a story which reported he had turned his back on the military.
Critics of the couple, who said this month they were expecting their second child, have said they are keen for publicity but only on their own terms. An in-depth interview they have given to US chat show host Oprah Winfrey is due to be aired on March 7.
There was also disapproval of Harry and Meghan’s response to last week’s split when they announced they were committed to a life of service. Some commentators contrasted their life with the duty shown by the 94-year-old queen during her 69-year reign.