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CNN Special Reports

CNN Special Report, "Royal Revolution: Harry & Meghan". Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired July 03, 2021 - 23:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: The following is a CNN special report.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: He was the party prince --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For many years, it was a real worry about what would happen to Harry.

CAMEROTA: -- who rebelled against royalty.

ANGELA LEVIN, JOURNALIST: He decided he might leave the Royal family.

CAMEROTA: Haunted by his mother's death.

ROYA NIKKHAH, ROYAL CORRESPONDENT, BRITAIN'S SUNDAY TIMES: It destabilized him and caused chaos for years.

CAMEROTA: He struggled to find his way.

PAUL BURRELL, FORMER BUTLER OF PRINCESS DIANA: Being Royal, for Harry, was a burden and a curse.

CAMEROTA: She's a former American actress.

PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: I was like, OK, well, I'm really going to have to up my game.

CAMEROTA: Unlike any Royal bride before.

KATE COYNE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: Go back a few generations, and everything about Meghan Markle disqualifies her from marrying Harry.

CAMEROTA: A modern Royal couple who are changing history --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The duke and duchess say they will step back as senior members of the royal family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Harry decided, I'm going to look after my wife, in a way that I wasn't able to look after my mother.

CAMEROTA: And redefining Royalty.

What do you think the future looks like for Harry and Meghan? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the sky is the limit. They are going to harness the power that they have as public individuals, to change the world.



CAMEROTA: September 15th, 1984. Prince Henry Charles Albert David is born.

PAUL BURRELL, PRINCESS DIANA'S BUTLER: Harry came into the world very different to his brother, who was heralded as the next in line to the throne of England. But Harry was the spare.

CAMEROTA: Paul Burrell was Princess Diana's butler.

BURRELL: So, all through Harry's formative years, he always knew that he was second.

PENNY JUNOR, ROYAL BIOGRAPHER: He was always referred to as the spare. Just always second best. And I think that had a profound effect on Harry.

CAMEROTA: His childhood was also impacted by his parents' marital troubles.

JUNOR: Harry grew up in a very, very tricky household. The prince and princess were never happy together, in a marriage that had failed before it even began.

BURRELL: I remember the times when Diana was shut away and quiet or crying, and the boys would write little messages, please don't cry, mummy, and they would put it under the door.

CAMEROTA: When Charles and Diana divorced, it hits Harry hard. Then, one year later, his mother is killed. Harry was just 12 years old.

ROYA NIKKHAH, ROYAL EDITOR, THE SUNDAY TIMES: This incredibly loving figure who had given him so much warmth and comfort in what was a very difficult childhood and extraordinary upbringing, was suddenly gone.

CAMEROTA: Harry later admitted to ITV, he has deep regrets about his final phone call with his mother.

PRINCE HARRY: It was a classic case of, don't let yourself think about your mum and the grief and the hurt that comes with it, because it's never going to bring her back, and it's only going to make you -- make you more sad. People deal with grief in different ways. And my way of dealing with it was by just basically shutting it out, locking it out.

CAMEROTA: Prince Harry arrives here, at Eton, the prestigious boys' boarding school, the year after his mother's death. Even though he moves into the same house as his older brother, William, Harry reportedly struggles academically, and was miserable. BURRELL: Diana always said that she never wanted Harry to go to Eton, because he would be compared to his brother's success. And she thought this would be the undoing of Harry's confidence.

JUNOR: Prince Harry said that he decided that he was going to be a bad boy. So, that's the reason he didn't do well there, was partly his fault. It was deliberate.

CAMEROTA: In 2002, headlines emerge, of Harry's drinking and marijuana use.

Did it seem to Brits that it was more than just typical teenaged antics?

JUNOR: It's all part of the growing up process. But I personally was worried that there was something deeper. There was a touch of self- medication going on.


CAMEROTA: After graduating from Eton, Harry escapes to Africa during his gap year for humanitarian work.

BURRELL: It was an escape from this heavy-duty world of Royalty, always being watched, always being photographed. He could be very ordinary.

CAMEROTA: He spent two months in Lesotho with children in need and others whose parents had died from AIDS.


NIKKHAH: He could see that there were holes there in their lives. And I think absolutely, he saw in them something that he felt was missing in his life -- care, love and attention, the loss of his mother.

CAMEROTA: Harry not only falls in love with the children and the country, he begins a serious romance with a wealthy girl from Southern Africa, Chelsy Davy.

NIKKHAH: She is very free-spirited. Not someone who felt bound by Royal protocol, or tradition, and also shared his love of Africa, and you know, the two of them traveled extensively throughout Africa together.

CAMEROTA: Chelsy remains a constant in Harry's life for years to come.

NIKKHAH: She also came into his life at a time when he was missing that female figure, to support him, and I think Chelsy did that, and understood him, and she could understand that he had been through a very difficult time, and was still going through a very hard time.

CAMEROTA: A very hard time that Harry struggles to overcome. When we come back --

JUNOR: For many years, it was a real worry about what would happen to Harry because he didn't seem to want to be a Royal. He wanted to be a normal human being.



CAMEROTA: As Harry navigated the highs and lows of growing up a prince, Meghan Markle was raised a world away from the pomp and circumstance of Royal life.

COYNE: You hear that someone grew up in Los Angeles, and you think about swimming pools and palm trees, and Beverly Hills, and Meghan Markle's childhood in L.A. was not that.

CAMEROTA: Born in 1981, she is the only child of Doria Ragland and Thomas Markle.

While she had two loving parents, Meghan struggles with her biracial identity.

JOSH DUBOFF, SENIOR WRITER, VANITY FAIR: Her father was white. Her mother was black. She says when she would fill out forms, there wasn't always a bubble that fit her, to fill in.

CAMEROTA: While her parents made sure Meghan felt comfortable in her own skin, years of built-up racial tensions in the country exploded right in her backyard.

DUBOFF: She was driving, I think, with her mom, and I think there was like debris and she thought it was snowing, and then she realized it was actually the L.A. riot.

CAMEROTA: Riots that erupt when four white police officers are acquitted in the beating of a black man, Rodney King.

COYNE: It definitely opened Meghan's eyes to the fact that this was a world that was not always going to treat her fairly and it was not always going to be kind to her or to her family.

CAMEROTA: Meghan's early experiences with discrimination were not isolated to race. While watching T.V. advertisements, for a class project, one commercial stood out to her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Women are fighting greasy pots and pans.

DUBOFF: They implied that the product was just for women, who were going to be at home doing the cleaning.

MEGHAN MARKLE: I don't think it's right for kids to grow up thinking that just mom does everything.

COYNE: And she wrote a letter.

MEGHAN: So, I was wondering if you would be able to change your commercial to people all over America.

COYNE: And wouldn't you know it, it worked. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are fighting greasy pots and pans with Ivory Clear.

COYNE: It had to have been such wonderful reinforcement for her, at such a young age, that she could take a stand, and have her voice heard, and not be dismissed.

CAMEROTA: Meghan went on to graduate from Northwestern University, but returned to Los Angeles, to pursue her acting dreams.

CAMEROTA: She has said that her 20s were brutal.

COYNE: Meghan struggled a lot.

To become a successful actress, to be able to make a living, that's like winning a lottery ticket. I mean, the number of forces that have to combined to get you even the smallest scrap of success are so astronomical.

CAMEROTA: Meghan auditions throughout her 20s. Then, in 2011, she landed a significant role. The female lead on USA Network's legal drama, "Suits".

MARKLE: This is all a joke to you because I take my job seriously.

COYNE: She got lucky, she undoubtedly handed in a great audition, a great screen test. She had excellent chemistry with her co-stars, and she hit the jackpot.

CAMEROTA: "Suits" was an instant hit.

COYNE: "Suits" radically changed Meghan's life. First and foremost, she was now making more money than she had ever made before ever.

CAMEROTA: As the show achieves success, Meghan made big changes in her life, including ending her two-year marriage to Hollywood producer, Trevor Engelson.

COYNE: When they met, she was still largely an aspiring actress. He was an aspiring producer. They were essentially at the same place in their careers.

And then, "Suits" really took off and they weren't going in the same direction anymore. She was filming in Toronto, he was in Los Angeles. There were thousands and thousands of miles between them.

CAMEROTA: Determined to use her position for good, Meghan advocated for women's equality across the world.

Meghan travelled uses her fame to fight for women's equality across the world. Meghan travelled to Rwanda in 2016, as an ambassador for the nonprofit World Vision, to highlight the importance of clean drinking water.

MARKLE: These girls are able to stay in school because they're aren't walking hours a day to go and get water. And this clean water source has changed the entire community.

LARA DEWAR, GLOBAL HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT, WORLD VISION: This is not a celebrity who floats in who needs a platform issue to associate with their, quote-unquote, brand.


This is a woman who's had a desire to help in some way, for a very long time, promote the faces and stories of women, and to begin to elevate them.


CAMEROTA: Coming up --

JUNOR: He was very angry.

CAMEROTA: Harry struggles with his royal role.

JUNOR: He started drinking very heavily. He was fed up with who he was.


CAMEROTA: While Meghan was trying to make it in Hollywood, Harry earned a reputation as reckless and self-destructive.

JUNOR: For many years, it was a real worry about what would happen to Harry because he didn't seem to want to be a Royal. He really kicked against it. He wanted to be a normal human being.

CAMEROTA: In 2005, Harry joined the British Army where he was one of the guys.

PRINCE HARRY: As far as I am concerned, I'm out here, as a normal JTAC on the ground and not Prince Harry. It's very nice to be sort of a normal person and for once, I think this is about as normal as I'm ever going to get.

CAMEROTA: Yet, there were painful reminders he was, still, a royal. After ten weeks in Afghanistan, his mission was leaked and Harry was evacuated.

GENERAL LORD RICHARD DANNATT, FORMER CHIEF, GENERAL STAFF: It wouldn't have taken Taliban or others long to have searched around, and perhaps found where he was.

So, there was a risk to him.


But I think also, if there was an increased risk to him, there was an increased risk to the other soldiers who were around him and the innocents. So, the safe thing to do was to bring him back.

JUNOR: He was very angry, to use the words of his private secretary, he was boiling mad, and he sort of headed for the gutter.

He started drinking very heavily.

He was fed up with who he was.

DANNATT: When he came to see me, he sort of sat slumped in the chair and said, the trouble is, I can't be like a normal young man. But that time in Afghanistan had given him 10 weeks to be a normal young man, and he desperately wants to replicate that again.

And he accepted and his private secretary accepted, but probably the only way he go back was within the anonymity of being inside a helicopter, and he therefore need to learn to fly a helicopter.

CAMEROTA: After 18 months of training, Harry not only became an Apache pilot, he was the best co-pilot gunner on his weapons course.

JUNOR: I actually believe that his success on that Apache -- on those Apache aircraft, was the making of Harry. I think Harry, who had spent all his life being second best to his brother, being the spare, suddenly found something that he could do and could do better than anybody else. And that gave him confidence that he had never ever had before. It changed him, I think.

CAMEROTA: When Harry Left the Army after nearly 10 years of service, his future is uncertain.

BURRELL: I don't think there were any career options for a Royal Prince. It's easy for William. He's heading towards the throne. I think being Royal for Harry was a burden and a curse because he was only the spare. What was his job? What was his way forward?

CAMEROTA: Harry struggled to find his way and to find someone to share his life with. His family and fame had brought an end to his relationship with Chelsea Davy and another, serious girlfriend, Cressida Bonas.

JUNOR: Chelsy had experienced the most horrible treatment, photographers have been waiting for her, they would call out names, slug, bitch, whore, trying to get a reaction from her. And I guess that she looked at all of this and thought, do I want this for my life?

I think Cressida took one look at what life with Harry would have involved and just turned her back on it. You know?

CAMEROTA: She didn't want to be a princess.

JUNOR: I don't think any sane person wants to be a princess.

CAMEROTA: In 2017, Harry opened up for the first time publicly about his feelings on being a royal in a documentary for the BBC.

PRINCE HARRY: I spent a long time in my life, my head buried in the sand, you know, thinking I don't want to be Prince Harry. I don't want this responsibility. I don't want this role. You know, look what's happened to my mother. You know, why? Why does this have -- have to happen to me?

CAMEROTA: Harry even considered a drastic move.

ANGELA LEVIN, AUTHOR, "HARRY: CONVERSATIONS WITH THE PRINCE": Prince harry got so low, that he decided, at one point, that he might leave the royal family.

NIKKHAH: He's living this life he's been born into, it's not his choice. And I think he felt at times, very crossed about that.

CAMEROTA: In 2017, Harry shared his struggle as part of his Heads Together campaign with Prince William and Kate to end the stigma around mental health.

PRINCE HARRY: I never really talked about losing a mom at such a young age. I always thought to myself, you know, what's the point in bringing up the past? It ain't going to change it, it ain't going to bring her back. And when you start thinking like that, it can be really damaging.

CAMEROTA: And Harry told the BBC, he wanted to follow in his mother's footsteps.

PRINCE HARRY: Now, all I want to do is try and, you know, fill the holes that my mother has left, and that's what it's about for us, is trying to make a difference, and in making a difference, making her proud.

CAMEROTA: He started a charity for the children he met in Lesotho, Africa.

CAMEROTA: And in 2014, he founded the Invictus Games, an Olympic-style competition that gives wounded veterans a chance to be defined by more than their injuries.

PRINCE HARRY: It's life changing. It really is life changing for them.

LEVIN: I think he has used his own experience of loss and sadness, and bereavement, to help these soldiers. And the bereavement doesn't just mean losing someone, it means losing yourself, I think, too.

CAMEROTA: When we come back, the struggles with being royal.

JUNOR: There was a photographer who got inside Meghan's house in Toronto. The paparazzi were camping on her mother's front lawn, and harassing anybody really who knew her.



PRINCE HARRY: I never, never even heard until this friend said Meghan Markle. Like, right, OK. Can you give me a bit of background.

CAMEROTA: It was July, 2016, in London when Britain's most-eligible bachelor, Prince Harry, was set up on a blind date. MARKLE: It was definitely a setup. It was a blind date.

PRINCE HARRY: I was beautifully surprised when I -- when I walked into that room and saw her. And there she was sitting there. I was like, OK, I really have to up my game.

CAMEROTA: Harry upped his game and they began a long-distance romance, meeting up in London and Toronto, where Meghan, then an actress, was filming the TV show "Suits."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow, you're pretty.

MARKLE: Good. You hit on me, we can get it out of the way that I am not interested.

CAMEROTA: The whole time, they kept their relationship a secret.

JUNOR: When they first met, nobody knew about it.

CAMEROTA: Which is, itself, impressive.

JUNOR: It is impressive. I mean, the great fear about Harry finding a wife, was always going to be the intrusion of the press, because that is what had killed two previous long-term relationships.

NIKKHAH: I interviewed Harry just before he met Meghan the month before.

And we talked about, you know, his private life, at the time. And he described it as massive paranoia that sat inside him, with regards to who he could possibly embark on a relationship with.


So I think that made it very difficult to find someone, who could cope with that kind of spotlight.

CAMEROTA: And what happened to his mother was never far from his mind.

NIKKHAH: Harry and his brother, still, feel that, you know, the paparazzi and press intrusion were, certainly, partly, responsible for his mother's death and thought, why would anyone want to put up with this for me?

CAMEROTA: Harry wanted to keep his relationship with Meghan private, as long as he could. But just four months after that first date, the news was out, and the paparazzi pounced once again.

JUNOR: I mean, there was a photographer who got inside Meghan's house in Toronto. The paparazzi were camping on her mother's front lawn, and following, you know, and harassing all members of her family, anybody really, who knew her.

CAMEROTA: Despite starring in a T.V. show, Meghan is relatively unknown. Now, the British press wanted to know who she was and if she was fit for the Royal Family. NIKKHAH: She was a woman who had been married, people were fascinated by the fact that she was divorced, people were fascinated by her background, her acting, a career woman, how would that work, being with someone in the Royal Family, and that's not what we've seen before.

CAMEROTA: They also have not seen someone biracial dating a member of the Royal Family. And some of the conversation is blatantly racist.

AFUA HIRSCH, WRITER: There was one newspaper headline saying, straight out of Compton, suggesting that she was from a gang-ridden neighborhood. And would Harry be dropping around for tea in gangland, which was very clearly racially loaded.

COYNE: A whole another issue exploded, which was the number of rather horrific social media racist comments began to flood in, from the darkest vilest corners of the internet.

CAMEROTA: The Royal Family responded in unprecedented fashion, with Prince Harry's team at Kensington Palace, releasing a statement, confronting the, quote, abuse and harassment Meghan was facing, saying, "This is not a game, it is her life and his."

Why is it that you think that Meghan's upbringing, her race, why did that garner so much attention?

JUNOR: In the past, members of the Royal Family, princes, would have married princesses. And when Harry's father, Prince Charles, was looking for a wife, it was also a requirement that a wife should be a virgin and a member of the church of England.

COYNE: You just go back a few generations in the Royal Family, and everything that you can say about Meghan Markle disqualifies her from marrying Harry. This is precisely why you had Edward abdicating his throne, so that he could marry an American divorcee. Elizabeth's sister, Margaret, was in love with a divorced man and was not allowed to marry him.

CAMEROTA: It wasn't Charles and Diana's wedding and marriage a wakeup call, in some ways, for the monarchy, that you can try to have somebody perfect, but it has to be chemistry and you have to let the person have the freedom to marry who they want.

JUNOR: You know what I think, it was a lesson that they've learned.

CAMEROTA: In November, 2017, Harry and Meghan announced their engagement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kensington Palace announcing the two are set to wed in Spring of 2018.

CAMEROTA: And the Royal Family welcomes Meghan with open arms.

NIKKHAH: The Queen made an exception and break from Royal protocol and invited Meghan to spend Christmas with the Royal Family and the Queen at Sandringham, that's the first time a Royal fiancee has ever done that before actually marrying into the Royal Family.

CAMEROTA: A powerful sign the monarchy and the Queen were modernizing and changing.

NIKKHAH: The Royal Family now is trying to, at least, be much more part of society. And the Queen, first and foremost, wants her grandson to be happy.

CAMEROTA: When we come back, tension in the Royal Family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: William looked at Harry moving very, very quickly towards marriage, and said, hold on a minute, are you sure?



CAMEROTA: May 19th, 2018, Harry and Meghan married at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.

NIKKHAH: It was really such an extraordinary national celebration of the whole of the U.K. And so many people around the world are so behind with Harry and Meghan and the culmination of that love story.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The new royal couple. You can hear the cheering.

CAMEROTA: And in terms of public opinion, they were popular.

NIKKHAH: There's no doubt about that. You just need to see all the coverage in the run up to the wedding. Harry was one of the most popular members of the Royal Family for a very long time.

JUNOR: Meghan seemed to be utterly perfect. And it was fantastic to have somebody of mixed race coming into the Royal Family and therefore making it more relevant to so many more people in Britain.

CAMEROTA: Their popularity continued on their first Royal tour to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga, where they were treated like rock stars.

NIKKHAH: They've got a rapturous reception everywhere they went and more importantly rapturous press coverage too.

CAMEROTA: And that was Meghan's first tour as a member of the Royal Family. So, how did she do?

NIKKHAH: She really took to it incredibly well, and it was -- it was a great triumph.

CAMEROTA: And a triumph, it seemed, for the Royal Family. A new golden couple to help the next generation carry the monarchy forward.

JUNOR: They looked as though they were a perfect foursome. They were even labeled the Fab Four.

And it did look as though they were all getting on really, really well.

CAMEROTA: But soon, stories began to leak that there was tension behind palace doors.

JUNOR: They had a good relationship, the three of them.


Then Meghan arrived, and I think that was when things started to go wrong. Harry fell head over heels. Harry is a very impetuous sort of person.

William is very much more considered. He's very controlled in what he does. And I think he looked at Harry moving very, very quickly towards marriage, and just said, hold on a minute. Are you sure you're not going too fast here?

NIKKHAH: You look at Harry and Williams parents, they didn't take huge amount of time to get to know each other, that marriage was not successful. Whereas, you know, William and Kate spent many years getting to know each other and making sure that she would be able to take on those responsibilities and the weight of responsibility. And I think William probably just wanted to make sure that Meghan knew what she was getting herself into.

CAROLYN DURAND, "FINDING FREEDOM" CO-AUTHOR: What Prince William may have said, with brotherly concern, according to sources close to Harry was taken in a very different way, that it wasn't brotherly concern that perhaps he had overstepped in a way.

CAMEROTA: There were also stories in the press that painted Meghan in an unflattering light.

One saying that Meghan made Kate cry during the wedding preparations. What was the truth?

NIKKHAH: That story has been reported both ways. Of course, Meghan said that it was the other way around. So, it's very hard to -- it's very hard to know.

CAMEROTA: And there were reports that Meghan was difficult to work for. There were reports that three of the staff of the royal household were going to be leaving.

JUNOR: It is very unusual. Members of the Royal household tend to stay quite a long time. And certainly, the stories that I was hearing was that she was very demanding and could be quite difficult.

NIKKHAH: There was an internal complaint made by one of their senior members of staff about the treatment of other members of staff in the household who worked for Harry and Meghan, and there were allegations that some of the treatment by Meghan towards our staff was bullying.

We know that Meghan has very, very strenuously denied all allegations of bullying against her. Her lawyers have said it's a campaign against her. CAMEROTA: Eventually, Harry and Meghan decided to separate their official office and charity from William and Kate, and they left their home at Kensington Palace for Frogmore cottage in Windsor, saying they needed more space for their growing family.

JUNOR: It was an indication that all was not well with the Fab Four, they were treading on one another's toes. And Harry and Meghan wanted to do things differently. People within the Royal households have said, Meghan and Kate were different characters. And we know from a book that was written about them that Meghan felt that she wasn't warmly received enough by Kate.

CAMEROTA: Even with the happy news of the impending arrival of their first child in May of 2019, the Sussexes could not shake the criticism.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's been radio silence from the couple on their plans, not a due date, not even a hospital. The only thing that is clear, they won't be following recent royal tradition, presenting the baby to the world just hours after birth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: British taxpayers have been hit with a $4.3 million bill for the makeover for the Duke and Duchess of Sussexes new home.

JUNOR: Then Harry had flown to speak about climate change and lectured people on how Windsor behaved and had then taken to private jets on two separate occasions to go to two different holiday locations with Meghan and Archie. And so, the press picked up on all of that, and they did hammer home the hypocrisy of all of this.

ANNA STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Duchess of Sussex putting can't get a break ever since the Royal wedding. Everything she does is being scrutinized.

CAMEROTA: The constant scrutiny started to take a toll.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The British tabloids can be vicious and anyone that puts their head above the parapet must expect that at some time, they might get it blown off.

DURAND: Privately, I know it was really difficult for them. Harry had struggled with his mental health. He's talked about it previously. His mother was chased into a tunnel by paparazzi and it's something that is haunted him his entire life.

CAMEROTA: During their Royal tour in Africa, Harry and Meghan opened up to ITV's Tom Bradby about their internal struggle.

MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip -- it tried, but I think that what that does internally is probably really damaging.


PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: For me, and for my wife, you know, there's -- of course, there's a lot of stuff that hurts, especially when the majority of is untrue. I will not be bullied into playing a game that's become unknown.

CAMEROTA: Harry released a statement about the British tabloids. It said, "I've seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces."

DURAND: Harry wanted to protect his family. I think that there are these memories these very vivid memories of what their mother went through.

CAMEROTA: Harry filed the lawsuit against two British newspaper groups alleging they hacked his phone years earlier. And Meghan filed suit against The Mail on Sunday.

JUNOR: Meghan announced that she was suing for breach of privacy and copyright, because they had published extracts from a letter that Meghan had hand written to her father after his failure to come to their wedding.

CAMEROTA: At the end of 2019, Harry and Meghan announced they were taking a six-week break from royal duties and escaped to Canada.

JUNOR: Meghan, I think, was unhappy. It was clear she wasn't thriving. And, Harry, I think decided, get her out of the situation. Kneejerk reaction, impulsive. I'm going to look after my wife in a way that I wasn't able to look after my mother.

NIKKHAH: The couple really just wanted some time out from rural life and they wanted to consider their future.

CAMEROTA: When we come back --

NIKKHAH: That announcement came as a big shock.

CAMEROTA: The Sussexes' surprising decision.

DURAND: This was another moment where Prince Harry's relationship with his brother took a turn.



CAMEROTA: As the rest of the world rang in 2020, Harry and Meghan remained in Canada as they considered their future.

NIKKHAH: They wanted some time to just regroup and think about what their lives could be going forward, how possibly they could do things slightly differently and within the raw framework.

CAMEROTA: Harry and Meghan came to the difficult decision that they would have to make major changes to their royal roles. The couple returned to the U.K. eager to meet with the Queen and work out the details of their future. But the press caught wind of their plans before they got a chance.

DURAND: There are plans which they had hoped to remain private had been leaked to a newspaper. They felt that they had to act.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, throwing the Royal Family into a tizzy.

CAMEROTA: Without clearing their plans with the palace, Harry and Meghan announced they were stepping back as senior members of the Royal Family.

NIKKHAH: That announcement came as a shock to the public, and the U.K. and people around the world.

CAMEROTA: It stunned Harry's family.

DURAND: All of this was laid out in a blueprint when nothing had been agreed to yet.

CAMEROTA: And author Carolyn Durand says the rushed announcement grew a deeper wedge between the brothers.

DURAND: This was another moment where Prince Harry's relationship with his brother took a turn. Prince William feels that issues like this are to be dealt with privately.

CAMEROTA: But Harry and Meghan were confident they could make their plans work.

Do you know from your reporting what Harry and Meghan envisioned at that point their futures would look like?

NIKKHAH: They launched Sussex Royal website, which had a sort of blueprint of how they envisaged their future roles would be, which would be a combination of supporting the Queen and the monarchy with official work, but also doing their own thing abroad and pursuing their own commercial projects too.

CAMEROTA: The press went into overdrive, cranking out story after story. And the Queen anxious to get the situation under control summoned Prince Harry, Prince Charles, and Prince William to her home in Sandringham.

JUNOR: The discussions at Sandringham were to thresh out how this would work, and whether it was possible for Harry and Meghan to be part-time Royals.

NIKKHAH: That was never really something that the Queen was ever going to be on board with.

CAMEROTA: Why doesn't that hybrid role work?

NIKKHAH: The problem is that if you are a member of the Royal Family who undertakes official work on behalf of the institution and the U.K., and you are then also using your role to pursue commercial projects, that's always been a no-no for the Royal Family.

CAMEROTA: Tensions were high as the couple's future was discussed and the half in, half out model that Harry and Meghan had envisioned was out.

JUNOR: There's no such thing as half in and half out, it just would not work. And the Queen, therefore, decided that if they were intent upon leaving, that they must leave entirely.

CAMEROTA: To have the independence they crave, they would need to completely step down as senior Royals.

How hard do you think that moment was for Harry?

DURAND: This was a really difficult moment for him. He loves his grandmother, he loves serving the Queen, but ultimately, this was a decision that he undertook for his family.

CAMEROTA: Harry and Meghan made their final few appearances as senior Royals before they stepped back from the limelight and left the United Kingdom.

NIKKHAH: In just a year and a bit, since they really put down roots in California, they bought this big house in Montecito and Santa Barbara.


They've set up their Archewell Charitable Foundation. They've struck these big commercial deals with Netflix and Spotify.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to Archewell Audio.

NIKKHAH: They've been able to pursue projects and commercial ventures, which have dramatically changed the way they live their life.

CAMEROTA: The couple kept a relatively low-profile during the pandemic. They were spotted volunteering with organizations like Baby2Baby and Homeboy Industries. And Meghan wrote a poignant essay about suffering a miscarriage.

DURAND: She wanted to try and help other women by talking about it.

CAMEROTA: Then in June, they had happier news to share.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: It's a girl. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have just announced the birth of their second child, Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.

CAMEROTA: But it was another announcement earlier this year that sent shockwaves around the world.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: The British Royal Family is racing for what Harry and Meghan might say in their new interview with Oprah Winfrey.

NIKKHAH: I knew instantly that it was going to be very controversial.

CAMEROTA: And it was. In an interview with Oprah on CBS, Harry and Meghan painted a damning portrait of life inside the monarchy. Things became so difficult, Meghan said, she became suicidal.

MARKLE: I just didn't want to be alive anymore.

CAMEROTA: And she said she was denied help by the palace.

MARKLE: I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help, so that I've never felt this way before and I need to go somewhere. And I was told that I couldn't that it wouldn't be good for the institution.

CAMEROTA: They spoke about racism they faced, even from within the Royal Family.


MARKLE: There's several conversations.

WINFREY: There's a conversation with you --

MARKLE: With Harry.

WINFREY: -- about how dark your baby's going to be?

MARKLE: Potentially and what that would mean or look like.

CAMEROTA: Viewers were shocked, and the Royal Family was left reeling.

JUNOR: The Royal Family were horrified by the Oprah interview and very hurt.

CAMEROTA: The allegations were harsh.

Is it possible she had wanted to leave Kensington Palace and have some sort of inpatient treatment? And that that would have been really frowned on by the Royal Family?

JUNOR: I don't think there's any way that the Royal Family would have frowned on any kind of inpatient treatment for mental health.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you spoken to your brother since the interview?

NIKKHAH: We saw William extremely upset about the comments made over race.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- the Royal Family a racist family, sir?

PRINCE WILLIAM, DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE: We're very much not a racist family.

NIKKHAH: The Royal Family have dismissed allegations of racism, but they've made it also very clear that if there is anything to explore further there or issues to address there in terms of race, then they will do that privately.

PRINCE HARRY: It's not what's wrong with you, it's what's happened to you.

CAMEROTA: In May, Apple TV Plus premiered a docu-series Harry co- produced with Oprah called The Me You Can't See, about mental health. Harry opened up more about the lack of support he felt from his family as he and Meghan struggled.

PRINCE HARRY: I thought my family would help, but every single ask, requests, warning, whatever it is, just got met with total silence or total neglect. We spent four years trying to make it work. We did everything that we possibly could to stay there and carry on during the role and during the job.

CAMEROTA: He said the fear of history repeating itself was what pushed him to leave the monarchy.

PRINCE HARRY: I then had a son who I'd far rather be solely focused on rather than every time I look in his eyes, wondering whether my wife is going to end up like my mother, and I'm going to have to look after myself.

JUNOR: I think there is so much hurt on both sides. I think it'll take a long time for this rift to heal.

NIKKHAH: It's been difficult few months, no doubt. The Oprah interview was followed by the death of Prince Philip.

DURAND: Prince Philip's funeral was not the place to have deep conversations. They were all there to support the queen. But as Harry has said, he loves his brother, and they've been through hell together. I think in time, we'll see the Royal Family heal.

CAMEROTA: Time will tell how the fractured relationships recover. But one thing is certain, whatever Harry and Meghan do with their future, they will do it their way.