Harry’s late mother, the Princess of Wales, had a famously strained relationship with the royal family. “I think she saw it coming,” said Harry, 36, speaking about Diana’s foresight in him stepping back from his duties, and giving him financial security for the future.
In January 2020, the Sussexes announced that they would be stepping back as ‘senior’ members of the royal family. Announcing the decision via a statement on their Instagram page, the couple wrote: “After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year into starting to carve out a progressive role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing the full support Her Majesty the Queen.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex now live in Santa Barbara, California.
“I have what my mum left me and without that we wouldn’t have been able to do this,” he said of their move to the US and relinquishing their duties as senior royals.
Both William and Harry were left sums of £6.5 million each by their mother the princess of Wales in her will, following her death in a car crash in 1997.
The princes were left other valuable items from their mother including numerous dresses and her David and Elizabeth Emanuel wedding gown, ornamented with pearls and silk.
“My biggest concern was history repeating itself,” said the Duke on why he and his wife chose to move to the US.
In a similar interview, the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, was interviewed by Oprah in 1996, and commented on Diana’s struggles behind closed doors.
“When I was there, living there, I sort of got to know more and more.
“The pain [Diana] was in. It is very cruel and painful when you are going to try and find the feelings within, to be on such a public stage.
Twenty-six years ago, Princess Diana was interviewed by BBC journalist Martin Bashir, after her divorce from Charles in 1992, he asked her if she thought Camilla Parker Bowles was a factor in the breakdown of her marriage to Prince Charles, she replied: “Well there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
On Sunday, Harry opened up about the struggles his mother must have faced on her own. “I can’t begin to imagine what it must’ve been like for [my mother] going through this process by herself all those years ago,” he said to Oprah.
Parallels have been made between the Duchess of Sussex and the Princess of Wales. Meghan, 39, admitted to Oprah that she had felt suicidal at the palace, and alleged that her keys and passport had been taken away from her. “I did not know who to turn to. One of the people I reached out to, who has been a friend and a confidante, was one of Diana’s best friends. Who else could understand what it is actually like on the inside,” said Meghan.
Harry said he couldn’t stand by and see Meghan suffering like his mother. “I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person,” said Harry. “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”
Meghan and Harry met through a mutual friend in 2016, the couple got married in 2018 at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.