Why Meghan Markle And Prince Harry Left The Royal Family

Meghan and Harry are breaking tradition in a major way.

Why Did Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Leave The Royal Family? Theories On What Happened Behind-The-Scenes Getty Images

On Wednesday, January 8, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry shocked the world by announcing that they are stepping back from their royal duties to live a more balanced life.

Although it's been pretty clear for awhile now that Harry and Markle have been struggling with their roles in the royal family, the news still came as a surprise to fans ... and, it seems, even their own Royal family. 

But why did Markle and Harry leave the royal familiy in the first place? There's plenty of theories to investigate out there.


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1. Markle and Harry shared their announcement on Instagram.



A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on Jan 8, 2020 at 10:33am PST

Wednesday's Instagram post was certainly unexpected, but they explained what's happening next for them at length.


"We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen," the Sussexes shared. "It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity."  

2. The palace immediately responded, and it sounded like they may not have known.

Shortly after Markle and Harry's Instagram post went live, the palace released their own official statement, responding to the news — and they made it sound like they weren't aware that the couple had made their final decision just yet.

"Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage," said the release. "We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through." 

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3. Why did Meghan Markle and Prince Harry leave the royal family? Tensions were reportedly at an-all time high.

There have been rumors about feuding in the family — and it all seems to have come to a peak since Harry and Markle tied the knot in 2018. Not only have there been reports that Markle and Kate Middleton don't get along because of the different ways they've viewed their royal responsiblity, but there have been plenty of rumors that Harry is feuding with his brother, Prince William as well. Apparently, it doesn't sit well with William that Harry and Meghan have been so candid with the press, and the relationship between the brothers has reportedly been deteriorating over the last year or two. 

4. Markle voiced her discontent in her African tour documentary. 

Markle's been unhappy for awhile now (especially since being pregnant and then giving birth to Archie) and she shared as much when she spoke to journalist Tom Bradbury in last year's documentary, Harry & Meghan: An African Journey

“Look at any woman, especially when they’re pregnant. You’re really vulnerable and so that was made very challenging," she said at the time. "And then when you have a newborn, you know... and especially as a woman, it’s really, it’s a lot. So you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a newlywed... also, thank you for asking, because not many people have asked if I’m okay. But it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.”

That certainly sounds like someone who may be ready to make a break from the royal life ASAP. 


5. Prince William reportedly cheating on Kate Middleton may have had something to do with it.

Fans on Twitter are theorizing that William's reported affair with Middleton's friend Rose Cholmondeley could be the reason why Harry and Markle decided to move on from the royal family. It's possible that all the bad press the couple has been getting is to cover up the fact that William has been unfaithful — and that Harry is upset that William is doing to his wife exactly what they watched their father, Prince Charles, do to their mother, Diana. This is just a theory, though, which hasn't been confirmed — but it would definitely make a lot of sense if true.

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6. Now that Markle and Harry have a child, they may be thinking more critically about their future.



A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on Dec 31, 2019 at 12:15pm PST

Being that they mentioned giving Archie space while also teaching him royal traditions in their announcement, it would make sense that having a son is what pushed them to finally make the leap. Of course, Markle was raised outside of royalty, so it's possible she wants something different from her son, and now that she and Harry are parents, their priorities may have changed.


7. Harry and Markle have had to deal with a lot of negative press, which may also be a reason they're stepping down.

Markle and Harry have been criticized by the notoriously cuthroat British press since before they were married, and it's been getting worse since their announcement on Wednesday. Not only did British media personality Katie Hopkins share the rant above, but Piers Morgan, in a scathing editorial, wrote that he believed that Markle and Harry should be stripped of their titles because of their behavior.


If Markle wants to get away from this kind of criticism by moving to North America, who could blame her?

Unless Harry and Markle decide to elaborate further on their big move, fans may never have the real answer to what provoked them to make this decision. But for now, it seems like they're doing what's best for them.

Nicole Pomarico is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Cosmo, Us Weekly, Refinery29, and more.