When Prince Harry chose to leave the Royal Family, he broke a generational curse.

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Last week, Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle dropped a bombshell on Buckingham Palace.

They announced that they would be “stepping back” from their roles as senior members of the Royal Family, with plans to become financially independent and split their time between the UK and America.

While the Royal Family were reportedly upset, the British media were positively fuming. Piers Morgan, who labelled the couple “grasping, selfish, scheming Kardashian-wannabes”, was particularly peeved.

But what every critic of the Sussexes’ decision fails to acknowledge is that it is the spectre of Harry’s past and the fear of history repeating itself that has driven him to this point.

In 1997, when he was 12 years old, he went through something no child should ever have to go through.

He lost his mother.

And as he got older, he learned that the fiery Paris car crash in which Princess Diana perished may not have happened if paparazzi hadn’t been chasing her; that an inquest ruled she’d been “unlawfully killed”.

He also learned, as he told BBC documentary Diana 7 Days in 2017, that those same paparazzi took photos of his mother while she lay dying on the backseat, instead of helping her.

Prince Harry talks about his late mother, Princess Diana, after his engagement to Meghan Markle. Post continues below.

Video by The Guardian

Even before that happened, Harry witnessed from a very young age the relentless pursuit of his mum by the tabloid press, read the salacious stories printed about her, saw the intrusive photographs published without her consent.

For the first 12 years of his life, he saw his mother in tearful despair, heard her yelling at cameras, saw photographers spit on her to elicit a reaction.

At her funeral (at which Harry was made to walk behind his mother’s casket), Princess Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, delivered a blistering eulogy in which he described his sister as “the most hunted person of the modern age”.

He said: “She would want us today to pledge ourselves to protecting her beloved boys William and Harry from a similar fate.”

But now that Harry is 35 years old, married, with a young son, it is not him who is hunted, who is at risk from suffering the same tragic fate as his mother.

It’s his wife, Meghan Markle.

The Suits actress met the prince in October 2016, and it didn’t take the press long to turn on her.

In fact, just a month later, after confirming the pair were dating, Prince Harry released a rare statement, which included a plea to the media and social media trolls to stop the “wave of abuse and harassment” against his new girlfriend.


The unprecedented move suggested Harry could see just where this was going.

And he wasn’t wrong.

For three years now, Meghan, 38, has been vilified by the press.

After she became engaged to Harry, The Mail on Sunday ran a series of embarrassing stories involving her father, Thomas Markle, and The Daily Star has published the vitriolic rants of her half-sister, Samantha Markle.

As soon as she moved into the palace, the tabloids decided en masse that she was ‘difficult’.

There were accusations of demanding 5am text messages to staff members, causing many of them to quit, unable to cope under the rule of ‘Hurricane Meghan’.

In the run-up to her royal wedding in April 2018, it was reported her behaviour was so appalling, she made her soon-to-be sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, cry.

meghan markle birth
For almost three years now, Meghan Markle has been vilified by the press. Image: Getty.

Meanwhile, Daily Mail decided Meghan was single-handedly responsible for drought, murder and environmental devastation thanks to her breakfast of choice - avocado on toast. 

Her entire pregnancy was scrutinised. She was unable to place her hands on her blooming baby bump without being accused of milking every photo op.

Even her choice to give birth on her own terms, to opt out of the traditional Lindo Wing photoshoot mere hours after giving birth, was heavily criticised.

And since baby Archie was born in May last year, she's been accused of everything from holding him incorrectly, to abandoning him to watch a tennis match.

Meghan Markle's life is now the media circus Diana's once was.

In October, after 35 years of watching the women in his life be tormented, Prince Harry said, "enough".

He threw his full support behind Meghan when she filed a claim against the Mail on Sunday over the publication of a private letter she wrote to her father.

The Duke of Sussex condemned the publication for their "relentless" campaign against his wife.

“There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face – as so many of you can relate to – I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been,” Harry wrote in a statement on their website.


"Up to now, we have been unable to correct the continual misrepresentations – something that these select media outlets have been aware of and have therefore exploited on a daily and sometimes hourly basis.

"It is for this reason we are taking legal action, a process that has been many months in the making."

Harry went on to compare the relentless pursuit of Meghan to that of his mother.

"Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one. Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself. 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.

"I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces."

And now, Prince Harry has gone even further in his quest to protect his family by stepping away from the royal family entirely, by distancing himself from the full force of the tabloid media responsible for his mother's untimely death.

In doing so, in putting an ocean between his young family and the establishment, he's broken a generational curse.

Hopefully, through an act of bravery and defiance his mother would have been proud of, Prince Harry can ensure his wife's story has a happier ending.