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.
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”.