15 December 2022

Harry says relationship with family ‘felt cold’ during final royal engagement

15 December 2022

The Duke of Sussex said his relationship with his family during his final engagement as a working royal “felt cold”.

In the fifth episode of the Netflix documentary series Harry & Meghan, the couple speak about their “farewell week” as working royals after they flew back to the UK from Canada in March 2020.

Harry and Meghan describe the week as a “real whirlwind” in which they went through boxes of their stuff and carried out back-to-back engagements.

But they also reveal that they did not see the family until their final engagement – the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey.

Harry said: “We were nervous about seeing the family because of all the TV cameras, and everybody watching at home, and everybody watching in the audience. And it’s like living through a soap opera, where everybody else uses you as entertainment.

“I felt very distant from the rest of my family, which was interesting, because so much of how they operate is about what it looks like rather than what it feels like. And it looked cold, but it also felt cold.”

The Duchess of Sussex described their final week as “bittersweet”, while Harry said it was “really sad” as they prepared to leave for Canada.

“We knew we were going to get some breathing space from this very painful experience that we’d been stuck in, but also, at the same time, it was really sad,” he said.

Speaking about what it was like fulfilling those final royal engagements, he said: “We weren’t with the family. It was our opportunity to go out with a bang, to be honest.

“It never needed to be this way. We talked about this over and over again, sitting up late after these late-night engagements, saying ‘We would have carried on doing this for the rest of our lives’.”

Meghan also said she felt free to finally wear colourful outfits, having previously “never wanted to upstage or ruffle any feathers”.

“But I wore a lot of colour that week, I felt ‘Well, let’s just look like a rainbow’,” she said.

She added that the British public “were very embracing” and “sad that we were leaving”.

“I thought ‘The public – they’ve been fed these lies about me for two years. What do they think of me? They must hate us’,” she added.

“No, the people were just so embracing. They were sad that we were leaving. We were sad that we were leaving.”

The documentary then showed a clip of Harry talking into his phone camera, saying: “We’re going to miss the British public. Not going to miss the British press and their followers and their trolls that they create. I’m going to miss this country, so is Meghan.”

As she left the UK for Canada immediately after the service, Meghan said the head of the crew on her flight “came and knelt next to my seat and he took his hat off”.

She said: “I just remember looking at him and he goes ‘We appreciate everything you did for our country’. And it was the first time I felt like someone saw the sacrifice, not for my own country, for this country that’s not mine.”

The duchess also described breaking down in tears in the arms of one of their security staff when she landed in Canada.

She said: “I just collapsed in his arms crying. I was like ‘I tried so hard’. And he was like ‘I know you did. I know you did, ma’am, I know you did’. Like, I tried so hard.

“And that’s the piece that’s really triggering because you go ‘And it still wasn’t good enough, and you still don’t fit in’.”

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