Prince Harry says 'toxic' British media drove him and Meghan to split from royal family

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Adela Suliman
·3 min read
Prince Harry says 'toxic' British media drove him and Meghan to split from royal family
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

LONDON — Britain's "toxic" media drove Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, to leave the royal family for the United States, Harry said in a wide-ranging interview with fellow Brit and TV host James Corden that aired Thursday night.

Sitting on an open-top bus and sipping tea as it drove around Los Angeles, the compatriots talked everything from media intrusion to the popular Netflix series "The Crown."

Harry also discussed what the future holds for his family after the couple finalized their royal exit last week.

"We all know what the British press can be like and it was destroying my mental health," Harry said in the interview for "The Late Late Show With James Corden."

"This is toxic," he added, saying the media had created a "really difficult" environment for the couple.

"So I did what any husband and what any father would do — I need to get my family out of here," he said.

Just over a year after the couple first announced they would "step back" from their royal duties, Buckingham Palace said last Friday that they had finalized the split.

"While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family," it said in a statement.

But while the pair will not be returning as working members of the royal family, Harry maintained that they "never walked away."

"As far as I'm concerned, whatever decisions are made on that side, I will never walk away. I will always be contributing but my life is public service, so wherever I am in the world it is going to be the same thing," he said.

Download the NBC News app for full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

The final break completes a dramatic journey for the couple, whose fairytale wedding quickly went off script amid rumors of a brotherly rift and a tabloid onslaught, which Meghan's supporters say often veered into racist harassment and bullying.

The couple moved with their son, Archie, to California last year to live a more independent life and announced on Valentine's Day they were expecting their second child.

They signed multimillion-dollar deals with media companies Spotify and Netflix, and in March will give a "wide-ranging" interview to media mogul Oprah Winfrey.

Earlier this month, Meghan won a privacy lawsuit against a British media company, which published parts of a letter she wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle. In court documents, she said the intrusion had caused her "very real sadness" and damaged relationships.

In the Corden interview, Harry said he took issue with false news stories reported as fact, compared to the TV show "The Crown," which was "obviously fiction."

"I'm way more comfortable with "The Crown" than I am seeing the stories written about my family, or my wife or myself," he said.

"They don't pretend to be news — it's fictional but it's loosely based on the truth," he added, noting the show gave a "rough idea" of the pressures of royal life.

That puts him at odds with some British historians and lawmakers who have pushed to make clear the series, with its embellishments and exaggerations of Windsor family sagas, is fiction — amid fears it could damage the reputation of the royal family.

Related:

The light-hearted late-night interview also saw host Corden take Harry to visit the home where "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" TV show was shot. Corden, video-calling the Duchess of Sussex, implored the couple to buy the property.

"I think we've done enough moving," Meghan replied.

Harry also revealed that his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, had bought his son, Archie, a waffle-maker for Christmas and that both she and her husband, Prince Philip, knew how to make Zoom calls.

On Thursday, the Queen, 94, encouraged the British public to follow her lead and get vaccinated against Covid-19, saying the jab was "very quick" and "quite harmless" and would benefit society.

Both the queen and Philip, 99, — who is currently in a London hospital being treated for an unspecified infection — received Covid-19 vaccinations in January.