We’ve all heard (former) Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s beautiful love story. They meet on a blind date, fall madly in love, and spend a week under the stars in Botswana talking about their dreams — a dream come true, right? Unfortunately, some royal commentators aren’t quite so sure that Harry and Meghan were just written in the stars, and suggest that Meghan may have held certain attributes that made her an attractive option for Harry to marry. In fact, there’s a theory that Harry was specifically hoping to marry someone who he knew wouldn’t put up with the constraints of royal family life, and would finally give him the opportunity to bow out. Needless to say, he found that in Meghan Markle.
New royal exposé Royals At War quotes a number of commentators and sources alike who say that Meghan’s likelihood of clashing with the royal family was only ever an advantage in Harry’s mind. They paint a picture of the Duke as someone desperate to escape his current role, but lacking the courage to quite follow through.
Germaine Greer, Australian author and intellectual, commented on Meghan’s likelihood to flee in 2018: “I think the pressure to escape from the firm is crushing. I think she’ll bolt,” she told 60 Minutes Australia. “I hope, in a way, that she’ll bolt, but maybe she’ll take Harry with her.”
When she did indeed take Harry with her, Greer confirmed that she believed this to be Harry’s plan all along: “That’s why Harry fell for her. He was looking for a way out.”
British TV presenter Trisha Goddard agreed, and even suggested that Meghan being an American had had particular value to Harry: “I wonder if he didn’t choose a bride from another country because it gave him an out, because it gave him some security,” she mused.
View this post on Instagram
On this day, two years ago: 27th of November 2017, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced the news of their engagement, later becoming Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex! They have since celebrated their wedding anniversary and welcomed their son, Archie, into the world ❤️ • Photo © PA / Alexi Lubomirski / Chris Allerton © SussexRoyal
These commenters are not alone. Per Royals at War authors Dylan Howard and Andy Tillett, a poll conducted shortly after #Megxit revealed that “a significant proportion of people thought it was Markle’s decision, not one made jointly or by Prince Harry.”
Finally, the very same Violet van Westerholz who set Harry and Meghan up on that fateful first date confirmed that she thought Meghan would suit Harry’s need for a strong, ambitious woman to guide his path.
“[Meghan] would complement his vulnerable, lost soul as a strong, determined woman who was fizzing with motivation,” authors Howard and Tillett say of van Westerholz’s thinking. “In short, she could give the kindly but rather rootless Harry an invigorated sense of purpose.”
Currently, Harry and Meghan’s royal exit was believed to be in response to Meghan’s mistreatment at the hands of the press, lack of protection from the royal family, and general desire to live life on their own terms. And while those reasons no doubt still apply, the revelation that Harry may have wanted to escape all along has us questioning everything about this relationship dynamic.
Here’s my biggest question. If Harry wanted out just as bad as Meghan, then why was he comfortable letting Meghan get all the heat for their decision? There are plenty of signs that Harry never took to the royal life like William did, and we still commend the Sussexes’ choice to step back. But if this theory is true, it’s a shame that Harry didn’t feel he could stand up for his own desires — and even more of a shame that so many still blame Meghan for their exit.
Click here for a complete timeline of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s relationship.