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He was lonely, writes Tom Bower.
In Tom Bower’s controversial new biography, Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the war between the Windsors, the author sets the scene for when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met and subsequently fell in love.
On the now-Duke of Sussex’s side, Tom paints a picture of a “troubled prince,” who was known as a “wild party animal” and, in 2016, was struggling with insecurity and unhappiness.
“Unlike his father, Harry was widely adored as a good lad who many men and women wanted to protect,” Tom writes in Revenge. “But beyond the public’s gaze Harry had become over recent months lonely and forlorn. Watching William’s happiness with Kate and their two children he had become vulnerable. Meghan Markle’s research of Harry highlighted the reasons for his unhappiness, but even she could not have grasped the depths of his despair before they met.”
For Tom, Harry was looking for two things in Meghan: someone to build a life with that would mirror his brother’s happy family life, and an escape route. He describes the meeting between the prince and royal reporter Roya Nikkhah in May 2016, just weeks before he would meet his future wife.
“During their conversation Harry presented the official line – ‘I absolutely adore my grandmother and I would take on everything she wants us to’ – but also revealed his melancholia. ‘The idea of family and marriage,’ he said, would be ‘absolutely fantastic’. Finding a wife, he admitted, was stymied by the few ‘opportunities to get out there and meet people.’ Five years later, he was more candid: ‘I was thinking, I don’t want this job. I don’t want to be here.’
“In hindsight, many realised that Harry was looking to escape.”
Though the Sussexes tried their hand at renouncing their personal career aspirations to devote themselves to their duties as senior royals, the pressure eventually became too much for them, and they announced their royal exit in January 2020, establishing themselves in Southern California by March of that same year.