Prince Harry opens up about protecting his family and stepping back from royal duties

"I did what any husband and what any father would do and was like, 'I need to get my family out of here.'"

The Duke of Sussex joined his longtime friend James Corden for a wide-ranging interview.
The Late Late Show With James Corden/YouTube

Prince Harry is opening up about why he and Meghan chose to step back from the royal family—and why he'll never walk away from them.

The Duke of Sussex joined his longtime friend James Corden for a wide-ranging interview, where the pair discussed everything from Archie's first word to what Harry thinks of The Crown.


While riding on top of a double-decker sightseeing bus in Los Angeles, Corden asked Prince Harry about his decision to walk away from the royal life.

"It was never walking away," Harry quickly clarified.

"It was stepping back rather than stepping down," he continued. "It was a really difficult environment as I think a lot of people saw. We all know what the British press can be like. And it was destroying my mental health. I was like, 'This is toxic.' So I did what any husband and what any father would do and was like, 'I need to get my family out of here.'"


An Afternoon with Prince Harry & James Corden www.youtube.com

"But we never walked away," Prince Harry added. "And as far as I'm concerned, and whatever decisions are made on that side, I will never walk away. I will always be contributing."

Corden also asked Harry what he thinks about the Netflix drama The Crown, which is based on the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, Harry's grandmother.

"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.

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"They don't pretend to be news, it's fictional," Harry added of the show. "But it's loosely based on the truth. Of course, it's not strictly accurate, but…it gives you a rough idea about what that lifestyle, what the pressures of putting duty and service above family and everything else, what can come from that."

Prince Harry and Meghan recently revealed they're expecting baby number two later this year. While the couple is known for their commitment to public service, they've been vocal about protecting their growing family.

Harry's comments are powerful for several reasons.

First, since Harry and Meghan announced their decision to step back from royal duties, much of the narrative around that decision has focused on Meghan. There are so many think pieces, tweets and essays that (incorrectly) argue that Meghan forced Harry to leave his family or that she masterminded what has been dubbed "Megxit."

It's unfair to lay that burden in her lap.

With his answer, Harry took ownership of his decision and his relationship with his family.

While he made the choice to protect Meghan and Archie, he also said it was for his mental health, too.

That matters.

We don't talk about mental health enough—but we talk about men's mental health even less.

Men are less likely to receive mental health support and therapy than women, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. And they're also three times as likely to commit suicide in high-income countries like the United States and the United Kingdom.

By talking about his own struggles, Prince Harry took a step towards breaking down cultural stigmas about men's mental health.

His admission might help someone who's struggling to know that they're not alone. That matters.

Corden and Harry also enjoyed lighter moments during their interview.

Harry revealed that Archie's first word was 'crocodile' and that he's a happy, busy little boy.

The Duke also revealed that he and Meghan have Zoomed with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip and that his grandparents sent the Sussexes a waffle maker for Christmas.

If you're in the mood for a laugh, watch the entire encounter here. While on their tour of Los Angeles, Corden and Prince Harry also stopped by the house from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and completed an obstacle course.

Like we said, it was a wide-ranging interview.

And we're here for it all.

Jamie Orsini is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, military spouse, and a mom to two busy toddlers. In her spare time, Jamie volunteers with the Solar System Ambassador program with NASA/JPL and reads anything she can get her hands on. She’s currently working on her first novel.

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