In a new interview, Prince Harry got real about the lengths paparazzi will go to when it comes to his family
After formally stepping away from their royal duties last year, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have had the opportunity to speak openly about their experiences, from their explosive Oprah interview in March to legal battles against media organizations that have mistreated them since going public with their relationship in 2016.
Now, the Duke of Sussex is getting real about how he knew what his level of tabloid attention would be when he decided to get married and have children, calling his public life “a mix between The Truman Show and being in a zoo,” and telling co-hosts Dax Shepard and Monica Padman on the May 13 episode of their “Armchair Expert” podcast that the family’s brief move to Los Angeles became a “sort of rabid feeding frenzy.”
Of his experiences as a young royal, he said, “The biggest issue for me was that, being born into it, you inherit the risk. You inherit every element of it without a choice. And because of the way the U.K. media are, they feel an ownership over you.”
“That’s the job right? Grin and bear it. Get on with it,” he added. “I was in my early twenties and I was thinking, ‘I don’t want this job, I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be doing this. Look what it did to my mom [the late Princess Diana], how am I ever going to settle down and have a wife and family when I know that it’s going to happen again?'”
He continued, “I’ve seen behind the curtain, I’ve seen the business model I know how this operation runs and how it works. I don’t want to be part of this.”
Still, even after he and his now-wife decided to step away from their royal duties and navigate public life on their own terms, it seems things didn’t immediately become easier upon their move to America last year. They briefly lived in producer Tyler Perry’s Los Angeles home before settling in Montecito, and Harry recalled a conversation with someone on his security team in which he asked about the “safest place” for them to go where they could be free of photographers and attention.
“The first lot of security we had, I said, ‘What’s the safest place?’ and they said, ‘Inside.’ And I said, ‘Sorry, so just because I’m a well-known person [I] can’t go outside anymore?'” He added, “how sad that if you live in LA and if you’re a well-known figure you just have to accept it. “So what is our human right — as an individual and a family — if you’re saying from the moment we step out of our house, that it’s open season and free game? What, because of public interest?”
“There’s no public interest in you taking your kids for a walk down the beach,” he said. “Nothing, it’s not news. This is my issue with it, news should stay as news.”
Though Harry says the family now feels “more free” at their permanent residence, it seems that freedom was hard-won. He recalled an incident when Page Six photographers took and published unsolicited photos of Markle picking up Archie from his first day of school, stripping both Markle and their young son the right to privacy in that moment.
“News has been hijacked and used to commercially benefit a small group of people, so this sort of rabid, feeding frenzy,” he said, “and going back to the kids point: it’s absolutely true, these kids don’t get a choice, they don’t get a say in it.”
Here’s hoping that the soon-to-be family of four can find the balance they deserve between remaining public figures and privacy in their personal lives.
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