Prince Harry says Meghan Markle made him realize he was ‘trapped’ in royal life

Prince Harry Meghan Markle Oprah
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle spoke with Oprah Winfrey for a highly-anticipated tell-all interview. Handout/Getty Images
  • Prince Harry told Oprah Winfrey he felt like he was trapped as a senior member of the royal family.
  • He said he didn’t realize it until he married Meghan Markle.
  • Harry said Prince Charles and Prince William are also trapped and “can’t leave.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Prince Harry opened up about how meeting and marrying Meghan Markle made him realize how “trapped” he felt as a working member of the royal family.

“I was trapped, but I didn’t know I was trapped,” Harry told Oprah Winfrey in a sit-down interview, which aired Sunday night on CBS.

When asked if he ever would have stepped back from his royal role were it not for Markle, Harry said no, he wouldn’t have.

“I wouldn’t have been able to because I myself was trapped as well,” he said. “I didn’t see a way out.”

When Winfrey seemed surprised that Harry “raised in a palace and a life of privilege, and literally a prince” felt this way, the royal went on to clarify that he felt “trapped within the system, like the rest of my family are.”

“My father and my brother, they are trapped,” Harry said. “They don’t get to leave. And I have huge compassion for that.”

Winfrey questioned whether he had in fact been trapped, because members of the public had – for the entirety of his life – seen photos of him seeming to enjoy himself, which prompted Harry to clarify that smiling for the cameras is part of the job.

“No matter who you are in the family, no matter what’s going on in your personal life, no matter what’s just happened, if the bikes roll up and the car rolls up you gotta get dressed you gotta get in there wipe the tears away shake off whatever you’re thinking about and you gotta be on your A-game,” Harry said.

Harry also revealed how his relationships with members of his family had been damaged as a result of the institution they were all ‘trapped’ in

The Duke of Sussex told Winfrey that Prince Charles “stopped taking my calls” before he and Markle announced their step back from the royal family.

“When we were in Canada, I had three conversations with my grandmother and two conversations with my father before he stopped taking my calls,” Harry said.

Though the two are now on speaking terms, Harry said there’s still “hurt” to work through.

“There’s a lot to work through there,” he said of his relationship with his father, telling Winfrey that he feels like he’s been let down since Charles went through something similar in his own life. “There’s a lot of hurt that’s happened, and I will continue to try and make it one of my priorities to try and heal that relationship.”

Harry similarly spoke about the frequently reported rift between him and his older brother, Prince William. The duke said that while he loves Prince William very much and they’ve been through a lot together, it has become clear that he and his brother are “on different paths.”

“The relationship is space at the moment and time heals all things, hopefully,” Harry added.