Prince Harry Is "Heartbroken" Over the Royal Rift, Says His Friend Tom Bradby
"The situation with the family clearly isn't ideal."
It's been a year since Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced their decision to step down from their senior roles in the royal family, and the couple's exit (and move across the pond) undoubtedly caused some friction within the monarchy. The separation between the Sussexes and the rest of the royals has been especially difficult for Harry to manage, according to his friend Tom Bradby, who added that he's "heartbroken" by the entire situation.
During an appearance on ITV's Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh, Bradby — who was with the Sussexes during their 2019 royal tour of Africa for the documentary, Harry & Meghan: An African Journey — opened up about the couple's complicated choice to leave royal life and how they are adjusting to living in the U.S. with their son, Archie.
"It was a very psychologically complex project because they were clearly in a difficult position and weren't feeling great and I realized the extent of that the more I was there," Tom explained, referring to the trip to Africa. During the tour, Tom was the one who famously asked Meghan, "how she'd found the last year," to which she replied: "It is a very real thing to be going through. Thank you for asking — because not many have."
Several months after that trip, Meghan and Harry made the unprecedented decision to quit their royal duties. As for the fallout, Bradby says: "I think the whole thing has just been incredibly painful, that is obvious to everyone. It is painful all round, painful for everyone, difficult to manage. Effectively they have just decided to completely leave the royal family, that has never been done - I mean, you could go back to the Duke of Windsor but that was in very different circumstances - it's never been done voluntarily before and no one still is absolutely clear how it is going to work."
He continued, "There are still a lot of hurt feelings on all sides and it's very difficult…I think the public desperately wants them to be okay and everyone to be happy and clearly that hasn't been the situation over the past year. It is not a very easy or comfortable situation, I don't think it was ever going to be an easy or comfortable situation."
Meghan and Harry are now raising 1-year-old Archie in Montecito, Calif., and when asked if they seem happier out there, Tom responded: "I think they are feeling better, yes…So are they unhappy? No, I think they are content, the things they are doing they are quite excited by. I think he is heartbroken by the situation with his family, you don't necessarily need to have knowledge to know that, but I think it is true."
However, the distance from family hasn't been easy. "The situation with the family clearly isn't ideal and it has been a very difficult year for them all," Bradby says, adding, "But are they unhappy out there? No, I don't think that's right, I think they are pretty happy actually, but I think they wrestle with their position in life."
With ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Sussexes have been staying in touch with the royal family over Zoom, and travel restrictions permitting, they hope to reunite with the Cambridges in England, as well as in Santa Barbara, "at some point in 2021."