PRINCE HARRY, once renowned as the party prince, has appeared more subdued of late – and a recently published biography suggests this is because he “no longer feels like himself”.
Harry shocked the nation when he revealed in last month’s ITV documentary ’Harry and Meghan: An African Journey’ he was struggling to cope with the public scrutiny. It came as his wife, Meghan Markle, described her current way of life as “existing” rather than “living”, prompting fears that the royal couple may renounce their officials titles and live as private citizens instead. The couple had a brief period of marital bliss after their whirlwind romance and subsequent wedding in May last year.
However, they appear to have distanced themselves from the rest of the Royal Family in the months since.
Earlier this year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex set up their own trust away from platform Harry shared with his brother, the Royal Foundation.
In her 2018 biography, ‘Harry: Conversations with the Prince’ – which has recently been updated to include analysis of the first year of his marriage – Angela Levin looked at whether Harry’s behaviour really has changed.
Ms Levin explained: “On many occasions he has seemed to be a shadow of himself: miserable, tense, sulky and even emasculated.
“It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why, but perhaps all the changes Meghan has encouraged him to adopt have temporarily made him no longer feel quite himself.”
Meghan reportedly asked Harry to make several significant changes to his lifestyle, encouraging him to give up smoking and drinking, and replace them with smoothies, veganism and yoga.
Ms Levin added: “He also seems to be less active. In 2018, he only fulfilled 193 royal engagements compared to 507 undertaken by Prince Charles.
“I have been told from an insider that both the Queen and Prince Charles are very worried about him.”
Following the release of the ITV documentary, sources from within both William and the Queen’s households said the royals fear Harry and Meghan are in a “fragile place”.
Ms Levin continued: “Someone who knows [Harry] well told me: ‘He loved being in the Army and has been a classic Jack the Lad. But now he doesn’t want to say the wrong thing in case he upsets Meghan.”
Harry served for ten years in the Army, with two terms in Afghanistan. Being part of the military was his lifelong ambition, and many friends have commented how he seemed most content when among the army ranks.
However, he retired from the Army in 2015 and instead took on more roles as a senior royal, focusing on humanitarian goals.
It was this shared love of helping that first drew him to Meghan when they met in 2016, although Harry reportedly felt lost for a time after leaving the forces.
Ms Levin explained: “It’s obvious he loves his wife, but he is also in awe of her.”
She added: “He sometimes seems more relaxed and energised on solo engagements and looked in top form in February when he made visits to British servicemen and women in Norway undergoing extreme winter weather training.”
Harry’s rumoured rift with his brother William – which escalated when he said on the documentary that they had “good days” and “bad days” – started when he moved his family out of Kensington Palace estate and into Windsor’s Frogmore Cottage.
However, Ms Levin had a different explanation, based on information from royal insiders: “The move to Buckingham Palace has been a year in the making and was both a vital and tactful way of handling concerns about Meghan’s recurring wilful and headstrong behaviour and Harry’s predisposition to toe her line.”
Palace insiders also say the couple will be taking a six-week break to the US to celebrate Thanksgiving.