Royal Exit: A Look Back at the Signs Harry & Meghan Were Ready to Leave

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Prince Harry, Meghan Markle
Simon Dawson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

It seemed like Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's royal exit happened so fast. One minute, they were taking Archie on a tour of southern Africa, and the next, they were announcing that they were stepping down. But truly, we all should have seen this big decision coming from a mile away, because there have been so many signs that Meghan and Harry were ready to leave -- ever since they tied the knot in 2018. 

  • For starters, Archie wasn't given a royal title from birth.

    Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Archie
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    When Archie was born in May 2019, there was something significantly different about his name than the ones his cousins -- and even his dad -- have: He wasn't given a royal title. When Meghan and Harry announced his name, it was simply Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, and that was the end of it. At that point, it was clear that his parents may not have wanted Archie to grow up royal.

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  • His birth also broke from tradition.

    Meghan Markle, Archie, Prince Harry
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    Each time Kate Middleton has welcomed one of her three children into the world, she's posed for photos and introduced her new baby to the world outside of the Lindo Wing when she's ready to leave the hospital. However, Meghan did things differently with Archie, instead opting to take a couple of days to celebrate privately as a family before officially introducing him to the world.

  • In summer 2019, Harry revealed he's not raising his son the same way he was raised.

    Prince Harry, Jane Goodall
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    It all happened when Prince Harry was talking to primatologist Dame Jane Goodall for British Vogue, revealing he wanted his son to live a different life. Later, Jane told The Daily Mail that Harry hinted at Archie having a different lifestyle.

    "I made Archie do the Queen's wave, saying, 'I suppose he'll have to learn this.' Harry said, 'No, hes not growing up like that,'" Jane revealed.

  • Meghan Markle has already admitted royal life is not for her.

    In an interview with Meghan that she filmed for her and Harry's trip to South Africa, she admitted that new motherhood in the spotlight had been difficult for her, and it seemed like she felt particularly alone in her struggle.

    "Look, any woman, especially when they're pregnant, you're really vulnerable, and so that was made really challenging," she said at the time. "And then when you have a newborn, you know? And especially as a woman, it's really -- it's a lot." 

  • There's also the time Meghan and Harry took a short break from royal life.

    Over the winter holidays, Meghan and Harry took an extended sabbatical away from royal life and responsibilities -- instead opting to spend that time in the US and Canada with friends and family, and just generally getting away from the stress of their royal lives. At that point, it was clear that they were reaching a breaking point ... but really, it seems that time was helping them realize what they had to do next.

  • Rumors of a feud between the royal "fab four" have been constant, signaling the beginning of the end.

    Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle
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    Long before Meghan and Harry officially stepped down, there were rumors that there have been a lot of feuds going on behind the scenes. Some of the rumors were all about a rivalry between Meghan and Kate Middleton, while others claimed that Prince Harry and Prince William were feuding. Either way, it's seemed like there had been a lot of tension going on in this family and there had been for a long time.

  • Harry is still impacted by Princess Diana's death, which likely contributed to him wanting to leave royal life.

    Princess Diana, Prince Harry, Prince William
    Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

    In the documentary about their trip to Africa, Harry opened up to Tom Bradbury about how he still struggled with reminders about his mother that cropped up every day while living the royal life.

    "I think being part of this family, in this role, in this job, every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash, it takes me straight back, so in that respect, it's the worst reminder of her life, as opposed to the best," he admitted.

    Who wouldn't want to get some space from that?

  • Harry and Meghan splitting from Kate & Will's foundation also didn't help ...

    Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton
    Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

    A lot of eyebrows were raised when Meghan and Harry were removed from Will and Kate's foundation website. At the time, it was hard to tell if it was because Meghan and Harry were always planning to support their favorite causes in their own way, or if it was because of drama going on behind the scenes. In hindsight, it seems like it may have been one of the earlier signs of cracks in their royal life. 

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