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Prince Harry: Why he stepped back from royal duties and what the Queen bought Archie for Christmas

Written by on 27 February 2021

Prince Harry has revealed he stepped back from his royal duties because the British press was “toxic” and was “destroying” his mental health.

The royal gave a candid interview to British talk show host James Corden’s The Late Late Show – with the pair touring Los Angeles on an open air bus with afternoon tea.

Harry opened up about why he withdrew from royal duties, insisting “I did not walk away”, but had to leave due to the British press affecting his mental health.

He said it was a “really difficult environment, as I think a lot of people saw”.

“We all know what the British press can be like. And it was destroying my mental health. I was like… ‘this is toxic’.”

He added: “So I did what any husband and father would do – I need to get my family out of here.

“But we never walked away – and as far as I’m concerned, what decisions are made on that side – I will never walk away.

“I will always be contributing – my life is public service – so wherever I am in the world it is going to be the same thing.

He said that he and Meghan are “trying to bring some compassion and try to make people happy and change the world in any small way we can”.

In a wide-ranging interview he also revealed:

• He prefers The Crown’s portrayal of his family’s history because it “does not pretend to be news”

• He would like to be played in the series by Damian Lewis

• The Queen bought Archie a waffle-maker for Christmas

• He knew wife Meghan was “the one” on second date

• He has seen little of LA because of lockdown

Prince Harry said he has a 'real issue' with false news stories about his family Image: Prince Harry said he has a ‘real issue’ with false news stories about his family

Speaking about the Netflix hit series The Crown, which is based on his family, he said: “They don’t pretend to be news – it’s fictional. But it’s loosely based on the truth.

“Of course it’s not strictly accurate, but it gives you a rough idea about what that lifestyle – the pressures of putting duty and service above family and everything else – what can come from that.”

He continued: “I’m way more comfortable with The Crown than I am seeing the stories written about my family, or my wife or myself.

“Because it’s the difference between fiction – take it how you will – but this [news reports] is being reported on as fact because you’re supposedly news. I have a real issue with that.”

When Corden asked Harry who he would like to see play him on the show, he revealed without hesitation: “Damian Lewis”.

The red-headed actor, 50, is best known for his roles in Band of Brothers and Homeland.

James Corden and Prince Harry toured LA on an open air bus with afternoon tea Image: James Corden and Prince Harry toured LA on an open air bus and had afternoon tea

Harry also opened up about wife Meghan and how he knew she was the one on their second date.

“It wasn’t so much where we went but the fact we hit it off with each other, and we were just so comfortable in each other’s company,” he said.

“Dating me or any member of the Royal Family is kind of flipped upside down. All the dates become dinners or watching the TV or chatting at home.”

He said the pair got to spend “an enormous time” getting to know each other without other distractions, saying it was “an amazing thing”.

“We went from zero to 60 in the first two months.”

James Cordon Facetimed Meghan during the interview Image: James Corden FaceTimed Meghan during the interview

Former Suits actress Meghan, who is pregnant with the couple’s second child, made a cameo in the interview via FaceTime when Harry and Corden paid a trip to the house from 90s TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

When Corden suggested the couple should buy the house, Meghan said: “I think we’ve done enough moving”.

During the visit to the house, Corden and Harry spoke to the owner and jokingly made an offer to buy it, before Harry asked if he could use the toilet.

“I’m actually dying for a pee. Can I use your bathroom?,” he said, before heading for a toilet break.

'I'm dying for a pee!' Image: ‘I’m dying for a pee!’

Later on, Harry made the surprise remark that his grandmother the Queen bought his son Archie a waffle-maker for Christmas.

“My grandmother asked us what Archie wanted for Christmas, and Meg said a waffle-maker. So she sent a waffle-maker for Archie!”

He revealed Meghan now makes waffles with a “beautiful organic mix” and they eat them for breakfast with toppings including berries and syrup.

He also said both his grandparents, the Queen and Prince Philip, know how to use Zoom, joking that his grandfather shuts the laptop physically when he finishes one of their calls instead of clicking off it.

Prince Harry and James Corden competed against each other in an obstacle course at the end of the interview Image: Prince Harry and James Corden competed against each other in an obstacle course at the end of the interview

Harry appeared to be enjoying fatherhood, saying his son Archie, aged one and a half year, is “hysterical”.

“He has the most amazing personality and is already putting three or four words together, he’s already singing songs,” he said.

The royal also revealed Archie’s first word was “crocodile”.

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