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Prince Harry says he couldn't have left royal family without his mother's money: "I think she saw it coming"

Prince Harry on U.K. tabloids, bigotry
Harry and Meghan open up about U.K. tabloids and racism 02:07

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey on CBS, Prince Harry revealed how he thinks his mother, the late Princess Diana, would react to him leaving his official role in the royal family.

Harry said the royal family cut him off financially in the first quarter of 2020, when he and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, planned to step back from their duties as "senior" royals and spend much of their time living outside the U.K. They have since inked deals with Spotify and Netflix, but at the time, they had "no plan," Harry said.

"I've got all my mom left me and without that we would not be able to do this," Harry said. According to BBC News, Harry and his brother, Prince William, received the bulk of the £13m fortune left by their mother when she died.

Diana died the summer of 1997 after divorcing Prince Charles, Harry and William's father. She was no longer a member of the royal family and was dating businessman Dodi Al Fayed when she was killed in a car crash in Paris, as paparazzi chased their car. 

In the midst of her divorce, Diana did a televised interview with Martin Bashir in 1995, which Meghan also briefly mentioned in the beginning of the Oprah interview. 

"Touching back on when you asked me what my mom would think of this, I think she saw it coming. And I felt her presence throughout this whole process," Harry said during the interview. "For me, I'm just really relieved and happy to be sitting here with you, with my wife by my side, because I can't begin to imagine what it must've been like for her to go through this process by herself all those years ago."

Harry said he saw an intense correlation between Meghan and his mother, but his wife's situation was escalated by racial tensions and social media. "My biggest concern was history repeating itself," he said, referring to his mother's untimely death at 36 years old.

"I think [my mother] would feel very angry with how this has panned out, and very sad. But, ultimately, all she'd ever want is for us to be happy," he continued.

When Oprah asked Harry if the decision to move was to get away from the U.K. press or because the couple was not getting enough support from "The Firm," a nickname for the monarchy, Harry said "both," adding that he did not blindside his grandmother with their decision to step down from senior royal roles. 

During the interview, Harry said negative media around his growing family made him fear for their safety. He said "for the [royal] family, they very much have this mentality of, 'This is just how it is. This is how it's meant to be, you can't change it. We've all been through it.'" 

However, for Harry, the "race element" and the racism Meghan endured made their situation different. It affected Meghan's mental health and she said she had a "clear and real and frightening thought" about suicide while she was still a working member of the royal family. Harry said she did not receive any support from the royal family over her mental health, saying, "it was not a conversation to be had."

When Oprah asked if she was "silent" or "silenced" by the royal family, Meghan said "the latter." 

Like Meghan, Diana was often criticized in the press. "She always said, 'I want to be normal,'" Ken Wharfe, Diana's former bodyguard, told CBS News' "48 Hours" in 2017, as the 20th anniversary of her death approached. "The tragedy is, with being a member of the royal family, it's almost impossible to be normal."

Meghan told Oprah that she spoke to one of Diana's friends about the pressures of joining the royal family, when she was experiencing suicidal thoughts.

"I didn't know who to even turn to in that," Meghan said. "And one of the people that I reached out to, who has continued to be a friend and confidant, was one of my husband's mom's best friends — one of Diana's best friends. Because it's like, who else could understand what it's actually like on the inside."

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