Harry and Meghan ruled out South Africa move despite telling Oprah they considered it

Meghan and Harry have 'damaged reputation of royals' says expert

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Harry and Meghan’s interview with US talk show legend Oprah left royal watchers astounded all across the world. The couple unveiled all of their grievances from when they were senior members of the Royal Family, and explained why they felt they had to leave the Firm last year. The Sussexes also defended their initial idea — that they could continue representing the Queen as “non-senior” royals and relocate to a Commonwealth country.

Speaking to Oprah, Meghan explained: “We were saying, OK, if this isn’t working for everyone, we’re in a lot of pain, you can’t provide us with the help we need, we can just take a step back. We can do it in a Commonwealth country.’

“We suggested New Zealand, South Africa…”

Harry added that this would enable them to “take a breath”, while Meghan claimed they also suggested moving to Canada.

However, the Duke of Sussex had already ruled out moving to South Africa in October 2019 when on an overseas tour — months before the couple announced they wanted a more junior role in the Firm.

Speaking during the ITV documentary, ‘Harry and Meghan: An African Journey’, he said: “I don’t know where we could live in Africa at the moment, you know.

“We just came from Cape Town, that would be amazing place for us to base ourselves, but with all the problems going on there, I just don’t see how we would be able to really make as much of a difference as we want to without the issues and the judgement of how we would be with those surroundings.

“It’s a very hard place to live when you know what’s going on, but then you’re slightly disconnected from it.

“The rest of our lives’ work will be predominantly focused on Africa, on conservation, you know, there are 19 Commonwealth countries on this continent.

“There are a lot of things to be done, there’s a lot of problems here — but there’s also huge potential.”

Cape Town struggles with gang violence, and the national authorities even sent in the Army in the first half of 2019 to diffuse the situation.

The city has endured serious water shortages in recent years, too.

Just a few weeks later, the Sussexes left the UK to spend an extended break in Canada.

They stayed there until just after the New Year, prompting speculation that they were considering relocating to the Commonwealth country permanently.

By January 2020, the couple released a statement on social media announcing that they would be stepping back from royal life and splitting their time between North America and the UK — suggesting, again, that South Africa was out of the picture.

The post on their now-defunct account, @sussexroyal, read: “After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution.”

It added: “We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to the Queen, the Commonwealth and our patronages.

“This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.”

But, this announcement preceded the confirmation from the Palace that the couple could not adopt a new “half-in-half-out” role within the monarchy.

After the Sandringham Summit — where the details of the Sussexes’ post-royal life were hashed out — the Palace said it was not possible to continue representing the Queen partially.

The couple then hit back at this suggestion when speaking to Oprah earlier this month.

Meghan said: “We never left the family and we only wanted to have the same type of role that [already] exists, right?

“There’s senior members of the family and then there are non-senior members.”

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She added: “We weren’t reinventing the wheel here.”

Still, the couple moved out of Canada to the US — which is not a Commonwealth country — in March 2020, the month when their exit from the royal frontline was finalised.

The pair moved into a new home in California, Meghan’s home state, and have since purchased a sprawling mansion there.

Harry told Oprah that they moved out of Canada because of security worries.

He said: “The biggest concern was that while we were in Canada, in someone else’s house, I then got told at short notice security was going to be removed.”

He claimed the world “knew our exact location”.

Harry continued: “So it suddenly dawned on me, ‘hang on a second, the borders could be closed, we’re going to have our security removed’.”

He added: “We probably need to get out of here.”

Harry and Meghan then hightailed it across to the States just before the pandemic triggered the closure of international borders.

Oprah With Meghan and Harry was on ITV at 9pm on Monday March 8. You can watch the full interview on the ITV Hub.

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