How Harry and Meghan's trip to SA may have led to their shocking decision to leave the royal family

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (Photo: Getty Images)
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (Photo: Getty Images)

Cape Town – Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan made a big announcement last week that shocked the world.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they'd be stepping down as "senior members of the royal family" to become "financially independent".

In their statement, they explained, "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. We intend to step back as 'senior' members of the royal family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen," they said.

They added that they'd be staying between the United Kingdom and North America – Canada to be exact – where Meghan is currently staying while Harry meets with the queen to find "workable solutions" to their big announcement.

Before their decision was made public, however, there was mention of Harry and Meghan's potential move to none other than Cape Town, South Africa. But in a new documentary, Harry & Meghan: A Royal Crisis?, Tom Bradby reveals it was their trip to Southern Africa – and more specifically, the documentary that came from it – that actually served as a "pressure release valve" for the couple.

"I got the impression that they hadn't decided before they got on the plane, exactly how honest they were or weren't going to be," he said of their trip and the documentary. "They wanted, I think, that to be a pressure release valve, I think they wanted it as an indication, of if they ever made the announcement, that there'd be some preparing the grounds."

He added, "Around the time of that documentary, some of the angst and anger in the background, I was genuinely shocked that it had got that bad."

Royal Editor, Chris Ship, asked Tom in a clip shared by ITV, "Did you think at that point that two months down the line, at the turn of the year, Harry and Meghan would be announcing that they'd want out?"

"I did think that," Tom revealed.


Though it hasn't been confirmed where the royals will move, their announcement that they'll "balance [their] time between the United Kingdom and North America" has many speculating a move to Canada. Tom added, "One of the questions to which I don't know the answer is, are they at the point where they just write off Britain? I've got to tell you, my hunch is, no, I don't think they are."

He said, specifically of Harry, "He loves this country, and he believes in the monarchy, and even now it's possible to construct something where, maybe the half-in half-out model does work, but it's going to require a lot of careful thought and imagination and as we discussed."

According to HELLO! Magazine, royal biographer Hugo Vickers also said, "I'm quite sure that Harry and Meghan want to leave the UK, and will leave the UK, but that does not mean they will leave the monarchy.

Echoing my own sentiments – you can read more here – he said, "This is giving the monarchy a very exciting new dimension. There are obviously practical problems, but I see a big horizon opening up, internationally and trans-atlantically."

READ NEXT: UPDATE: As Meghan returns to Canada new information sheds light on Sussex shocker

(Photo: Getty Images)