Everything The Royal Family Has Said About Harry And Meghan Since Their Royal Exit

When it comes to royal drama, it seems like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's exit from the firm is a well that will never dry up. After they announced their intention to step back from their roles as senior royals in January 2020, dynamics within the family took a turn for the worse — and they were already tense, to begin with. Body language and photographs from the few remaining formal events Harry and Meghan attended alone displayed immense tension between the couple and the rest of the family. The reports surfacing in the British media, however, brought even more drama to the table.

Any royal watcher will tell you that when it comes to speaking out, the members of the royal family seldom release statements. Instead, sources on behalf of Buckingham Palace or insider statements given anonymously are used to debunk or speak on behalf of the firm — such a dynamic and the use of private sourcing was an issue Harry specifically highlighted during his and Meghan's Netflix docuseries, "Harry & Meghan," focusing largely on the role of the royal rota and the intrinsic relationship British publications have with Buckingham Palace.

Still, throughout all the drama, the royals have been cagey with what they've said on the record, instead letting others do the talking (or in this case, the dirty work). Here's everything that the royal family has said about Meghan and Harry since their royal exit.

Queen Elizabeth maintained decorum when she reacted to Harry and Meghan's plans to leave

By the time Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced that they were stepping back from their roles as senior royals, the couple had exhausted all efforts to maintain their positions while also protecting themselves, their family, and their mental health. As they explained in their Netflix docuseries, Buckingham Palace and the royal press offices did little to no work when it came to protecting Meghan from false, inaccurate, and negative media coverage — the paparazzi were even more relentless. When they finally pulled the plug and made the decision to leave for Canada and then the United States, Queen Elizabeth II released a rare statement.

"Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family. My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan's desire to create a new life as a young family," the queen said at the time (via Fox News). "Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the royal family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family."

Further highlighting the couple's wish to become financially independent, the queen concluded, "These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days."

Prince William expressed his feelings about Harry's royal exit, but there was a catch

In the wake of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's exit, sources popped up in the royal rota's reporting to do damage control. Not all of the statements, however, spoke on behalf of the palace and instead brought new light to what was really happening behind closed doors. The Sunday Times — a more respected outlet in Britain — published a report shortly after Harry and Meghan's announcement, quoting Prince William and expressing how the heir felt about his brother's decision. The catch? The quote was provided to The Times by a friend of William's, with the publication's royal correspondent Roya Nikkhah standing by the quote and the source material.

"I've put my arm around my brother all our lives and I can't do that anymore. We're separate entities. I'm sad about that," William said, according to the piece. "All we can do, and all I can do, is try and support them and hope that the time comes when we're all singing from the same page. I want everyone to play on the team."

The Times further reported that Harry and Meghan felt as if they were "constantly being told their place" as members of the royal family — simply put, they had enough. This particular report cropped up again over time — we'll get to that later.

The royals uncharacteristically released a statement following Harry and Meghan's Oprah interview

As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle established their lives in California, they set about correcting the narrative. For the years they were senior members of the royal family, palace sources and anonymous quotes did the talking — and from their perspective, not nearly enough was done to correct false reporting or protect Meghan from the onslaught of ferocious paparazzi, reporters, and social media users that sought to harm her.

Finally speaking out on their own terms, Harry and Meghan joined Oprah Winfrey for a bombshell interview in 2021. The couple discussed everything from their wedding, the bridesmaid dress fiasco (which would require a whole other article), their relationship with Queen Elizabeth II, and more. Notably, they recalled an interaction with an unnamed member of the royal family who expressed concern about their son Prince Archie's skin tone (via YouTube). In the wake of the interview, the royal family released an uncharacteristic statement both refuting the claims and maintaining their steadfastness.

"The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning," the statement read (via USA Today). "While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan, and Archie will always be much-loved family members."

Prince Edward had a shocking response to Harry and Meghan in 2021

The royal family's statement in the wake of the Oprah Winfrey interview was — unsurprisingly — very diplomatic. It acknowledged Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's claims while also slightly refuting them. All in all, it was very on-brand with the royal trademark. However, Prince Edward — Queen Elizabeth's youngest son — uncharacteristically commented on the interview and the overwhelming information shared by Harry and Meghan.

Speaking to The Telegraph at the time, Edward was asked about the interview, to which he responded, "Oprah who?" His comments were further supported by his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, who was also present. "Yes, what interview?" she said in response to the questions. In case you missed it, Harry and Meghan's Oprah interview became one of the most watched sit-downs involving royal family members since Princess Diana's bombshell BBC interview in 1995.

The couple continued to double down on their ignorance about Oprah and the accusations brought up by Harry and Meghan during the sit-down. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, famously asked Oprah what she did for work during Harry and Meghan's wedding. In his defense, Sophie told The Telegraph, "You know, if you're not into chat shows, there's no reason why you should know who she is. Certainly not in this country, anyway."

William made his thoughts about Harry clear by what he didn't say

In an interview with "Today," Prince Harry mentioned he was concerned for Queen Elizabeth's well-being, saying that he wanted to make sure that she had "the right people around her" (via YouTube). He didn't elaborate further, and it became a bit of a mystery as to who he might have been nodding toward. Members of the royal rota quickly jumped on the opportunity to ask Prince William and Princess Catherine what Harry meant exactly, and while they were visiting the Disaster Emergency Committee headquarters in London shortly after the interview, the couple was barraged with questions.

"Sir, does the queen need protecting?" one reporter on the line asked William (via Fox News). Instead of engaging, however, William said everything he needed to by not responding, and he instead got in the vehicle waiting for him and left the scene.

William maintained a no-response throughline after Harry's interviews, but he did offer a quip back when a reporter asked him about the bombshell admission about Prince Archie's skin color. When prompted, William responded, "We're very much not a racist family," before walking away (via Entertainment Tonight Canada). Clearly, the prince was letting the official statements from the palace do the talking but was adamant in getting his own point of view across — even if he relied on a "no comment" or brief quip to get the job done.

Charles didn't entertain criticisms by Harry following an explosive podcast

Joining Dax Shepard and Monica Padman on the "Armchair Expert" podcast in May 2021, Prince Harry further shed light on his experience as a royal — both as a child and adult — and what it was like coming of age in such a unique (and oftentimes negative) environment. Comparing the royal family to "The Truman Show" and going as far as saying that being in the royal family was like "being in a zoo," the prince absolutely did not hold back.

However, he did note that he didn't blame anyone specifically for the way he was raised, instead pointing to the generational cycles that kept "genetic pain and suffering" present throughout his life. When specifically asked about his father, Harry focused on the structure of the royal family as a whole, and how its role as both a family and an institution doesn't allow for healthy relationships to truly form.

The interview was certainly expository, and King Charles — naturally — was asked about it by a line of reporters during an official engagement. A BBC reporter questioned him, "Sir, do you agree with Prince Harry about the suffering and pain in the family? Have you read his comments?" (via Hello). Charles quickly proved that he was not going to engage. Instead, he carried on and ignored the question, letting his silence do the talking.

Charles mentioned Harry and Meghan by name in his first address as monarch

Given that Prince William and King Charles both ignored questions about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and instead let their silence, body language, and quick quips speak much louder than words, it came as a surprise when Charles mentioned the Sussexes in his first address as monarch. When Queen Elizabeth II died in September 2022, Charles instantly became king — a role that he had prepared for his entire life. As the entire line of succession shifted when he assumed the position, Charles had to make decisions relating to titles and royal family distinctions, another point he brought up during his address.

Announcing that William and Catherine would be assuming the Prince and Princess of Wales titles, Charles then shifted his attention to Harry and Meghan — arguably the couple that has given him the most stress amid their intentions to create a new life for themselves.

"I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas," Charles said during his address, after naming William and Catherine prince and princess (via Town & Country). The juxtaposition in his words was palpable, as he concluded speaking about his second son and daughter-in-law with just 19 words.

Harry and William released a statement about their relationship in 2020, but it wasn't that simple

Remember that report from The Times about Prince William and Prince Harry's relationship? Well, that came with a certain level of complexity. In the wake of that report, a joint statement was released by William and Harry — which hadn't been done for some time — that highlighted the report and rebuked it thoroughly. "Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge," the brothers' spokespeople said at the time (via Town & Country). "For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful."

However, the realities of the joint statement weren't that simple. In their Netflix docuseries, Harry brought up that specific statement and shared — for the first time — that he was not consulted nor did he have any idea that the statement would be released in his name.

"No one had asked me permission to put my name to a statement like that," he said on the series. "I rang M, and I told her, and she burst into floods of tears because within four hours they were happy to lie to protect my brother, and yet for three years, they were never willing to tell the truth to protect us."

Harry and Meghan were snubbed during this statement in 2022

Any royal watcher knows that the reigning monarch traditionally makes a Christmas Day address to the nation. It's a tradition that Queen Elizabeth honored for years while on the throne, and naturally, King Charles followed in her footsteps. Now, we should note that when it comes to the royals and what they say publicly, nothing is by accident. Statements are carefully constructed, speeches are written in advance — everything is polished, put together, and intentional, just as you'd expect. In his first Christmas address in 2022, Charles poignantly highlighted Prince William and Princess Catherine, highlighting their work in their new roles.

"The Prince and Princess of Wales recently visited Wales, shining a light on practical examples of this community spirit," Charles said during his Christmas speech, before highlighting his connection with the Prince of Wales title and how he expressed his dedication to the crown as his son is doing now (via YouTube).

But it was what he didn't say that had fans scratching their heads. After highlighting his eldest son, Charles simply moved on. Throughout the remainder of the speech, the king focused on the Christmas message and the meaning of the season, while completely omitting any mention of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. We'll let you come to your own conclusion on that one.

It was what the royals didn't say about Harry's memoir that had people talking

As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle continued to share the truth about their experiences within the royal family, Harry released his long-anticipated memoir, "Spare." The book recounted everything from his childhood, how he was raised, the death of his mother, and everything in between. Highlighting his dating life, the early days of his relationship with Meghan, and his relationships with his family members, Harry didn't leave anything off the table — in many ways, he put everything out there to finally control the narrative about his own life.

Given the bombshells that Harry dropped and the royal family's past statement after Harry's interview with Oprah, you may have thought they would acknowledge his claims. But the entire royal family kept their mouths shut about the memoir and instead embraced the stiff-upper-lip mentality with new veracity.

Explaining the tactic of not releasing a statement and instead carrying on as normal, royal correspondent Katie Nicholl told Time, "Dignified silence is a tried-and-tested format. The palace is reluctant to engage at any level because once they do, it just fuels the narrative, and Harry has made so many allegations it's almost impossible to address every one." She concluded, "The queen only responded when she absolutely had to, and it was often short and succinct."

Charles had an awkward response when asked about Harry in 2023

To say that things have been awkward between Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and the rest of the royal family is the understatement of the year. Relationships have been tried and tested unlike ever before, and Harry's determination to create a new life for himself, his wife, and his two children has taken him to the other side of the world. Meanwhile, back in England, King Charles has been embracing life as monarch and going about his duties with new critics and an increasingly demanding royal rota. A moment in 2023 brought a new level of cringe-worthiness to the conversation about Harry, and it was all caught on camera (and posted on Twitter, naturally).

When greeting students at the University of East London and walking down the line of greeters to shake hands, Charles was told by a member of the public, "Bring back Harry, please, sir." They doubled down, further asking, "Can you bring him back, sir?"

Instead of nodding, smiling, or simply ignoring the question, as has been Charles' tactic up until this point, the king looked at the questioner and asked, "Who?" The member of the public — surely rattled by the king's remark — responded, "Harry, your son." Charles laughed and moved on. Can someone say ... awkward?

The king had a poignant request of Harry and Meghan in the new year

The drama is never-ending, and 2023 brought a new level of pettiness to Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and the royal family's drama. When Harry and Meghan lived in the United Kingdom, they resided at Frogmore Cottage. After extensively renovating the property, the Sussexes fulfilled the tab after leaving their roles as senior royals to ensure that the members of the public did not feel shortchanged — it truly was their home in London in more than one capacity. However, King Charles had an incredibly awkward — and rather personal — request of the couple that was made in public, and a statement was released on the king's behalf confirming the news.

"The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been requested to vacate their residence at Frogmore Cottage," the king's spokesperson told ABC News in a statement. Buckingham Palace has not commented further. Charles made his decision to evict his son and daughter-in-law seemingly in response to Harry's memoir, "Spare." It was then reported by The Sun that Frogmore Cottage will be given to Prince Andrew to reside in, who has been out of the public eye in recent years due to his connection with Jeffrey Epstein and sexual abuse accusations from Virginia Giuffre.