Prince Harry said he and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, stepped back from their royal duties because of the toll that British tabloids were taking on their mental health, in his first interview since the couple’s high-profile move to North America.
“It was destroying my mental health,” Harry told British TV host James Corden during an interview that aired Thursday on CBS’ Late Late Show. “I did what any husband and what any father would do. It was like, I need to get my family out of here.”
Harry discussed his exit, his new life in Los Angeles and his plans for the future during the interview, which was shot on an open-topped double-decker bus in Los Angeles. The video aired less than a week after Buckingham Palace finalized the couple’s departure.
“We never walked away, and as far as I’m concerned, whatever decisions are made on that side, I will never walk away,” Harry told Corden. “It was stepping back rather than stepping down.”
Prince Harry also stressed that he remains committed to public service, which was a core element of his life as a working member of the Royal Family.
The prince denounced the British media as “toxic,” and said he had to leave the country for the sake of his wife and their young son Archie.
Harry’s dislike for the British tabloids is well documented in public statements and several recent lawsuits. He has blamed U.K. media in the past for the death of his mother Diana, the Princess of Wales. He has also railed against coverage of his courtship and marriage to Meghan, which sometimes verged into racism in the U.K.
Harry, Meghan and Archie moved to North America in early 2020 after announcing plans to step back from their roles as working royals. They initially lived in B.C. before securing a more permanent home in Santa Barbara, Calif., where they now live.
Queen Elizabeth stripped the couple of their remaining royal duties on Feb. 19, saying it wasn’t possible for them to “continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service” after they stepped away from the work of the Royal Family. Harry and Meghan replied by saying “service is universal” and underscoring their commitment to the U.K., a response seen by some as disrespectful to the queen.
Harry told Corden that he’s settling in nicely since the move, and is looking forward to the arrival of his second child. He also described fatherhood as “hysterical,” and shared that Archie’s first word was “crocodile.”
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Corden, who is well-known for his “Carpool Karaoke” segments with celebrities, managed to get Harry singing the theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air during a visit to the mansion where the show was shot.
Corden also briefly spoke to Markle via FaceTime, during which she revealed her pet name for her husband.
“Haz, how’s it going?” she asks him.
“I didn’t know we were calling you Haz now,″ Corden says.
“You’re not my wife,″ he replies.
Corden tried to convince the couple to buy the mansion, if only so that “Haz” could become the Prince of Bel-Air.
“I think we’ve done enough moving,” Markle said.
Harry told Corden that he remains in touch with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. He added that the queen sent Archie a waffle maker for Christmas at the boy’s request.
Corden eked out Oprah Winfrey for the couple’s first interview after their royal departure. The segment was light-hearted throughout and did not touch on the commercial ventures that the couple have on the go.
Oprah’s interview with Harry and Markle is scheduled to air on March 7.
—With files from The Associated Press