It's now been over a year since Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, stepped down from their roles as senior working royals, in favour of a quieter life Stateside. Since relinquishing their official royal duties, the pair have signed deals with Netflix and Spotify, launched a podcast and continue to support various charities and organisations close to their hearts.
Another passion the two share is for South Africa - a country they toured with son, Archie, when he was just a wee'un, and somewhere both Harry and Meghan have spent a lot of meaningful time. The pair's love for the continent of Africa also meant that when they first started dating, it's reported the Duke of Sussex whisked the Duchess off on a romantic getaway to Botswana, where they bonded over conservation work with elephants.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, according to a royal biography, Battle Of Brothers: William, Harry And The Inside Story Of A Family In Tumult, an extract of which was published in the Daily Mail, life could've been very different for Meghan and Harry had they not decided they wanted out of the royal rat race – as author Robert Lacey, a royal historian (and advisor on The Crown... make of that what you will), says the Queen had intended for the pair to spend a year or two in Africa.
It's said that upon hearing that Meghan and Harry wanted to live a more "ordinary" life, the Queen thought back to the two years between 1949 and 1951 where Prince Philip was serving as a naval officer and based in Malta. She'd often fly out to see him and it strengthened their relationship. This train of thought supposedly lead her to the idea that Meghan and Harry could enjoy a couple of years together in South Africa before really getting started on their royal working life.
"The Queen wanted to offer both honour and responsibility to the couple by handing them some role in her beloved British Commonwealth of Nations — a highly personal token of trust," writes Lacey.
"And by handing the recently ennobled Duke and Duchess a semi-regal role visiting and being honoured ceremonially around the Commonwealth, the plan also surely offered the best route yet devised to give a British 'spare' self-sufficient status that truly matched, but did not threaten, that of the heir."
Lacey also claims that Meghan and Harry were pretty interested in the suggestion too, although that's never been confirmed by the couple. "Modern South Africa, with its black-majority rule, could be just the spot — and the couple themselves seemed interested by the notion," wrote Lacey. However, as we well know, the Sussexes ultimately decided to go in another direction, stepping down from working royal life to move to California.
Life could've been very different for the couple!
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