Royal photographer Arthur Edwards was surprised to hear about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s struggles with royal life.
On Dec. 8, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released the first part of their Netflix docuseries “Harry & Meghan.” It focused on the British media’s coverage of the couple and the way it was influenced by racism. In the second half, which was released on Dec. 15, the pair vented their grievances against the monarchy and detailed their experiences leading up to their decision to step away from royal duties.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex got candid about their struggles with royal life in the Netflix docuseries "Harry and Meghan."
“I went everywhere with them,” the royal photographer told Fox News Digital. “They were just sensational. They were like rock stars. The kids were crazy for them. Meghan was brilliant. She was doing selfies with them, signing autographs, posing – she was just having a fabulous time with the people. … They went everywhere and people loved them. But then towards the end, when she became pregnant [with her firstborn], it changed. It was less fun. And then the last [royal] tour, it was just miserable. [Harry] completely changed. He cut himself off from the media. … One day he just stopped talking to us. He just cut us all dead.”
Royal photographer Arthur Edwards captured the lives of Prince William and Prince Harry from the time they were children.
Edwards has been the royal photographer for The Sun since 1975. He’s covered more than 200 royal tours in more than 120 countries, as well as seven royal weddings, seven births and four funerals. On Nov. 29, his photobook “Behind the Crown: My Life Photographing the Royal Family,” hit bookshelves. It features numerous never-before-seen shots of the British royal family.
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Edwards was also the one photographer who met King Charles III’s flight from Balmoral following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. The book also includes Arthur’s coverage of the queen’s state funeral.
Edwards noted that he witnessed the royal family giving Markle, a former American actress, a warm welcome. The former “Suits” star became the Duchess of Sussex upon her marriage to the late queen’s grandson in 2018.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during a walkabout at Cardiff Castle on Jan. 18, 2018, in Cardiff, Wales. The couple married in May of that year.
(Arthur Edwards – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
“Harry’s father walked her down the aisle, and they had a fabulous reception,” he said. “They were given a wonderful home. Things looked sweet. … I sometimes sympathize with Meghan [because] there were pretty tough things being written about her. Some of it was over the top. But that’s the problem of being a royal bride. … That’s one of the things you have to be hardened to. People are going to look at you as if you’re in some sort of fishbowl. … I do know it’s not easy. I remembered when Diana struggled. I remembered when the Duchess of York struggled. … But Meghan seemed to adapt quickly. It was difficult to understand why things would be so upsetting.”
Prince William and Princess Kate married in 2011. They share three children.
Edwards claimed that early on, Harry had a friendly relationship with the British press. It gave him a platform to discuss causes he was passionate about, such as the Invictus Games, a sports event for wounded and sick servicemen and women.
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“At the end of [our trip to Colorado Springs], Harry said, ‘All meet in the pub tonight, 6 o’clock,’” Edwards recalled. “And we all met at the pub. He turned up, and we had an hour and a half of exchanging ideas, exchanging viewpoints … but there was a lot of laughter as well. And at the end of it all, Harry picked up the tab. We did that there, we did that in Australia, we did that in Jamaica, we did that everywhere we went with him. With Meghan, it all stopped overnight. And I feel sad about that because Harry had a great relationship with the media. He’s a gifted young man who was so engaging with people. He could get things off his chest, and you didn’t take offense. You could do the same, and he wouldn’t take offense. … When I look at him now, he just seems so unhappy.”
Prince Harry meets injured British soldiers as he attends the Warrior Games during the third day of his visit to the United States on May 11, 2013, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
(Arthur Edwards – Pool/Getty Images)
In the docuseries, Harry, 38, claimed that his older brother, Prince William, who is heir to the throne, lashed out at him during a royal summit in January 2020 to talk about the couple’s plan to step back.
“It was terrifying to have my brother scream and shout at me and my father say things that simply weren’t true, and my grandmother quietly sit there and sort of take it all in,” Harry said. He added that the couple’s plan to stay “half in, half out” of royal life was swiftly rejected.
“The brothers were so close,” said Arthur. “They did everything together. They were absolutely inseparable. … I remember Harry making a speech when he was about 25, 26, saying his main role in life was to support William because he knew that William was going to be the king one day. He would need Harry to support him. … When [Kate Middleton] came along, the three of them worked tirelessly for their mental health charity. At the same time, Harry was doing his own charitable work. … There’s a bitterness now that wasn’t there before. … I remember watching them play football together, ride horses together – they were always together. At the moment, I can’t see them reconciling, but I’ve got my fingers crossed.”
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Arthur Edwards said he is hopeful that the brothers will reconcile.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex now reside in Markle’s home state of California. They’ve moved to the wealthy coastal town of Montecito. Lucrative contracts with Netflix and Spotify have helped the couple finance their life on an estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Harry’s marriage to Markle, who is biracial, was once seen as a public relations coup for the royal family, boosting the monarchy’s effort to move into the 21st century by making it more representative of a multicultural nation.
But the fairytale, punctuated with a horse-drawn carriage ride and lavish wedding at Windsor Castle, soon unraveled amid relentless media attention, including allegations that the duchess, 41, was self-centered and bullied her staff.
Arthur Edwards said he was surprised to hear how much Meghan Markle struggled with royal life behind palace doors.
“They wanted to go live in the United States, and I think that’s fair enough,” said Edwards. “There’s no reason why you can’t live your life as you want to. But this is the problem: When [Harry’s great-great uncle] Edward VIII abdicated because he fell in love with an American woman, he went into exile, but he never rubbished the royal family, never rubbished his brother or his brother’s family. And this is what’s happening with these Netflix films and the Oprah Winfrey interview [from 2021], which has left a sour taste [in] many people’s mouths. … William must be incredibly unhappy with the way his brother is talking about the family. I just hope they can fix it. But at the moment, it looks highly unlikely.”
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Arthur Edwards said Prince Harry, left, once had a friendly relationship with the British press.
“And the king in his first speech said wonderful things about Meghan and Harry living overseas,” Edwards continued. “He loves them. You never stop loving your son. … I imagine the king still loves him desperately and would love to see him back. The king would have him back tomorrow.”
Edwards said he was especially stunned to hear that Markle’s mental health was deteriorating behind palace doors. In the docuseries, the duchess said she thought about killing herself before the couple made their exit. Harry added that he believed that the Mail on Sunday’s publication of a letter the duchess wrote to her estranged father contributed to her having a miscarriage. She sued the outlet’s publisher and won.
Arthur Edwards said that all royal wives have struggled at one point.
(Arthur Edwards – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
“I just remember her being fantastic during those first 18 months,” said Edwards. “I mean, albeit, she is an actress, but I thought she was just gifted. They were superstars. … This schism between the two brothers is very strong. They’re both a little hotheaded. … Brothers do scream at each other, but you don’t normally go out and share it with the rest of the world. You just get over it, you apologize, you go down to the pub and sort it out. But this one’s going to take a lot of sorting out, I’m afraid.”
And the tell-alls aren’t over. Harry is gearing up for his memoir “Spare,” which will be published on Jan. 10.
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“I hope they’re happy [in California],” said Edwards. “But this is a great country here. Harry was somebody very special here. He was a prince of the realm. In California, he’s just another celebrity in a town full of celebrities.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.