Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, took several months off after the birth of their daughter, Lilibet Diana, but their parental leave comes to an end this month. Sources say things are about to get a lot busier for the couple when they return to work full-time in September, but they Sussexes are reportedly looking forward to it. “Harry and Meghan have really enjoyed their precious family time, but they never stopped talking to their team and partners about all their exciting new projects,” an insider told Best Life. “They’re ready to hit the ground running.”
The couple has recently been making surprise appearances that have showcased their commitment to causes they have long championed, while offering a glimpse at their lighthearted sides that have been absent from previous somber appearances this year. Insiders say they’re setting the stage for their full-time return to the spotlight next month. “They’re a couple who do very well in those moments of human interaction. They need to be on the ground,” Finding Freedom co-author Omid Scobie told People. “They say that the proof is in the pudding, and what we are about to see is that pudding.” Scobie has remained close to the Sussexes and soon, on Aug. 31, an updated version of Finding Freedom (which is co-authored by Carolyn Durand) will be re-released in paperback with a new epilogue, covering the Sussexes’ event-filled, first post-royal year.
Sources have told Best Life that between the upcoming publication of the updated tell-all and the news that Harry and Meghan are about to embark on a new, more visible chapter of public life, certain members of the Royal Family are “scared” of what it all could mean for the scandal-plagued House of Windsor. Read on to find out about Harry and Meghan’s higher public profile and how it could pose a threat to the Royal Family.
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Harry and Meghan are “easing back into the spotlight” strategically, says a source.
Earlier this month, to celebrate her 40th birthday, Meghan released a new video on the Sussexes’ Archewell Foundation site announcing a new mentoring initiative, 40×40. The duchess tapped 40 high-profile friends—like Melissa McCarthy (who appears in the video) as well other celebrities including Adele, Amanda Gorman, and Meghan’s cousin in-law, Princess Eugenie—to donate 40 minutes of their time to help 40 women reentering the workforce.
“This was pure Meghan,” a source told Best Life. “She is in a very good place her in life now with Harry and their growing family; she feels energized to be back doing what she loves as an advocate for female empowerment. The video was a very personal way to signal she plans to continue what she started long ago.”
On Aug. 19, Harry made a surprise appearance at a charity polo match in Aspen, Colorado to raise funds for his charity, Sentebale, which he co-founded in 2006 with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho to continue Princess Diana’s work with orphans in Africa affected by HIV/AIDS. The prince announced he was committing $1.5 million of the proceeds from his upcoming memoir to the charity. In a statement, he said: “This is one of several donations I plan to make to charitable organizations and I’m grateful to be able to give back in this way for the children and communities who gravely need it.”
“Harry’s longstanding commitment to Sentebale and to all the causes he supports are going to come more clearly into focus now,” said the insider. “Archewell was founded on the idea of ‘compassion in action’ and that is what we are going to see from Harry now that he is financially independent and feels free from the restrictions of royal life. He and Meghan are easing back into the spotlight, but things are about to accelerate in a big way.”
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Harry and Meghan are excited to be free from the “toxicity” that caused strife behind Palace walls, Scobie said.
Scobie describes Harry and Meghan’s next chapter as “the era of visibility,” telling People, “They seem to be existing in a different place, and that place is much healthier. Meghan famously spoke about that it was not enough to survive—we are now in the thrive chapter.” Scobie also pointed out that the couple has only been able to do so after being prevented from achieving what they wanted to achieve as royals, noting they hope to keep “some of the toxicity” at bay.
The financial freedom they have gained thanks to their multi-million dollar deals with Netflix, Spotify, and with their new and upcoming books and speaking engagements have given Harry and Meghan “breathing room,” a source told Best Life. “They have the perspective of having come out on the other side of something very difficult after separating from ‘The Institution’ by being true to themselves.”
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Palace insiders and members of the family “are scared of what’s coming next” from the couple, a source said.
While this may be a time of great excitement for Harry and Meghan, the uncertainty of what comes next has some Palace courtiers anxious about the potential effects on the Royal Family. “The very public battles waged by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex against the Royal Family over what happened leading up to their decision to step down and the stunning allegations they made against certain family members have left their mark and deeply upset the Queen who wanted them to return and has made clear the door is still open,” said an insider. “Having all this hashed out again in a book or brought up in new interviews would reopen wounds that have barely started to heal.”
One Palace source says the situation will remain difficult because while Harry and Meghan may now live is California with their royal responsibilities behind them, they have remained titled royals and will forever be part of the Royal Family, regardless of what happens on either side of the ocean. “They are no longer subject to any royal rules and traditions and are doing things their own way, which they are entitled to do,” said a source. “But everything is seen through the filter of their connection to the Royal Family. It’s what’s given them the visibility and power to accomplish their goals in America while being very separate at the same time. It’s as if they have established a second court in America.”
Another source pointed out that all of this could not be happening at a worse time for the Royal Family. “Some courtiers as well as family members are scared of what’s coming next because they don’t know what’s going to be said in the new book or by the couple themselves about the events of the past year that could potentially inflict more damage,” an insider said. “Of course, this will all be unfolding as the lawsuit against Prince Andrew plays out, causing great turmoil within the Palace.”
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One of Harry’s new projects conflicts with important events on the royal calendar.
To add to the tension, the publication of Harry’s upcoming memoir will coincide with two key royal events: the Queen’s platinum jubilee and Prince William’s 40th birthday.
A source told Best Life that none of this is intentional, but it’s possible it wouldn’t be seen as such. “[Harry and Meghan] are not trying to take the Royal Family down. They had hoped there would be more accountability over the issues raised about their time as senior royals, but they have moved on from the fight,” the insider said. “There may be hope in the future that the rift with the royals can be mended, but they’re not waiting. They are living their lives the way they always dreamed of. That should not be a threat to anyone.”
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Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.