Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle reportedly felt that leaving the “toxic” royal life was a “matter of life or death.”
“Meghan felt she had to escape because living within the royal confines was soul crushing,” a close friend of Markle’s told The Daily Mail (U.K.) last week.
“Meghan’s friend explained that the 38-year-old feels she can ‘finally breathe’ since leaving and has free reign over her life again,” reported the outlet. “They also explained that Meghan felt that living within the royal family confines was ‘soul crushing’ and she didn’t want her son around such a ‘toxic environment’, deciding to leave in part for his benefit.”
“She told her inner circle of friends that her soul was being crushed and that the decision to leave was a matter of life or death – meaning the death of her spirit,” Markle’s friend said, adding that the duchess “felt like she couldn’t be the best mother to Archie if she wasn’t being her true, authentic self. Something she felt she couldn’t be in the royal family confines.”
Markle reportedly said she didn’t want baby Archie, now eight months old, “picking up on her stress and anxiety. She felt like it was a toxic environment for him because there was too much tension and pent-up frustrations.”
Earlier this month, Meghan and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, shocked the world with their announcement to step away from royal duties and work to become financially independent.
“We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” the couple announced.
On Saturday, Queen Elizabeth II pulled the trigger on the exiting royals. In a statement from Buckingham Palace, it was confirmed that the couple will have their “His Royal Highness and Her Royal Highness” titles stripped, as well as be financially cut off from royal funds, effective this spring.
“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,” the Queen said in a statement, adding that she “support[s] their wish for a more independent life.”
“I want to thank them for all their dedicated work across this country, the Commonwealth and beyond, and am particularly proud of how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family,” the Queen continued.
“It is my whole family’s hope that today’s agreement allows them to start building a happy and peaceful new life,” the statement concluded.
ABC News royal consultant Alastair Bruce called the change “seismic,” noting that Harry has effectively abdicated his position.
“He was given the opportunity to serve as a member of the royal family but he has essentially abdicated from that and it’s all been put into abeyance,” Bruce said.
According to a source at The Daily Mail, Markle now “has a lot up her sleeve that she wants to do” and “will continue making surprise visits to different places that help women and children. She wants to feel embraced by her community, something she says she didn’t feel in the UK. She felt stifled and restricted.”