A royal expert spoke out this week to say that Prince Harry “wanted out” of the British royal family long before he met Meghan Markle.

Royal expert Katie Nicholl just told ETOnline that Harry was unhappy for a long time, and that it was Meghan who finally convinced him to leave the royal family.

“One of the themes that seem to be recurrent in ‘Finding Freedom’ is that Harry felt very much like a spare wheel,” she explained. “While the media loved this idea of a royal threesome (his older brother Prince William, his wife Kate Middleton, as well as Harry), he very much felt like a spare wheel. At points [in time], I even heard him complaining that he felt like the gooseberry, the third one along at a date. He never quite fitted in.”

“I think that while Kate and William went out of their way to make sure Harry felt like a part of this team, this trio, Harry always wanted to be his own person,” Nicholl added. “I think Meghan has very much been the catalyst in giving him that confidence to break free from William and Kate and to break free from that trio dynamic, which was at times cozy and convenient, but actually wasn’t really what he wanted.”

While most British tabloids have blamed Meghan for Megxit, Nicholl said that Harry played an important role in their move to Los Angeles, California.

“It’s my understanding, and this is also explored in ‘Finding Freedom’ that it wasn’t just Meghan’s decision,” said Nicholl. “I think Harry was very much a driving force. People don’t perhaps give her enough credit. Harry is a pretty opinionated and strong-willed man, and I’ve been told by several very well-placed sources that it wasn’t just Meghan dragging Harry.”

“She gave him a new confidence, but I think the truth is that, for a long while, Prince Harry has wanted out,” she continued. “This was a prince who’d spoken quite vocally about the restrictions of being a royal, the weight of the burden, a boy who said he wished he hadn’t at times been born a prince. I think that says a lot about Prince Harry.”

This comes after the release of “Finding Freedom,” a book that tells the story of Meghan and Harry’s exit from the royal family.

“… For the royal family, this book has been damaging because it has opened up old wounds,” Nicholl said. “I think what’s very clear is that Meghan and Harry have wanted to get their side of the story across. This is clearly a couple who feels quite aggrieved by the fact that they’ve never been able to answer their critics. They have never been able to address incorrect reporting.”

“… They feel – Meghan particularly – that she has been muted for most of her royal life, as short as it was,” she added. “She didn’t have the opportunity to speak out to address her critics to get her side of events out.”

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