Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have ‘private sadness behind royal smiles’ as they prepare to officially step down

The Duke of Sussex has kicked off the final days of his official engagements, marking the countdown to his and Meghan Markle’s departure from the royal family.

Harry showed off his talents as a singer when he joined Jon Bon Jovi at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London for the recording of the Invictus Games Foundation’s charity single.

The track, Unbroken, was written by the Bon Jovi frontman and features backing vocals from the Invictus Choir, made up of injured service men and women.

The Livin’ On A Prayer singer – who joked that he’s going to call Harry “the artist formerly known as prince” – prepped his royal protégé for the recording by telling him, “Pretend you’re singing in your bedroom. That’s easy.”

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Harry, 35, was clearly having a whale of a time at the iconic recording studio, and was also described as “warm and relaxed” by former Labour advisor Ayesha Hazarika when she introduced him at a sustainable travel event just days earlier.

According to Ayesha, the duke “made it clear” that everyone should just call him Harry as he attended the Travalyst conference in Edinburgh.

But while she went on to say that Harry didn’t look like a man “wracked with anxiety” over losing his HRH title, OK! understands that he and the Duchess of Sussex, 38, are feeling anxious about what is essentially their “farewell tour”.

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“This is the end of an era for Harry and Meghan, it’s a big deal,” royal author Katie Nicholl exclusively reveals. She adds, “While there is a sense of duty and protocol, they are only human at the end of the day, so there will be some nerves.

“We know Harry is emotional, and while Meghan is made of some pretty tough mettle, this trip will be tainted for both of them as they have both been hurt by some of the things that have been written about them since Megxit.”

It was also recently confirmed by the federal government that Canada will soon stop providing security for the couple.

According to Katie, Meghan will feel “some trepidation” about being back in the UK, but there was never a question of her not returning.

“I don’t think she would ever just bolt,” Katie explains, adding, “She has to come back and face the music here, and she’ll feel a sense of duty. It’s also bittersweet for her because she sacrificed a lot to move to the UK. She gave up her home, her nationality and her career and fully threw herself into royal life, so there will be a sadness about the way it all panned out.”

That said, Katie believes Meghan will “lean on her skills as an actress” to get through her public commitments, which include the Endeavour Fund Awards on 5 March, the Mountbatten Festival of Music on 7 March and an event to mark International Women’s Day on 8 March.

“Even if she’s feeling uneasy, she won’t let it show. She can put on a good front, so we will see plenty of that megawatt Meghan smile over the coming days,” Katie insists.

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All eyes will be on the Commonwealth Day Service on 9 March, as this is the first time the Cambridges and Sussexes will come together at a public event since Harry and Meghan stepped down. The service at Westminster Abbey is also attended by Her Majesty the Queen and Katie believes the Duchess of Cambridge will play a key role in making sure there’s no sign of tension.

“In private, I don’t think there will have been a huge amount of contact between the Cambridges and the Sussexes since Harry and Meghan left for Canada,” Katie explains.

“The time difference and the fact that Kate and William are busier than ever at the moment will have made that difficult. However, Kate knows the spotlight is always on them and she doesn’t like any stories about the rift.


“We’re likely to see her embrace Meghan as she has at previous events. Kate is also very fond of Harry, so she won’t want him leaving on a sour note, and will do her best to make sure things go as smoothly as possible,” Katie adds.

Katie also explains that it’s significant that the Queen has invited Harry and Meghan to the Commonwealth Day Service since they “quit” the firm.

“This is a very important key date in the Queen’s calendar, and one that is crucial to her. The fact that the Queen wants them to be there sends the message loud and clear that Harry and Meghan are not being kept out in the cold, they are still very much part of the family,” Katie says.

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