VF: Prince Harry has found freedom on his 36th birthday, just like Diana

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex visit Canada House in London

For years, there’s been a very morbid energy around the entire British royal family. I’m a realist, so I understand why people speak openly about what will happen after the Queen dies and I only find that stuff (funeral arrangements, the succession) slightly macabre and mostly fascinating. But the energy around everything to do with the late Princess Diana is really something. On one hand, you have the Duchess of Cambridge doing these superficial “homages” to Diana, which becomes even weirder because Kate is truly nothing like Diana, and Kate only wants the Diana imagery and nothing else. Then there’s this: today is Prince Harry’s 36th birthday. Diana had just turned 36 about two months before she died in Paris in 1997. Now “36” has become some kind of marker for the royal family? It’s very strange and this entire Vanity Fair piece reads as somewhat threatening and morbid, like Prince Harry is going to die soon because he’s 36 now. The VF piece was written by Katie Nicholl, of course. Some highlights:

Omid Scobie on Harry’s birthday and how he’s carrying on his mother’s legacy: “I would call it destiny,” said Omid Scobie, coauthor of the recent Finding Freedom. “This is a man who said he wanted to continue his mother’s work. We’ve long mourned Diana’s place on the humanitarian landscape, and here we have Harry, who embodies her values and is willing to dedicate his life to them. He’s at an age now where he’s taken that baton and is able to run with it in a way that he would never have been able to do within the House of Windsor. That’s very powerful and exciting.”

Harry is happy. Harry is said to be “happier than ever.” Scobie again:“Here is a man who’s very content and happy with his marriage, his family life, and thriving within his professional life. This is the moment he can sit back and think, ‘I made it.’ He has found his happiness.”

Ingrid Seward seethes: “He can celebrate his birthday on a high,” said royal commentator and author Ingrid Seward. “He’s embracing his new life and everything is an adventure right now. He has moved on very quickly, and I don’t think he misses his old life at all.”

Finding Meghan gave Harry purpose: “In Meghan, Harry has met a woman who meets him on many levels,” said Scobie. “They share the same ideals and wishes for the world. Meghan gets criticized for a lot, but one can’t knock her authenticity when it comes to wanting change and giving back. This is more than a marriage. It’s a couple on a philanthropic journey together, with the same goals. Harry has always said he wanted a teammate, and now he has one. Meghan brings things to the table, things Harry hasn’t been familiar with—Hollywood, for a start.”

Diana always wanted to move to America: While Harry’s departure from the royal family is still a sore spot, Diana would likely have been one of the few family members to approve of the move, according to Seward, who knew the late princess. “Diana often spoke about wanting to move to America; Harry’s actually done it,” she said. “I’m still surprised, though, that Harry has left Britain. I know he has always hated the media and quite often hated being a prince, but I never thought he would leave his homeland. He’s always been such a lover of British life, polo, the countryside, the shooting, Scotland. That said, with Harry it’s all or nothing, and it always has been. He doesn’t do anything by halves. He’s always done things differently. As a boy, people at the palace would say, ‘Harry’s Harry, he does his own thing,’ and he always has.”

The point of no return: The sight of 12-year-old Harry walking behind his mother’s coffin in her funeral procession is now a very distant memory. As Diana’s former private secretary Patrick Jephson notes, as a 36-year-old man and an ex-pat, Harry now finds himself being viewed very differently. “Having reached the same age at which his mother died, Harry has arrived at a point of no return,” Jephson said. “A life on the American public stage is now his destiny unless he decisively turns away from it. The time to do so is fast running out. We must hope—as Princess Diana surely would—that he has weighed his options wisely.”

[From Vanity Fair]

It’s true that Diana loved coming to America, and she thought that a move to America might be in her future following her divorce. I think it was Tina Brown who wrote (in The Diana Chronicles) that Diana, at 36, was divorced and free and realizing that Hasnat Khan didn’t want to marry her, so she just wanted someone who would take care of her and take her away from the Windsors. Maybe if she had met some rich American dude (George Clooney, perhaps), she would have run off to America too. All that being said, the tone of all of these Harry-Diana comparisons come across as unsettling, like a vague threat. Harry found freedom by the age of 36, just like his mother. And then Diana’s freedom was cut short. Don’t even put that out in the universe.

PS… I honestly just realized that Harry proposed to Meghan on or around her 36th birthday too. THAT is quite something, isn’t it? 36 represents freedom, let’s just go with that.

Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Pri..........

HRH PRINCESS OF WALES (HRH Princess Diana). With HRH PRINCE HARRY. Seen at the VJ Day Celebrations. COMPULSORY CREDIT: UPPA/Photoshot Photo URK 010143/G-29  19.08.1995

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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68 Responses to “VF: Prince Harry has found freedom on his 36th birthday, just like Diana”

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  1. Snuffles says:

    Yes, I’ve noticed and it IS creepy. Let’s just say that if anything happened to Harry or Meghan or Archie, the public will blame the Royal
    Family IMMEDIATELY. And with social media, the family wouldn’t have the chance to spin anything before the public storms the castle screaming “off with their heads!”

    • Vote Science says:

      Most people in Britain don’t give enough of a sh*t about any of the RF members to do that.

    • Coz' says:

      Are you implying the RF is trying to physically harm Harry, Meghan and Archie? That’s a step too far I think.
      They are assh!ole, but still.

      • Vote Science says:


      • Amy Bee says:

        Given the smear campaign, most of which was during Meghan’s pregnancy, I don’t think anyone can dismiss the thought they wanted harm to come to them, especially Meghan and Archie.

      • Kalana says:

        The DM actually had the nerve to report about Archie’s security in Canada when Meghan and Harry returned to the UK for their final engagements. Again, nothing from the BRF.
        Never underestimate the hatred of racists.

      • Ebony Rising says:

        As a Black woman, I am beyond tired of people acting like racism isn’t the most violent force in the world. Stop acting naive like very powerful, entitled individuals don’t frequently harm others to get what they want. Tired of people not facing the full reality of just how damned awful humans are and always will be.

    • Mich says:

      There will also be quite a bit of blame on media. In Diana’s case, fascination chased her into an early grave. In Harry’s, there is an actual desire to have him injured. You don’t whip up hate while demanding all security be removed without a very dark agenda.

      • Soupie says:

        I will take it a step further and say that the media was used as a cover for Diana’s murder. Did a lot of reading and studying about it. Very plausible. And it wasn’t just the royal family who wanted her gone or done away with. So we’ll never really know who did the deed. Maybe it will be revealed but we’ll be long gone by then.

      • Chris says:

        Yep. The fact that the Palace, Media, and racist Brits insisted on having them stripped from their police protection, tells me that they wanted to see them hurt!
        The Sussexes were moving to a new land, facing many death treats, and the country wanted to make sure that they had no protection! Yes, I believe that they wanted to see them hurt!

    • Nyro says:

      It wouldn’t even have to be anything tragic. If they got into a mere fender bender, social media would be in fire with speculation and memes and threads about Diana’s car crash, etc. If the royals had any brains, they would have publicly showered them with support and then backed off completely. But they’re a bunch of jealous meathead racists so they couldn’t manage to do that. They’d better hope and pray nothing bad ever happens to the Sussexes.

  2. Elizabeth Regina says:

    History often repeats itself but curses can be broken and there are often exceptions to the norm. Harry gave his family chance after chance to make things work. It took a strong woman like Meghan to give him the courage to walk away from toxicity, and further explore and leverage his true potential. Love them or hate them, with the way things are right now, the sky is the limit for them.

  3. Becks1 says:

    People were commenting on one of the royal IG accounts that Diana would be so disappointed in him. Um, no. Diana would be so proud that he was able to do what she wasn’t (or she was in the process of when she died) – cut ties with the Windsors and establish a new life. Diana would also recognize Harry’s moves as protecting his wife, and considering how unprotected she was, she would appreciate that. Nah. Diana would 100% support Harry here.

    Harry HAS “found freedom” and I think its going to be something to see over the next few years.

    Side note – look how much nicer Ingrid Seward is in Vanity Fair than some of the british publications – “embracing his new life,” etc. She gets in some digs about the “homeland” but overall the tone is so much different.

    • Winglet Watcher says:

      Diana would IMO 100% approve of how Harry lives his life and of his wife. She went to war with the BRF for her freedom. Why would she not be proud of her son for doing the same and winning? Especially considering the many circumstances.

      On top of that both H and M continue a philanthropic lifestyle. Just as she did.

    • lanne says:

      this is what has me laughing at the idiocy of the British royal reporters. Their meal ticket is the American market. It’s the ticket to a global stage that’s just not possible in the UK, and it’s a much bigger audience. The royal reporters had their careers SET when Meghan joined the firm. The next decades of their lives could have spent in cushy comfort, writing books, giving “royal expertise” on American talk shows, and accompanying the Sussexes on glamorous foreign tours. But no. Those dumb racists had to chase them out. No man with a spine would allow his wife and child to be bullied the way Meghan and Archie were bullied. Only the worst type of Momma’s boy would stay tethered to to the BM and the RF as co toxic mother in laws. In chasing away the Sussexes, they curtailed their own careers! No wonder that hag Ingrid is making nice–she is realizing she swept the cake off the table and she’s frantically grabbing at the crumbs.

      Congrats, Rota! You killed your own damn careers!

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        Well said

      • Busy Bee says:

        “No man with a spine”… This! They were counting on Harry being as spineless as the rest of them and lo and behold he out manned them all.

      • Chris says:

        Yes, those Brit Reporters really messed up. When Meghan joined the RF, the Brit Reporters were interviewed on American Networks 24/7. There were so many Royal Programs, Royal Special.. The American Audience had not been that excited since Diana! All they had to do in the UK, was to treat Meghan fairly, but instead they failed! Now the Brit Reporters are going broke, because the Sussexes have left this toxc island. The American Networks don’t use them anymore, because the Sussexes are in America now. I love it! Now the Brits are the last one to get the news,and they now depend on the US’ Networks.

    • SomeChick says:

      They should keep Diana’s name out of their mouths. Of course she would have approved, and cheered him on! It’s vile how they are using her to criticize him, not to mention unfounded.

    • bluemoonhorse says:

      Diana was a maverick. She’d be ROFL her ass off at what Harry did.

    • February-Pisces says:

      I don’t get why people say ‘Diana would be disappointed in him’ he’s literally gone through the exact same sh*t she went through. She too was treated horribly by the firm, hounded by the media, left the royal family, pursued projects that were deemed ‘controversial’ but ground breaking, and also had interracial relationships. Diana and harry are literally twinning.

      However Diana would be disappointed in her other son who is a cheater just like his father.

      • bluemoonhorse says:

        the people who say Diana would be disappointed in him, are the same people who chased her to her death.

      • Becks1 says:

        It’s bizarre, right? If anything, Diana would probably say “what took you so long? you should have gotten out ages ago.”

      • February-Pisces says:

        Diana also told the firm to stick their HRH up their ass too (more or less). She would be happy he’s free and very proud of the steps he’s taken. I think Diana’s would have loved if she could have moved to a new country and taken her kids with her too and never look back. Unfortunately that wasn’t an option, so harry is lucky he can keep archie away from those vultures.

  4. erni says:

    I found my freedom before 36. I will repeat this anytime I have a chance. I feel like, my thirties is just the BEST. You know, to finally have the courage to say “F* it” to lots of thing and just walk away.

    Happy birthday Prince Harry.

    • Ohpioneer says:

      Wait until your 60s. The DGAF decade. It’s glorious.

      • Babz says:

        Amen! I left my marriage when I was 40, and did all the things you normally do in your 20s – live alone for the first time, buy a car for the first time by myself, travel alone – I joked that I was about 20 years behind my peers. Now, at 67, I am still single, and being single is the best thing that ever happened to me. The freedom is indescribable.

      • Feeshalori says:

        True that, Ohpioneer and Babz!!😆

      • Jaded says:

        Totally agree, my sixties have been a revelation. I have no more f*cks to give, have a wonderful partner and a tranquil life (paralyzing smoke notwithstanding, I live on Vancouver Island).

      • erni says:

        Ohh, I hope I will live long enough. You ladies make going 60 so fabulous

  5. Coz' says:

    The article didn’t feel creepy to me. I didn’t get the “something terrible will happen to Harry” vibe at all.
    I can not fathom what it feels like for someone who lost a parent at a young age to become older than your parent will ever be.
    He is truly his mother’ son.

    • Winglet Watcher says:

      The comparison to Diana felt like too many arrows pointing to death or at least bringing up a very painful part of his childhood for a Birthday article. It was unnecessary at the very least. Morbid and threatening at best.

      William or Kate never received those articles for comparisons.

    • bluemoonhorse says:

      I lost my dad when I was 21. And I didn’t walk behind his coffin. So yeah, I am sure Harry hitting his mother’s age of her death which was unexpected and grotesque in nature, getting married, having a son, and being hounded by the press did influence him a lot these last 3 years.

    • Babz says:

      I gained that milestone in June. My parents died within six months of each other, both at 67. I didn’t realize how important it was to me To reach that age. It matters.

    • Lady D says:

      If I reach one year past retirement age, (I’m 60) I will have lived three times longer than my mother. It’s a little depressing to think of how much she missed out on.

      • Finny says:

        Same here. Lost my mom to breast cancer at age 59. I was 38 when she died. I never really was concerned about it until I was hitting 50 and the closer I got to her age when she lost her battle with cancer. On my 60s birthday, one of my sisters made the comment “you surpassed mom by a year now”. For me it was like I was holding my breath all that year and when I finally passed 59 I could breathe again. It always makes me sad how much mom missed out on but I’m thankful for every birthday in the future.

      • bluemoonhorse says:

        It will be a weird feeling but it to shall pass. Been there, done that.

  6. jessamine says:

    The continued, obsessive posthumous pawing at Diana is creepy full stop. However, of the few friends and family I have who lost parents relatively young, reaching the age that “lives past” their parent is hugely significant: A friend who lost her mother when she was in middle school spent 36 really pouring herself into her children; my BIL, whose father had a heart attack at 42, had a full blown nervous breakdown at having more life than his dad.

  7. Bettyrose says:

    “..polo, shooting, the countryside…” So we have these things in America. Especially the shooting. You wanna just pointlessly shoot stuff, the U.S. has got you covered.

  8. My3cents says:

    That top photo of Diana holding Harry, wow all I can see is William in her face, I never noticed it so much until now.

  9. Jane says:

    I haven’t lost parents but I can imagine a certain amount of self-reflection going on as you approach the age your parent or parents were when they died. And something else that tends to happen in your mid-thirties is that you realise you’re not young (relatively speaking) any more, or at least not young enough to waive away certain things or get away with certain things any more. A lack of direction or focus is expected and tolerated in your early twenties but by your mid thirties it’s seen as a bit sad and rather problematic – rightly or wrongly, people tend to expect you to have your act together as far as relationship, family, job, life goals etc. are concerned. So for Harry, those things have come at the same time and have caused him to think very carefully about the kind of life he wants to live going forward, and he’s taking steps to achieve that.

    To some, he’s being selfish because he’s not grinning and bearing his misery the way that other family members have done, and why should he think he’s so different and special as to be entitled to happiness; to others, he’s simply doing what he needs to do to be happy and that’s perfectly understandable and laudable. I think you either get it or you don’t – Meghan gets it, maybe Charles gets it, but the Cambridges, the Royal Rota, and other media commentators don’t seem to.

  10. Amy Bee says:

    It’s clear from the article that with the exception of Omid, the rest of the British press are still angry that Harry has left and hope he returns to the UK. Seward still hasn’t accepted that Harry has left the family and the UK but if she was following him closely, she shouldn’t be and as for him “loving British life”, that’s not really true because he’s on record saying that he didn’t like living in the UK and that he felt most himself in Africa.

  11. MerryGirl says:

    Happy Birthday Harry….I wish all the best for you in your new endeavours. At 36, you are at the age your mother left us and so you can continue to carry her legacy.

  12. KellyRyan says:

    Happy Birthday Harry. I’ll never think of you as Prince, but something far greater. A man who loves his wife and son, was influenced by a good mother and feels at home in a country where he can thrive.

  13. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    Happy Birthday, Harry: I hope you and Meghan and Archie have a blessed and joyful day, and enjoy your blessed, free and golden life. The chuntering of these sad people, always trying to intrude and gain relevance in speaking of your existence, is merely background noise. I, for one, think that your mother would be very proud of the man you’ve become.

  14. Britt says:

    Meghan and Harry have a Dianaesque aura about them in terms of their passions, glamour and work ethic and Harry is compelling in many ways like Diana. But this article is creepy in a sense. Ingrid represents the wider BM because they can see that Harry is happy and it clearly not returning. I’ve been saying they are traumatized and grieving but they’re not upset because he’s gone because of duty, it’s because of their pockets.

  15. February-Pisces says:

    Happy birthday harry! I think it must be weird for anyone to become the same age as their parent was when they died. I feel like for anyone that age would be a turning point in their life, like they are living that extra life their parent never did, so they are going to make the most of it.

    It does seem threatening, like enjoy your short amount of freedom before we come for you and ruin it for you.

  16. bluemoonhorse says:

    Just some personal observations. My BIL died of cancer right before his 30th birthday, my father died of heart disease on his 52nd (I was 21 and watched him die at home). A BFFs sister died of cancer when she hit 30. When a SO dies you do keep those dates in mind. Like I remember passing 30 and my DH saying – my brother didn’t reach this date. I remember turning 52 and wondering if this would be my first heart attack year.

    I don’t think this is disingenuous of the royal family or the media to make note of the dates.

    JMO but the date probably did influence on why Harry walked away. He knew this date was coming and probably wondered: “is this my life? Life is too short as I KNOW” and acted accordingly. Was it rashly done, no? It was probably introspective acknowledgment that he wasn’t going to let his future play out like his mothers.

    Sorry but I’ve lived these realities. Death influences life and life choices.

    • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

      I’m sorry that this is your lived experience, Bluemoon. Your words are so honest and true and prescient: these passings do cast a directing shadow over our futures. It is impossible to live without marking them, and all the What If? they bring us.

      • bluemoonhorse says:

        Yes I’m okay but my father’s death cast a long shadow over myself and my four siblings. It leaves you with a sense of loss that becomes intense with every milestone – graduating from college, getting married, having a child, dealing with work issues you think a father could have provided advice upon, etc…

        I didn’t read anything harmful or creepy in the above. More of this is a milestone and I am sure it was on Harry’s mind especially as he hit so many of the tick boxes I just wrote about. I also think it strongly influenced him to step away because he knows life is too short for this BS, and he is never going to allow his wife and child to come under such harm as he did.

    • Snuffles says:

      I agree 100%. Harry saw himself fast approaching 36 and was probably at an emotional cross roads. Does he grin and bear it like everyone else in the family or does he make a break for it? Then Meghan came into his life and just opened up a whole new world of possibilities for him that he never dared to dream of before. For the first time in his life he thought “I can do this. I can leave and create a happy life for myself outside the Royal bubble. A life lived on my own terms!”

      As much as I shit on the royal family and the British press, I still deep down hope that in the next year or two, everyone will have calmed the fuck down and be settled into their new reality and be accepting of Harry’s life choices. I just think everyone is in complete shock and disbelief right now. No one in that family has EVER done what Harry is doing. No one even considered the possibility. But once the shock subsides, I hope they all get on board with it. Harry is creating a blue print for future royal spares. And as juicy as it sounds, I don’t think Harry has the slightest interest in selling out the rest of the royal family for profit. He genuinely just wants to do his own thing and focus on the causes he cares about.

      That will become clear soon enough. Then maybe the family can relax when it comes to Harry. If anything bad comes out about the royal family, it won’t be because of Harry, it will most likely be because of their own screw ups.

      • bluemoonhorse says:

        This ^^ I think people (because so much has happened) really don’t see the HUGE step this was for Harry to leave. Wow! I mean it is a Game Changer and how bold he was. Really astonishing and I’m hard to surprise.

        I think the RR will never settle down but the world is moving on and has greater problems to deal with. The further in time M&H moves from this date, the more readers won’t care about the old news and want the new news. The world moves on, even if the RR doesn’t.

  17. Sofia says:

    The media has used “36″ as a marker. I believe some noticed that Meghan married into the family at 36 and made a fuss of it. Of course never say never and god knows what the rest of the year is going to look like, but I don’t think it’s anything morbid. Or at least, more morbid than usual.

  18. AGreatDane says:

    Since when does Harry love Scotland? Also, the British media has found a way to milk Diana’s image and legacy and she’s been gone 20 years. I’m sure they’ll have no problem milking the Sussexes for years to come.

    • L84Tea says:

      And even if he does love it, is Scotland suddenly going disappear now that he has left the UK? Is he going to be barred from going to visit it? They sound so ridiculous.

      • fluffy_bunny says:

        It’s Scotland not Brigadoon. It isn’t going anywhere. He still is a UK citizen so he’s still allowed access to Scotland. Even if he becomes an American citizen he’s allowed to go to Scotland.

  19. BnLurkN4eva says:

    The BM will never stop talking about Diana and attaching whatever they can to her and Harry and William are their favorite means of speaking about her. She was their greatest revenue stream and they’ve done everything possible to keep milking that revenue stream since she died. As for whether they will move on past the Sussex in time, I used to hope they would in time, but it’s looking like they won’t. It seems like Diana, they will continue to milk that revenue stream forever so H/M just need to live their lives and ignore the BM.

  20. Loretta says:

    From Seward ” I’m still surprised, though, that Harry has left Britain. I know he has always hated the media and quite often hated being a prince, but I never thought he would leave his homeland. He’s always been such a lover of British life, polo, the countryside, the shooting, Scotland.”

    LMAO BM really believed that Meghan would come back to USA alone without Harry.

    I love the Diana-Harry pics, you can see how much they were close.

    • ABritGuest says:

      Ingrid said a few months ago that they all thought she would go back to the States but nobody thought Harry would go with her.

      The plan for some was clearly to drive Meghan out. That was where that term came from. The Firm is only pissed because Harry went with her- that wasn’t part of the plan.

      So as Harry said- he didn’t have much choice in making decision for his family to step down. No matter what actions taken
      against the media it would be ineffectual if people in the Firm were feeding press info & trying to sabotage their work. And in addition to being quite soul destroying to not do work they enjoyed so as to not step on toes, not sure even ‘dimming their light’ would have helped the Sussexes much. Only have to see the tantrums from just posting an Instagram the same day as another royal‘s event.

      What I will never understand is why the Firm wasn’t threatened by Harry being 1st/2nd most popular royal all those years before Meghan came on the scene the way they became so fearful of overshadowing once she arrived.

      The Sussexes were in an impossible situation but still seemed to want to serve the Queen whilst removing themselves from a toxic work culture & toxic rota relationship. Sounds like the Firm said no & it was either all in in a situation that was untenable, or out. They chose out.

  21. Ksweet says:

    I wonder if Harry has told his family to stop blaming Meagan. I hope he has told them she was willing to stay and was much more loyal and determined than they think, while it was HE who wanted to go and made the decision to go. I wish Harry could come out and make a definitive statement to this effect in the press, and be believed.

    • lanne says:

      No one will believe him, hence, Megxit. This was Harry’s choice. Everything choice he makes will be blamed on her. I’ve said this before, the really shocking thing for Harry must be how conditional his family’s love is. Ironically, they likely bonded over Meghan’s horrible paternal family–both of them have been betrayed by the people who were supposed to love and support them. I wonder if her idiot of a father realizes how much pain and anguish he caused her, the daughter he claims to love. The only differene between the Markles and the Windsors is money–the Windsors are just as ratchett–they just have prettier houses and fancier jewels.

      • Merricat says:

        Is there anything more romantic than you-and-me-against-the-world? Everything people have done to try to separate them has only made them stronger. They should change their names to Harry and Meghan Kenobi.

    • Ebony Rising says:

      The hatred that everyone has for his wife and child isn’t rational, so I’m not sure why you think any statements will derail their hate fest. People turn to hatred because it feels good to them. It makes them feel powerful. It makes them feel like someone else is at fault for their unhappiness and not their sorry selves. They are never going to let this go no matter what.

  22. Mariane says:

    I agree with you Kaiser mentioning his mother’s age when she died makes it seem like a threat! The British press has nothing now but gossip and speculation. Meanwhile harry and meghan are living their best lives away from this hell hole. Harry did well by extracting his family from a toxic environment and now can prioritise his own happiness.