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Prince Harry Has Been ‘Thriving’ Since Stepping Back From His Royal Duties: He ‘Isn’t Looking Back’ (Exclusive)

He found his freedom. Prince Harry is feeling more like himself each day nearly one year after announcing his and Meghan Markle‘s royal exit, a source tells Us Weekly exclusively.

Related: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Royal Drama: Everything to Know

The prince, 36, and the Suits alum, 39, settled in the Montecito enclave of Santa Barbara, California, in July 2020 after declaring that they were stepping down from their senior roles within the royal family six months earlier. As the couple continue to adjust to life on the West Coast with their 18-month-old son, Archie, the source tells Us that the Duke of Sussex is breathing a sigh of relief.

Prince Harry Has Been Thriving Nearly 1 Year After Royal Exit
Prince Harry Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

“Harry doesn’t have any regrets about leaving the royal family whatsoever and is really happy in Montecito,” the insider says. “He and Meghan are enjoying their new life in California — being a normal family and having the freedom to make their own decisions without anyone watching over them.”

The royal couple, who wed in May 2018, originally put down roots in Los Angeles after a brief stay in Canada in the wake of their step down. Since relocating to the quieter California neighborhood, Harry has been “thriving.”

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“[He] has grown in confidence since the move. Harry isn’t looking back, although he does miss his friends at home,” the source adds.

Harry and the retired actress threw themselves into a handful of passion projects following their royal exit, including their new Archewell foundation and Spotify podcast, Archewell Audio, which dropped its first episode shortly before New Year’s Day.

While the past year brought plenty of positive change for the couple, they also faced hardship. In November 2020, Meghan revealed that she had suffered a miscarriage several months earlier in a heartbreaking op-ed for The New York Times. “I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second,” she wrote as she described the “almost unbearable grief” she and Harry experienced.

Though there have been struggles along the way, a separate source exclusively revealed to Us that the duo are “closer than they’ve ever been and feel so lucky to have each other” after a whirlwind year.

Related: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: A Timeline of Their Relationship

“2020 was a huge game-changer for Harry and Meghan and it came with its ups and downs — the stress of announcing their departure from the royal family, moving three times, dealing with the pandemic, making huge business decisions, setting up Archewell, coming to terms with the miscarriage,” the insider said. “It’s brought them closer together and made them a stronger couple.”

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