Prince Harry says he didn’t walk away from royal duties

LONDON (AP) — Prince Harry, who decamped from England to Southern California last year, rapped the theme song to the 1990s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” during a late-night talk show appearance in which he said he didn’t walk away from his royal duties.

During a segment on the CBS television network’s “The Late, Late Show with James Corden” that aired early Friday, Harry said he decided to step away from his work as a front-line member of the royal family to protect his wife and son — and his mental health.

“It was stepping back rather than stepping down,” he told Corden. “It was a really difficult environment, which I think a lot of people saw, so I did what any father or husband would do and thought, ‘How do I get my family out of here?’ But we never walked away, and as far as I’m concerned, whatever decisions are made on that side, I will never walk away.”

The appearance marked Harry’s first interview since his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, stripped the prince and his wife, the former actress Meghan Markle, of their remaining royal duties earlier this month. Corden’s coup trumped Oprah Winfrey, whose interview with the couple is scheduled to air March 7.

The Queen announced her decision on Feb. 19, saying it wasn’t possible for the couple to “continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service” after they stepped away from the work of the Royal Family. Harry and Meghan replied by saying “service is universal” and underscoring their commitment to the U.K., a response seen by some as disrespectful to the queen.

Whatever issues have divided the royals, Harry suggested he and Meghan remain in touch with the monarch and her husband, Prince Philip. Harry told Corden that the monarch gave Harry and Meghan’s son, Archie, a waffle-maker for Christmas and that the senior royals had seen the toddler “running around” in California via Zoom.

The prince also offered a glimpse of the couple’s life in the wealthy Santa Barbara County enclave of Montecito, where they generally watch the game show “Jeopardy” and Netflix programs before going to bed. Archie’s first word was “crocodile,” Harry said.

During the lighthearted segment, which didn’t touch on the royal couple’s commercial ventures, Corden and the prince tour Southern California on an open top bus. At one point they arrived outside the mansion where the opening sequence of Will Smith’s “Fresh Prince” was filmed.

“If it was good enough for the Fresh Prince, it’s good enough for a real prince,” Corden says, walking up the drive. “Do you remember the song?”

“Now this is the story, all about how, my life got flipped, turned upside down, now take a minute,” Harry raps before turning to Corden for help.

“And sit right there, I’ll tell you how I became the prince of town called…,” Corden chimes in.

“Bel-Air,” Harry finishes off the song.

Corden then jokingly tried to convince Harry to buy the sprawling mansion, placing a video call to Meghan to seek her support. She demurred.

“I think we’ve done enough moving,” she said.

Meghan then asked “Haz” how his tour of Los Angeles was going, prompting Corden to ask Harry about the nickname.

“I didn’t know we were calling you Haz now,” Corden said.

“You’re not my wife,” Harry responded with a shrug, as both men chuckled.

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