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Prince Harry facing rising hostility to living in America

Prince Harry’s account of taking an array of illegal drugs in his memoir Save has led a conservative think tank to raise the prospect of “the potential revocation of Prince Harry’s visa for illicit substance use.”

The Washington, DC-based Heritage Foundation wants US authorities to publish the Duke of Sussex’s visa application to determine whether he was asked to disclose any drug use. In SaveHarry describes taking drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, mushrooms and ayahuasca.

Mike Howell, director of the foundation’s Oversight Project, told the Daily Mail: “This request is in the public interest in the light of the potential revocation of Prince Harry’s visa for illicit substance use and further questions regarding the Prince’s drug use and whether he was properly vetted before entering the United States.”

In 2020, Harry and Meghan Markle left Britain for a new life in America to escape a wave of hostile media coverage, which they said the royal family was not helping them deal with. Many of their comments have focused on the British press, particularly the tabloids, which the couple said were uniquely intrusive and hostile.

Some observers may have expected the couple’s experience in America to be more positive. For a long time it was, though this has become more complicated during their time in California and particularly in the months since the publication of Save.

There has been a significant swing against the couple in US polling. They are now significantly less popular in America than they were in Britain at the time they chose to leave.

In January, Meghan was liked by 26 percent of Americans and disliked by 39 percent, giving her a net approval rating of -13, in polling done by Redfield & Wilton for Newsweek.

By contrast, a majority of Brits liked Meghan as late as November 2019, two months before they announced they were stepping down as working royals and moving to Canada. That data, collected by YouGov, showed 54 percent liked the duchess and 34 percent disliked her, giving her a net approval rating of +20.

Harry was liked by 31 percent and disliked by 38 percent of Americans in January, giving him a net approval rating of -7. This compares with the 72 percent of Brits who liked him and 21 percent who disliked him in November 2019, adding up to a net approval rating of +51.

In addition, some American comedians have ridiculed Harry’s memoir, including Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Rock and Trevor Noah.

If the Heritage Foundation is successful in its campaign and the result is “the potential revocation of Prince Harry’s visa,” that would be a major milestone for the prince’s critics on either side of the Atlantic.

Harry and Meghan have faced genuine threats to their security, including a suspicious white powder—which turned out to be harmless—that was intercepted in a racist letter sent to St James’s Palace in 2018. However, nothing in Britain has yet had consequences comparable to the prospect of Harry being deported from the US

In SaveHarry wrote: “Psychedelics did me some good as well. I’d experimented with them over the years, for fun, but now I’d begun to use them therapeutically, medicinally. They didn’t simply allow me to escape reality for a while, they let me redefine reality.

“Under the influence of these substances I was able to let go of rigid preconcepts, to see that there was another world beyond my heavily filtered senses, a world that was equally real and doubly beautiful—a world with no red mist, no reason for red mist. There was only truth.”

He went on: “After the psychedelics wore off my memory of that world would remain:
This is not all there is. All the great seers and philosophers say our daily life is
an illusion. I always felt the truth in that. But how reassuring it was, after
nibbling a mushroom, or ingesting ayahuasca, to experience it for myself.”

Jack Royston is chief royal correspondent for Newsweek, based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jack_royston and read his stories on Newsweek‘s The Royals Facebook page.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry, or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email We’d love to hear from you.

Prince Harry’s account of taking an array of illegal drugs in his memoir Save has led a conservative think tank to raise the prospect of “the potential revocation of Prince Harry’s visa for illicit substance use.”

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