Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's announcement to step back as senior members of the British royal family in January this year came as a huge shock. However, it wasn't totally unexpected since Meghan's 19 months in England were also marred with reports of differences with the rest of the family.

A recent report in The Times has claimed that Meghan Markle was convinced that the royal courtiers were working "against her" once she joined the British royal family, and was also afraid about a conspiracy being hatched by them.

Royal correspondent Katie Nicholl told the outlet on Monday that a pal close to the former American actress revealed that she "felt like an outsider from the start" during her time with The Firm.

"She was convinced there was a conspiracy against her and so she basically put herself in isolation when they moved to Frogmore," a source explained. "I think she felt like an outsider from the start. This wasn't the life she was used to and she wanted out," the source added.

Another source claimed that the 38-year-old struggled after giving birth to her son Archie, and felt "lonely" and "unfulfilled" with her royal duties. In fact, her close circle of friends was worried that the Duchess of Sussex was "burning out" by immersing herself in numerous projects as a senior royal.

"One of the things Meghan struggled with was not earning an income. She has always worked and I think she felt unfulfilled. Having financial freedom was a big part of them wanting to leave," an insider explained.

The source also claimed that Los Angeles was always "the big plan", at least for Meghan. However, the relocation and transition into a "financially independent" member of the royal family were "not easy" for Prince Harry, who finds himself without "an established life" in California. The source alleges that the British prince feels "lonely and directionless" in the United States, similar to how his wife used to feel in the United Kingdom.

Meghan Markle in South Africa
Applause: Prince Harry and Meghan visited a Cape Town rights group fighting gender violence. Rape and murder of women have reached epidemic proportions in South Africa. Photo: POOL / Courtney AFRICA

Royal expert Katie Nicholl had earlier also said that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex always had an agenda to become independent. The author told 9Honey: "I was told from a very early stage in their courtship, they had told a friend of Harry's that Meghan met quite early on that they wanted to be international roving royals and that was going to be their focus."