The Case For Harry & Meghan
There are two sides to every coin, but only one has the Queen’s portrait on it. Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, chose the other side.
Megxit, the royal couple’s split from the rest of the royal family, turned Harry and Meghan into the villains in the eyes of many. They are not the most popular people in the UK right now. In case you’ve missed it, that was a very British understatement.
According to data analysis company YouGov, Harry is currently holding number 8 in ‘The Most Popular Royal’ poll although being 4th most famous. Meghan is at number 11 although being 5th most famous. They are both unliked by most men, women, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers.
Being cross-generationally unliked, that’s no an easy thing to accomplish, not even for a royal.
It’s true, Harry and Meghan made a lot of mistakes along the way. A memorable one was not updating the queen on their plans to go independent and launch a new website. According to reports, the queen was “devastated”.
But here in the UK, that approach is mainstream. I’m here to tell this story differently. I’m here to deliver the case for Harry and Meghan.
The monarchy will undoubtedly look very different in the future. The Queen has been wearing the crown for almost 70 years now. She’s much loved and appreciated and considered a symbol of the old, powerful, meaningful monarchy.
Her successor, however, is not.
Prince Charles is controversial. Still carrying with him the unfixable reputation damages from his failed marriage to Diana and her tragic death. Prince Charles will be a less popular king than his mother as queen. He’ll be a monarch ruling over a different country, in different times, and in a different world.
In modern times, in a fast-moving world, and when countries are more concerned with the future rather than the past, an age-old establishment like the monarchy could face a lot more challenges in its efforts to survive.
And so, royal experts have long speculated that when Prince Charles becomes king, he will make unprecedented changes to the monarchy to guarantee its survival. Mainly, making the royal family more economic and more efficient. It means, having the royal family slim down.
In this new ‘scaled down’ version, the royal family is thought to be focusing on the queen’s direct heirs. Prince Charles is first in line, Prince William is second, Prince George is third. All are expected to be kings. Prince Harry, once third in line, is now at number six.
Harry must have realized that in the slimmed-down monarchy model, his role, and more importantly his importance, would be greatly reduced. Whenever there will be a dispute between him and a front-line family member, Harry will be expected to take the back seat.
Harry lived under the spotlight all of his life. He has a very complicated relationship with the press that he claims is “destroying his mental health”. He is also very passionate about public service. ‘The Invictus Games’ for wounded army veterans is a very known and beautiful project he founded.
Having to suffer from constant scrutiny, to live with harassment, and being forced to give up your privacy. Having causes that are important to you, things you want to make better, goals, and dreams to accomplish. Having all that, and then being asked to take a big step back and live in the shadows like it was all for nothing. Not many people would be cool with that.
Same Paper, Different Headline
Things became more apparent when Meghan Markle joined the family. All of a sudden the shift in Harry’s position, and the new dynamics within the family were spread all over the tabloids front papers for everyone to see.
A few examples:
On the left, a headline praising Kate’s handling of morning sickness by eating an avocado. On the right, Meghan’s avocado is linked to millennial shame and abuse. Same paper, very different headlines.
On the left, an article on how Kate became a fashion icon. On the right, Meghan is told off for guest-editing Vouge as Brits do not need “fashion royalty”. Same paper, same writer, very different headlines.
On the top, lovely tips on how Kate scented the Abbey ahead of her big wedding. On the bottom, how ‘dictatorial bride Meghan’ dared asking for air fresheners for the smelly Abbey ahead of her big wedding. Again, same paper, very different headline.
On the left, Kate ‘tenderly cradles her baby bump’. On the right, Meghan's constant cradling is ‘pride, vanity, and acting’.
And here’s another similar example. On the left, Kate and her baby bump, ‘there she glows’. On the right, Meghan and her baby bump, ‘gone gaga’. You got the point.
Some of Meghan’s supporters called racism, this might be the case, I don’t claim to know, but my point is different. Time and time again Harry and Meghan saw how they, and especially her, have been treated poorly by the press and the palace didn’t do anything to protect them.
This is the future Harry and Meghan envisioned for themselves under the ‘slimmed down’ monarchy. A future in which they will be made to act the role of the counterweight for the future king and queen. A future in which nobody will protect them unless they protect themselves.
A few days ago, in an interview with James Corden, Harry was asked about the split from the royal family. He answered, “It was never walking away, it was stepping back rather than stepping down. It was a really difficult environment as I think a lot of people saw. and it was destroying my mental health”.
In a teaser clip ahead of their first interview since the split, Meghan is seen telling Oprah Winfrey, “I don’t know how they could expect that, after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there is an active role that The Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us”. Harry and Meghan saw no future in ‘The Firm’, they felt that they were sacrificed for the survival of the monarchy and for the positive reputation for the future kings.
Harry and Meghan made many mistakes along the way. They have entered into a full-on battle with the rest of the royal family partly due to their behavior and decisions. But there are two sides for every coin, and there’s a case to be told even for that lonely side that doesn’t have the queen’s portrait stamped on it.