Written by: Anusha T.
Edited by: Kay S.
Visual by: Andi L.
On January 8th, the former Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, posted a statement on his instagram, @sussexroyal, expressing, “We intend to step back as senior members of the Royal Family, and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen”.
This post was reposted, shared, liked and hated in equal measure by thousands of people. When news first leaked about Meghan and Harry dating, fans, as well as British press were quick to attack Meghan. The British tabloid press did not respond well to this African American celebrity as her every move was analyzed through a negative lens. Despite being a celebrity even before her romance with Harry, Meghan was taken aback and took a 2 month hiatus from all social media. It didn’t come as a surprise that she was then targeted when Harry released the announcement that the couple were stepping back from royal duties.
Comments such as “Run Harry run, time to end this marriage while you are still young. This woman will ruin your life” and “You are both spoiled brats, and Harry should respect his grandmother more. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you both” streamed through twitter feeds and instagram chains. Ironically, it was exactly these type of comments that had prompted them to seek a less public life in the first place. At a charity event after the resignation, Harry emotionally explained, “My deepest fear is history repeating itself, I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”.
Another reason for the resignation may have been that Harry had always been ambivalent about receiving money from public funding, stating, “Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the commonwealth, and my military associations, but without public funding.”When he realized this wasn’t possible, stepping back as senior members of the royal family may have seemed like a logical next step however, Harry may have failed to consider the effect on the remaining royal family members.
The royal family has a lot to lose from Harry’s and Meghan’s resignation. For one, the brothers Harry and William represented a new face of royalty, one that their public adored. When Meghan came into the royal family as a woman of color and an actress, she brought a fresher and more progressive image to the royal family. Sandy Rankaduwa states, “By not enforcing or understanding the need to protect Meghan from vicious, racist press coverage in a more deliberate way, they are losing her and what she had to offer: a new, modern, more progressive image to associate with the monarchy — a brand that is ultimately rooted in appearances.”.
I remain an ardent fan of the British royals, especially the younger generation. However, I do believe that Meghan and Harry’s decision was the right one. With the unprecedented amount of hate and media attention they had been getting from the British press, it seemed a step they took to survive as a young couple. While I believe Harry and Meghan could have been more prudent in the way they managed this process, I also empathize with Harry’s need to live an independent and private life with his wife and baby, Archie.
Foster, Max. “Harry and Meghan Are Giving up Royal Titles and State Funding. Here’s What That Means.” CNN, Cable News Network, 20 Jan. 2020, edition.cnn.com/2020/01/19/uk/harry-meghan-royal-explainer-gbr-scli-intl/index.html.
Friel, Mikhaila. “Here’s What Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Future Could Hold Now That They’re Leaving the Royal Family.” Insider, 9 Jan. 2020, http://www.insider.com/prince-harry-meghan-markle-leave-royal-family-what-happens-next-2020-1.
Friel, Mikhaila. “How the Royal Family Will Change Now That Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Giving up Their Titles.” Insider, 20 Jan. 2020, http://www.insider.com/prince-harry-meghan-markle-could-leave-royal-family-2019-10.
Rankaduwa, Sandi. “The British Royal Family Has More To Lose Than Harry And Meghan Do.” BuzzFeed News, BuzzFeed News, 17 Jan. 2020, http://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/sandirankaduwa/meghan-markle-prince-harry-megxit-leaving-royal-family.
Sussex Royal, Duke And Duchess Resigning As Senior Members Of The Royal Family. Instagram, “8 Jan. 2020, http://www.instagram.com/p/B7EaGS_Jpb9.
Hill, Erin. “Prince Harry Shares Fears for Meghan Markle: ‘I Lost My Mother, Now I Watch My Wife Falling Victim’.” PEOPLE.com, 1 Oct. 2019, people.com/royals/prince-harry-shares-fears-for-meghan-markle-i-lost-my-mother-now-i-watch-my-wife-falling-victim/.