Being a British royal brings on many complications. Although the fame, power, and wealth make for a seemingly easy life, constant scrutiny from the public and senior royals can have damaging consequences on the person’s psychological well-being and relationships with others. As seen with Princess Diana, some people won’t sacrifice their identity and charisma in order to fit the perfect, straight-edged mold of a royal family member. In 2020, a similar situation is developing with Meghan Markle, duchess and wife of Prince Harry.
Throughout the early stages of her marriage to the once hard-partying bachelor, Meghan had been ruthlessly criticized by the British tabloids for practically everything, from her American heritage to her divorcee background and even the color of her skin. Racist headlines, such as “Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton: Gang-scarred home of her mother revealed — so will he be dropping by for tea?” from the Daily Mail, and gossipy editorials about Meghan’s supposed “social-climbing” intentions flooded newspapers and media outlets like clockwork. The biggest offenders of tormenting the former duchess were the Telegraph, the Daily Express, and the Sun, the last of which made false claims of having hacked into Prince Harry’s phone and uncovered secrets. Meghan openly discussed in interviews how the aggressive and persistent attacks made adjusting to her new life as a royal and a mother very challenging. The tabloid’s bullying took an emotional toll on her and certainly factored into her and Harry’s decision to step down from their positions.
According to its official website, the British royal family engages in more than 2,000 commitments annually across the United Kingdom, from attending press tours to supporting charities. Harry and Meghan were accountable for many of these duties. Now that their out, their responsibilities will likely be passed on to other senior royals like Prince William and Kate Middleton. And although they can’t partake in many royal activities and don’t have the financial support of royal money, Meghan and Harry intend to continue their appearances and community service, even stating that they may start their own charity. The couple is happy to leave their cushy lives in Kensington Palace and payback their expenses in order to live a more conventional, private, and family-oriented life.
Before Meghan and Harry, no member of the British royal family had ever abdicated his or her title. This bold decision has lead to much controversy and disagreement over the Meghan and Harry’s actions. RHS senior Daniel Son ways in on Meghan Markle’s reaction to the spiteful British media. “I think it’s awful that the British media is mean to Meghan and I understand her reasons for stepping down.” For Leigh Mckenna, also a senior, the situation is much more complex and Meghan’s intentions seem murky. “I’m all for her feminist aspects and I love her acting, but I feel that Meghan has been playing the victim a little too much. I get that the media has been ripping her apart, but she must have expected it when she married a prince. The situation just seems like a ploy for attention.” Katie Hu, another senior, has a neutral stance on the topic of “Megexit.” “I think it is very good that Meghan and Harry are taking initiative. It is a little disappointing that the couple is leaving, but I understand that being a royal is extremely hard. I wish them the best of luck in Canada.” As more details come to light, opinions on the formerly royal couple will evolve and sway.
Regardless of context, Meghan and Harry abandoning their royal positions is a monumental, history-making moment in pop culture and world relations. The couple has the public’s support for now, and it will be interesting to see what they do with their time in North America. Will Meghan return to acting? Can Harry adjust to a none royal life in a foreign country? How will baby Archie live without seeing his grandmother and cousins every day? These exciting questions will surely be answered in the coming months. But for now, the public must say “goodbye” to their favorite royal couple.
Graphic: The Sun.Co