Since Wednesday, I’ve been sharing things about the Harry and Meghan sh*t show on Instagram Stories. There’s a highlight in case you want to see anything you may have missed. I received a bunch of messages asking me to expand on things, especially for those who don’t really know much about the British Royal Family.
I’m going to start by saying I’m not a royal expert. I paid very mild attention to the royals since I was little. My attention increased around when Will and Kate got married in 2011 because they married two months before Brad and me. I’d say it hit a peak when Meghan came around, and I started watching The Crown. Then, I started watching more documentaries on the family.
There are loads of working parts to this whole debacle, so I can’t possibly touch on everything.
Why are They ‘Stepping Back’?
Harry’s and Meghan’s statement on Instagram (and the press release) read, “After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. 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 doesn’t mean that they’re leaving the royal family, never to be heard from again. It also doesn’t mean that they want nothing to do with the family any more.
I’m sure there’s a lot that goes into their decision. They said in the documentary that aired in October that they felt the media wasn’t fair, especially toward Meghan. And that’s true. The British media has been racist and sexist toward Meghan, which is abhorrent. They’ve been blatantly racist and there’s been plenty of racial micro aggressions used toward her.
There also seems to be some family turmoil going on. In the documentary Harry said about Prince William, his older brother, “We’re certainly on different paths at the moment. But I’ll always be there for him and, as I know, he’ll always be there for me. We don’t see each other as much as we used to because we’re so busy, but I love him dearly.” William and Harry always seemed to be tight. Harry was also rather close with Kate and Eugenie.
Something to consider is working with/for your family. I’d imagine things can get rather messy while trying to balance the family side of the relationship and the working side of the relationship.
I don’t think anyone blames them for wanting to go out on their own, especially if they think it will make them happier. I certainly don’t. I haven’t read of anyone saying, “No, they have to stay. It’s their duty.”
Have Their Cake and Eat It Too
Harry and Meghan chose the full-on nuclear option. Their statement was released and website was launched after they were taking a supposed break in Canada for the Christmas holiday, at a rumored Russian oligarch’s mansion. It’s been said that while in Canada, Harry contacted his dad, Prince Charles, and brought up their desire to step back from their royal roles just before Christmas. Prince Charles said ok, come up with a thought-out plan and send it to me. But apparently the plan had a lot of holes in it, so Prince Charles told him to try again. Meanwhile, this was evidently a working holiday because they were working with a USA PR team and lawyers to draft their plan. They were also having a website built with the same agency who built Meghan’s former lifestyle blog, The Tig. The website listed how their charitable work was going to function, how everything would be funded, how they’d work with the media. It gave the appearance that they were telling their bosses how things would be without their bosses actually approving anything. Not a good look.
Here’s the thing though– they can’t have their cake and eat it too. If they want to step away from being senior royals and move to North America, rumored to be Los Angeles, fine. Go. Have fun. But they want to be autonomous and political activists while keeping their titles when the members of the monarchy are to be politically neutral and represent the entire country. They also state on their website that their security should be covered by UK taxpayers. The website also states that any travel they do on behalf of the Queen should be paid for by taxpayers. They also want to continue to use Frogmore Cottage, which cost $2.4 million in taxpayer dollars to refurbish. It’s all very gimme gimme gimme.
The bottom line is they can’t pick and choose all the perks of a job that they only intend on doing part-time. If they want to move to LA and start their own charity, that’s fine but they can’t expect to do it while wholly relying on their titles. The British Royal family has a brand to protect. And if Harry and Meghan want to be part of that brand, they need to abide by the rules. Just like how any job has rules.
The optics of this would have been completely different if all of this was hashed out in private and QEII, Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince Harry made a joint appearance and announced the plans. It would’ve looked like a united front– everyone on the same page. The uproar wouldn’t have been nearly as intense.
Private or No?
I said this in my IG Stories on Wednesday evening after the news broke that I liked Meghan at first. But my view of her greatly shifted when she had her baby shower in New York City. She and Harry would go on and on about privacy. But here she was having a baby shower at The Mark Hotel on the Upper East Side in a $75,000-a-night penthouse thrown by Serena Williams and Amal Clooney. The famous guests, including the guest of honor, walked through the front door of the hotel instead of using the back door and service elevator. And all of the baby shower favors were lugged through the front doors of the hotel. It made me question is this was a trial run to see their brand-boosting power.
Apparently The Palace warned Meghan about the flashy shower and how it was breaking with royal tradition. So why couldn’t Meghan compromise and have a private baby shower that no one knew about. It’s just odd that she wants to be private when she wants to be private.
For reference, the baby shower favor was a Cuyana tote filled with Meghan’s favorites– a Jo Malone scented candle, hand stitched sweaters by Lingua Franca, Tatcha’s Rice Enzyme Powder, and Susanne Kaufmann’s Body Butter, as well as various products from Honest Beauty and Rodin. Each guest also received a piece of Away luggage. Each favor prize pack was valued at over $428. I don’t know about you but my baby shower guests took home bouquets of flowers in mason jars, which also served as table decor.
Working Royals Vs Non-Working Royals
Harry and Meghan want to step down as senior royals. Being a working royal means they are paid to represent the royal family. Like many jobs, there’s also rules that come with being a working royal. They must be on their best behavior at all times and no social media accounts are two examples. For reference, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie aren’t working royals. They have day jobs. They attend major royal functions like the Trooping the Colour, but their jobs aren’t to represent the monarchy. Beatrice and Eugenie are patrons of various charities, but that’s on their own. Non-working royals have a lot more freedom and less rules, but they also don’t represent the monarchy. It also guarantees a level of privacy for non-working royals. For example, who’s Eugenie’s husband and what does he do? Exactly. I know Eugenie isn’t as well-known as Harry but she especially flies under the radar because she isn’t a working royal.
One of the rumors going around is that the royal family has treated Meghan poorly. I’d like to think the family gave her a fair shake. Meghan even said in their engagement interview that the family “has been so welcoming” and “over the past year and a half we’ve just had a really nice time getting to know them and progressively helping me feel a part of not just the institution but also part of the family, which has been really, really special.” I mean, shoot, Prince Charles walked her down the aisle when the mega drama with her dad unfolded. The royal family also gave Meghan and Harry a $42 million wedding. Meghan’s ceremony wedding gown cost $500,000. In contrast, Princess Eugenie’s wedding cost $3.5 million. Meghan also got a $125,000 wardrobe stipend in 2019. Did the family tell Harry he was moving too fast with her? Maybe. But it’s not like that’s a bad thing to say. They did take things pretty fast– meeting and marrying within 22 months. That’s rather fast when you’re marrying into one of the most high profile families on the planet.
Also, I wouldn’t like it if I was part of a family, following the rules for years, and then this new person comes into the fray and starts bucking the system. And by bucking the system this person is seen as being dishonorable to the queen– the matriarch of the family who has given her entire adult life to serving the people of the UK. So I wouldn’t blame anyone for giving Meghan the side eye.
Let’s compare Will and Kate, future king and queen consort, with Harry and Meghan. Will and Kate married in 2011 after dating for 8 years. They didn’t become full-time working royals until 2017. Those 6 years were spent attending some royals events, but for the most part they were settling in as a family, and Will worked as an air ambulance pilot. They also lived away from the spotlight in Norfolk. Harry and Meghan, on the other hand, went straight into being working royals.
Meghan and Harry had plenty of options. They could’ve scaled back on their royal duties. I’m sure if they went to the queen and said “Listen, we’re overwhelmed. Meghan is feeling attacked. Etc. Etc.” I’m sure the queen would’ve said, “That’s fine. Take a break. Lay low for a while.” I mean, Will and Kate were able to lay low for 6 years– I’m sure she would’ve done the same for Harry and Meghan. Or like I said above, if they had a specific plan, they could’ve had today’s summit in private with the QEII, Prince Charles, and Prince William before trademarking Sussex Royal to include over 100 items, building a website and launching it before having everything approved by the Queen.