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Bitesized Blighty: January 10, 2020

Hector Don

  • Ok, so let’s be honest here. There’s one piece of news that everyone in the UK is discussing right now – and we’re fairly sure it’s sparked some interest in the US too. We are talking, of course, about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex – who on Wednesday announced their intention to effectively resign from public duties as members of the British royal family so that they could spend more time in North America and become “financially independent”. Since the announcement was made, the debate has already flourished for two days straight. Here are the key factors to consider going forward:
    • There are many who argue that we should sympathise with Harry and Meghan. It’s hard to imagine the strains of media attention on that level over such a prolonged period of time. There is no shortage of reporting to back up claims of wholly inappropriate behaviour and invasions of privacy from the media toward the couple, especially in Meghan’s case. Many would say that a young couple with a newborn child deserve better and that they are well within their rights to try and leave that all behind, forge their own paths and free themselves of the shackles of ancient custom.
    • Although a somewhat simplistic comparison, a number of commentators have revelled in the parallels between Harry and Meghan’s announcement and the actions of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson on December 11, 1966. We truly hope that Harry and Meghan’s alienation from The Crown and the UK doesn’t reach that level, but who can really know the inner dynamics of the ‘the firm’?
    • Did Wednesday’s announcement mark a critical juncture for the royal family and the House of Windsor? Through this abrupt move, are we witnessing first hand the degradation of The Crown’s integrity, as a much loved front line Prince turns his back on his ‘duties’?
    • Amongst all the drama and noise, spare a thought for our poor Queen, Elizabeth II. For those of you who watch The Crown, you will know Elizabeth as our day 1, our rock, the one lady who has seen it all and put up with all manner of rubbish throughout the years since she first accepted her position from Treetops Hotel in Kenya on February 6th, 1952. It’s been a rough year for the monarch to say the least. Prince Andrew, the Queen’s second son, in November announced he was giving up all public duties after revelations over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted US sex offender. Harry and Meghan’s recent act of rebellion will only add to her woes and she surely deserves better after her years of faultless service.
  • One of the big questions to ask moving forward is whether Meghan will ever come back now that she’s gone. Our own Fiona doesn’t seem to think so, as she earlier remarked: “a Prince, marrying a Hollywood star – wasn’t this to be expected?” Perhaps it was.
  • From my perspective, it feels like we have only witnessed the very tip of the iceberg, and we can expect more drama in the days to come. The protected atmosphere of the royal family and the secretive nature of the palace might produce a drip-feed of gossip over Harry and Meghan’s future over the weeks and months to come. 

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