Abdication: Meghan flies off as Harry faces wrath
Will the monarchy survive? Insiders at the Palace are furious after Harry and Meghan gave no warning of their bombshell. Some say it might be the final straw for 1,000 years of history.
“Megxit,” trumpeted the Sun. “They didn’t even tell the Queen,” blared the Daily Mirror.
Yesterday, the world awoke to the news that Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle had announced – without warning – that they were quitting the royal team.
No one inside Buckingham Palace, neither family nor staff, had been consulted prior to the decision.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who are believed to want to keep their royal residence and titles, launched a brand new website outlining their intent to embody a “progressive new role”.
Despite stating that they were keen to still “honour our duty to the Queen”, this was a declaration of independence.
It is believed to have both shocked and infuriated Prince Charles, Prince William and the Queen.
Yesterday, all three of them were locked in intensive phone conferences with Prince Harry, while Meghan quietly slipped out of the country back to Canada, leaving her husband to face the music on his own .
The parallels to a previous abdication are striking. In 1936, Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Simpson, who, like Meghan, was a previously divorced American woman who met her future royal groom at the age of 34.
Meghan was even driven to her wedding in the very same car that took Wallis to her husband’s funeral.
In fact, tensions have been brewing for some time.
Many tabloid newspapers saw the Duchess of Sussex as a vain and controlling influence; someone who would not accept the demure role expected of minor royals and who risked damaging the family’s reputation. Journalist Piers Morgan wrote yesterday that the “grasping, selfish, scheming Kardashian-wannabes” should now be stripped of their titles.
But after losing his mother following a media frenzy, and seeing his wife also hounded by the press gratuitously, Prince Harry was likely thinking about the interests of his son, Archie, in making the announcement.
Tina Brown, author of a famous book about Princess Diana, said the monarchy would be unharmed in the long-term. Harry and Meghan were doing what was right for them and had simply opted to “rip the band-aid off” instead of staying in a “slow-moving car crash”.
So, will the monarchy survive?
Once more unto the breach
This schism might make the family stronger. Buckingham Palace can now modernise and focus public funds and attention on the direct succession: the Queen, Charles, William and George. By closing ranks and maintaining a tighter ship, it will also avoid being tarnished by figures like Prince Andrew.
But to many others, this could be the last straw. Harry and Meghan are leaving a sinking ship. The modern House of Windsor is little more than a nightmarish soap opera concocted by the tabloid media. There are better ways of spending taxpayers’ money. A powerful nation in the 21st Century does not need a monarchy.
- Do you think that having a monarchy is a good idea in the modern world?
- Would you want to have the fame and glamour of the royal lifestyle? Or would the pressure and lack of privacy bother you?
- In groups, imagine you are charged with running the new Sussex royal business strategy. What would you suggest Harry and Meghan do with their new independence?
- If the monarchy were to be abolished, there would have to be a new constitution and a new head of state. In teams, suggest a new system for choosing that head of state.
Some People Say...
“The best fortress which a prince can possess is the affection of his people.”Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527), Italian politician, historian, philosopher and writer
What do you think?
Q & A
- What do we know?
- Meghan and Harry hope to remain royals whilst being free to earn their own money and be public figures on their own terms. Their waxworks in Madame Tussauds have been separated from those of the other royals. Harry was sixth in line to the throne. The news came the day before the Duchess of Cambridge’s birthday. Kate was also not included in a list of royals that Harry and Meghan want to keep working with.
- What do we not know?
- If Buckingham Palace will accept any of what Harry and Megan are suggesting. It is unclear what their “financial independence” will look like. It is not known if there will be any long-term consequences to the way that the royal family is run or perceived.
- Duke and Duchess of Sussex
- Harry and Meghan’s official title.
- The act of stepping down from royal duties.
- Edward VIII
- Former British King who reigned for less than a year in 1936.
- Wallis Simpson
- American socialite who married Edward VIII after his abdication.
- Quiet, modest and shy.
- Without good reason.
- Breakup; division
- Prince Andrew
- The Queen’s middle son, who recently became infamous for defending his friendship with paedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
- Soap opera
- A genre of long-running TV show which includes returning characters and never-ending drama: think Eastenders or Hollyoaks.