The Markle debacle

Megan Markle.
Megan Markle.
Most of us have had to deal with the shock of coming back to work after a long, relaxing holiday, one which has provided new insights into the rat race and made you question the wisdom of spending so much time at work.

The holiday afterglow supports you through the first day or two. But, inevitably, it will be a matter of office politics or a clash of personalities that soon drags you back into the real world.

Initially, it looked like the bombshell to “step back” as senior members of the Royal Family — dropped by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their return from a blissful, paparazzi-free six-week holiday in Canada — might have been another case of the post-vacation blues.

During the past week, however, it has become clear this is no knee-jerk reaction and that the royal couple have been working on an exit strategy of sorts for many months.

It is fair to say the timing of the news left the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William not amused.

The Sussexes’ announcement came via social media and their Sussexroyal.com website. Prince Harry, sixth in line to the throne, and Meghan Markle said they were working out a new way of living on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, which would embrace their desire to still be somewhat royal but would put their family first.

A quick visit to the website reveals the Sussexes’ view of the media, particularly the voracious British tabloids which have made life for the duchess intolerable.

In a curious mixture of heavy hint and corporate mumbo-jumbo, the website says “Sussexroyal.com was created as a source of factual information regarding the workstreams of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex”.

“Crisis” talks are due to begin today (New Zealand time), at Sandringham. The Queen clearly wants to sort things out, even if it is bound to take weeks and there will be no great pressure to let the world know the outcome of their family problems.

Of course, none of us have perfect families. We would all like to be part of a family like the Larkins in The Darling Buds of May or the just-as-perfect eponymous household in The Waltons, but in reality our families are more like the Ogdens or the Duckworths in Coronation Street, the Starkadders in Cold Comfort Farm or the Bundys in Married… with Children.

Royal watchers around the world are naturally all of a twitter. The Duchess of Sussex has barely earned her stripes yet, has she? She must have known what she was getting into, mustn’t she? If they don’t want to be royal, there’s plenty who would love to be, aren’t there?

While there may be some substance to those questions, most of us have no clue whatsoever what it is like trying to live your life — and raise a family — under constant, withering fire from the media.

The royals have to put up with a great deal of intrusion and plain nastiness from tabloid journalists, the behaviour of whom makes you wonder whether they have ever experienced any personal tragedies themselves or have any shred of sensitivity in their bones.

And it is not just the tabloids. Even the most oleaginous “royal correspondents” from the apparently better news outlets also have to be contended with.

The duchess has been the target of racist and misogynistic stories from the British tabloids.

If she were a sweet, compliant Anglo-Saxon from the Home Counties, the tabloids might be happier. But she is not. She should not have to put up with such vile commentary.

Unfortunately, with such enormous wealth and unbelievable privilege comes imprisonment, microscopic scrutiny and boredom.

It is hard to imagine the Queen having anything but sympathy for the Sussexes’ plight. But it was the speed and the way they did things that has caused rifts in “The Firm”.

One cannot help feeling Prince Harry and Meghan Markle should be allowed to blaze a trail that other, younger, royals may one day also want to follow.


 

Comments

Very popular with young Britons. The critical Public are old, and in the way.

 

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