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Establishment Reaction To Harry And Meghan Wanting Quieter Life Proves They’ve Made Correct Decision

by : Julia Banim on : 10 Jan 2020 16:29
Establishment Reaction To Harry And Meghan Wanting Quieter Life Proves They've Made Correct DecisionEstablishment Reaction To Harry And Meghan Wanting Quieter Life Proves They've Made Correct DecisionPA Images

Prince Harry was just 12 years old when his mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash after being pursued by unscrupulous members of the paparazzi.

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After the now infamous collision in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel, some photographers actually continued to take pictures of the wreckage while the princess lay dying; allegedly obstructing the work of medical and police teams.

Like many others in their late twenties, the death of Lady Di was one of the first big news stories I remember; with her wide Disney Princess eyes looking up from every front page.

Prince Harry Meghan MarklePrince Harry Meghan MarkleJulia Banim

In death, Princess Diana was deified by the red tops; who rattled on endlessly over her compassionate spirit and commitment to worthy causes.

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But as a living, breathing woman, she had been endlessly ridiculed and harassed, slut-shamed and intimidated. Her suitability for royalty continually up for tabloid debate.

What such an effect this harrowing series of events had on Prince Harry, I would not even presume to imagine. The life and death of Princess Diana was claimed as public property, with her glamorous, otherworldly persona overshadowing the narrative of the two boys who knew her simply as ‘mummy’.

For most of us, grief is a private thing; to be dealt with behind closed doors among those you trust most. But Prince Harry was forced to walk behind his mother’s coffin before the full glare of the world’s media, all while enduring the commentary and gossip of those who barely knew her.

prince harry with royal family at funeral of princess dianaprince harry with royal family at funeral of princess dianaPA Images

One would hope that news outlets would have learned from this seedy, uncomfortable period in British journalism; striving to do better by the time the young princes grew up and it was their turn to fall in love. But then Harry met Meghan.

A highly educated and socially conscious individual, Meghan Markle had enjoyed a successful career as an actor before entering the royal family; starring on hit legal drama Suits. She had been married before and had led a varied, contemporary and exciting life.

From their very first interview, it was clear Meghan brought out the very best qualities in Harry, with the two of them connected by a shared passion for various good causes. A lifelong humanitarian, her concern felt authentic and seemed to awaken a new enthusiasm in Harry we hadn’t seen in his tearaway youth.

In an age where the royal family feels rather out of touch with the real world, the young couple have used their platform to show support for issues such as mental health, unemployment and global warming. For the most part, they seem to be doing a good job.

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Prince Harry Meghan MarklePrince Harry Meghan MarkleGetty

Of course, the royal family should always be held up to scrutiny, and it would be a ghastly thing indeed if the papers only printed sentimental, sycophantic drivel about one of the richest families on the planet.

Indeed, in a country where homelessness is rife and working families are forced to use food banks to survive, the thought of a small number of people living in palaces the size of shopping centres, leaves a decidedly bad taste in the mouth.

And yet no one could argue that Meghan has been subjected to greater scrutiny than any other living member of the royal family, her every movement pulled apart obsessively by powerful voices in the media.

The sense of dreamy-eyed reverence afforded to Kate Middleton after she became the Duchess of Cambridge was nowhere to be found when Meghan became the Duchess of Sussex. The attributes that gained Kate praise for being so refreshing have been interpreted as rebellious with Meghan.

Meghan Markle Butterfly EarringsMeghan Markle Butterfly EarringsGetty

While Kate has been hailed as a style icon, Meghan’s – often startlingly similar – wardrobe has been dismissed as tacky, flashy and inappropriate. She’s been pulled up for supposed faux pas such as wearing dark nail varnish and walking barefoot on Bondi Beach.

Kate was allowed to make mistakes and to ‘modernise’ in her early days in the palace, but any supposed breaches of protocol during Meghan’s first nerve-wracking months were seen as narcissistic and attention seeking, demanding and pushy.

When Meghan guest edited Vogue, she was torn apart for supposedly chasing celebrity status, despite being far from the only royal to have guest-edited a major publication. For instance, Kate edited the Huffington Post back in 2016, even writing a few blog posts herself.

Even when heavily pregnant, Meghan’s every gesture was interpreted as somehow scheming and self-centred. While Kate was described as ‘cradling’ her baby bump, Meghan was perceived as trying to draw attention to hers, simply by placing a hand on her belly.

Meghan MarkleMeghan MarklePA
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I could go on, and on and on. But to do so would be too infuriating for anyone. The way the two duchesses have been pitted against each other in a cliched feud narrative feels positively archaic, yet there is far more to this modern day fairytale than lazy, sexist stereotyping.

Some of the criticisms of Meghan have been truly maddening, to the point of being nonsensical. Meghan’s liking of avocado on toast has been linked to genocide, while her reported request for air fresheners at Windsor Castle prior to her wedding was slammed as inappropriate.

In a subtler way, the language used to talk about Meghan has been grotesque, revealing some of the most shameful, prejudiced, snobbish corners of British society. Parts many of us innocently hoped had died out with Queen Victoria.

Prince HarryPrince HarryPA

At least some of the abuse hurled at Meghan in the press has been undeniably racist on a scale which has been overwhelming to watch even as a casual observer. I cannot even conceive of what it would be like to actually live through such an onslaught.

The language used to refer to the very first mixed race member of the House of Windsor has been disgusting, and a far cry from the hopeful tone of their inclusive, celebratory wedding ceremony.

Comment pieces have pored over Meghan’s ‘rich and exotic DNA’, with one particularly nasty piece running with the title, Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton.

Even the couple’s young son, Archie, has not been spared such vileness, having been compared to a monkey mere hours after his birth in a tweet by radio broadcaster Danny Baker.

It isn’t just the forces of the mainstream press Harry and Meghan have had to contend with. As per a report by Sky News in August 2019, the Duchess has been targeted by cruel and often racially motivated trolls on a scale incomparable to any other member of the royal family.

This research found that, out of the top 30 Twitter accounts mentioning the terms ‘Meghan Markle’ or the ‘Duchess of Sussex’, 18 had shared abusive posts about Meghan.

Furthermore, 24 of the top accounts which mentioned the terms ‘Kate Middleton’ or ‘Duchess of Cambridge’ largely shared negative posts about the Duchess of Sussex.

This same analysis found 22% of tweets referring to ‘Meghan Markle’ or the ‘Duchess of Cambridge’ were angry in tone, compared with just 3% for ‘Kate Middleton’.

What’s truly maddening is the way ardent royalists appear to view Meghan as a more destructive force within the royal family than Prince Andrew, who has yet to show absolutely any real remorse for maintaining a friendship with convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.

Indeed, when asked by the BBC’s Emily Maitlis whether he regretted his personal connection with Epstein, Prince Andrew simply explained he had benefited from the opportunities the friendship had afforded him.

Having been given a platform to tell his side of the story, Prince Andrew managed to further expose the vast gulf between his gruesomely careless position in life and that of the ordinary people watching open-mouthed at home.

What working person on earth could relate to Prince Andrew describing Epstein’s monstrous behaviour as ‘unbecoming’? And who could even make sense of what he meant when he blamed his decision to stay in contact with Epstein on his tendency to be ‘too honourable’?

Meghan MarkleMeghan MarklePA

At best, Prince Andrew came across as clueless and ridiculous. An outdated pantomime figure who might as well have been dug up from the days of Henry VIII.

He wore his privilege hideously; without guilt, without humanity and without recognition of the young women who had suffered beyond comprehension at the hands of Epstein.

Quite rightly, Prince Andrew was suspended from his public duties for the ‘foreseeable future’ shortly after that grim and almost unbelievably callous interview. The sense of public service, apparently so highly valued within the palace, was nowhere to be seen.

Yet there has been nowhere near as much coverage of the Queen’s supposed disappointment in Prince Andrew. His suspension was a far quieter affair than the firestorm of opinions currently surrounding Harry and Meghan giving up their titles as senior royals.

Prince AndrewPrince AndrewPA

It’s been heartbreaking to watch Prince Harry desperately try and protect his wife from the greedy, parasitic obsession which ultimately contributed to the death of his mother. All while dealing with the new, more anonymous evil of internet trolls.

But on the other hand, it’s also been cheering to see Harry channel the rebellious, conscientious spirit of his mother, who would have understood more than anyone living or dead the couple’s need to take a step back from ‘The Firm’.

Harry has shown immense strength as a husband and as a father, putting the mental health of his young family above the stiff upper lip he has had to hold for far too long. Those who buy into the narrative that he has been manipulated and led astray by Meghan have severely underestimated him.

Meghan Markle Prince HarryMeghan Markle Prince HarryPA

Sadly, I doubt very much this will be the end of the poisonous ink spilled over this seemingly pleasant and amiable couple.

Following their shock announcement, certain obvious pundits appeared to implode with indignation that the couple were not just sticking around to be pelted with abuse.

In an article for the MailOnline, Piers Morgan – who has obsessively hounded Meghan from day one – described the couple as ‘grasping, selfish, scheming Kardashian-wannabes bring down the Monarchy’.

Meanwhile, The Sun went with an innocuous picture of Kate driving along with her eyes on the road, describing her as ‘stony faced’ after Meghan and Harry ‘ruined’ her birthday. Seeing as she is turning 38 and not eight, I highly doubt this was the case.

All the best to Harry, Meghan and little Archie. Like so many in the UK, I look forward to seeing what they will do with their newly forged lives. Here’s hoping for happier times ahead.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Celebrity, Meghan Markle, Prince Andrew, Prince Harry, Princess Diana, Royal Family

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