It was this week announced that His Royal Highness (hereafter, ‘HRH’) the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, will be stepping back from his duties as a senior member of the Royal family to devote further time to his family and independent charity work, choosing now to split his time between both sides of the Atlantic.
The Palace’s response that it was ‘disappointed’ with the Duke’s failure to properly consult Her Majesty the Queen on this decision, while characteristically understated, is deafening. In a troubled year for the Royal family, plagued by the allegations against HRH the Duke of York, the decision by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is at best untimely, and at worst unappreciative and arrogant. Furthermore, due to the stepping back of the Duke of York from Royal duties, Prince Harry’s choice to do the same leaves much to be desired from one of the most respected members of the Royal family’s younger generation – as the German magazine Die Zeit said in the wake of the announcement, the Queen now has ‘a shortage of skilled workers’.
One cannot help but ponder the influence of HRH the Duchess of Sussex in this ordeal. Early observers were quick to predict that the adjustment from Hollywood to Royal life would be extremely difficult for the newly-wed Meghan Markle, and events following her marriage to Prince Harry have done nothing to discourage this prediction. While the public will forever admire Prince Harry, the British people are less taken with the Duchess of Sussex; from her complaints over workload, alleged quarrels with Their Royal Highnesses (hereafter, ‘TRH’) the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the decision to not spend Christmas at Sandringham with the Queen, the Duchess’s actions do nothing to remove her image as an entitled, overbearing actress who views her new position not with pride or devotion but as a fashion item.
Moreover, the launching of their new website without the prior approval of the Queen reeks of a lack of respect and demonstrates the sort of cloak-and-dagger manoeuvring that more befits the halls of Westminster than Buckingham Palace; this whole drama is something the public would never expect from Prince Harry, and so I remain suspicious of the Duchess of Sussex’s role in this scandalous decision.
It appears that TRH the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wish to have the benefits of Royal life, yet simultaneously reject the accompanying responsibilities, which have so diligently been served by TRH the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal. Despite his insistence to the contrary, how can the charities Prince Harry remains patron of expect the same dedication when he is on the other side of the Atlantic? Or his official duties as a senior Royal – who will perform them while the Duke and Duchess are jet-setting to the US and Canada?
One can only lament at the new course of events and take solace in the dedication of TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who have devoted themselves jointly to both their Royal duties and their family, with neither calling disadvantaged by the other. HRH the Duchess of Sussex would do well to remind herself that the Royal family is not another reality TV show, and that she is not paid per dramatic episode.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.