Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have essentially resigned from their duties as British Royals . The Duke and Duchess of Sussex—remember, Harry is one of Price William’s backups, likely to become King, if ever, in his dotage, if at all, and only if some catastrophe befalls his his brother’s offspring. The couple announced on Instagram yesterday,
“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”
What this means is a matter of great debate, but whatever it means, it’s unethical.
Prince Harry and Meghan are members of the Royal family, who are ridiculously compensated by British taxpayers to be living flags and cultural icons of Great Britain’s days of glory long past. That’s what they are. Being members of the Royal Family are their only claim to celebrity and significance, and, to Americans and anyone else who isn’t confused, that’s one wan claim at best. The Windsors are neither especially bright nor accomplished, though Harry’s great grandfather, the last King George, did play a part in helping to defeat Hitler in World War II, and his grandmother, the apparently immortal Queen Elizabeth II has done a respectable job assisting in Great Britain’s decline from a world power to nation whose status outweighs its power and influence.
For senior members of British royalty to declare that they will be “progressive” royals is like a Pope announcing that he’s going to be a swinger. The Royal Family isn’t progressive by definition; it’s anachronistic. It can’t be progressive, because the only progressive approach to the Royals is to jettison them, say goodby and thanks for fish and chips, and add their vast wealth to the national treasury to pay for national health care for a few years.
If that’s what this pair wants to accept on their own, that’s fine—but it isn’t. They basically are writing their own rules. According to the law, they can’t earn their own keep. Under the current structure and financing arrangements applying to them, they are prohibited from earning any income in any form., including in their charitable work. Their website states,
“…they have made the choice to become members of the Royal Family with financial independence. Their Royal Highnesses feel this new approach will enable them to continue to carry out their duties for Her Majesty The Queen, while having the future financial autonomy to work externally. While the contribution from The Sovereign Grant covers just five percent of costs for The Duke and Duchess and is specifically used for their official office expense, Their Royal Highnesses prefer to release this financial tie.”
What the couple do not say is that they apparently still will receive 95% of their current income, which flows from The Duchy of Cornwall, the private estate established by Edward III in 1337. “The revenues from the estate are passed to HRH The Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall, who chooses to use them to fund his public, charitable and private activities and those of his family,” the official Duchy of Cornwall site states. “The Duchy consists of around 53,000 hectares of land in 23 counties, mostly in the South West of England. The principal activity of the Duchy is the sustainable, commercial management of its land and properties. The Duchy also has a financial investment portfolio.” The Prince of Wales (that is, soon to be King Price Charles, Harry’s father) holds all of this, and so far, there is no indication that Harry will be cut off, or that that he and Meghan will voluntarily give it up.
So”becoming financially independent” specifically means the Duke and Duchess will no longer receive funding through the taxpayer funded Sovereign Grant, which comes from British taxpayers. Essentially, they are saying that they will no longer do the work of the Royal Family as their primary pursuits, and will do whatever woke and progressive damn thing they feel like…but they still will be compensated.
So far, the reaction of Buckingham Palace. which was apparently blindsided by the announcement, is “not so fast.” It said in a statement, “Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”
In an ominous sign, Harry and Meghan’s wax figures were removed from Madam Tussaud’s.
“Megxit”—Good one!— comes of recklessly assuming that mixing cultures will just magically pan out, and a mess was wholly predictable. The last time a senior Royal married an American woman, it resulted in King Edward abdicating (this turned out to be lucky break for Great Britain and the world, since he was a Nazi sympathizer, and his brother turned out to be one of the smart Windsors . Markle was a U.S. actress and C-list celebrity, and was a good bet to find the values and duties of the Royal Family a drag, man. Having wrapped Harry around her little finger, her prompting something like this was near inevitable.
And it was wrong. It you accept the role of a princess, then you do what is expected of a princess. You become part of an institution, and your obligation is to strengthen the institution, not to set out to wreck it. Brendon O’Neill, editor of the British commentary site Spiked, accurately (and acidly) writes of the Harry and Meghan rebellion,
What it fundamentally reveals is the incompatibility of the modern culture of narcissism with the values of duty, loyalty and self-negation traditionally associated with royal life. To someone like Meghan, who sprang from celebville, who sees herself as the embodiment of right-on goodness, and who loves nothing more than advertising her eco-virtue and performing her PC credentials, life in the British monarchy was never going to be a good fit.
Bingo. She should have known it, and Harry, if he wasn’t dim, should have known it.
O’Neill goes on…
[W]here the woke value the self over everything else, senior royals are meant, ostensibly at least, to be selfless, to submerge the self into the crown. It looks like this is a deal-breaker for the younger, more celebrity-oriented royals, especially newcomer Meghan but also Harry, too. Their unprecedented ‘stepping back’, and the fury this has allegedly caused in the Palace, suggests the cult of the self that Meghan and other showily virtuous celebs embody and promote, does not work within an institution whose ideal is the Queen: opinion-free, emotions hidden, dutiful, unquestioning and in it for the long haul.
I’m just reading the Spiked! piece as a I write this: the author is scoring Bingos all over the place. Let me defer to him (read the whole thing):
Duty is anathema to a new generation whose chief goal is often self-realisation. Any notion of collapsing the self into something bigger than oneself, something more historic or something collective, is alien to many in the selfie-taking, values-performing generation….They sound more like Kendall Jenner talking about her adverts with Pepsi than individuals who are meant to devote themselves for life to royal duty and the preservation of the crown….Harry and Meghan haven’t been driven out by racism or prejudice or hatred. Rather, they’re ducking out of their own accord so that they can go even more global, more woke, more famously, internationally, irritatingly PC. They’re going to become even more insufferable. And here’s the thing: they will trade on their still existing royal titles to do so. So Meghan spent a couple of years in the royal family and now is pretty much leaving it while holding on to the duchess / princess thing in order to give her naff feminism and eco-posturing and celeb shoulder-rubbing more oomph? I’ll say it again: abolish the monarchy…
And their self-promoting stunt may well speed that result along. I certainly won’t be sorry if it does—wistful, perhaps, but not sorry. Markle is being compared to Yoko Ono in some places, but the Beatles were contributing something of value to the world, and Yoko didn’t accept terms she had no intention of fulfilling. The adventures of Harry and Meghan from here on promise to be entertaining at least, especially if they end up doing Disney commercials to pay for their jets to climate change conferences.
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