Harry, Meghan rile up British public, royal family | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 09.01.2020
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Harry, Meghan rile up British public, royal family

British royal family disputes are common fodder in the press, but when Harry and Meghan said they'd be leaving their senior roles, headlines poured in. And a storm of gossip and rumors took over in the UK.

The news broke at prime time on Wednesday and immediately kicked US President Donald Trump from the top spot of the evening news. His appearance wasn't all that tantalizing anymore after he dismissed the possibility of war with Iran, which had been keeping everyone on the edge of their seats. After all, who wants to dwell on the topic of a potential World War Three when you can distract yourself with a juicy royal family drama instead?

Purge in the palace? 

Keen observers had noted the absence of a photo of Harry, Meghan and their baby, Archie, on the queen's desk during her annual Christmas address. Apparently, the framed picture had fallen victim to a cleaning frenzy. Had the queen invited over Japanese tidy-up guru Marie Kondo and been advised to discard whatever no longer sparks joy? Probably not. So there must have been some darker, hidden meaning behind the mysteriously missing portrait in the gallery of family photos.

The queen, Meghan and Harry (picture-alliance/AP/M. Dunham)

Was a plot forming against Meghan and Harry?

It's another slap in the face for Harry and Meghan. As in most families, there are the "good kids" who can do no wrong and suck up to their grandparents while the others stomp out of the room and slam the door behind them, yelling, "You won't be seeing us again anytime soon! And that little house you just renovated for us in Windsor? You can have it! It wasn't our style anyway."

Word has it that Prince Charles is the one behind the purge. He'd like to streamline the royal house and cap the clan at a manageable core group of people.

Read more: #Megxit: Twitter reacts to Meghan and Harry's announcement

The first to go was his brother, Prince Andrew, after that scandalous friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, that stupid interview, those good-for-nothing daughters and that crazy ex of his. Princess Anne might still come in handy for special missions, like visits from Donald Trump and travel-happy Commonwealth autocrats. But the rest of the baggage brings nothing but crises and catastrophes.

Still, the fact that Prince Harry, who for years was everyone's darling, would take his father's household sweep so personally — that certainly wasn't part of the plan.

Cursed from the start

It's not as if there was a lack of warning. A US citizen — and an actress at that! When Harry announced his plans to marry Meghan, several skeptics chimed in. The nation's collective memory quickly conjured up images of Wallis Simpson, who was divorced and whose clothes were far too elegant. King Edward VIII abdicated because of her in 1936, causing a huge scandal. And now, Meghan, with her unworthy father, greedy half-siblings and her former career as a TV star?

In the run-up to the fairytale wedding, the British press divided into two camps. The FoMs — friends of Meghan — hailed her as a breath of fresh air in the stale house of the royals. A shot of American ease and ethnic diversity in the stiffly starched House of Windsor. A woman from a different background who had her own career. Their verdict was that it could only bode well. In the shark tank of the British tabloids, however, there were, of course, unpleasant references to Meghan's relatives and skin color.

Read more: From the Beatles to Brexit: Exhibition explores German perspectives on the Brits

Last year, on a Royal Tour of Africa, Prince Harry struck back, complaining that select media outlets had been vilifying and bullying his wife. Just when cheerful, heartwarming photos of the couple and their baby Archie were making their rounds, Harry threw a bombshell at the tabloid press, and the public's reaction wasn't very kind. Didn't the job description for a royal require certain qualities, like being able to take one for the team? What are these spoiled brats on about? And didn't Meghan know what she was getting into when she signed up? Prince Harry's outburst was a complete flop, leaving the young royals feeling entirely misunderstood.

First Brexit, now 'Megxit'

Just like in common families, the royals don't seem to communicate very well. Apparently, the queen hadn't been informed about Harry and Meghan's decision to leave. There are currently reports of bad blood between Harry and his brother, William, so they're keeping a safe distance from one another. And for some reason there's been a cut with Prince Charles — could Camilla be to blame? Grandma's constant nagging about duty and decency is hard to swallow anyway. By making the announcement to step back, it was the perfect opportunity to use one stone to kill the birds in the family, the media and the ungrateful public.

Meghan and Harry laughing on Sydney's Bondi Beach in 2018 (picture-alliance/AP/D. Lipinsky)

There are plenty of ways to enjoy life outside of the UK

On the upside, the news makes Harry and Meghan truly interesting again. They want to earn their own money — how will they do it? Will she star in a new TV show? And who would hire a prince who only knows how to pilot a helicopter? Will they go into advertising, cast shame on the family and lose their royal titles? Will they continue to campaign for climate protection while jetting about on a private plane? Where will they live, and in what kind of house? There are endless possibilities for renewed public participation in the lives of Harry and Meghan.

In short, after three long years of talks about Brexit, there is now a wonderful new topic for the British to get their teeth into: Megxit. Plenty to get all worked up about with no unpleasant side effects, and you can choose which side you want to be on. Meghan and Harry couldn't have done their country a better service in such otherwise bleak times.

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