The Duke and Duchess’ decision to take a step back from the monarchy is right for their mental well-being and their plan to chart a more peaceful path for themselves.
British media has taken a toll on the livelihood of both Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.
“I think being part of this family, in this role, in this job, every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash it takes me straight back,” Prince Harry explained to Tom Bradby in an ITV documentary. “In that respect, it’s the worst reminder of her life (his mother Diana) as opposed to the best.”
Later, in a written statement, Harry wrote, “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”
Even before becoming a couple, Meghan and Harry have played by their own rules.
Now, as a married couple and parents to their son Archie, they are unconventional.
Traditionally, royals don’t marry outside their circle, so when Harry started dating a black, non-Brit, American divorcee, the scrutiny began.
Before the couple were married in St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, the British tabloids and news did not make life easy for Meghan.
The press racially tormented her at every turn.
The Daily Mail ran an article headlined, “Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton: Gang-scarred home of her mother revealed – so will he be dropping by for tea?”
Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, lives in a house she inherited from her father in 2011. Her home is located in one of the wealthiest African American communities in California.
Far from “gang-scarred” neighbourhood.
In hopes of keeping their family protected, Harry and Meghan have made the choice to secure their desired life.
Harry decided to move his family to a place they both cherish, to Canada where they first met.
Meghan was raised differently from Harry.
She has given up a lot to be with Harry and changed her life to fit into the royal box yet she is still treated as a second-class member. British media has nit-picked at everything Meghan does.
The couple is treated differently from Harry’s brother William and his wife Kate.
Kate is Britain’s princess and Meghan is portrayed as an outsider they refuse to let in.
On the day William married Kate, the headlines were more about Kate’s dress and less about the traditional royal ceremony taking place.
“First the great unveiling and then a collective gasp… With a plunging neckline and a lot of lace the gown was a timeless triumph,” wrote UK’s Daily Mail.
On Meghan and Harry’s wedding day, the headlines read – “A very modern marriage: Harry and Meghan wed at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor in an extraordinary star-studded, multi-cultural ceremony, the likes of which the Royal have never seen.”
Later, when Meghan sought guidance from Kate on how to deal with the pressures of dealing with outside criticism, author and former royal correspondent Phil Dampier told the Express, “[Kate] has told Meghan that every royal – including herself – goes through a bad patch with the press but the important thing is to learn by mistakes, move on and get through it.”
The problem is, Kate has never been criticized for being white and she does not have to bring up a young black (or biracial) child.
Despite the friction, the couples have kept their composure and attended events, but the tension was brought up again when Harry and Meghan began breaking away from traditional expectations.
A notable example of this was when Meghan missed the Queen’s birthday celebration last year to support her best friend, Venus Williams, at the U.S. Open.
The couple spent Thanksgiving with Meghan’s mother in the U.S. and she came along with them for Christmas and spent it on Vancouver Island.
In the past, they have spent the holidays with the rest of the Royals at Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, northeast of London.
They have chosen to define what they want family to look like for themselves and for Archie.
Their decision to be independent includes repaying 2.4 million pounds ($3.1 million) in taxpayers’ money spent renovating their home, Frogmore Cottage.
By doing this, the couple shows determination to limit the public’s examination of their every move. If the public is funding your lifestyle, they seem to think they can have an input.
British media has not made it easy for them to feel secure in this regard.
Fueling this insecurity is Meghan’s estranged father who is testifying against his daughter and son-in-law, in a lawsuit they filed against a British Newspaper.
Harry has voiced his concern regarding the similarities in how British media treats Meghan and how they treated his mother.
While in Africa last October, he spoke of the festering wound his mother’s death left.
At an AIDS charity gala in Britain, he explained his decision to have his family step back from the royal life he has always known.
“When I lost my mother 23 years ago, [Britain] took me under your wing. You looked out for me for a long time, but the media is a powerful force,” he said.
“I would step my family back from all I have ever known, to take a step forward into what I hope can be a more peaceful life.”
Seeing what the press and negative opinions from the public are doing to his wife while experiencing the post-traumatic stress of what happened to his mother, it makes perfect sense that Harry wants his family to be left alone.