When Harry married Meghan, I was happy for him. He had dated several lovely young women, but all of them had said that they could not cope with the media scrutiny of their relationships. Meghan Markle was another story. An actress in a well-known TV legal drama, she could cope with the media scrutiny, as she had already been subject to it. She walked down the aisle completely alone, looking every bit the part of a royal duchess in waiting. She was serene, confident and looked to be the perfect match for Harry.

Fast forward not even 2 years, and the whole house of cards is crumbling down around the Queen’s ears.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced they will “step back” as senior members of the British royal family.

The couple have released a statement detailing their decision and intentions:

“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.

“It is with your encouragement…” but not, it would seem, with the encouragement of the Royal Family, who apparently have been blindsided by this announcement.

Buckingham Palace is said to be “hurt and disappointed” with the announcement from Prince Harry and Meghan that they’re stepping down as senior members of the royal family.

“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,” a brief statement from the Palace said.

Stuff.

This is a carefully worded statement from an institution that generally prefers to say nothing publicly about family matters. The fact that the Palace has made this statement is very revealing.

What is it about the Royal Family and Americans? The abdication of Edward VIII in 1936 plunged the royals into disarray, only fixed by the steadying hand of King George VI, father of the Queen. While Edward VIII made his own decision at the time, it seems that he spent the rest of his life trying to regain favour with the British public and the Royal Family itself. It was never going to work; the Queen knows only too well how fragile her relationship with the public can be at times, and she also knows that she is there at their pleasure. If a future parliament chose to stop funding the royals, their situation would be very different. They are vastly wealthy in their own right, of course, but the adulation, the respect and the privilege would be significantly reduced.

“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.

Prince Harry & Meghan Markle

And it seems that Harry expects to continue to live at Frogmore Cottage, the property recently renovated for his family’s use, although exactly why is not clear, as Meghan has already returned to Canada, apparently for the foreseeable future.

Yes. That went down well. This is an unprecedented snub of the Queen, the Royal Family, and the British people themselves. How disrespectful towards the 93-year-old monarch, Harry’s grandmother, and the ailing Duke of Edinburgh, Harry’s grandfather. Meghan made it clear that she cares very little for her own family; clearly this attitude has rubbed off. How could anyone with Harry’s upbringing possibly behave like this?

While the royals have a very privileged lifestyle, there are also huge expectations on them from the British people. They are expected to promote Britain and British business in every possible way. That is their job. From the clothes that Kate and the children wear to the charities they promote, they are expected to play the game. It may be tedious at times, but in return, they receive a life of enormous privilege, wealth and respect. They can be very influential. They are also partly responsible for the massive tourism industry in Britain, as the castles and palaces are everyone’s favourite destination. It is a quid pro quo that most of them happily accept, and if they find it difficult at times, they are always at pains not to show it.

Except for Harry and Meghan, of course.

Well, they’ve done it now. Their rift is just about complete. Harry is a relatively minor royal, so can be dispensed with easily. He will almost certainly never be king, so he is really not important, but you only have to look at the swift and decisive way that the Palace dealt with the Prince Andrew scandal to know that they will not take this lying down.

Their statement said that they intend to ‘work to become financially independent’, which indicates that, in the meantime at least, they still expect support from the public purse. The Queen will find herself under pressure to cut them off financially, at least from any funding provided by the British taxpayer. I remember reading that Edward VIII was given an allowance by the Royal Family, which by and large he found impossible to live on, but he was a former king with considerable bargaining power. I suspect that Harry and Meghan, with their plans to jet around the world in private planes indefinitely, may find themselves with the same problem. At least, I hope so. They do not deserve a single iota of goodwill, or a single penny, from the British people for their blatant hypocrisy and attitude of entitlement.

Obviously, I blame Meghan for this, but then again, Harry has no excuse. It was his duty to make it clear to her what life as a member of the Royal Family would be like. It is very difficult to know if Meghan was ill-prepared for life as a royal, or if she didn’t want to know, but it doesn’t matter now.

Boy, the British people are getting a few windfalls at the moment. First, they are about to stop funding the EU, and now they will have their financial support of the Royal Family reduced. They really will have a National Health Service to be proud of after all this.

And Meghan better watch out. This family, often known as “The Firm” will do whatever it takes to keep their reputation unsullied.

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