What next after Harry, Meghan bitter interview?

Thursday, March 18th, 2021 00:00 | By
Britain’s Duchess of Sussex, Meghan and Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. Photo/AFP

The recent bombshell by self-exiled couple, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, on the Oprah Winfrey show has shaken the royal family to the core, and left the rest of the world agape.

Walking out of Buckingham Palace to an uncertain and independent life was shocking enough.

In a case of what some would say is washing their dirty linen in public, Prince Harry and spouse Meghan Markle made claims of racism and strained relationships in the hallowed family.

The claim that caused ripples stated that there were concerns within the royal family on the skin colour of her first child Archie.

But a section of the British media was not impressed, led by former ITV Good Morning Britain show presenter Piers Morgan who stated that he “didn’t believe a word” of Markle’s allegations. 

According to a poll by Daily Mail a couple of days later, most Britons also “disbelieved Meghan’s claims than believed her.”

Majority of the respondents also “felt Harry and Meghan prioritised media attention over service and duty.” 

Experts say that the couple is naïve, particularly Prince Harry whose family’s reputation and credibility has been soiled yet again.

Exposing his father and brother to public ridicule, was the height of folly by one who has been brought up on the epitome of privilege. 

Secondly, observers feel that after voluntarily breaking free from the royal mould, the couple is hard pressed to maintain a high-profile lifestyle.

Consequently, Markle is using her Hollywood connections to rake in a fortune.

According to The Wall Street Journal, US broadcaster CBS paid Winfrey’s Harpo Productions between $7 million and $ 9 million for rights to the interview.

The percentage that went to the couple from the proceeds – even as they claimed not to have been paid directly - remains a matter of conjecture.  

United Kingdom radio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer aptly captured the showbiz allegations in a tweet: “That interview was their way of proving their box office appeal to Netflix, Spotify and anyone else who’ll hire them just for their names and titles. That interview will have a huge payday.” It would be difficult to argue with this observation. 

Harry and Markle’s saga has echoes of the abdication of King Edward VIII in December 1936, following his affair and subsequent marriage to American twice divorcée and socialite Wallis Simpson.

Edward resigned voluntarily as King after barely one year following pressure from the British government, public, and the Church of England over his controversial decision. 

The second instance was the controversial death of Harry’s mother, then 36-year-old Princess Diana, who succumbed to injuries on August 31, 1997 following a road accident earlier with partner Dodi Fayed, son of Egyptian billionaire businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed.

In the years before her death, Princess Diana had fielded questions from the media on her personal challenges in the royal family amid claims of a strained marriage with heir to the throne Prince Charles.    

The next move by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remains to be seen. But what is emerging is that the couple might be chewing more than they can swallow.

This is particularly so for Harry who cannot deny his royal blood and lineage.

The curt responses by the royal family to the couple’s claims and actions indicate that they will not be drawn into catfights.

In the recent saga, a statement from the Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening basically said that the family was “saddened” by the couple’s experiences and would address allegations of racism.  

Harry’s family could be viewing him as the prodigal son and has apparently kept lines of communication open, may be hoping that the couple will one day see that the grass is really not greener on the other side. — The writer is an international affairs columnist

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