Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.
When Meghan Markle first stepped onto the royal scene, I was excited to see what changes would come of the royal family, and how modern views could perhaps compliment those of the traditional monarchy. However, history has a nasty habit of repeating itself, and in this case, it appears that the crown swiftly rejected the embrace of modernity, in order to preserve and protect a royal image that is declining in societal influence, as shown before with Wallis Simpson and Diana Spencer.
Love or hate the royal family, they play a historic part in British culture and help bring in millions of pounds worth of tourism per year within the modern climate. As a symbol of Britishness, their actions are placed under tight scrutiny and they all-too-often face internal conflict over whether to modernise and reduce the value of the crown, or to follow tradition and reduce the influence and historical standing they have as a national symbol.
However, what is particularly shocking about the current media phenomenon and obsession with Meghan Markle is that it proves we – as consumers – have not learnt from the mistakes of the past. The media is pictured as the culprit for raking in on the demand, with its vicious bombarding of personal space, but we have to ask, where does this demand come from? Ultimately, paparazzi and journalists have to earn their pay check from somewhere, and that current somewhere comes from the obsession the world has towards the royal family, which seemingly mirrors that of reality television stars.
An informal interview between Prince Harry and James Corden enabled Harry to be viewed in a different more down-to-earth light. He seemed unsure and somewhat awkward in these new surroundings, but you could feel the radiance of relief glowing off of him as he could finally be himself for the first time in thirty six years, without the need to hide behind the royal name. It was refreshing to see. Following on from this, the interview with Oprah will enable both parties to put their side across in a detailed and factual way. It will enable all of our questions and assumptions to be answered from the people that best know the narrative.
Many see the fact that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made the choice to openly coordinate these interviews as going against the reason they left the royal family in the first place, but what people do not consider is that their narrative is currently being told from outsiders, with no real grasp of what has happened behind closed doors. You only need to watch YouTubers Josh Pieters and Archie Manners’ new video to understand the amount of falsehood that resides within royal experts’ discourse.
These interviews can be argued to be creating the very media storm that they wished to avoid but in reality, it is about using the press to their advantage and taking back control of the negative headlines that have harshly branded the couple since the day the name ‘Meghan Markle’ first became publicly known in Britain. It is about making a stand for what is right and against what is so obviously wrong with the backwards norms of the royal family.
The royal family desperately needs to adapt to modern conventions and consider the impact that modern media and digitalisation has on being born into the royal lifestyle, to avoid yet another historical re-run. They need to welcome diversity with open arms and with a willingness to understand and adapt, rather than looking to preserve the image that has been observed for countless centuries.
I personally do not think Meghan led Harry astray or forced him to do anything he was not entirely comfortable with. From the behaviour towards protocol that we have seen from Harry over the years leading up to now, it was therefore of no surprise – to myself at least – that he would take such a step back from the crown. The drama that unfolded through making this choice, was more shocking than the choice itself.
The boldness of their actions should be applauded rather than frowned upon, as nobody would take such a public stand – especially when they wish to avoid media attention – without the necessity to do so. Clearly in their case, the short-term media frenzy outweighed the long-term scrutiny and protocol that would have otherwise shaped their lives.
Ultimately, Harry and Meghan have been, and will continue to be public figures – there is no escaping the media in that regard. They simply wish to protect their own family from the burdens of the crown and the media storm that their titles are seemingly attached for, for the sake of their mental health, which is something I am fully in awe of.