Megxit: Meghan and Harry’s Departure from Royalty


Alexis Rendel

Prince Harry officially announced his and wife Meghan Markle’s departure from the traditional duties of British royalty at a charity dinner event this past January. The new parents opted to “step back”as “senior” members of the Royal Family and instead become progressive models of a more modern  royal institution. This model includes becoming financially independent and splitting time between the United Kingdom and North America, while still fully supporting Her Majesty the Queen. 

Supporters of the crown have expressed concern over Meghan and Harry’s decision. Radical royals are rare; the most recent and controversial royals have been Princess Diana, whose world-wide popularity and untimely death in a car accident almost overshadowed the Queen throughout the 1980s, and Edward VIII, who in 1936 caused a constitutional crisis when he abdicated the throne to marry two-time divorcée Wallis Simpson. Conservative royalists want to prevent the British monarchy from becoming too revisionist and contentious since media coverage of the family has increased dramatically over the past few decades. On the other hand, many progressives appreciate the lifestyle change Harry and Meghan are taking as their actions show a decrease in the way of the aristocracy, which today may seem outdated.

 Popular British sentiment seems to consistently align with the conservative perspective. Prince Harry is sixth in line to the throne, and although that does not seem to be high up on the line of succession, he has always been top in the public’s eye. Stepping down to pursue independence almost seems like he is leaving his job, a job that affects over 66 million people. Meanwhile, many Americans are siding with the couple, showing them support through Twitter and Instagram. To many Americans, Harry and Meghan have every right to step down and live their lives freely; their actions align more with American ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness than the British standard of the monarchy. 

Whether you are a royalist or more progressive, Meghan and Harry’s decision to essentially withdraw from public life appears to be final. Junior Katerina Medori criticizes Markle claiming, “I think it is just a publicity stunt to get rating and her old fame back.” Medori, as well as many other traditionalists, believes that this sudden transition was never about making the crown more progressive, but rather about Meghan Markle’s attempt to return to stardom outside of royalty. Like with the 1936 Wallis Simpson situation, an American woman is at the center of the controversy that results in the loss of a beloved member of the British Royal Family, and conservative royalist fans are quick to point out the similarities. Harry, in turn, expresses his need to protect his family from the British paparazzi whom he blames for the death of his mother and the continued racist attacks on his wife.

The couple has not released a full statement of what their next steps are yet, but they assure supporters that more information will come within the next few weeks. They have promised to keep the public updated on social media and relevant news sources.