Meghan and Harry need to understand that there is no such thing as a free lunch
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BY TOM HARWOOD
Meghan chose to swap the life of celebrity for the life of royalty when she married an heir to the throne. Now it looks like she either did not understand her role, or has come to regret it.
In seeking a new half in half out role, the Duke and Duchess are attempting to secure the impossible – a charmed Royal life with none of the drawbacks. If they expect Royal security, a Royal estate, a fairy-tale wedding watched by billions around the world they should know it does not come without strings attached.
The price is duty. Solemn silent duty. Dignified duty. The opposite of celebrity.
In the land of celebrity you can freely opine on politics and appeal to the woke with the only downside being serial election losses for your preferred candidates and an occasional Ricky Gervais rant. Royalty is different. Few get to choose that gilded life, so those who do must have a deeper sense of what it means. A royal life is not one of constant glamour and politicking around trendy causes, it is one of duty to your country.
There is no such thing as a free lunch. Everything comes at a cost, and if the Duke and Dutchess want to keep the benefits and ditch even more of the duties then they have another thing coming. It should come as no surprise that the Queen is disappointed.
Meghan and Harry acted surprised that people wanted to see their baby. They would rather not live in the UK. They want to fight political battles. They would rather not be seen or carry out their public facing role. That is clearly an unsustainable situation.
The reason the Royal family has rightly survived into the modern age is precisely because there have been remarkably few Prince Andrews or Meghan and Harries. And now, like busses, the toxic combinations of celebrity and royalty have all come along at once. If there are many more, the public’s patience may wear thin.
Britain needs our Royal family. They have through the years offered the unquantifiable magic of stability in chaos, history in the present, and unity in division. That unity can only be upheld if the family follows the Queen’s remarkable example. The non-political nature of our Royal Family means that people of all sorts of different worldviews can take pride in them in the way countries with political heads of state simply cannot.
By eschewing that understanding, and by not accepting the binary reality of British Royalty: that you are in or you are out, they risk fundamentally destabilising this nation’s most important institution.
Tom Harwood is an award-winning journalist and commentator. Follow him on twitter: @tomhfh