‘Megxit’: Why Meghan and Harry are fleeing the royals
She married a handsome prince in a fairy-tale wedding, said Madeleine Kearns in NationalReview.com. But evidently actress Meghan Markle had her own ideas “of what ‘happily ever after’ should look like.” Last week, the U.S.-born Duchess of Sussex and her husband, Prince Harry, stunned the world with the announcement that they intend, in their words, “to step back as ‘senior’ members of the royal family,” and “carve out a progressive new role.” Details of what the British tabloids quickly branded “Megxit” are vague, said Maureen Callahan in the New York Post, even after a face-to-face meeting this week with the 93-year-old Queen Elizabeth, who was reportedly both livid and crushed. But the Sussexes say they will relocate with their son to Canada, and perhaps later to Los Angeles, and will “work to become financially independent.” In other words, they expect the House of Windsor to keep funding their lavish lifestyle while they shirk the duties and the scrutiny that are the “historic trade-off of royalty.” It seems Meghan and Harry won’t be happy until they’re “having their cake and eating it too.”
This was “the right call” for the Sussexes, said Andrea Peyser, also in the New York Post. Meghan, a new mother, has made it publicly clear she finds life inside the fishbowl unbearable, and Harry wants out, too. He saw “the torments of royal life” turn Diana, his mother, into a “well-dressed eating disorder” and then literally kill her, in a car crash fleeing paparazzi in Paris. As a black Briton, said Afua Hirsch in The New York Times, I am not surprised the press has succeeded in “hounding Meghan out of Britain.” The tabloids were against the biracial American actress from the start, playing up the contrasts between the allegedly pushy Meghan and Kate, her dutiful sister-in-law. One tabloid headline described Meghan as “almost straight out of Compton,” and a BBC radio host compared their newborn son, Archie, to a chimpanzee. Meghan would never be accepted in a class-conscious country where “there is still a deep correlation between privilege and race.” Good for her and Harry for giving the British establishment the finger.
It would have been even more subversive for them to stay, said Maureen Dowd, also in The New York Times. From the gospel choir at her wedding to her public stands on women’s rights and climate change, Meghan “brought a refreshing dose of semi-radical chic to the royal family.” Rather than making a “run for the Hollywood hills,” she should have stayed and “wielded her wokeness where it is most needed.”
Meghan Markle has already made a difference, said Monica Hesse in The Washington Post. For all its glamour, “the princess fantasy” of Western fairy tales has always been a vision of passivity and dependence. Markle, though, just “flipped the princess fantasy on its big, crowned head,” showing a generation of young women that you can have your handsome prince without giving up your “own freedom and voice.” The lessons for the royal family may be less uplifting, said Britain’s Observer in an editorial. When the prince fell in love with a divorced actress with an African-American mother, it was a golden opportunity for the queen and her family to embrace a modern, 21st-century identity. But it “clearly has not worked.” Megxit may well come to be remembered as the beginning of the end for this “ludicrously outdated institution.” ■