The adage “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” might have been made for Harry and Meghan. But as a joke. They’ve not only got going — at first to Canada, then quickly (presumably after feeling Toronto’s freezing January temperature) — to California. But they’ve got going again, this time moving away from the prying eyes and clutching paws of those scabrous rags we know and love as “the tabs.”
20 Years After Diana, Princess of Wales
On April 20, the couple released a message in which their representatives state: “What they [Harry and Meghan] won’t do is offer themselves up as currency for an economy of click bait and distortion.” It is hard to believe this, but it is true: Harry and Meghan are refusing to talk to, cooperate with and probably won’t even read certain publications in the UK, including The Sun, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Mail and The Daily Express, and a number of websites.
Their reason for this rejection is their disgust with the “distorted, false and invasive stories” published in these outlets. Harry’s wife, Meghan, is preparing to challenge The Mail on Sunday newspaper in a court case over its decision to print a letter she sent to her estranged father, with a virtual hearing scheduled to take place on April 24.
The couple’s message states: “It is gravely concerning that an influential slice of the media, over many years, has sought to insulate themselves from taking accountability for what they say or print — even when they know it to be distorted, false, or invasive beyond reason. When power is enjoyed without responsibility, the trust we all place in this much-needed industry is degraded.”
What to Make of the Decision
On the one hand, this is an honorable stance, sticking up for ordinary people who have been hurt, embarrassed and exploited by self-serving tabloids. On the other, it is like the shriek of spoiled children who are trying to manufacture their own mythical world in which they will become two beautiful people who don’t have to work, nor concern themselves with the other mundanities that beset most other people, and spend their lives luxuriating away from prying media whilst masquerading as a brand.
Their extraordinary decision will be praised by some, who will support their attempt to preserve their privacy. Others will find it faintly hilarious. This is a couple that has been kissed, clasped and cuddled by the media. They have become the most recognizable couple in the world, eclipsing the likes of Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth, Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik or Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott. Meghan Markle, a known TV actor in the US before she married Harry in 2018, has grown to be one of the most famous women on the planet, her renown rivaling that of her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana.
Meghan and Harry have decamped from their home in England, at the same time, relinquishing the duties typically befalling a member of the British royal family. They have swapped a life of comfort and privilege for a life of, well, greater comfort and privilege, except in a warmer climate.
But the quid pro quo here isn’t complex. They have risen to their position as darlings of the world’s media by staying in focus and being talked about. Harry no longer wants to be a royal. Meghan wants to be a sort of royal without portfolio, but presumably with enormous earnings potential. Without being too cynical, it seems fair to suggest that, without the cachet of the Windsors, Meghan would be forced back to the grind of acting. So, it is fair to say that she married well.
Unlike other royals, Harry has always gone out of his way not to be typecast. He has always been one of the most versatile and busiest members of the royal family, coexisting in the traditional Windsor family and the celebrity ecosystem. He’s never had to fight for acceptance — his mother bequeathed him more than enough love for one lifetime. For the most time, he’s behaved in a way that has reflected this. He didn’t take the love for granted but accepted it as part of the responsibility.
But now the ordinariness that was integral has been replaced by a sense of affectedness. An affectedness that would have been inconceivable nine years ago when he brazenly jumped into a Croatian nightclub swimming pool fully dressed to the delight of media photographers. Or, in 2012, when the now-blacklisted Sun newspaper published nude pictures of him in a Las Vegas hotel.
Is Harry now trying to kid us into thinking he really didn’t want all that attention — the kind that made everyone love him for being an everyman among toffs. Or that he’s newly matured and believes that a man with responsibilities should leave these kinds of pursuits in his past? Or just that he’s now more precious? If it is the last of these, people will turn on Meghan. After all, who else are they going to blame?
For all those who sympathize with the couple and believe their decision is justified, there are an awful lot more who will think it is snobby, conceited and ill-fitting, especially for someone who has become known principally through the very organs he has now cut off.
Yes, the going might have got a bit tough lately. What did Harry and Meghan expect? They’ve left the sceptered isle of Albion and fled to a land of beaches, Disney and car number plates that remind you that you are in the “Golden State.”
Will people ever forgive Harry? Will they figure out that he has become caught up in a tornado that’s whisked him upward and westward and dumped him with his values upside down? And will they forgive “Hurricane Meghan” not only for absconding with Britain’s most-loved royal since Diana, but then turning him against the nation’s favorite newspapers?
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.