Thursday, November 26, 2020
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Sorry, Meghan, it’s the Queen who rules the roost

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WHEN Prince Harry expressed ‘sadness’ at the rejection of his plans for a semi-royal existence at a private dinner before he left for Canada, there was no doubt his churlish comments were intended to be heard at the Palace. Harry’s ungracious manner made it seem that it was him against the Firm.

Events of the last few days have squarely shifted the criticism back to Meghan.

Since the couple left, there has been an almost daily stage-managed drip-feed of news. Among photographs of a gleaming Meghan, we’ve heard reports of the Sussexes finally finding peace, enjoying their new life of long walks, yoga and cooking. Despite Harry’s open criticism of the tabloid press, these leaks have been unsurprising. It isn’t the first time Meghan has used the media to her advantage: you may recall a string of her friends, including George Clooney and Serena Williams, giving glowing accounts of friendship last year when news of private jet usage and rumours of the Duchess’s difficult behaviour were rife.

Then, earlier this month, came the news that the Sussexes had been keynote speakers at a J P Morgan conference in Miami, at which the Prince was said to have spoken about his late mother, a job which is alleged to have paid them $1million.

Always concerned about the potential of this tacky trajectory that appeared to profit from their connections to the Royal Family, the Palace reiterated last week that the couple would have to cease the use of the word Royal in their branding. This was news that obviously did not sit well with the Duchess, because on Friday defiance came in a large dose when yet another leak appeared. This time it was Meghan telling friends that she was ‘done with the drama’, and more amazingly, that ‘nothing legally was stopping’ them from going ahead and using the Sussex Royal name.

This was certainly the moment when Buckingham Palace, which until now has been firm but courteous and generous towards the couple, had had enough. Just a few hours after this latest leak, the Sussexes – seemingly with a forced hand – issued a statement to confirm that they would no longer be using their Sussex Royal branding from April of this year. There was petulance in it. ‘While there is not any jurisdiction by The Monarchy or Cabinet Office over the use of the word “Royal” overseas, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex do not intend to use “Sussex Royal” or any iteration of the word “Royal” in any territory (either within the UK or otherwise) when the transition occurs Spring 2020.’

Clearly, the Queen was never going to be humiliated, and in making them announce their own slapdown, not only has she remained clear of the controversy, it is a clever reminder of who exactly wields the most power.

It is all a huge climbdown. Having spent thousands of pounds on their website, as well as seeking a global trademark for stationery, books and clothes, it now transpires that they need not have bothered. The bombshell statement they put out last month was an audacious, confidently penned list of greedy requests intended to show their seniors and the world that they would be the first to pioneer a half in, half out role within the royal family. In having almost all their demands rejected, their attempt to spearhead a new future within the historic institution has died an embarrassing death.

Sorry, Meghan, the Queen really does rule around here.

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Priscilla Pollara
Priscilla Pollara is a freelance journalist.

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