How’s this for quitting your job: Abandon every aspect you hate, while continuing to reap all the benefits you love.
This, in effect, is what Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have done. In a statement loaded with confusing double-speak, the couple wrote, in part, “We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the royal family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen.”
None other than Queen Elizabeth is confused. According to BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond, the statement blindsided the entire royal family, and they don’t know what this means either.
Will Harry and Meghan keep their royal titles? “Work to” become financially independent — how long is that going to take? Will they continue to get an allowance until that happens? Where will they live while in the UK? In Frogmore Cottage, the estate gifted to them by the Queen, which they spent another $3 million in taxpayer funds renovating?
They say yes. Can’t wait to hear what the Queen has to say about that.
This is all so smug and gross, considering British taxpayers already spent $3 million on Harry and Meghan’s wedding.
Since then, the couple has generated more headlines for feuding with William and Kate, for exorbitant spending (half a million for Meghan’s wardrobe in 2018 alone), for seeking the company and approbation of Hollywood stars, for snubbing engagements both public — last month’s NATO reception at Buckingham Palace — and private, most recently the Queen’s annual Christmas family gathering at Sandringham — than for any good works as royals.
Oh, and who can forget last year’s colossally tone-deaf documentary “Harry and Meghan: An African Journey,” in which the newly world-famous, unbelievably wealthy duchess, having met with children who suffer violence and deprivation, had the gall to tear up in sympathy for herself, for her plight as a new royal.
“Not many people have asked if I’m OK,” she said, eyes welling. “But it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.”
Anyone who has watched “The Crown” knows what the historic trade-off of royalty is: Untold riches and a life of privilege, in exchange for ribbon-cutting, waving and scrutiny. The latter might not always be easy, but seems a small price.
The hypocrisy here is Harry and Meghan announcing a “step back” rather than abdication.
To employ a cliché: They are having their cake and eating it, too.
Going forward, they should have to pay for their own security, their own travel, their own staff, their own homes and upkeep and childcare. As it is, they’ve made no secret of their plans to monetize and trade upon their status, from spending their six-week holiday “break” in a $14 million waterfront mansion in Vancouver — brokered by musician David Foster, who declined to say if the couple paid rent — to trademarking “Sussex Royal,” which will allow them to slap their brand on everything from clothing to books and magazines to anything you can think of, really.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out amid the Brexit crisis, the Prince Andrew disaster, and with a public that has long adored Harry for bravely suffering the loss of his mother, for his wartime service in Afghanistan, for his charity work with veterans and children, for his charisma and his common touch.
The latter, of course, now in question.