Why Meghan & Harry “Stepping Back” From the Royal Family is the Fairytale Ending I Needed

Just a few days after the world rang in the new year, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced on their Instagram they plan to “step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent.” They wrote they also plan to still “fully support Her Majesty The Queen.” The Duke and Duchess of Sussex plan to balance their time between Canada and the United Kingdom. 

In response to their decision, the Queen released a statement expressing her support for their decision, although the Royal Family would have “preferred” the two remain as members of the Royal Family full-time. In their latest statement on January 18, Buckingham Palace explained the couple will no longer use their “HRH” (his or her royal highness) titles and they will pay back the taxpayer for the funds they used to renovate their home. In a separate statement, the Queen further addressed the Sussex’s departure from the Royal Family and said, “I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life.”

After being completely slaughtered by the British press throughout their entire marriage, I can’t say that I’m at all disappointed by their semi-departure from the royal spotlight. Despite being Canadian, I’ve come to recognize British tabloids such as the Daily Mail, the Sun and the Daily Express ever since they began having a field day over Markle, criticizing her every move since their wedding in 2018. Media personnel Katie Hopkins and Piers Morgan have also not been shy to broadcast their strong distaste for the couple, with Morgan calling Markle a “selfish social climber” and Harry a “weak whiner.” 

While Markle gets a new headline discrediting her every day, the press seems to be disregarding Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. Not to say Middleton has done anything wrong, however, while Markle is shamed by the tabloids for simply sitting a certain way or for holding her baby bump, the media seems to glaze over Middleton or - if anything - praise her over the same things Markle is criticized for. BuzzFeed News posted an article recently demonstrating the exact hypocrisy between the media’s coverage on Markle and Middleton.

Are we surprised by the media’s scrutiny on Markle, yet their adoration or, at the very least, neutrality for Middleton? Not at all. While I was looking through the many tabloid articles criticizing Markle, the most common issue the press seemed to have with her was that whatever Markle appeared to do was breaking tradition or protocol. However, the only tradition I think these tabloids are obviously not too keen about is the fact that Markle isn’t a white woman. It’s clear that out of all the people in the Royal Family, Markle is the favourite target. Rumours have whirled around about Prince William’s cheating scandal or Prince Andrew’s connection to Jeffrey Epstein, however, the media continues to scrutinize Markle for enjoying avocados, or wanting her wedding to smell nice.

Although Markle and Prince Harry have given up their HRH titles, I have found them to be the noblest out of the royal family. For Markle to defend herself against an entire industry that seems to be bullying her, leaving the Royal family and taking herself out of a bad situation just reinforces that she’s still my princess in every way that Disney has taught me. As for Prince Harry, I applaud his stance in this situation. To give up his role and title in the institution he has grown up his entire life in, to support his wife and child, is admirable. After what had happened with Princess Diana, and the press’ part in her death, it isn’t surprising the media’s intense coverage on Markle would influence his decision to step back from the Royal Family. Although it’s unconventional to give up your title and step back as full-time members of the Royal Family, Markle’s and Harry’s decision demonstrates a love that’s entirely pure, and a story I hope Disney will soon copyright.