Duke and Duchess of Sussex Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle.
Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP
‘Megxit’ & why it rumbles, too.
PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - January 28, 2020 - 12:00am

In the past two weeks, as Taal Volcano was rumbling, social media in the Philippines was rife with reposts and commentaries about a family from a faraway land with little or no bearing to their daily lives: the Windsors (which include the Waleses, the Cambridges, the Sussexes).

After much speculation about rifts within the British Royal family headed by world’s longest-serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, who are the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, dropped a bombshell on their Instagram account that reportedly even rattled his grandmother the Queen. She reportedly didn’t see it coming.

“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,” read part of the announcement from the couple’s Sussexroyal account, which has 11 million followers.

Royal observers said it was as close to an abdication as possible, for Harry was effectively (though he claims not totally) giving up the duties he inherited by virtue of birth, even if he didn’t ask to be born a prince.

Prince Harry and Prince William at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, awaiting the former’s wedding to Meghan Markle in 2018.
Photo by Owen Humphreys/AFP

“This has undoubtedly been the royal family’s most dramatic rupture since King Edward VIII abdicated in 1936 to marry American Wallis Simpson.

“Harry may not be king but he is a beloved prince, forsaking his people, prestige and position to embark on a new life outside the UK with the woman he loves,” wrote the GMA (Good Morning America) team in an online post.

Harry gave his own heartfelt explanation at a charity event in London, a day after the Buckingham Palace announced in a fairly worded statement that Harry and Meghan would no longer be official “working members” of the royal family.

He asked that the truth be heard from him “not as a prince, or a Duke, but as Harry, the same person that many of you have watched grow up over the last 35 years.”

“The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back, is not one I made lightly.

“And I know I haven’t always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option. What I want to make clear is we’re not walking away, and we certainly are not walking away from you.”

***

Everyone has a right to happiness, and if this is Harry’s way of exercising that right and pursuing it with the woman he loves, who are we to stand in the way of his pursuit of happiness?

But fidelity to duty is in every thread of the filigree of being royal, especially a “senior royal,” so I think he should not have stepped back. He should not have packed up for a new life with his family abroad.

In the course of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, there have been threats (and there are still threats) to abolish the monarchy. The republican movement in Britain announced in 2016 it would campaign to make the case for holding a referendum on the future of the Royal Family after the Queen’s death according to express.co.uk.

According to online sources, quoting The Wall Street Journal, the Sovereign Grant totaled $107.1 million in 2019. The grant pays for the Royal family’s travel, palace upkeep and utilities and royal employee payroll.

Kings and queens, princes and princesses live in palaces and want for nothing. The Queen herself is reportedly worth $530 million (as of 2016). Royal brides get to wear tiaras at their wedding. That’s why all little girls want to grow up to become a princess and live in a castle. That’s why fairy tales have a cast composed of royalty. They live the life that every chambermaid longs to have. Being royal is high on every wish list submitted to every little girl’s fairy godmother.

But when you’re born high and mighty or marry into it, you have the unwritten code of noblesse oblige. “Nobility obligates” — people from noble ancestry should act nobly and generously to others — including to the institution that sustains the family.

All I’m saying is to whom much is given, much is expected. You wore a tiara loaned by the Queen to your wedding, Meghan. You’re a dream come true for every little girl born bi-racial.

And so everybody’s talking about “Megxit” — because happily ever after has just become more complicated. *

BRITISH ROYAL FAMILY MEGHAN MARKLE PRINCE HARRY
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