My thoughts about Prince Harry and his wife apparently abandoning the royal family aren’t as insightful or as nuanced as those expressed by John in his outstanding post about the matter. As I see it, no one should feel obligated to participate in the British monarchy, and certainly not in a non-starring role.
My argument isn’t that one’s desire for happiness trumps one’s obligations. Few doctrines are more dangerous.
My argument is that one’s desire for happiness trumps obligations that one didn’t sign up for — obligations imposed at birth.
But there’s more to Harry’s abandonment than just the pursuit of happiness. John hit the nail on the head when he wrote that “the Royal Family is supposed to be above politics.”
Harry’s desire to be free of the royal family isn’t just a quest for free time (of which he has plenty already) or to escape from ceremonial events. It also seems like a quest to speak his mind (and for his wife to speak hers) about political and social issues.
Viewed in this light, Harry’s decision is honorable and serves the royal family’s interests. He and his wife could have remained in place, embarrassing, and indeed harming, the crown through various woke posturing and pronouncements. Better that they should move on.
To be sure, Harry and his wife could have remained in place and kept their political and social views to themselves. But Harry should not be forced, by accident of birth, into silence on matters he cares deeply about.
I agree with John that it’s unfortunate that Harry, who once seemed promising, became a leftist. Based on press reports, John suggests that this is the doing of Harry’s wife, Meghan Markle.
If so, this wouldn’t be the first time that romance with an American divorcee led to an abandonment of the royal family. In 1936, King Edward VIII abdicated the crown to marry Wallis Simpson.
As I understand it, Mrs. Simpson was widely vilified in England as a ruthless schemer who nearly derailed the monarchy (Americans, I think, viewed her more charitably). It is, in John’s words, evidence of “the way we live now” that, by contrast, Meghan Markle is “ascendant.”
Neither she nor her husband deserves to be — far from it. But I don’t think they deserve to be criticized for leaving the royal family.