The Duke and Duchess of Sussex surprised everyone by issuing a joint statement about their future role as members of the Royal Family. While fully supporting and honouring Her Majesty The Queen they plan to live between North America and UK. The couple have chosen not to receive the current funding for their office through the Sovereign Grant, this will allow them to earn a professional income and give them the financial independence they desire. The Duke and Duchess have announced their new charitable entity will soon be forthcoming.
Soon after the announcement The Royal Family published a statement “Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.” This suggested The Royal Family were also surprised.
From spring The Duke and Duchess have revised their approach to media to ensure diverse and open access to their work and activities, giving opportunities grass roots, young and budding journalists. Their official website reads “The Duke and Duchess believe in a free, strong and open media industry, which upholds accuracy and fosters inclusivity, diversity and tolerance.”
To avoid misreporting they are opting out of the Royal Rota system of royal correspondents getting exclusivity, in favour of communicating directly with the wider public through their own official communication channels, including social media. In the past both Prince Harry and The Duchess of Sussex have been upset by misreporting and in October last year The Duchess launched legal action against Associated Newspaper (Daily Mail).
Their statement immediately went wild on social media, predictably the press reaction has been both supportive and cruel, some of the reporting will again be deemed unfair. The Prince and The Duchess have so much public history that speculation, interpretation and judgement of their reasons are extensive. Royal personalities are an irresistible centre of attraction for media and an endless source of fascination for ordinary folk, in reading the entirety of their statement it seems royal reporting has not always been accurate about these two, resulting in personal distress. Unfortunately, some folks and media are encouraging a situation of Traditional Royals versus Liberal Celebrity Royals.
In the 2019 YouGov Royal Popularity poll HM Queen Elizabeth II comes top and Prince Harry is second, yet in a reactionary move the following day Madame Tussauds separated the popular waxworks of the Duke and Duchess from the Royal Family display.
The Duchess joined a culture and tradition so removed from her previous experience and has been very sensitive to derogatory press remarks, The Prince is determined to protect her, this is their solution. It may be unprecedented, it may be experimental but most of us pray for Royal Family harmony while the Duke and Duchess establish themselves in their chosen way of life.