Meghan Markle found royal life ‘toxic’ and ‘soul crushing,’ and leaving it was ‘a matter of life and death’
The Daily Beast
January 16, 2020
With Tom Sykes
Meghan Markle said her spirit would have “died” in the royal family. Now her and Harry’s staff are being reassigned, “Megxit” negotiations continue—and Canada may not be welcoming.
The insanely paced soap opera that is Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s exit from their “senior royal” roles shows no sign of becoming less feverish anytime soon.
A friend told DailyMail.co.uk on Thursday that Meghan felt that living within the royal confines was “soul crushing” and that she didn’t want Archie growing up within such a “toxic environment… She told her friends that her soul was being crushed and that the decision to leave was a matter of life or death. Meaning the death of her spirit. She felt she couldn’t be the best mother to Archie if she wasn’t being her true, authentic self. She didn’t want Archie picking up on her stress and anxiety. She felt like it was a toxic environment for him because there was too much tension.”
The Mail also reported staff at their Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage, are being let go from those positions and reassigned to other jobs within the royal household. Palace sources told the Mail that Meghan will never return to live in Britain in “a meaningful way.”
Prince Harry gave a mirthless laugh and said nothing Thursday when, at an event to launch the 2021 Rugby World Cup, his last ever engagement as a working senior royal, he was asked by the press what his plans for the future were.
In a bizarre attack later in the day, however, the prince made his feelings known when he released an Instagram Story of the day’s events backed by the Stone Roses hit “This Is the One,” which contains the lyrics: “I’d like to leave the country for a month of Sundays.” (Courtiers unconvincingly claimed he had no idea that the track would be used and said it had been selected by the event organizers.)
Although that particular lyric did not feature in the clip of the song accompanying the video, it seems unlikely to be a fluke choice by the petulant prince.
Harry’s hollow laughter when asked about his plans was doubtless intended to reflect his contempt for the press and the utter disdain he feels for such lines of inquiry about his personal life.
However, the question was perhaps more apposite than even he realized, as cracks are now appearing in the couple’s delicate plans to move to Canada, amid signs that the royals might have overestimated the willingness of the Canadians to have an unemployed prince and his wife on their hands.
A blanket of silence swaddled ongoing talks at Sandringham House, with sources saying the royals’ aides were now in “the tunnel” of negotiations as they try to thrash out a workable deal.
The young royals themselves have spent the last few days busily telegraphing their reasonableness and affinity for hard work.
Kate and William have been keen to show themselves engaged in the hard and unglamorous grind of royalty, and to that end spent Wednesday at a faith and community event space in the northern town of Bradford.
William was suspected of being guardedly explicit about the fallout of the disastrous breakdown in relations with Harry when he commented, “It’s sometimes trying to get people to understand that it’s OK to have challenges. We just need to deal with them, and we need to move forward rather than just be stuck in paralysis and pretending they don’t happen, which is no good.”
Meanwhile, residents of British Columbia were given a glimpse of what having Meghan living among them full-time might be like, as pictures emerged on social media Wednesday and Thursday of two surprise visits she made to women’s projects in downtown Vancouver.
Yesterday, The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle visited to discuss climate justice for girls and the rights of Indigenous peoples. Was great to talk about the importance of a holistic approach to social justice, and the power of young women’s leadership. #DuchessOfSussex pic.twitter.com/M9LaqEELl7
— Justice For Girls (@JFG_Canada) January 16, 2020
She had no prior connection to the organizations and apparently made the arrangements to call in and offer her support (which was enthusiastically received by the organizations in question) at the last minute.
The Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre provides a safe space offering meals and internet access to women and children in one of Vancouver’s poorest areas, while Justice for Girls addresses “the intersecting forms of oppression that young women face, including intergenerational impacts of colonization.”
The visits showed, perhaps, how Meghan might operate in the future, liberated from the top-down command structure of the royal family, although there was a certain irony in that visiting a women’s rights project is exactly the kind of work Meghan could have continued carrying out in the U.K. It was also clearly intended to demonstrate to Canadians that she planned to put something back into the community.
This might be necessary PR. After Monday’s crisis talks at Sandringham, a move to Canada appeared to be a fait accompli for the Sussexes and their infant son, with the Queen announcing, “There will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the U.K.”
Unfortunately, despite Canadian PM Justin Trudeau appearing to have enthusiastically signed on and being ready to contribute to security costs, no one asked the Canadian people.
When they did, a poll for the nonprofit Angus Reid Institute found that a stunning 73 percent of respondents said they would prefer Canada not to pitch in as much as a red cent to the cost of keeping the Sussexes safe.
Following an excoriating editorial in the traditionally conservative and pro-royal Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, and a slow burning controversy about the cost to Canada of paying for their round-the-clock police protection, attitudes appear to be turning against the royal-for-now couple.
Michael Behiels, an emeritus professor of political and constitutional history at the University of Ottawa and fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, said the Sussexes’ decision to move could end up in the Supreme Court of Canada.
He told The Times of London: “They can visit Canada on behalf of the Queen but they can’t take on any other royal family responsibilities or live in Canada permanently or part-time. I hope that [the] Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet fully respect the nature and scope of Canada’s Constitution Acts of 1867 and 1982.”
Trudeau tweeted before Christmas that Harry, Meghan, and 8-month-old Archie “were among friends, and always welcome here,” but he may live to regret the open invitation, with signs that Harry and Meghan’s arrival in Canada, and the cost of paying for their security, is becoming rapidly politicized.
The Globe and Mail, the paper of record in Canada, a country that recognizes the Queen as its monarch, pulled no punches in blasting the couple’s plans in its editorial, saying: “Canada is not a halfway house for anyone looking to get out of Britain while remaining a royal… Princes are not shipped over here when no useful duties can be found for them on the other side of the Atlantic. Canada welcomes people of all faiths, nationalities and races, but if you’re a senior member of our royal family, this country cannot become your home.”
It was a blistering broadside and has triggered an intense debate in Canada, with the not-universally-popular Trudeau government accused of not thinking through the full impact of saying it would be fine for Harry and Meghan to move to the country.
The National Post caught the mood when it quoted a Canadian security source saying the country can’t simply ignore the issue because “We don’t want Diana in a tunnel in Paris.”
Meghan and Harry have made it perfectly clear that they don’t want to stay in the U.K., not in a month of Sundays, but if other countries balk at the prospect of shelling out millions of dollars to protect some foreign dignitaries, they may yet come to regret the two fingers they are throwing up at the U.K. as they depart.