Harry and Meghan should have learned from Diana that you just cannot compete with the Queen, says royal expert

Writing about the book 'Finding Freedom', historian Hugo Vickers said Harry and Meghan have not 'understood the institution to which they were once bound'


                            Harry and Meghan should have learned from Diana that you just cannot compete with the Queen, says royal expert
(Getty Images)
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Harry and Meghan Markle were wrongly under the impression that their actions could be above the royal engagements doled out to the other members of the royal family and that instead of working for the Queen, they started competing against her. This was the conclusion derived by royal historian Hugo Vickers who penned an op-ed in the Daily Mail regarding the new biography on the Sussexes and Megxit called 'Finding Freedom.' According to him, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex believed they had, through their high-profile wedding, propelled the Royal Family to "new heights around the world."

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"Harry and Meghan liked being in control of their narrative," the authors of the explosive book, Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie, were told. The couple reportedly wanted to "call their own shots." As a result "agreeing to fold their household into Buckingham Palace, instead of creating their own independent court, had proved a big disappointment to them."

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend The Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House on March 05, 2020 in London, England. (Getty Images)

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Vickers said that the intentions of the couple depicted in the book proved that the ''newly married couple were (sic) more concerned about promoting their own agendas than the interests of the Monarchy itself." He said that he had no doubts that Harry and Meghan felt ‘reined in’ by the senior courtiers and palace officials and felt that people viewed them as too successful, but it also went ''to show how little Harry and Meghan have understood about the institution to which they were once bound.''

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The historian, who has worked in the royal household since 1972, said that the courtiers do not normally brief against members of the family or attack them as it would not serve any purpose. ''Such officials certainly do have a role in coordinating the activities of the Royal Family – that is perfectly reasonable. Private secretaries are among the most active people in helping decide what individual Royals do, both in the interests of the family and of the country. They are there to help, not obstruct," he said.

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The monarch herself understood this and hence has been so very good at taking advice from counsels and other people in a position to help her, whether it be a government minister or a private secretary. Then there have been characters in the royal family who have been less-than-successful in following with the set protocol. The biggest example of such behavior was Harry's own mother, Princess Diana. 

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"She liked to complain about her secretaries and courtiers, claiming that they failed to provide the advice she needed," Vickers said. ''In fact they did, she just didn’t often listen. Diana was constantly competing with the Queen, determined to do things her own, independent way, and I fear it has rubbed off on her son and on the daughter-in-law she never got to meet.''

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Princess Diana wearing a Jasper Conran suit during a visit to a community centre in Brixton, October 1983. (Photo by Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)

He added: "Harry and Meghan, too, have chosen to work outside the system. It did not bring Diana any joy – and it won’t bring Harry any, either."

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Vickers suspected that since Harry always saw his mother as being victimized by the royal family but was too young at the time to do anything, when he heard his wife saying says she is a victim too, "Harry jumps to her defense." "In Meghan, he has found a woman with echoes of his late mother, who once said she never got a word of thanks after everything she had done for the Royals," Vickers wrote. 

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As for the Queen, she has been immensely affected by her grandson's decision to quit The Firm and to do so without giving her prior notice. "Despite her sadness at the thought of losing the Sussexes as working Royals, the Queen could see it was necessary for the couple to completely separate from the institution," the authors write. On January 8 this year, when the couple decided to announce their historic decision to leave the Royal Family on Instagram, the monarch's distress was real.

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They also launched their website, sussexroyal.com, which caught catching the palace unawares. "The element of surprise, the blindsiding of the Queen… was deeply upsetting," according to a senior member of the household.