Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are following in the Queen's footsteps with reported move to Africa, says Royal biographer
In an interview with MEAWW, royal biographer Penny Junor said the move could be beneficial to the African as well as the British economies
Ever since it was announced that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle could be moving to Africa in order to undertake charity work and promote the British Commonwealth, royal fans have been wondering about the implications of the continental move.
It was previously revealed that in case the royal couple, who are eagerly awaiting the birth of their first newborn, decide to go ahead with the move, British taxpayers might have to pay over £1,000,000 in security bills annually for their stay in Africa . This is because the royal couple would each get a dedicated team of Metropolitan Police SO14 Royal protection officers to accompany them, along with their baby.
Moreover, traveling, medical and insurance costs for all the protection officers working in rota patterns would add at least another £250,000 to the bill. But according to royal biographer Penny Junor, the move to Africa seems to be a positive step in the right direction for the royals.
Speaking to MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), Junor says that Meghan and Harry's decision to move to Africa "is probably a good idea under the (rather sad) circumstances," alluding to the rumor that there's a feud going on between Harry and his elder brother Prince William.
Penny adds, "Harry, William, and Kate were a formidable duo, with shared values and ambitions and a deep and close bond. It looked as though nothing could shake that and that in the far future, when William became king, Harry would be there as his wing-man. But if the stories are true, it looks as though something has gone badly wrong in the brothers’ relationship."
Junor also thinks that this rumored feud might even be the primary reason behind the Duke and Duchess of Sussex looking for solace in a foreign land. "If the wives dislike each other as much as we are being told," says Junor, "then I think it is best that Harry and Meghan do go elsewhere. Otherwise, the media will simply feast on the discord and the rivalry and the work that any of them are trying to do would be obscured, and that would be disastrous for the monarchy."
But on second thoughts, the royal biographer thinks that the move to Africa might do a world of good for Meghan and Harry, who are on the cusp of starting their life with a newborn child together. Junor says that Meghan and Harry relocating to Africa, the details of which will be finalized by 2020, could prove extremely beneficial to the African as well as the British economy.
"There could be benefits for both Britain and Africa, in terms of promoting trade, and shining a light on humanitarian and conservation issues. They could be great ambassadors for Britain and for the monarchy and do a huge amount of good, but I think it all depends upon what they intend to do there or if there is a proper job that they can be seen to be doing," believes Junor.
As for the couple's support towards a plethora of charities, Junor says, "Harry has done a lot of good for vulnerable children over the years with Sentebale, the charity he co-founded after his gap year in Lesotho. The programme that runs there has been rolled out to Botswana and Malawi and I suspect there are ambitions to take it to other countries affected by HIV/AIDS in due course too. He also has credibility in the field of conservation, and he’s a helicopter pilot. I guess there might be possibilities there - possibly hands-on in the battle against poachers."
But what about wasting taxpayer's money on the royal couple's security? Junor thinks that might prove to be a difficult PR battle to fight. "The British public are always quick to criticize members of the royal family, particularly if they think taxpayers’ money is being wasted, or the royal is not working hard enough, and they are bound to come under pretty intense media scrutiny. So managing to get the PR right could be tricky," she says.
While royal advisors are currently working on a new role for the pair if they move to Africa, Junor says that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex "could be asked to make visits by the Foreign Office, which decides on the destination and programme of most royal trips abroad. That would be largely promoting trade and diplomatic meetings with heads of state."
However, one is forced to also think about Harry and Meghan's baby, who is due to arrive anytime now, and what kind of an effect that the move to Africa will have on the child, given the fact that generations of royal family members have been traditionally born and bred in the UK. But Junor says there is nothing to worry about, considering that Meghan and Harry would have to indulge in "a lot of toing and froing for family get-togethers and charitable events in Britain," making their baby "better travelled than most royal babies."
The most surprising thing about Harry and Meghan's apparent decision to move to a different continent away from the UK isn't such a novel idea. In fact, it seems like Harry is following in the footsteps of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, who too moved to Malta with Prince Philip between 1949 and 1951, a time when her son, Prince Charles, was a mere one-year-old.
The monarch has often described her love of Malta, having lived there for two years with Prince Philip shortly after they married. Moreover, Malta definitely holds a special place in her heart, for it is said that Malta was the only place where she felt she could "lead a normal life, wander through the town and do some shopping," without the pressure of being next in line to the throne.
Junor says that Harry's move to Africa can be seen as his escape from the realities of the palace. "Harry has always loved Africa. He is scarcely known there and those people that do recognize him, don’t really pay much attention. That is part of the country’s charm for him. So yes, in a way, this could be an escape from all the negativity towards Meghan, the difficulties at the palace, and a bid for happiness."
She adds, "You could argue it is similar to the Queen’s time in Malta. They both wanted to play happy families and pretend for a while that they were like the rest of us." However, given how the Queen has been increasingly assigning royal engagements to the younger members of the royal family in a bid to keep the family as close-knit as possible, there could be a change in relationship dynamics between him and the Queen.
Juror, on the other hand, thinks that the move will have no drastic effect on Harry's relationship with his beloved grandma. She explains, "The Queen has a very soft spot for Harry and they have a warm and close relationship. I can’t see that changing. I am sure he would flit back and forth and there are plenty of ways to stay in touch from afar."