What to make of Harry and Meghan's withdrawal?

The British have been waiting with bated breath for the Queen Elizabeth's reaction to Prince Harry and his wife Meghan's announcement that they intend to step back from their royal obligations and become financially independent. On Monday the Queen announced that her family will support the couple in their desire to create a new life for themselves. Commentators speculate about the future of the royals.

Open/close all quotes
tagesschau.de (DE) /

Making the court fit for the future

ARD's London correspondent Jens-Peter Marquardt admires the Queen's reaction on tagesschau.de:

“Even at the age of 93, she is still flexible enough to modernise the British monarchy and adapt it to new times. The Queen is thus once again proving to be a blessing for the continued existence of the House of Windsor. She no longer insists on the model that she introduced after the beginning of her reign almost 70 years ago: participation of the whole family in the royal duties. ... It's testimony to the Queen's character that she hasn't let injuries guide her response but has once more put service to the monarchy and the country in the foreground. She didn't expel the young royals from the family, but is making the ancient British court fit for the future.”

Le Soir (BE) /

Right to self-determination

Wanting to stand on their own two feet is something that Harry and Meghan are entitled to, Le Soir insists:

“The desire to break away from the royal family and (re)gain their freedom can be seen merely as another uninspiring episode of a romantic and scandalous saga. But it can also be seen as a gesture of liberation, expressing an unwillingness to submit out of mere decency to an institution which holds that 'the crown is more important than everything else'. Harry and Meghan's spectacular break is a way of expressing the fact that everyone, wherever they live, is free to take control of their destiny, with the ensuing consequences. And that they have the right to something better than a bearable future: a fulfilling one.”

24 Chasa (BG) /

This woman belongs in Hollywood

24 Chasa says Meghan Markle is right to quit her job as a full-time duchess:

“Before she became a princess, Meghan earned about half a million dollars a year for her role in the Suits series. In the meantime, her price has risen immeasurably because not only is she the Duchess of Sussex. ... She is a black girl raised without a father in a poor neighbourhood. ... She is a postmodern Cinderella. Millions, if not billions of women all over the world dream of being her. Any film with her in the leading role would be a box office hit. With such prospects, vegetating in a damp castle without employment would not only be stupid, but a crime against humanity.”

El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

Almost subversive

The monarchy is losing its raison d'être, observes El Periódico de Catalunya:

“It's probably much more lucrative (and fun) to play in the league of the Kardashians than in that of the public budget of the post-Brexit UK. But there's another side to the Megxit. Because another raison d'être for the monarchy in the 21st century is to find its place in 21st-century society. ... The objective is to convince a modern, cultured, educated and cosmopolitan society in which work, relationships and love are changing at breakneck speed that an institution passed on through marriage and birth is the best possible system of government. ... The Megxit denies this: it says that for a young bourgeois couple there are better things than belonging to the royal family, which implies that being a royal is not the crowning glory. A dangerous, almost subversive message.”

Protagon.gr (GR) /

Spoiled brats

Protagon can understand why people perceive Harry and Meghan's withdrawal as a provocation:

“You know these spoiled kids. ... I met one once. He lived in a 1-room apartment, wore clothes from the junk shop and drank his friends' wine. He despised money and his father's business, capitalism, the banks and the stock markets. All this against the backdrop of his family's stuffed bank account, a villa in Ekali [a luxurious neighbourhood of Athens], a chalet in the Swiss Alps, four luxury cars and a high-speed yacht. When he got into difficulties and got tired of playing the role of a normal mortal he returned to the warm embrace of luxury that he knew was waiting for him all along. I'm not saying that Harry and Meghan are like him. But in certain respects their announcement carries the whiff of self-indulgence.”

Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

A rebuff for the tabloids

It's hypocritical of the gossip columns to say that this withdrawal is selfish and express sympathy with the queen, the Frankfurter Rundschau puts in:

“These journalists relentlessly stalk members of the royal family and earn their money by exposing as much private information as possible. ... Harry and Meghan have tried to stop this in the past, but neither emotional appeals evoking the tragic death of Harry's media-harried mother nor the efforts of the courts have managed to secure the desired degree of privacy. The couple has now drawn its conclusions - and is telling the tabloids to get lost.”

The Independent (GB) /

The royal family's only chance of a future

The Independent approves of the way Harry and Meghan are redefining life as royals:

“The Sussexes are modernising the House of Windsor. They're effectively reinventing royalty, or at least adding an alternative model for it for the 2020's and beyond. ... The Royal family enjoys its privileges, its role and its perks through the consent of the people who support it, financially, socially and politically. As the fate of Prince Andrew shows so chillingly, this can be swiftly and permanently lost. Their enemies may not understand it, but Harry and Meghan are actually trying to keep the institution useful and alive.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

From second fiddle to third string

The role of Prince Harry is no longer an important one anyway, Gazeta Wyborcza points out:

“A signal that Buckingham Palace does not view Harry and Meghan as part of the 'core' royal family is a family photo that shows the queen with three heirs to the throne: Charles, William and George. At the same time, although the prince and his wife's popularity in Britain has not waned, Harry and Meghan are playing increasingly minor roles: their most recent official trips have taken them mainly to the countries of the British Commonwealth (they recently spent six weeks in Canada) and the press often writes about them being sidelined.”