Five lows in Meghan and Harry’s rift with royals
When the American mixed-race actress Meghan Markle married Prince Harry in 2018, it seemed to signal a new era of openness and diversity for the British royal family.
But the fairytale turned sour, with reports of rows and rifts that saw the couple move to North America and step down from the royal frontline.
– Bullying complaint –
Five months after the former “Suits” star marries Harry at Windsor Castle, their media advisor — whom they share with brother William and his wife Kate — reportedly makes an official complaint that her behaviour has driven out two personal assistants and undermined a third.
It is not made public.
The advisor steps down but in 2019 goes to work for William and Kate.
Talk of a rift between the couples intensifies.
– ‘Different paths’ –
During a royal tour of Africa in October 2019 Harry admits that he and his brother are on “different paths” and “don’t see as much (of each other) as we used to”.
Harry accuses the British tabloids of waging a “ruthless campaign” against his wife, amid a steady drip of negative stories about her.
Meghan sues the publishers of the powerful Daily Mail for printing a private letter she wrote to her estranged father Thomas Markle. She later wins.
The duke and duchess say they won’t be spending Christmas with the queen and other royals in 2019 and go to Canada.
– ‘Megxit’ –
Harry and Meghan shock the palace in January 2020 by announcing they are stepping back as “senior” royals — a move quickly dubbed “Megxit” by the press.
They vow to become financially independent, splitting their time between Britain and North America.
The queen summons Harry to her Sandringham estate in eastern England, later sanctioning him and referring to the couple as “Harry and Meghan” rather than the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as they are formally known.
Five days later the palace drops their royal titles and their stipend from public funds. They also have to repay £2.4 million ($3.1 million) spent renovating their cottage at Windsor Castle.
– Stripped of titles –
Last month the queen ordered the couple to relinquish their honorary titles and patronages after they confirmed they would not be returning as working royals.
Now living in the United States, Harry and Meghan — who has championed women’s rights and the Black Lives Matter movement — have taken several invasion of privacy cases against UK news outlets.
This week Harry — who has blamed the “toxic” British press for contributing to his mother Diana’s tragic death — told US television that he is worried about “history repeating itself”.
– Palace ‘peddling lies’ –
With the couple about to give a tell-all interview to Oprah Winfrey, the palace reveals it is investigating the 2018 complaints of harassment against Meghan.
The duchess, pregnant with the couple’s second child, calls the claims character assassination, and an attempt to “peddle a wholly false narrative” before the broadcast.
“I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there’s an active role that ‘The Firm’ (the royal family) is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” she said in a clip from the interview.