Bob McKinney

Those wacky royals are at it again.

Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle, officially known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, sent shockwaves throughout Great Britain and beyond last week with the announcement they would be stepping back as “senior members of the royal family.”

Say what? They can do that?

Apparently they think they can, and this thoroughly modern prince and princess who took the world by storm with their fairytale wedding at Windsor Castle, then the birth of adorable little Prince Archie, have decided to chart their own course.

In their announcement, they said they would be splitting their time between the U.K. and North America. Rumors abound that Meghan might return to acting and Harry might be looking for a day job.

And as I write this, the latest report is Meghan has flown to Canada while Harry remains in Britain to deal with what is being described as nothing less than a royal crisis. Of course, every public crisis has a name, and you gotta love the one the British press (which has a flare for the dramatic) has given this one: “Megxit.”

There are reportedly deep discussions taking place among Harry and his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II; his father, Prince Charles; and his brother, Prince William.

Again with the dramatic, the tabloid Daily Mail says these key players are trying “to avert all out royal war.”

All over a prince and princess who want to go off their prescribed course.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall — or a lowly servant — at Buckingham Palace these days.

As I have previously written, I get news alerts on my phone. The day Harry and Meg made their announcement, and the day after, my handheld device was buzzing with royal news.

I certainly don’t consider myself a royal watcher, but I’ve been to England and I watch The Crown. Combine that with my interest in history, and I am intrigued by the workings of the British monarchy.

It took very little follow-up reading after the initial announcement to surmise that the royal family, from the queen down, did not take this little bit of news well. It appears discussions about a different role for the Duke and Duchess have been taking place for a while, but the consensus from the press is Harry and Meg decided to go forward without prior approval.

When I first heard the news, I figured the Sussexes (I know that sounds strange, but I’ve seen more than one news item in which they are referenced as such) were simply further defining their roles, maybe to put more emphasis on their charitable work.

The ensuing drama indicates otherwise.

A terse news release from Buckingham Palace described early stage discussions with the Duke and Duchess and “their desire to take a different approach,” and “complicated issues that will take time to work through.”

Well, yes, but pretty much anything a royal does is complicated. It’s not like one of them can up and decide to go for a casual walk or sit in a pub for a pint with friends. There are always protocols to follow and they are followed wherever they go.  

There were already hints this couple might buck the system. Their wedding alone, with a gospel choir, gave indications of such.

A recent TV special, in which they were followed on some of their travels, showed some frustrations on the part of both.

Harry expressed exasperation with public life, going all the way back to when his mother, Princess Diana, was tragically killed while being followed by paparazzi. Meghan, when asked how she was doing, thanked the interviewer for his concern, saying “not many people have asked if I’m OK.”

Perhaps her latest move is a demonstration she’s working toward being that way — immediate consequences, and expectations, be damned. Maybe she looked back at some other royal marriages and decided hers would be different.

They might be royal, but they are still a husband and wife, a mother and father, raising a son in what is, yes, a complicated environment.

Maybe we should give them props for daring to put their family first and doing the best they can.

Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at


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