Prince Harry and Meghan Markle started 2020 on what they thought would be a high, after announcing Megxit. As part of their very public divorce from the royal family, they shared their belief that they would be parttime working royals with all the benefits that they had as working members.
Nearly two years later, it looks increasingly like Megxit was a rather ruinous decision as Harry and Meghan stepped into one PR disaster after another, though they did welcome their second child and first daughter, which also caused controversy.
In February, Harry and Meghan announced that they were expecting their second child with a series of two black and white pictures. Many compared the images to the ending of the film “Notting Hill,” where the main couple appeared with the wife laying her head on her husband’s lap while she’s pregnant. Instead of their often used and much publicized bench, the couple were on the ground with a tree behind them. Another featuredArchie, though neither he nor Harry were really visible.
The couple also announced in February that they were going to participate in a tell-all interview with Orpah Winfrey, which later aired in March.
However, right before the interview aired Meghan was accused by her former royal staffers of being a bully. The situation was so severe that communication secretary Jason Knuaf sent an email about her abusive tactics to Prince William’s private secretary. Many were so traumatized they’ve claimed that they have post-traumatic stress disorder.
Prince William was so incensed by Meghan’s behavior, that he called her “that bloody woman” in regards to how she treated the staff.
The allegations were made in order to disrupt and disprove Meghan and Harry’s victim narrative. It did take some of the wind out of their sails, but she vigorously denied all charges.
Days later, the interview with Oprah Winfrey aired, where the two revealed that they were having a girl, the couple aired their grievances against the royal family after losing their royal patronages and Harry his honorary military titles. Meghan alleged that the family and institution ignored her supposed mental health issues, including her thoughts of suicide, and that a member of the royal family made a racist comment about Archie’s skin tone. She also made implications that he was denied a title and security due to him being mixed race, even though she acknowledged that he did not qualify for a title due to the Letters of Patent.
In a portion of the interview conducted on the couple’s property in Montecito, Meghan shared her belief that she and Harry were married in a private ceremony before their marriage. The Archbishop of Canterbury deniedit.
When Harry joined Meghan for the second half of the interview, he attacked his family as well, including complaining that his father cut him off financially and that he had to rely on his multimillion-dollar inheritance from his mother and great-grandmother, and expressed his confusion about why his security was removed despite leaving the monarchy.
Interestingly, he did have a different version of the racist incident. Meghan said it was before the birth of Archie, but Harry said it was before their marriage. Both denied that the comment was made by the Queen or Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. This fall, it came to light that Prince Philip was the one who made the comment.
The reaction to the interview was rather devastating to the royal family.
In a statement after the interview, the Queen said: “The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.
“The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.
“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.”
Harry and Meghan received a slight bump in popularity after the interview with some, especially the African American community in the States—however, many called out their inconsistencies and outright lies in their statements.
Sadly, Prince Harry’s grandfather Prince Philip died just a month later, leading many to speculate that the fervor over the couple’s interview contributed to his death.
The Duke of Sussex attended the interview by himself and was apparently “shocked” at the frosty response he received from family members. Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, were seen conversing with Harry, but apparently also remained cautious of their toxic brother and brother-in-law.
In another controversy, Meghan Markle had timed the information about her, and Harry’s wreath leaked to the media during the funeral. As no other family member released information about their wreath, many called out the former actress for attention seeking.
As the year went on, it only got worse for the couple.
Their popularity continued to plummet, with both becoming some of the least popular members of the royal family. Only Prince Andrew fared worse than the two.
In order to try and reframe their brand and narrative, the couple took up a variety of efforts, which oftentimes resulted in public frustrating.
Prince Harry and Meghan jumped on the COVID vaccination bandwagon, participating in a rather shady charity event called “Vax Live,” where celebrities begged those beneath them to donate so that vaccines could be sent to other countries.
It also came out that the California-based couple now had a publication deal, with Meghan releasing a “children’s” book about the relationship between fathers and sons called “The Bench.” According to the publisher, the book was “inclusive” and portray a “diverse groups of fathers and sons.”
The book was deemed by most as ironic, since Meghan has no relationship with her father and Harry has damaged his relationship between his own.
Released around Father’s Day, the book was proclaimed a “best-seller”, but many doubted it as certain critics and parents called it unengaging for children and a vanity project for the former actress.
In May, their son Archie celebrated his second birthday. It’s an exciting time for any child, and Harry and Meghan decided to capitalize on it by asking for donations, for themselves.
It later came out that Harry was participating in a documentary with Oprah Winfrey for AppleTV+ called “The Me You Can’t See.” During the series, Harry shared about his “trauma” and spent most of his time complaining about his lot in life, despite being a royal.
The whine-athon continued on Dax Sheperd’s podcast “The Armchair Expert.” There Harry made perhaps one of the stupidest comments to ever come from a royal, stating that he considered the First Amendment, which protects American’s right to free speech, religion and association, “bonkers.”
Harry said, “I’ve got so much I want to say about the First Amendment as I sort of understand it, but it is bonkers.”
“I don’t want to start going down the First Amendment route because that’s a huge subject and one which I don’t understand because I’ve only been here a short time, but you can find a loophole in anything.
“You can capitalize or exploit what’s not said rather than uphold what is said.”
This did not go over well in his newly adopted country, as people questioned both his intelligence and his sanity.
On June 6, the couple welcomed their daughter Lilibet “Lili” Diana. While the family was overjoyed by the new arrival, the Queen was not amused by their name choice.
Lilibet is a deeply personal nickname to the Queen, which was used by only a select few family members. Most of whom have passed away. She even requested that the name be retired after the death of Prince Philip.
In response, Harry and Meghan claimed that the Queen gave her permission, though she quickly disputed this through the BBC.
If the couple was looking to help amend some of their fractured relationship with the royal family through the name, it was unsuccessful.
In July, Harry again returned to the U.K., this time for the unveiling of a statue of his mother Princess Diana. He attended with his brother William, and the tension between the two was palpable, though Harry acted very manic as if he was high on something.
As the year went on Meghan made her political ambitions known, as rumors swirled that she’s interested in becoming the President of the United States and started a public lobbying campaign, much to the frustration of Americans.
The former actress also turned 40 and brought actress Melissa McCarthy in to create a rather cringy announcing her 40×40 initiative, which encouraged women helping other women reintegrate into the work force. It’s unclear how successful the campaign was, but most people agree that it was mostly a flop. She was also called out for mocking the Queen with Melissa’s attire.
As part of their media campaign to force the world to see them as movers and shakers, Harry and Meghan angled to appear on the cover of Time Magazine as one of the world’s most influential couples. Again, they were mocked for their overly photoshopped images, where Meghan was clearly the center of attention, and Prince Harry was relegated to a clearly secondary position. Some even called him her hairdresser based on how the two were posed.
The couple quickly followed this up with a pseudo royal tour of New York City, where they seemingly were undertaking royal style events despite not representing anything but themselves. While the political leadership of New York and the United Nations mostly appeased them, the tour was widely condemned as a self-indulging, especially when it came to light that the couple were filming the entire thing for a Netflix reality television show.
As part of a Veteran’s Day celebration in November, the couple returned to New York City for an event dedicated to U.S. service members, where Meghan famously wore a most hideous red dress. They were again seen in the company of cameras for their series.
Another big revelation that occurred is in relation to Meghan’s court case with The Daily Mail, where it was revealed that she lied to the court regarding certain key documents. While the information really didn’t have much relevance to the case, it seriously damaged the couple’s credibility.
In the last week of the year, Meghan did get her final and solid victory over The Mail on Sunday for publishing a letter that she wrote her father, the couple has struggled to gain solid footing and continues to move from one PR disaster into another.
Harry and Meghan’s credibility has tanked, and the public is increasingly uninterested in the sanctimonious word salad of two ex-royals who claim that they have the solutions for humanity, despite making a mess of their own families.
Expect more of the same from 2022, as Harry is set to release his memoir, which will likely paint the royal family in a negative light again. It’s likely that their reality television show will be released again as well.