Jordan: Nothing about the way Megan Markle has joined the royal family has been straightforward the past two years have been a whirlwind for The Duchess of Sussex and her husband Harry with the usual Paparazzi blitzes and tabloid headlines and flashing lights. All the stuff that goes along with marrying a prince and giving birth to a royal baby, but it hasn’t been easy either and this week even people like me for instance who don’t give a damn about the Royals usually got a notable into the toll that can take
News Clip: On top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a newlywed. It’s yeah, well, I guess and also thank you for asking because not many people have asked him. I’m okay, but it’s it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes
Jordan: Meghan’s husband for his part knew exactly who to blame. For the way his wife was feeling and he wasn’t holding back either
News Clip: Prince Harry spelling out the couple’s hurt and anger at the Tabloid media in a statement as hard-hitting as it was emotional. I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been Prince Harry writes accusing the Tabloid media of waging a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son
Jordan: For a celebrity interviews like the one Megan gave are revealing but not uncommon celebrities bare their souls all the time. It’s part of the gig but a royal a duchess letting the world into her heart and mind when everything is not okay. That’s different. I’m Jordan Heath Rawlings, and this is the big story Patricia trouble of right royalty.com is the Royal contributor for McLean’s? Hi Patricia.
Patricia: Hello, Jordan.
Jordan: Can you tell me in detail for people that maybe haven’t seen it in just heard the little clip that we played in our intro about the moment earlier this week that kind of made the world realize that something different was going on with Megan Markle.
Patricia: Yeah it Megan and Harry it was a documentary that aired and it was about there. Trip to Southern Africa. It happened last month. And this was an official visit. It was on behalf of the British government and a friend of theirs who is a ITV News anchor was there filming a documentary behind-the-scenes documentary and the clip started coming out on social media promoting this it was airing in Britain first and then it aired on ABC in the United States and the clips were.
Gobsmacking I’ve got to say because you’ve got Harry talking about that he’s that he’s not over the grief of his mother and there was this moment when he’s in the middle of the African wilderness, it’s at night their editor and a campsite and he’s talking about the fact that he can’t get over how the paparazzi treated her.
How the media treated her. And he has his quote. He says that every time he hears a camera. He hears a click he thinks about that the worst moments of his mother what his mother went through. And at that point I just my heart was breaking from because you could you could see the pain on his face.
You could feel the pain and it’s no secret for those of us in the media that he he genuinely hates the media. I mean, he loves the fact that the meteor simply part of his life. He does as little as possible. He makes it as hard as possible and. To hear him talk about that. It was just heartbreaking.
You have to be sympathetic and then came out these, you know these moments when Megan started talking and again, she’s talking about it you this is close up of her face and you can see she looks as though she’s about to cry and she’s talking about how you know as a mother she’s been going through so much and because.
In the past like two years since her engagement, she’s gone through every major stressor. You can have in your life. She’s gotten engaged. She’s got into a different country. She’s gotten married. She’s had a baby. She’s you know, got a new life got a new job. They’ve moved house. They broke, you know, God apart from you know, the brother who he was always fabulously close with William.
Every major stressor and you can see her and she’s talking about how you know as a woman trying to do this and having a baby like, you know that Archie is only five months old. She still breastfeeding. She’s on this huge Royal tour and she talks about how. When the interviewer asks her, you know, how are you doing?
And she says people haven’t asked me that question. They haven’t asked me how I’m feeling how you know, if I’m feeling okay. Hmm, and it’s at that point. I can’t whoa this was going to be unlike any other documentary we’d ever seen of the royal family. And so when it aired and this kind of fortunate thing, is it in a way their personal Revelations by being so open.
In a way overshadowed the documentary itself, which was talking about their tour of southern Africa, which is very much about their causes and it was they were meeting with you know, talking about gender issues talking about violence against women talking about wildlife conservation and Harry retracing the steps of his mother 22 years ago walking through what when she walked through a Minefield remember she’s wearing all the mine clearance gear.
And 22 years later that place is now part of a bustling town. It’s been brought back to life. And so it was always it’s incredibly emotional tour. But in many ways what people are going to remember or they’re going to remember those moments the those incredibly emotional raw moments of herion and Meghan
Jordan: What is different about those moments that would make someone like myself and like our producer Claire neither of us whom are real Royal Watchers or who follow the family and the News take notice because we did we were both talking about those clips after we saw them on social media and they really like they resonated and what does that represent about what the this couple is to the royal family?
Jordan: It feels different.
Patricia: Oh completely different. I mean. So there you have to take a step back and you have to think of the Royals separately from celebrities. Okay. So most of us are used to celebrity culture we’re used to you know actresses or whoever, you know going on television being emotional about, you know, something very personal to them and then retreating, you know behind the Studio’s behind all that’s kind of security.
Where is for Royals because they’re in front of the public eye for so long for for decades, you know, they don’t, you know, come on with a splash and fade after 5 or 10 years. They’re there for decades upon decades is its generation after generation it what foremost Royals and royalty around the world you’ve learnt they’ll do interviews, you know, you know, the European Royals are usually out in front of the cameras.
They do a lot more media probably than even the British Royals. But they keep their a lot of those personal inner feelings their that turmoil to themselves because they know that once you let that out into the public then the next thing they want to know about that. Well, how are you feeling about this?
Well, how do you feel about this? And how do you feel about this? You’ve opened a door that you cannot close? I mean there’s a reason why the queen every year retreats to her royals her private Royal Estates in. The countryside in England and up in Scotland and she just Retreats you’ll see her occasionally, but she is Retreats because she’s getting away from everything because she’s constantly on your constant.
Everyone’s looking at her there’s a great saying that for Ordinary People the two constants in your life are death and taxes if your Royals is death taxes and the media and so what was so different about Harry a Meghan was that they were letting it all out and then they have really talked about it.
I mean. I think part of it is that they wanted to circumvent in many ways the filter of the media and by doing this they could they got it right immediately to the people you can see their pain, but the question that I’ve got is that that’s the tactic but what’s the strategy? What do they want from this because by revealing themselves the most vulnerable Parts themselves any and it’s clear they are struggling right now.
Jordan: What do they want? Because you have to say well. Yes, I know you’re personally struggling but you also live in a multi-million dollar house, you know, you have huge amounts of government pays security you have huge amounts of a privilege paid for by the world familes, but everyone will trade places with you.
Patricia: You know, I’m going to be honest, not me because I think I’ve seen it and I think fair enough. But I think I think there’s a way to handle this and and some of the reaction to it has been you know, when you look at it when you’re look at the media reaction. There’s been a separation between kind of How It’s been perceived throughout a lot of North America, which has been the focus on them and on the struggles are very positive and in Britain
Jordan: How’s it been perceived in Britain because I haven’t seen much of that.
Patricia: It’s been a very mixed bag. I mean a lot like me, I mean, you know when they’re talking about the misconceptions about their lives, they’re talking about the misconception the struggles you mean you can’t help but feel sympathy for them.
I mean it is just it is just overwhelming yet at the same time. There has been criticism and some of it has been simply the wording when Megan went on and was talking about there was this particular clip when she talked about how she tried to adopt a stiff upper lip, but she just found it too emotionally damaging that’s a direct attack of the royal family because the royal family is the epitome of the British stiff upper lip.
They don’t show emotions in public very often. I mean the new. The younger generation do William and Kate, you know, Sophie some of the younger ones absolutely do but the older generation the queen Charles they don’t and then when she was talking about people hadn’t been asking her how she was feeling.
That was perceived as a direct attack to the royal family because I’m not like, you know, Ordinary People could say hey, how are you doing Megan? And what’s interesting is that there has been a reaction and so a few days later outcomes the Press saying the queen, Charles the royal family how many have actually gone out of their way to help her and ask her for what does she need
Jordan: How much of this openness is from Harry and Megan specifically and is part of the way they want to take the royal family. And how much of it is kind of a function of the new generation of Royals in general because as you mentioned, you know, others have been more open, maybe not quite this open, but but how much of it is them specifically and what are they changing about royalty versus just what’s changing? We’re almost in 2020.
Patricia: Yeah. Yeah. It’s a good point when you look at the queen and you know you talk about it should formal. She’s from a very formal generation. I’m she was born in 1926, right? You know, and when you look at you know, Charles and Camilla, I mean, you know, they’re in their 70s and I think it is a generational thing and you see it.
It’s not just Harry and Meaghan and and there was kind of this and I think this brings up act as to who’s talking about. Whom is that when you talk about, you know, William and Kate there is a. Bit more formal because they know what’s coming. They’re going to be king and queen and yet you see them.
They’re hugging kids. They’re getting into you know, they’re right into the mix. They’re willing to do all sorts of stuff. And so how much of it is just Harry and Megan. I don’t know certainly they have been far more open with their feelings and stuff like that the PDA public displays of affection far more than the rest of the Royals but I do think it is a generational thing and people I think because Harry Meghan are so super hot right now.
They are white hot. I mean everything they do Garners attention. People tend to forget to put them in context of the other Royals within Europe. And when you look at the other royals of that age of that the rank stuff like that. They’re all doing variations on a theme, you know doing documentaries being very open things like that.
I think I think Harry and Megan are probably taking it a little bit further in this particular documentary, but everyone is doing that even William and his father. Charles R. In a documentary this actually airing this last week in Britain talking about taking over the duchy of Cornwall, which is a very ancient estate that always the heir of the throne has and they you know, is this revealing as behind-the-scenes sort of thing.
I mean, it happens all the time. I think when you’re in North America you only. Part of the story as opposed to when you’re in Britain where you kind of get the full breadth of what the royal family does you see them on daily engagements. You see them doing all the bread-and-butter work of the royal family, which you don’t get in North America
Jordan: How much of the difference in terms of how Megan is covered in the UK versus in the u.s. Is the fact that she’s the first racialized member of the royal family and she’s treated differently by the Press there?
Patricia: So here’s the thing. To think about when you’re talking about the Press just in general is it I think everyone’s encountering. This is that there’s a separation between the online and the social media versus like when you got the.
All the major news organizations and Britain had what they called royal correspondence. I mean, they actually follow the royal family. This is their job. Where is what you get in is you get in now and every little story and it will often be a royal correspond who break it and then everyone else has their spin.
It appears in the online things than it appears in it. Then they taken somebody else takes them to spins and spins and spins and spins. And I think there has been a lot of attention because yes, she is, you know, the first the first woman who you know, black mother white father. I mean and she’s talked about it when she was in South Africa.
She was talking about the fact she was so proud. She was there as a black woman. I mean that was it was and it was wonderful seeing that it is very cool. I mean you don’t and I guess the question is a lot of people automatically say. The criticism is because she’s half black. I don’t know that the credit the criticism would have been there for a lot of the stuff.
Anyways, I mean when you’re talking about them taking, you know four private jets within a few weeks while also the same time talking about environmental causes and how we must all retrench. I think there would have been criticism regardless, but what I will say, is that the social media the attacks on her on her race have been astounding and I’ve written about it has been it is like being dropped into a sea of vitriol and acid it is the social media Twitter Instagram everything. I mean, it is just horrendous and I think it’s also a part of the fact that we are a generation increasing online where anonymity you can just do these attacks.
I’m thinking. You know, why are you attacking her race? Because she wore you didn’t like her dress like what huh. I mean it’s for for a lot of people I think of it’s baffling and that kind of splashes over everything and it’s this overlying concern and I think that that it is that and I think that’s part of the reason why Harry is so protective of her because it isn’t.
It isn’t just the media but it’s also it’s the social media and in a way that none of the other Royals had that when they were being introduced to the Royal Family. And now you see I mean after this documentary they announced that they’re going to be taking six weeks off. I could just a complete break.
They’re going to go to the United States to LA, her mom’s there. We’re going to spend some time American Thanksgiving there then they’re going to come back and I kind of think it’s like it just a rebalancing of everything because there’s you’re trying to Tamp things down and at the same time I think that’s that’s good.
But I also wonder what life is going to be like in LA because in LA the paparazzi, there are. There are no rules in Britain. There is there’s a rule you don’t see pictures of Megan with Archie in the papers. You don’t see that because there is this Unwritten agreement that you’re not going to do that so it is always expressed exactly and that does not exist in LA so I’m going to be interested to see that and I think it’ll give them time to think, you know, and I think about what they want to do and think about how they want to.
How they want to approach your life and I guess the question is do they want to be royals? I mean do they want to say something?
Jordan: Does he get a choice in that?
Patricia: Yeah. Absolutely. I mean absolutely he’s you know, he’s he’s far enough down the line. He’s going to keep falling down the line you absolutely get a choice. I mean William has no choice.
It is his life and he’s accepted that whereas for Harry he does. Yeah. He absolute us have a choice but is a double-edged sword because if he were to. The thing about the royal family is that they’re not celebrities you’re there to support the monarchy you’re there to support the Monarch. You’re there it it is a commitment to that.
So when they do Royal tour is is that the Africa tour your there on behalf of the of the British government. You’re not just doing what you want to do. And if you don’t want that then you don’t get the police protections. You don’t get the Palaces. You know and we they raised an enormous amount of money for their Charities by hosting events in palaces by doing all that the Gilded Splendor rubs off on everyone else, right and if they don’t have that what they have their building up their own Sussex Royal Branch, but how does that fit within the ethos that the royal family is to support the Monarch?
Can you be independent and still support the monarch?
Jordan: Were these moments that resonated beyond the sort of insular Royal world? Were they a sea change in that we’ll now see more of them from other Royals will this make and this is my last question, I guess because I want to get a sense of whether this was a unique thing that that happened to them because they were caught in the moment and decided to reveal themselves or is this the first we’ll see of. This new generation of Royals opening up even more to the point where you let things right in your life. The way celebrities cry on the couch with Ellen.
Patricia: I think this is going to be a moment people going to remember. How much is going to change. I don’t know William Kate Harry and Megan have always they have in recent years.
They’ve been talking about mental health issues. That’s incredibly important to all of them and William and Harry in particular have talked about their struggles and they’ve been they’ve been very well. This is a huge jump beyond that. I mean there’s this is a huge jump beyond that I mean, And I don’t know because it’s it’s one thing to talk about mental health issues and to give your own self as an example.
It’s another thing to let it all hang out. Hmm as a royal. What do you do in 10 years? I mean because people are going to want more and then they’re going to want more people. We know ourselves right? We are addictive personalities all of us. We want more and more and more and more and more and I don’t know
Jordan: Wait till Archie gets a tick tock account.
Patricia: Well, and I think part of it is there is a difference in letting it all hang out as a celebrity versus letting it all hang out as a royal. And I’m wondering who their advisors are. I mean, there’s there’s been talk in the Press certainly about the fact that they’re getting a lot of advices are from Megan’s old from her days isn’t working actress and these are people who are used to a life of a celebrity life where you have.
You have power over photos you have you have photo you have photo approval you control the editorial content if they don’t like what this reporter might say. Well, then they’ll deny them access that doesn’t work with the Royals. I mean you they can’t control what’s being written about Royals. So for instance when Harry was in this documentary and he was talking about he talked quite openly about the fact that he and William aren’t close anymore.
I mean he confirmed the rift and this is a riff by the way that. A lot of the media reported between between the two brothers that everyone vehemently denied even was happening and then Harry said ya know it it’s happening, you know in so many words, you know, he’s talked about different paths and things like that, but it’s clear they’re not they’re nowhere near as fabulous as close as they used to be and part of the rift apparently is because when Megan first came to Britain Harry want to get engaged right away and William was trying to say why don’t you hold off a bit?
Why shouldn’t you know live together, see how it goes and that’s part of the tension. And apparently Harr- William was really hurt by he had no Advance warning that this was happening. He saw it when apparently reportedly went everyone else did and that’s been attention. And so then they kind of, you know, there has been a reaction to that and then Harry and Megan’s people have reacted to you know, what Williams people dead.
And so it’s. It’s created even more Rifts between the brothers which I think is incredibly sad because those guys are close and I’m hoping they can patch it up and I’m wondering if we’re going to look back at this documentary. In hindsight in 5 years in 10 years and see it as some sort of turning point in the royal family.
Jordan: Thank you Patricia.
Patricia: You’re welcome.
Jordan: Patricia Treble of right royalty.com and Maclean’s that was The Big Story. If you’d like more we’ve even covered the Royals before you can head to thebigstorypodcast.ca You can also talk to us on Twitter at @thebigstoryfpn. And of course everywhere you get podcasts, especially in apple where we gladly accept five star ratings.
You can find us and listen to us and subscribe for free Claire Brassard is the lead producer of the big story Ryan Clarke and Stefanie Phillips are our associate producers, and Annalise Nielsen is our digital editor, and I am Jordan Heath Rawlings. Thanks for listening. Have a nice weekend. We’ll talk Monday.
Back to top of page