Melanie McDonagh

The puzzling thing about Harry and Meghan’s big announcement

The puzzling thing about Harry and Meghan's big announcement
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Let’s not get carried away. The Queen’s younger grandson may be decamping to North America with his lovely wife and baby but the Queen herself is very much in business; life goes on. It may certainly have been odd, not to say ill advised, for this headstrong couple to have announced their departure from Britain without a by your leave to anyone, including the Queen, but that does seem to be their modus operandi, all the while professing regard for the royal tradition in which they will be raising baby Archie.

Personally, I haven’t felt that life has been greatly diminished by the absence of the couple for the last six weeks in Canada. In fact, it has been rather a relief to be spared their very public angst about being so very much criticised and under pressure when it might have been a bit more in order for them to be counting their blessings.

I’ve thought for a while that Canada would be just perfect for them, being the most woke nation on earth, where Meghan has lots of friends, and which is a hop, skip and jump from the west coast of America where she is most at home. There they can share their environmental awareness with a grateful nation and get to be best friends with Justin Trudeau, who seems just their sort of politician. Maybe Harry could even do some useful, conventional work for the Commonwealth while he’s there, as the Queen’s permanent rep, if that’s not too tiresomely traditional. Meanwhile, Brits can take renewed pleasure in the bracing presence of Princess Anne.

In fact the only thing that puzzles me is the reference to their “progressive new role” within the monarchy. What exactly might that be? And what’s the new “charitable entity” over and above the mental health issues that William and Harry never tire of discussing? Please, let it not be something consciousness-raising.

And what’s this about them trying to “work to become financially independent”? I mean, it’s not like they’re equipped to earn a living unless Meghan is to return to acting or the Mounties take on Harry. And Meghan is – how to put it – quite high maintenance. It seems horribly reminiscent of Fergie’s bid, after divorcing Prince Andrew, to carve out a living of her own, which meant in practice milking her former royal status for all she was worth, because she didn’t have much else to offer the market. What are the alternatives? Presumably their very wealthy celebrity friends – the Clooneys, Elton John et al – will fall over themselves to support their charity, whatever that is.

Anyway, if it makes them happy, that should be fine and dandy by everyone. But if they think that taking refuge in Canada will spare them the attention of the press, well, good luck with that.