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Family How Meghan's Veiled Swipe at Palace Fits With Everything Else We Know

18:41  25 august  2022
18:41  25 august  2022 Source:   newsweek.com

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  Meghan, Duchess of Sussex Fast Facts Read CNN's Fast Facts about Meghan Markle, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex, wife of Great Britain's Prince Harry.Birth date: August 4, 1981

Meghan Markle's thinly veiled swipe at the palace on her Spotify podcast sheds light on an era of royal relations she has said relatively little about.

The Duchess of Sussex described how, together with Prince Harry, she was made to continue with royal engagements on their 2019 tour of South Africa even after their baby Archie Mountbatten-Windsor was nearly caught up in a fire in his room.

The account is her first—albeit implicit—public criticism of the monarchy since her March 2021 Oprah Winfrey interview, though some criticisms emerged in November 2021 through a case at the U.K. Court of Appeal.

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There is also a parallel with the way "the Institution" was characterized by Harry and Meghan in their conversation with Oprah, which painted aides as uncaring.

However, another aspect makes this particular story rare within the ongoing narrative of Sussex's relations with the monarchy.

So far, as the history books currently record, problems exploded at Kensington Palace around the time of a separate tour by the couple to Australia and the South Pacific in October 2018.

Whoever was to blame, relations soured and ultimately the household they shared with Prince William and Kate Middleton was split, with the Sussexes moving their office to Buckingham Palace early in 2019.

Clearly the move did not solve the problem as if it had, Harry and Meghan would perhaps not have quit royal duties for a new life in America.

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Needless to say, Harry and Meghan have given little detail about relations with the institution at the point they were based at Buckingham Palace, aside from the fact it is known in general that Harry did not get on with Queen Elizabeth II's private secretary.

The Oprah interview did not provide any details for a period of months in 2019 and picked the story up again as the couple was attempting to negotiate their way out of royal life from Canada over that Christmas and New Year.

How Meghan's Archie Fire Story Compares to Her Oprah Winfrey Interview

On the debut episode of her Spotify podcast, Meghan said: "We had to leave our baby and even though we were being moved to another place afterward, we still had to leave him and go do another official engagement."

Meghan described how Archie was supposed to be asleep in his room and was only absent due to the coincidental decision of their nanny, Lauren, to bring him downstairs while fetching a snack.

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The near miss will make hair-raising listening for any parent but the dynamic she describes is a familiar one. She felt an emotional need, it was ignored, and she had to work despite the way she felt.

"Archie was what, four and a half months old. And the moment we landed, we had to drop him off at this housing unit that they had had us staying in. He was going to get ready to go down for his nap," Meghan said on Archetypes.

"We immediately went to an official engagement in this township called Nyanga, and there was this moment where I'm standing on a tree stump and I'm giving this speech to women and girls, and we finish the engagement, we get in the car and they say there's been a fire at the residence. What? There's been a fire in the baby's room."

"We came back. And of course, as a mother, you go, Oh, my God, what? Everyone's in tears, everyone's shaken and what do we have to do?," Meghan said. "Go out and do another official engagement? I said, This doesn't make any sense."

Meghan told the story during an interview with tennis star Serena Williams who asked: "How did you not bring him?"

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"I was like, 'Can you just tell people what happened?' And so much, I think, optically, the focus ends up being on how it looks instead of how it feels," Meghan replied.

The account echoes Meghan's description during her March 2021 Oprah interview of palace indifference toward her suicidal feelings, which she first told Harry about in January 2019, nine months before the South Africa tour.

"I just didn't want to be alive anymore," Meghan said during the interview. "And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought.

"And I remember—I remember how he [Harry] just cradled me. And I was—I went to the institution, and I said that I needed to go somewhere to get help.

"I said that, 'I've never felt this way before, and I need to go somewhere'. And I was told that I couldn't, that it wouldn't be good for the institution."

Speculation Over Prince Harry's Memoir

The latest bombshell hints the Sussexes may be far from finished when it comes to telling the world about their negative experiences of royal life—even as commentators in Britain have been speculating about whether Harry's memoir would be an olive branch or a new broadside against his family.

Meghan could have been far more explicitly critical of the palace than she was in her podcast—she did not after all name the institution that she denounced so forthrightly during the Winfrey interview.

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However, the anecdote perhaps highlights a problem that may exist for Harry's memoir too—if this is the way Harry and Meghan genuinely feel about the palace, it may be impossible for them to tell their life stories without that emotion and perspective coming through.

Journalist Richard Kay recently wrote in the Daily Mail that Harry completed the book in January while at "peak rage" but he added: "Since then, there has been a measure of a rapprochement. We saw it at the Jubilee, there was a bit of an attempt by Harry to sort of wind it down a bit.

"Will he want to readjust what he's written? All these things must be going through his mind."

There were, however, already signs the wounds had not all healed as recently as early August when Harry launched a second lawsuit over the removal of his police security, as Newsweek reported.

Meghan Markle cuddles a boy during a visit to Nyanga township, in Cape Town, South Africa, on September 23, 2019, shortly before learning of a fire in Archie's room. Meghan told her Archetypes Spotify podcast she was told she had to continue with royal engagements. Chris Jackson/Getty Images © Chris Jackson/Getty Images Meghan Markle cuddles a boy during a visit to Nyanga township, in Cape Town, South Africa, on September 23, 2019, shortly before learning of a fire in Archie's room. Meghan told her Archetypes Spotify podcast she was told she had to continue with royal engagements. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Stories Prince Harry Has Not Yet Told

Harry and Meghan's experience of palace relations after they split from Kensington Palace could hold many stories not yet told—not to mention the details of the split itself which the Sussexes are yet to give their own account of.

Historian Robert Lacey recorded in his book, Battle of Brothers, the account of one friend of the Duke of Cambridge who said "William threw Harry out."

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"William, for his part, felt just as strongly about Meghan and the need for her subversive 'agenda' to be removed from the operations of the British monarchy, which she did not appear to understand or respect," Lacey wrote. "He certainly wanted Meghan removed, for a start, from the hitherto harmonious joint household that he and his brother had operated together for the best part of a decade. William simply did not want her or Harry around anymore."

That phase of their story was absent from the interview with Winfrey, which offered an extensive discussion of the turning point in October 2018 when everything changed during their visit to the southern hemisphere.

Harry told Oprah that Meghan's star turn on tour may have sparked jealousy among his relatives while a leaked internal palace email that same month accused Meghan of bullying her staff. She has denied the allegation.

Either way, that phase has been discussed in detail already while Meghan and Harry have yet to give their own account of leaving Kensington Palace.

The duchess' podcast anecdote suggests there are stories to tell from that later era, the question for Harry is simply whether he tells them and if so how.

Two months after the fire in Archie's room, the couple left Britain for Canada in time for Thanksgiving in November 2019, before announcing they would quit royal life in January 2020.

There may be more drama over Christmas in 2022 as well since Harry's book is expected by the end of the year and will give the most detailed account yet of his royal experience.

In terms of whether it will criticize the royals, royal watchers may wonder how a man who has felt so strongly for so long could keep his real feelings out of his own life story.

For more royal news and commentary check out Newsweek's The Royal Report podcast:

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The 8 Biggest Revelations From Meghan Markle's New Interview: I 'm "Still Healing" .
From her issues with the monarchy, to her deep love with Prince Harry, to their relationship with the royals. As a working royal, she was told to keep her opinions to herself and stick to the rules, she was brutally criticized by the media and not allowed to defend herself, she lost her relationship with her father due to coercion from the tabloids, and not long into the job, her mental health took a steep decline.There are undeniable parallels to the life of Harry's late mother, Princess Diana, who, pressured by the restrictions the royal family put on her, began to suffer from mental distress and was cast out.

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