However, a new book is set to turn the tables on these narratives, instead declaring that it is in fact the royal family that’s lucky to have Meghan – not the other way around.
Sean Smith, author of Meghan Misunderstood, is out to set the record straight, contending the Duchess has never been treated fairly by either the palace or the British people at large.
ALWAYS THE OUTSIDER
Meghan had much to offer the royal family if she’d been given a fair chance, according to Sean.
But referencing a 2016 article Meghan wrote for Elle, titled I’m More than an Other, which explored the difficulties she faced being of mixed race, he says she was treated as an “other” by the UK media and public from the moment she entered Harry’s life.
“She was an ‘other’ in every aspect of her life,” Sean says. “The fact she was an American, the fact she was an actress, the fact she was a woman of achievement, and the fact she was bi-racial.
“So she was completely treated as an ‘other’ right from the very start and I found that quite shocking, how there was so much negativity surrounding her.”
A WORTHY PRINCESS
Meghan’s “royal ambition” has become a pervasive narrative. But according to Sean, what’s so often overlooked are Meghan’s many achievements before she even met Harry.
She was an intelligent, self-made millionaire – the only one in the royal family. She was an advocate for female empowerment and addressed a speech to the UN Women in which she championed the cause of gender equality. And spoke out on racial injustice.
“Here was a woman who had a standing ovation at a women’s UN conference, but was immediately classified as ‘Harry’s hottie’, as if she was a teenage starlet,” he says.
“It was appalling.”
Much as Diana was the “people’s princess”, Sean argues that Meghan had the potential to bring a “relatability” to the royals, particularly for young people, that didn’t exist in the entitled world of The Firm.
As an example, Sean recalls a visit Meghan made to a school in Dagenham, East London. In an impassioned statement, Meghan urged teenage boys to “value, appreciate and protect” the women in their lives.
It was an important statement about acceptable male behaviour – and one that had added weight because it was delivered by someone from within the royal fold.
Under an agreement with the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William, palace courtiers and the government, Harry and Meghan are allowed back into The Firm after a one-year probation, should they choose to return.
However, Sean believes such a move is unlikely.
“I would be very surprised if they harboured ambitions to come back,” he insists. “One of the first things Meghan said when she got back to the US was, ‘It’s good to be home.’
“I’m sure she’s going to thrive much more in her home environment and being able to see family and friends she’s known all her life, including her lovely mum Doria.”
The author is also a realist about whether a compromised royal duty arrangement could be embarked upon between the Sussexes and the Queen, explaining that Her Majesty is not one who’s known to yield historically.
“In many ways, the royal family is very limited in what it can do, with tradition and protocol,” Sean says.
“Harry and Meghan now have a much stronger opportunity to have voices on the global stage.”
MEGHAN & THE WARRING PRINCES
And where does Prince Harry stand within all this? Sean notes that many have been quick to lay the blame at Meghan’s feet for luring Harry away from his family and from his royal duty.
Furthermore, there’s a feeling that the rift between Prince Harry and Prince William has worsened and deepened as the brothers live their separate lives on different continents – a decision supposedly spearheaded by Meghan.
But Sean bristles at the suggestion Meghan might be wilfully keeping Harry apart from his family.
“Harry is a grown-up who is perfectly capable of making decisions in a partnership,” Sean asserts.
“This train of thought that in some way Meghan is leading Harry by the hand is nonsense. He has different priorities in his life from those he might have had before he was a married father. I think it’s rather insulting to think that Harry, a man in his mid-30s, can’t make his own decisions.
“Or that he can’t be involved in the decisions that are going to affect his life.
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