Is Everybody Wrong About Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Being Disconnected?

Members of the British royal family have to be prepared to face some criticism. After all, there is a strong contingent of people who question whether the royal family should exist at all, and many are quick to scrutinize the purchasing habits of the family and hold it up against their taxpayer-provided payments.

While this kind of criticism comes with the job, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have faced even more scrutiny than the rest of the royal family, with people frequently calling them stuck up and aloof. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | Dan Istitene – Pool/Getty Images

Is this criticism warranted, though? New evidence shows just how hard the Duke and Duchess of Sussex work to connect with their fans, and the results show them to be anything but disconnected. 

Critics want the pair to stop acting like celebrities 

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Today, we are excited to be able to announce details for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s upcoming tour to Africa! • In just two weeks, Their Royal Highnesses will embark on this official tour focusing on community, grassroots leadership, women’s and girls’ rights, mental health, HIV/AIDS and the environment. This programme has been many months in the making, and The Duke and Duchess are eager to focus their energies on the great work being done in Southern Africa. From meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu to joining ‘Waves for Change’ on Monwabisi Beach, the South Africa programme will be educational and inspiring. The Duke is especially proud to continue the legacy left by his mother with her work in Angola as he joins Halo Trust again in an effort to rid the world of landmines. HRH will also travel to Malawi where he will check in on the British Army’s partnership with African Parks and will be working on the ground supporting local communities. The Duke is particularly proud to be able to deliver an exciting new initiative, a Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy three-country partnership which he designed and consulted with Governments in Namibia, Botswana and Angola to protect forest and wildlife corridors around the Okavango Delta. The Duchess will be working with local organisations to promote women and girls’ health and education, entrepreneurship and leadership. With such a textured culture and history, Their Royal Highnesses are grateful for the opportunity to connect with those on the ground in Southern Africa and to be inspired by the work being done and learn how they can be better supported. As President and Vice President of The Queens Commonwealth Trust and The Duke’s role as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, The Duke and Duchess cannot wait to meet with young leaders mobilising change and adding to the beauty of these Commonwealth countries • “We look forward to seeing you soon!” • Photo ©️ PA images / Tim Graham – Getty Images / @Sentebale /@AfricanParksNetwork / @YouthAlert

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When Markle entered the royal family, critics were quick to jump onto her tendency to break with royal tradition and often attributed it to her history as an American celebrity. Before marrying Prince Harry, Markle was a TV star who was used to carefully guarding her privacy. When her bodyguards prevented fans from taking pictures of her at Wimbledon, some made clear connections between the two lives and found it “tacky” that the royal would shut the public out in such a manner. 

Prince Harry, too, has faced criticism for being out of touch with the public. When the christening of Baby Archie was kept to a private affair with a few photos shared on social media, critics cried foul, accusing the family of shutting the public out of events that were traditionally an important part of a national celebration. 

Their home renovation and wardrobe choices have also been subject to scrutiny. Critics accuse the pair of acting “too rich” and seeming aloof and disconnected from the general public. 

The criticisms are not always valid

While the critics of the duke and duchess are outspoken, they aren’t always accurate. For example, Prince Harry’s desire to keep his family life private  likely has more to do with the tragic way his mother, Princess Diana, died than his desire to live the life of a celebrity A-lister. Prince Harry reportedly blames paparazzi for his mother’s untimely death and is protective of his own son in response. 

Likewise, the criticism about Duchess Meghan’s extravagant clothing choices is often misplaced. The duchess frequently chooses affordable brands and does her own hair and makeup. In fact, the entire royal family works to adopt frugal habits as a way of showing respect and deference for the public that funds their role in British society. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex reach out to fans personally

The criticism that Markle and Prince Harry are disconnected from the fans who adore them seems even less true than ever. Recently, fans have started receiving personal thank you cards for the well wishes they have sent the duke and duchess. There has been plenty to celebrate in the royals’ lives including their wedding anniversary, the birth of their son, and Archie’s christening. 

Fans have taken to social media to share photos of the lovely cards they’ve gotten using the hashtag #royalreply. The letters have gone to other people in the spotlight as well. Tennis star and Australian TV presenter Dylan Alcott shared a gushing letter from Prince Harry congratulating him on his Wimbledon win and thanking him for his activism. The card was signed in Prince Harry’s own handwriting and added a fun postscript about wearing “budgie smugglers,” Australian slang for tight-fitting swimwear. 

All in all, it seems that the criticism about Prince Harry and Markle being out of touch is misplaced. The pair seem dedicated to making meaningful connections with the public, and many of the charges lobbed against them simply do not stand up to reality.