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Was Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’s “star power” problematic for the royal family? While the couple gained popularity after their wedding and brought a relatability to the family, there reportedly was growing concern that their fame would eclipse the other family members.

Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Prince William, and Kate Middleton watch the RAF flypast on the balcony of Buckingham Palace
Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Prince William, and Kate Middleton | Neil Mockford/GC Images

There were concerns about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s popularity, book claims

In the new biography, Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Royal Family, authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand detail the Sussexes’ journey during their time in the royal family.

In an excerpt published by The Times, the writers share how Prince Harry and Meghan’s popularity grew after their wedding, explaining that they “were already propelling the monarchy to new heights around the world” and were “a major draw for the royal family.”

“The Sussexes had made the monarchy more relatable to those who had never before felt a connection,” the authors explain. “However, there were concerns that the couple should be brought into the fold; otherwise, the establishment feared their popularity might eclipse that of the royal family.”

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wanted a half-in and half-out arrangement

In discussing Prince Harry and Meghan’s exit from the royal family, expert Kate Williams shared her thoughts with Sky News (via Express) about why the Sussexes’ popularity was challenging for the family.

When Prince Harry and Meghan first announced their plans to step back from their royal duties, they expressed the desire to split their time and have a half-in/half-out arrangement. After Queen Elizabeth discussed the matter with other senior members, it was decided that the Sussexes would leave behind their duties entirely.

Williams shared that it would have been difficult to harness the popularity of the Sussexes because it was dictated by public interest.

“The royal family has a very strict hierarchy and what they would like to be the case is that the public attention goes to the more senior royals, not to the more junior royals,” she explained. “The simple fact is that you can’t direct public attention.”

Williams continued, “People are more interested in what Prince Harry and Meghan have to say than other more senior royals such as the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. No matter what they do it does seem that Harry and Meghan get this greater attention.”


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Their star power was a problem

The “problem,” according to Williams, is that Prince Harry and Meghan’s popularity could overshadow other royal family members.

“The fact is that whatever they did to support the queen would often overshadow other members of the royal family and that was seen as a problem,” she noted. “They have this huge star power.”

Williams shared that, for example, compared to other royals, Prince Harry and Meghan had a small wedding, but the public interest for their nuptials was off the charts.

“They had a small wedding but still the coverage of Harry and Meghan’s wedding even though it was smaller was still as big as William’s and Kate’s because there is a worldwide fascination with them,” she explained.