Media commentators in the UK are increasingly calling for the Queen to remove Prince Harry’s title, and protect the crown from the damage he and his wife are potentially doing to the royal family. British public opinion is also increasingly hostile to the couple, who are perceived by many to have built their new brand on declaring victimhood.
Polling of the British public two months ago showed that 44% wanted Harry and Meghan to lose their royal titles, and a further 20% thought they should personally stop using them. Since then, support for stripping them of their titles is thought to have grown. Prince Harry’s own popularity rating is decreasing, too. In nationally representative polling, he has a fame rating of 97% but is disliked by 44% of those polled, with only 31% saying they actually like him (down from 45% the previous quarter). Meanwhile the Queen enjoys 76% popularity, and is disliked by only 6%.
The announcement that Penguin Random House will publish Prince Harry’s memoire has reportedly shocked and surprised his family, who are said not to have known he was planning the book until shortly before the public announcement. British journalist and royal commentator Jonathan Sacerdoti explained “the royal family will undoubtedly be apprehensive about this. So far many of the activities Harry and Meghan have been involved in since they left the UK have damaged the reputation of the monarchy and boosted their own instead. This memoire is likely to do the same.”
After months of publicity and giant commercial deals, the prince and his wife seem to be determined to keep building their brand as mass media producers, pushing out everything from children’s books and cartoon series to gossip-driven interviews and confessional mental-health programmes. This is increasingly creating a divide between them and the royal family. It is also massively alienating the British public. While all families have internal issues and arguments, for the couple to publicise theirs so openly makes it very difficult for the relationships to be repaired.
The monarch and the Royal Family are much loved parts of British society and the British identity. While power rests with the Prime Minister and Government, the Queen is the head of state and has a vital constitutional role. Thanks to her record breaking reign, Queen Elizabeth II is particularly well loved, and is greatly respected. Her reign has been characterised by her overriding sense of duty to public service above all else. She makes a point of putting her own personal and family considerations second to those of the nation. The royal family also works hard in the charity sector, lending support and publicity to good causes, and supporting sports, arts, culture and all areas of British life.
Sacerdoti explains “the Royal family will be keen to protect itself. While there are personal and familial relations to be looked after, the monarchy itself is of constitutional and national importance, so they’ll be thinking of that with every decision they make. Doubtless Harry and Meghan can do far more damage than they already have to the monarchy, by revealing more and more that the royals might prefer to be kept private. That consideration will also mean the Queen and the family have to tread carefully as well as decisively”.