Finding Freedom was not an exercise in bridge-burning. I think Prince Harry (justly) feels raw about the British tabloid media and he’s still beyond pissed at his brother. But FF’s sources made it clear that Harry still wants any kind of close relationship with the Queen and Prince Charles. And despite all of the royal commentators crying about how Harry needs to dump Meghan and Archie and come back to them, it’s clear that in Harry’s mind, if he ever did come back, he would bring Meghan and Archie with him. I think that surprised me the most about FF – the fact that Harry wasn’t writing off the Windsors as a lost cause, and that he still wanted them to accept Meghan and help him protect his little family, even if they don’t move back to the UK. Omid Scobie says as much in a new interview with Royal Central, a site which has always aimed to be pretty objective about all royals and royal houses. Some highlights from the interview:
Whether he’s gotten “any signs or signals” that the Sussexes may return to the royal fold: “It’s always important to mention that the Queen made it clear to the couple that the door is open because it shows the continued support they receive from HM, even as non-working members of the Royal Family. However, it’s safe to say that this is a couple who are very much forward-focused and are clearly in a good place. The Sussexes are more engaged in the issues that matter to them than ever, the work on Archewell–their non-profit organisation–continues, and, as we have recently seen, they have established a permanent family base in California. The UK will always be important to them, but I don’t think we’ll ever see that happen again as working royals.
What the Sussexes brought to the table for royal fans: “Just like the Cambridges’ union ushered in a younger royal watcher, the Sussexes attracted a more diverse audience when it came to those that supported them or joined the crowds at engagements. Whether it was indigenous girls in New Zealand or students in Fiji, I was always excited to hear how inspired they were to see someone they felt better-represented them standing in the House of Windsor. That chapter as working royals may be over, but I can see Harry and Meghan always looking at new ways to engage with young people everywhere. The virtual summits they have been attending were a great start!
On the toxicity from royal fandoms: “The level of toxicity and bullying on social media, no matter who or what you support, is out of control. I’ve seen appalling language and comments made by accounts supposedly supporting the Sussexes and exactly the same from individuals who claim to support the Cambridges or other members of the Royal Family. I’ve also been on the receiving end of more than one’s average share and know how frustrating it can be to try and stop it. Unfortunately without a more vested interest from companies that own these platforms, little will change in preventing online trolling, negativity and harassment. It is up to the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr to create safer places for people to engage in healthy conversation. By doing nothing about it, and I also include media outlets who leave comment sections under articles largely unmoderated, these companies are not only enabling this dangerous and divisive behaviour but they are also shamelessly cashing in on it.
Whether Scobie thinks the Sussexes will return part-time to the UK at any point: “Harry and Meghan have made it clear that their work in the UK, including their royal patronages, will continue. While their base will be in the US, I think once travel restrictions ease we will see them moving around again and undertaking trips to the UK, both privately and professionally. After all, this is a couple that loves to get out there and be active in the field. Plus, a lot of the work they already started, including all four of Meghan’s patronages, are right here on British soil.
Yeah. I don’t know what the future holds for the Sussexes and neither does Omid Scobie, and this is his best guess. He believes that the Sussexes will never “come back” to full-time royal work, but that they’ve left enough space for themselves to visit the UK and do some work with their remaining patronages. Once again, I do think that the pandemic just f–ked up all of the Sussexes’ plans and all of this would look so different this summer without the coronavirus. But we’ll see how H&M adapt long-term. I also like that Scobie called out those media outlets with un-moderated comment sections, which act as open invitations to foster hatred, racism and misogyny.
Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red.