Many have speculated that it was a combination of press and public scrutiny, as well as fall outs with other members of the Royal Family like Prince William and Kate Middleton. However, the Duchess of Sussex made a comment in her recent interview with feminist icon Gloria Steinem that gave fresh insight into her and Harry’s bold decision. She said: “We are linked, not ranked,” a statement which led some to criticise her, due to the perceived hypocrisy of still using her title of Duchess.
However, this phrase echoes what was revealed in a new biography of Harry and Meghan entitled ‘Finding Freedom’, by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand.
In the book, the authors claim Harry and Meghan did not like how the Cambridges seemed to take precedence over them.
For example, they had to put projects aside if it clashed with William and Kate’s initiatives.
The Sussexes felt “cut adrift” and overlooked in the pecking order, while William and Kate received all the plum official duties.
A source said: “There are buckets of bitterness. It will certainly not help relations with the Royal Family.”
It made especially less sense to Harry and Meghan, given how they felt they were more popular and hence, in a meritocratic system, they should be flying above their in-laws.
Of course, however, the Royal Family has a rigid structure and has no room for people’s role to change based on merit.
The authors wrote: “As their popularity had grown, so did Harry and Meghan’s difficulty understanding why so few inside the Palace were looking out for their interests.
“They were a major draw for the Royal Family… Instead they had to take a backseat.
“Sometimes they would be told that their projects had to wait when the Prince of Wales or Prince William had an initiative or tour being announced at the same time.”
Pod Save the Queen is hosted by Ann Gripper and features Daily Mirror royal editor Russell Myers.
Mr Myers noted that Harry and Meghan “didn’t like playing second fiddle”, adding that he finds that “really surprising”.
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He pointed out that it is bizarre to take issue with the royal pecking order given that monarchy is inherently hierarchical.
He said: “The very concept of monarchy is a hierarchical structure, so did they think they were potentially more popular than William and Kate, that they should have been given more respect?
“I think that they did think that and there are certain arguments in the book that argued courtiers believe or were worried that Harry and Meghan would become more popular than monarchy and I think that’s probably taking it a bit too far.
“And sometimes in a company you’ve got to be cogs in a wheel, haven’t you, and they obviously weren’t very happy with it.”
However, this fact is perhaps less surprising when you consider that, for Meghan, a core belief is that everyone is equal.
Due to the fact that monarchy is inherently hierarchical, perhaps Meghan could never truly square that with her own values.
Mr Myers argued that the resentment Harry and Meghan felt about “playing second fiddle” was one of the main reasons they stepped down as senior royals.
Therefore, when Meghan said we are “linked, not ranked” in her interview with Gloria Steinem last month, she was likely hinting at this bubbling resentment that ultimately led to her and Harry breaking free.
In the interview, Meghan was encouraging people to vote in the upcoming presidential election, and she has previously expressed her political views, branding Donald Trump “misogynistic” and “divisive” back in 2016.
The juxtaposition of her engaging in democracy, which is arguably the most equal system there is, and her disengaging with monarchy, which is perhaps the least equal system there is, is stark.
Ms Gripper said on her podcast: “It is that sense of equality and that is the opposite of a Royal Family, the Royal Family is ranked, there is a pecking order.
“And it just made me think OK, when that is such a core part of your being ‒ and I think this was one of the things that came through in Finding Freedom, a lot of people’s interpretation of it was finding the pecking order that you get in the Royal Family was a problem.
“And it bumped for her and now she’s able to say let’s work on this equality stuff and democracy and everybody has a voice ‒ one vote, one voice, everyone is equal and casting your vote is the most equal thing you can do if you go and do it.”
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