Wednesday, 8 Feb 2023

Prince Harry and Meghan’s plot backfires as ‘Crown strengthened’

Meghan Markle: Expert speculates on release of her own book

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s plot to undermine the Royal Family has backfired as Britons will rally to the monarchy, an expert has said. Harry has been in the limelight all week as he publicised his controversial memoir, Spare, in TV interviews in the UK and the US.

The Duke, 38, has made a number of allegations and claims during his appearances, including that Camilla, the Queen Consort, is “dangerous” and rehabilitated her own image at his expense.

Spare also details Harry’s fraught and fractious relationship with his father, King Charles III, and brother, Prince William.

Pauline Maclaran, Professor of Marketing and Consumer Research at the School of Business and Management at Royal Holloway, University of London, said instead of weakening popular support for the Crown, Harry’s claims could strengthen it.

Asked what Harry and Meghan might have learnt from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, who lived in exile abroad after Edward VIII‘s abdication, Professor Maclaran said: “If Harry and Meghan have learnt anything, I guess it would be the power of the Crown to carry on regardless.

“[The Duke and Duchess of Windsor] were banished, never to be allowed to return. Edward was cut up about it. But it’s not the same for Harry. His is a self-imposed exile.

“[Harry and Meghan] seem to be contesting [the Crown’s power], but we’ve seen the Crown continue and become stronger.

“[The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s attacks] could strengthen the Crown. I think that is because it is so under attack that it has mobilised a lot of people in Britain to feel sorry for Charles, William, Kate and Camilla. I think it has generated a lot of sympathy for them.”

Recent polling shows support for Prince Harry falling with YouGov’s favourability tracker showing only a quarter of Britons (24 percent) think positively of the Duke.

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Sixty-eight percent have a negative opinion of him, representing a record low, according to YouGov’s poll.

Harry and Meghan are now so disliked by older Britons that their popularity ratings are worse than Prince Andrew’s among the over-65s.

This compares to positivity scores for all other royals and the monarchy itself, which are more or less the same.

Only Camilla has seen a four-point decrease in the number holding a positive view of her (to 46 percent). Over the longer term, however, the Prince and Princess of Wales have recorded their lowest popularity rating

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Princess Anne is now the most popular senior royal in Britain with seven in 10 having a positive view of her (72 percent).

The number of Britons who want to keep the monarchy, as opposed to replacing it with an elected head of state, is largely unchanged on 64 percent (it was 67 percent in September), according to YouGov.

King Charles, Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales, have this week signalled that it is very much business as usual for the Royal Family as they continued their official duties.

William and Kate appeared relaxed as they arrived to officially open the new Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

Charles, meanwhile, visited the Mid-Deeside Community Shed, near Aboyne, on Thursday to meet representatives of organisations working across the region.

Professor Maclaran said Harry’s revelations appeared to be working in the Windsors’ favour, rather than undermining their appeal to the public.

She said: “It’s humanising them if anything. Charles becomes the aggrieved father. A lot of people can relate to that. William is the older brother with all the responsibility. This is a typical family relationship. The younger brother is the rebel who does not have to take responsibility. Nothing is ever Harry’s fault. It’s very much the position of a younger brother.

“It’s a sweeping generalisation, but it’s something people can relate to. People can feel sorry for William, even with him [allegedly] attacking Harry. That has not really caused any great consternation. Some people say it’s surprising he didn’t go further.”

Spare sparked a furore over Harry’s claims William physically attacked him in a row over the Sussexes’ future as working royals.

Professor Maclaran said: “I think, actually, rather than destroying the monarchy, it is strengthening it, or will in the future if [the Windsors] can weather this.”

She added that King Charles’s coronation on May 6 will also present an opportunity for the Royal Family to bring the country together behind the Crown with its show of pomp and pageantry.

The marketing expert concluded: “Charles’s coronation will, I think, mean the royals will keep their heads down. It will be a good news feature for the royals. The pomp and pageantry will overshadow what his happening at the moment.”

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