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In Support of Meghan and Prince Harry Stepping Back | Essay

Why Harry and Meghan's Decision to Step Down Shows the Fearlessness of the Young Royals

ROTORUA, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 31: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit Redwoods Tree Walk on October 31, 2018 in Rotorua, New Zealand. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on the final day of their official 16-day Autumn tour visiting cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - Pool/Getty Images)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made waves with a historic announcement on Wednesday. The power couple revealed that they would be stepping back as "senior" members of the royal family in a bid to become financially independent — while continuing to support the Queen, of course. What's more, the two also shared that they plan to live between the United Kingdom and North America. The statement was released on the Sussex Royal Instagram account, as well as the official website.

While the announcement is a landmark one, in my opinion, it's not at all surprising. Can you honestly blame the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for wanting to take a step back? After all, since Meghan emerged cautiously into the royal spotlight in 2016, she has been the target of endless cruel ridicule in the press. So much so that, back in October last year, the Harry filed for legal action against the British tabloid company Associated Newspapers.

Sure, the former actress is doubtless no stranger to media attention — having starred in eight seasons of the hit US TV show Suits. However, the onslaught of judgment from the UK tabloids would be enough to make anybody want to weep. In an interview with ITV's Tom Bradby last year, Meghan appeared to be fighting back tears as she spoke about the negative press she received. "Not many people have asked if I'm OK," she admitted.

It's a testament to the maturity and fearlessness of the young royals that they have chosen to forge their own path and move forward in a way that respects their own needs.

Let's face it, the transition from American TV star to British royal can't have been an easy one. After giving up her acting career to assume newfound duties, Meghan's every move was watched and commented on in the media. While her friends warned her that the British tabloids could be brutal, the realities of dealing with them day in, day out are difficult to imagine. Meghan previously admitted in the ITV interview that "what [the negative media attention] does internally is probably really damaging."

Unsurprisingly, in Wednesday's statement, the duke and duchess did not explicitly say that their choice to step back from duties was due to the press' scrutiny. Instead, the positive announcement focussed on the pair's plans and reinforced the point that they support the royal family. Despite this, it doesn't take a huge leap to imagine that the media attention played a role in this decision, given that they have faced this issue for a matter of years.

While some may see the move as running away and hiding from the tabloids, frankly, I believe it takes strength to make such a decision. Coming up against unwarranted adversity and — rather than simply admitting defeat — choosing to actively move away from it is truly courageous. It's a testament to the maturity and fearlessness of the young royals that they have chosen to forge their own path and move forward in a way that respects their own needs. Only time will tell what the future holds for them . . . but here's to hoping, perhaps, a quieter life.

Image Source: Getty / Pool
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