Prince Harry is a catch. But Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is a rare find.
Yes, the younger son of the future King of England has developed a reputation for his philanthropy (a must for any royal striving to stay relevant), activism in mental health education, his devotion to visibility of differently-abled athletes, his work with former veterans like himself and his wildlife conservation work across the world. Feud rumors aside, he is a loving brother, brother in law and uncle. He respects the crown, the monarchy and tradition. In short, he’s a modern-era Prince Charming.
Which is why much of the British media and public are acting like the world’s worst mother-in-law and tut-tutting at his choice of wife in Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Even as Harry and Meghan celebrate the birth of Baby Boy Sussex on May 6, tabloids run amok with trolling stories that stink of racist and sexist undertones. Just today, Meghan was harshly criticized for giving birth at a luxury hospital that touts champagne and lobster among its menu items. As if she’s celebrating the birth of her first child by racking up a room service bill for the taxpayers to cover. The public perception is that Meghan — the actress and divorcée from humble beginnings and a scandal-plagued family — blinded their beloved and perfect young prince with love and used him to zoom up the social ladder.
But, err, are they talking about the same Harry here?
Prince Harry, who was third in line for the throne for most of his life, had a pretty posh upbringing, casually calling multiple castles “home.” The royal admitted that all that attention, and untreated trauma from his mother’s untimely death, caused him to act and lash out. Remember that time Harry attended a party dressed as a Nazi? Yeah, you can chalk it up to teenage rebellion except he was 20 years old. Or what about those nude photos of him living it up at a Las Vegas party? Or that time he was videotaped using racial slurs? That time he got drunk and fell into a pool… you get the point.
Obviously, we’ve all had our share of youthful blunders that weren’t splashed on every national newspaper the next morning. On that front, it’s hard not to sympathize with him. With his troublemaking in the past, Harry matured, learned from his fumbles and completely reinvented his image, going from the bad boy of Britain to a national treasure. So when Meghan came around, critics acted as though he swooped her off the streets and into a life of luxury.
But, are they talking about the same Meghan here?
The private-school educated, Northwestern University grad has an endless list of accomplishments she brought to her relationship with Harry. An activist from a very young age, Meghan was heavily involved in international philanthropy way before that was her job as a royal. She has traveled on humanitarian mission-driven trips to Afghanistan, Rwanda and India; she’s written insightful and nuanced opinion pieces advocating menstrual health education; and has worked as an advocate with the United Nations for gender equality and empowerment. Unlike Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, she hit the ground running when she dived into her packed royal schedule.
What about the financial benefits of being a royal, you may ask. Sure, not ever bride gets to wear a $2.6 million tiara to her wedding, but Meghan was doing just fine on her own. Thanks to her acting gigs and incredibly successful lifestyle blog, The Tig, the former Suits actress’ net worth was estimated at a cool $5 million before she married Harry. A struggling actress, she was not.
What she did have, however, was privacy — a right you can’t put a price on. She had respect, something the British public refuses to give her. And freedom, a foregone novelty stifled by a rigid royal protocol. When it all adds up, Meghan has given up quite a lot to join the most famous royal family in the world.
But there’s a reason why Meghan and Harry have been dubbed a walking, talking rom-com by fans — they’re absolutely mad for each other. Now, as their young family has grown overnight, it’s time to cut Meghan some slack. And while they both feel lucky to have met each other, Harry would also agree he got the better end of the deal.