When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle toured Australia and the South Pacific in 2018, the world fell in love with the couple with the goodwill that was felt throughout their 16-day engagement. However, things weren’t reportedly as rosy behind the scenes because there seemed to be a disconnect between the Duchess of Sussex’s expectations and what her role entailed as a senior royal.
According to Tina Brown’s biography The Palace Papers, Meghan “hated every second” of the tour because she didn’t understand why throngs of people were there to meet them. Brown writes, “She found the itinerary of engagements ‘pointless,’ a former palace employee told me. She didn’t understand why things were set up in that way. Instead of being excited when thousands of people showed up at the [Sydney] Opera House, it was very much like, ‘What’s the purpose? I don’t understand this.'” Meghan preferred work that revolved around charitable causes and Brown adds that “the representational role of the British monarchy and its traditional agenda” wasn’t as comfortable for the Duchess of Sussex. “Such engagements are old school, yes, but create classic royal ties that bind,” the author writes.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's wedding guest list might have included celebrities the couple wasn't particularly close to. https://t.co/kK6yIKOJlD
— SheKnows (@SheKnows) April 30, 2022
It probably didn’t help that Meghan was also in the early stages of her pregnancy with Archie and doing 75 events in two weeks can be a lot on a pregnant mother. The couple’s return to the U.K. also seemed to have been met with little fanfare from the palace, and that’s where the two narratives begin to emerge, which Harry noted in his 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey. “My father, my brother, Kate and all the rest of the family, they were really welcoming. But it really changed after the Australia tour, after our South Pacific tour.”
This harkens back to another successful Australia tour that happened in 1983 with Prince Charles and Princess Diana, where she emerged the star. Bringing along a 10-month-old Prince William showed off her softer side as a mother, but it became a turning point in the couple’s relationship because Charles reportedly resented all of the positive attention his wife received. That situation sounds a bit familiar to Harry and Meghan because their Australia tour also marked a change in their relations with the rest of the family. It looks like history repeated itself — and it reveals more insight into why the Sussexes’ move to the U.S. made sense — it was to avoid another Diana situation.
by Tina Brown
Even as casual British royal family observers, there’s still so much we don’t know about what happens in the House of Windsor. 2022 is poised to be a memorable year for the royal family. But with historic highs come lows and pitfalls. Royal biographer Tina Brown takes readers from the troubling years following Princess Diana’s death, to the rift between Princes William and Harry, the scandals of Prince Andrew, and Queen Elizabeth’s steady resolve through it all in The Palace Papers: Inside the House of Windsor — the Truth and the Turmoil. Brown’s book features new, intimate details about the royal family, and contemplates how the House of Windsor moves into a new era.
Before you go, click here to see the craziest conspiracy theories Meghan Markle has faced since becoming a royal.