Duchess Meghan was once considered the great hope of the British monarchy, the personified promise of a new beginning for a more open, diverse royal family. Today, around half a decade later, the dramatic departure of Meghan and Queen's grandson Harry from the royal stage is almost a case for the history books and the Royal Family has long been busy with other scandals.
The renegades live with their children Archie and Lilibet in sunny California - the old home of Meghan, who has her birthday this Thursday: 41 years ago, Meghan was born in Los Angeles.
Despite moving to America, the rift that developed between the couple and the royal family has been the subject of countless stories and many more rumors ever since. In the notorious British tabloid, after the initial euphoria about the newcomer to the Windsors, the tone quickly turned to a negative, hateful tenor – sometimes with racist comments about Meghan's Afro-American roots. At least since the official break in the UK, the roles between good and evil have been clearly assigned.
Neither Meghan nor Harry (37) make it into the top 10 in the Royals' popularity rankings. In a comment, "Times" author Libby Purves accuses the Duchess of having "monetized" her personality and compares her to the English player Rebekah Vardy, who incited a high-profile court mud fight against a former girlfriend. Meghan gets the best press today when she stays as invisible as possible.
Commentators praised the fact that the "Sussexes" - like Meghan and Harry as Duchess and Duke of the English county are still officially called - on the day of celebration for Queen Elizabeth II at the "Trooping the Color" parade without a sound to the shielded circle joined the family and renounced the previously feared "circus" of their own appearances on the edge of the 70th anniversary of the throne.
However, their appearance at the Queen's thanksgiving service at St. Paul's Cathedral, where the couple made their way in full view of onlookers and camera crews, is still the talk of the town months later: Meghan and Harry, lined up at the ceremony with Queen's granddaughters Beatrice (33) and Eugenie (32) were previously trying to get "better seats" at the event, Royal author Tom Bower reportedly writes in his new book Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the War Between the Windsors. (in German about: "Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the Windsor's War").
When they left the royal family, the couple promised to continue working in the public service - even without the British crown in the background. In their new home, the two are in the process of finding and shaping this new role. So far it is unclear where this journey will end. Again and again, the couple supports campaigns or events with noble goals, such as the Invictus Games for war-disabled soldiers, which Harry helped to bring to life. Where "Harry
However, hardly any content has followed the multi-million dollar contracts signed in 2020 with the streaming giants Netflix and Spotify. The US magazine "Forbes" wrote that it was difficult to produce successful content in this highly competitive field. Meghan and Harry built their plans heavily on an interest in their personal history. Some Netflix projects - such as a documentary about the Invictus Games - are said to be in the works, others on hold. So far, a podcast episode of the couple could be heard on Spotify at the end of 2020, after that only silence.
At least that should change soon if you believe the announcements from spring. In her own podcast called "Archetypes", Meghan wants to address clichés and prejudices that inhibit women and keep them small.
With projects like these, the Duchess, who used to stand on her own feet as an actress ("Suits"), seems to want to set individual accents again. In the royal family, she was inevitably mostly "wife of", but even in the new phase of life she has so far appeared publicly at Harry's side.
Thousands of kilometers away, the circle of British "working royals" who can represent the monarchy healthy, fit and largely unencumbered by scandals is shrinking. Meghan and Harry are gone, and Queen's son Prince Andrew (62) is considered intolerable after the abuse scandal surrounding his old friend and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Even heir to the throne Prince Charles (73) has to endure reports of donations from Osama bin Laden's family. And "Her Majesty" himself - 96 years old - is increasingly forced to put his feet up for health reasons.
In the Queen's anniversary year, the royals are pointing to reconciliation. But Harry's memoirs are due out this fall - with the potential to strain relations across the Atlantic. After Meghan and Harry's explosive television interview last year, hardly anyone expects the prince to only want to share harmless anecdotes from the House of Windsor with the world.