Touch choices were looming for all. Not the tough choices facing Great Britain, mind you, as none of the above were elected government officials. But for as long as the House of Windsor has reigned, and for so long as they continue to do so in the future, they will represent something uniquely important to the British people, a solid link to history going back centuries as well as a real-life fairy tale in their midst. (Or, depending on who you ask, a useless relic of the past and a bit of a nightmare.)
And so their relevance, or the argument over their relevance, seeps out to the rest of the world, making the royals—especially the younger ones like Meghan and Kate and the babies they’ve borne—global celebrities, with all the perks that entails but also a series of seemingly unattainable expectations by a public that’s constantly moving the goal posts.
None of which was new for this family, but the specter of history possibly repeating itself loomed largest for Harry.
“I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person,” Harry said in October 2019, part of a lacerating statement explaining why he had taken the rare-for-royals step of taking legal action against the Mail on Sunday for publishing a letter that Meghan wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle. “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”
They also filed suit against the owners of The Sun and Daily Mirror, accusing the publications of phone hacking.