Buckingham Palace announced on Jan. 18 the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are giving up their titles and royal duties and plan to move to Canada.
Barry MacKenzie, the Maritime Regional Coordinator for the Monarchist League of Canada, said their decision won’t make a huge impact on the British identity. If anything, he said their leaving has created sympathy for the couple and the Queen.
“I think people sort of recognize or have sort of expressed sympathy for the situation which the Queen has found herself,” he said. “Some are sympathetic to the situation which Harry and Meghan have found themselves.”
Still, Mackenzie said he understands why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry chose to step down.
“This is a very young couple with a young child, and they were certainly the victims of a great deal of scrutiny by the media,” he said.
Meghan filed a lawsuit against the publication Mail on Sunday and its parent company, the Associated Newspapers, over the misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act of 2018. The piece of information in question was a private letter Meghan wrote to her father, Thomas Markle.
Media organizations Vox and Global News have also criticized the media’s coverage of Meghan as racist. The Daily Mail published a headline reading, “Why can’t Meghan Markle keep her hands off her bump?” while a few months earlier praised Kate Middleton, Prince William’s wife, for cradling her baby bump. The Express wrote a story about the lilies Kate and Meghan used in their wedding bouquets. For Kate, the Express wrote about how the lily of the valley symbolized happiness. But for Meghan, they wrote about how the flower endangered the life of Kate’s daughter, Princess Charlotte.
MacKenzie said he’s disappointed about the timing of Harry and Meghan’s leaving. Queen Elizabeth II is 93 and her husband, Prince Philip, is 98. Now Harry, a senior member of the Royal Family, is choosing to step back.
“I respect [Harry’s] desire to protect his family, but at the same time, I do feel for the Queen in this situation. Both as a grandmother and as a sovereign,” he said.
He also sympathizes with Harry’s brother, Prince William, who might be king in 20 years unless Prince Charles lives that long.
“When he becomes king, he’s not going to have his brother by his side, helping to share the burden,” MacKenzie said.
Donald Wright, a political science professor at the University of New Brunswick, thinks Canada should sever its ties with the royals.
“It’s [an] absurd, absolutely absurd family full of moral and sexual corruption,” Wright said.
Wright is partially talking about Prince Andrew, who stepped away from his public duties in November over his friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and statutory rape allegations from a woman who claimed Andrew forced her to have sex with him when she was a teenager. Wright also mentioned Prince Charles, who had an affair while married to Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana.
Wright said the couple’s leaving brings up a big question: should Canada sever its ties to the monarchy and become a republic?
Wright said the monarchy makes no sense in the 21st century.
“It’s an anti-democratic institution at the heart of democratic governance,” Wright said.
He said Canada continues to stay with the monarchy because it’s simple. Leaving the monarchy would mean reopening the constitutional debate, including the status of Quebec, the division of power and the place of the Indigenous Peoples. The conversation could “spin out of control very quickly.”
“It’s just this colonial hangover which is easier to keep than it is to get rid of.”