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Thanks to the ongoing intrigues of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, last week was a momentous roller coaster ride for Britain’s royal family. Events swung from cheers for the king for taking decisive action by evicting the rogue Sussexes from Frogmore Cottage, to Harry and Meghan’s surprise announcement that their children will use the titles of "prince" and "princess."
And then there was Harry’s pay-to-view therapy session with a controversial trauma expert again exposing his family and extolling the joys of hallucinogenic drugs. Finally, it was reported that the palace was preparing for the rebel couple to attend the May 6 coronation. It is no secret that King Charles would like both sons present at this most important event of both his life and reign. Harry, who brought pain and distraction to the last years of his beloved grandmother’s 70-year reign, has demanded concessions and apologies in order to attend. This is preposterous considering it is he — and his wife — who should be issuing apologies rather than demanding them.
At the outset of the public strife between the royal parties, many ruminated over the damage the pair could inflict on an institution synonymous with Britain itself. The Sussexes’ went all in with vicious, unsubstantiated claims they recounted in the March 2021, Oprah Winfrey interview. Now however, with the bottom having fallen out of their popularity — on both sides of the Atlantic — and public figures expressing disgust with their behavior, even comedians like Chris Rock feel empowered to parody and ridicule Harry and Meghan’s hypocrisy and victimhood.
It is wholly reasonable that Harry and Meghan should not have a British residence reserved for them to visit at whim, particularly as they have shown great contempt for Britain and its monarchy. Britons hold them in such low regard — with a recent poll indicating Harry's net favorability among the British public is at an all-time low of minus 38, with his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, recording minus 42.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle compared to their parodies on "South Park." (Getty Images/ Comedy Central)
Removing them has another more practical solution. Frogmore is within a few hundred yards of where William and Kate now have an important family home. This may be the single biggest reason for the eviction: to ensure privacy for the Prince of Wales and his family.
More generally, while the king probably has an appetite to forgive, he and the Waleses must be wise enough not to forget. With the appalling violations of trust exhibited by Harry and Meghan, who can blame Harry’s family for being concerned that anything said or done is going to be recorded for potential future attacks and monetization?
The recent revelation that the Sussexes had chosen to exercise the use of their children's prince and princess titles is especially surprising. According to rules put in place by Charles’ great-grandfather, George V, little Archie and Lilibet Diana have indeed been entitled to be called prince and princess since the death of Queen Elizabeth. However, the announcement came out of the blue and was shocking because it preempted the palace. It’s also noteworthy considering Markle made plain her deep reservations about titles during the Oprah interview, going so far as to say they bring "a lot of pain."
Startling then, this turnaround was compounded even further by the couple’s long-standing hatchet job on the monarchy – the very body that issues the titles that keep Meghan and Harry in the public eye. The likely explanation seems that, at a time when their stock among the public and Harry’s family has hit rock bottom, the Sussexes, nervous of losing the thing that makes them most relevant — Harry’s royal connections — are suddenly consumed with constitutional royal protocol.
The couple has alleged claims of racism, and cruelty against the royal establishment, backing them up with conflicting and distorted evidence. They have defiled the monarchy while monetizing their connection to it. Moreover, in order to remain in the public eye, they have sought to harm and destroy with endless victimhood hysteria.
And after all this, it is they who are demanding concessions and apologies?
The king is a loving father with a great capacity to forgive, and he and Prince William, through discretion and restraint, have superbly handled the Sussex crisis. Their restrained response has been successful because they provided a long leash for the California duo to foist their spectacle on what has proved to be an ever-less-receptive-and more-exhausted public, on both sides of the Atlantic.
But enough is enough. The only claim for apology should come from the king, the queen consort, and Kate and William. Harry and Meghan have sought to ruin, but they have failed, and the king and his successors remain popular because they carry on dutifully and never stoop to the Sussexes’ level. The irony is that because of the discrete approach of the royal family, the demand for the proper apology will never be issued. "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child," another king named Lear warned us.
Lee Cohen, a senior fellow of the Bow Group and the Bruges Group, was adviser on Great Britain to the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee and founded the Congressional United Kingdom Caucus.