Parenthood Makes Prince Harry and Meghan Shake Things Up

Anyone who watches Hallmark movies knows that commoners can wreak havoc on a perfectly respectable royal kingdom. Invariably, a long-suffering Hallmark prince longs for a normal life and invents an acceptable reason to flee to America incognito. Once free of regal constraints, he is immediately smitten with a seamstress or a teacher who introduces him to hot dog street vendors and ice skating en route to forever love.


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“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.” – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit (link in bio) Image © PA

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The royal love story of Prince Harry and Meghan reminds us of a Hallmark movie.

The only hiccup in this otherwise beautiful love story is that this American girl has no idea that her honey is a highness until he must return to his duties across the sea. Tensions flare as the unacceptable, pedestrian love interest enters the castle of some far-away-fake-named country with her mouth agape at the 35 chandeliers on the first floor alone. Eventually, the evil queen relents and concedes that her prince is better with the commoner than without and the citizens cheer an impending marriage in the town square.

Happy endings are all the rage at Hallmark but we are left to wonder how this would play out in a real kingdom with a real queen and a legit succession to the throne?

The answer is currently unfolding and I’m here to tell you…this is way better than any made-for tv-movie.

Prince Harry and Meghan want to step back from their royal duties.

In the mother of all plot twists, this week Prince Harry and his wife Meghan—the Duchess of Sussex—announced that they want out.  Until I read the breaking news, I had no idea that you could decide to be a quasi-prince. I think both the Queen and I are wondering what Harry and Meghan mean by, “step back from senior royal duties.”

I feel for the Queen because this is literally the epitome of the saying, “parenting never ends” with the added complication of, well-the fate of an entire country on the line.

There has been mad, global speculation about the reasons for this break in tradition. The most popular theory is that the couple is looking to earn more money and live a jet-setting, celebrity life in North America. Totally plausible because those Royals look like they are suffering over there, in Kensington  Palace. A hard-knock life for sure what with all the cooks, servants and drivers.

Parenting changes everything for all of us.

What makes more sense is that parenthood has had a profound effect on Harry and Meghan. Meghan admitted in interviews last year that she was struggling with the unbalanced media reporting she had been subjected to since marrying into the royal family. Harry has sued British publications for invasion of privacy on two occasions.

Given that there is a complicated arrangement between The House of Windsor and the British press pool, the couple would surely be fodder if they remained under the royal thumb. As new parents, this exposure is no longer just the downside of a Princely existence but a burden for their growing family.

So, they are looking for balance. Just like the rest of us.

Perhaps they are asking for a king’s ransom in concessions from the Queen but protecting their child and continuing to focus on philanthropy are both worthy of a sovereign shake-up. I don’t see this as the intentional interference of a commoner who can’t handle the rigors of the Duchess title but rather a joint decision and desire. In particular if you consider the fact that somewhere inside Harry is a 12 year-old boy who lost his mother in an accident allegedly caused by relentless media pursuit.

There is no right or wrong answer here but rather a compromise that may well become the blueprint for bluebloods in the future. Parenting takes us into another realm where what works for one family (Prince William and Kate) may not for another. Where forging your own path may seem crazy and cause some familial strife.  Where our conviction is so strong, we are willing to abandon conventional wisdom. Where the clarity that comes from being charged with raising humans is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.

Yet, unlike a Hallmark movie, there is no script to parenting. But there is some comfort for the rest of us in knowing that parenthood and wanting what’s best for our children binds us together, commoners and royals alike.

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About Maureen Stiles

Maureen Stiles is a Washington DC based freelance journalist, columnist and editor. With over a decade of published work in the parenting and humor sector, Maureen has reached audiences around the globe. In addition to published works, she has been quoted in the Washington Post and The New York Times on topics surrounding parenting and family life. Maureen is the author of The Driving Book for Teens and a contributor to the book Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults as well as regularly featured on Today's Parenting Community and Grown and Flown.

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