Meghan and Harry stunned the world when they decided to “step back” from senior royal duties. Today, they find themselves living out their dreams in California ‒ having moved first to Canada and later to the US. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made no secret of the difficulty they had living within the constraints of the Royal Family.
Many argue their signing of lucrative contracts with the likes of Netflix and Spotify vindicates their decision to break away from the Firm, as they can now have a real impact on society in a forward-thinking way.
But the dilemma faced by the couple is nothing new, and King Edward VIII ‒ who famously gave up the crown to marry twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson ‒ may well have sympathised.
Resurfaced letters penned by Edward while he was Prince of Wales show that the Queen’s uncle not only resented his royal duties but also placed little hope in the monarchy’s survival.
Contacting a girlfriend on December 23, 1919, he wrote: “I love you, love you darling, and you know it, how you mean absolutely all and everything in life.
Meghan and Harry issued prophetic nod by Edward VIII’s letters predicting end of monarchy
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ‘stepped back’ from royal duties
“Nothing else seems to matter now, not even my bloody job of which I am so, so sick.”
Four months later, the future King wrote another letter saying: “Each day, I long more and more to chuck this job and be out of it.
“The more I think of it all, the more certain I am that, really, the day for kings and princes has passed. Monarchies are out of date.”
Commenting on the letters as they were published by British Heritage in October, historian Dr Piers Brendon claimed Edward’s main issue was that he wanted to have his cake and eat it.
Dr Brendon said: “I think basically his problem was that he liked the pluses of being a royal and not the minuses. He didn’t like the duty aspect of it.”
Edward VIII abdicated in 1936
Edward changed the face of the Royal Family forever as his decision to marry Mrs Simpson sparked the Abdication Crisis in 1936.
By stepping down, he cleared the path for his brother Albert to ascend the throne ‒ something neither he nor his wife Elizabeth wanted.
Albert took on the regnal name of King George VI and the line of succession was changed for good.
Edward’s legacy still looms over the modern Royal Family ‒ Queen Elizabeth II might not be monarch had it not been for his actions.
On more than one occasion, Prince Charles was reminded of his great uncle’s misdemeanours by Lord Louis Mountbatten.
The Queen Mother is also said to have blamed Mrs Simpson personally for putting her husband and children in a position they never needed to be in ‒ something she never forgave her for.
Edward gave up the throne to marry Mrs Simpson
Edward and Mrs Simpson
Given Edward and Mrs Simpson lived out the rest of their lives outside the UK, Meghan and Harry have often been compared to the rebellious couple.
Finding Freedom, the unauthorised biography of the Sussexes’ royal exit, suggests that one of their big frustrations was with the royal machine slowing them down.
Authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand suggest that Palace insiders prioritised Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge as Harry is lower down in the line of succession.
Today, Harry and Meghan appear to have made good on their promise to become “financially independent” and this looks unlikely to change any time soon.
Their ties to the Royal Family remain firm and the planned 12-month review of what has been dubbed “Megxit” appears to have been cancelled as the current arrangements are “working”.
Royal expert Katie Nicholl said: “My understanding from the Sussex camp is that there has been communication with the Queen, Charles and with William as well. The general feeling is that this is working.
“’This isn’t to say that people are not watching closely what these deals are, what the couple are doing and what these projects are going to be.
“But there is not this need to have this review one year on.”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with baby Archie
However, Meghan has been warned against going too far into the world of politics.
Royal commentator Howard Hodgson told Express.co.uk: “It is quite impossible for a member of the Royal Family to comment on political matters either here or in another country.
“Therefore, if she does start a political career or even make political comments, she will leave the Queen with no choice but to banish Harry and her from the family to an even greater extent than the Duke of Windsor was subjected to.
“If she really loved Harry in the same way that he apparently does her, then she should surely take this into account.
“However, I fear that she won’t.”
Wallis Simpson: Femme Fatale aired on Channel 5 at 9.30pm on Saturday.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK