BORN into a world of privilege, power and luxury, baby Sussex will grow up surrounded by opportunity. But – as his parents know only too well – there are some things that money, even majesty, can never prevent. For Harry, it was the unbearable loss of his mother when he was a sensitive 12-years-old, already troubled by the break-up of his parents’ marriage.
For Meghan, it was the divorce of her parents, Doria Ragland and Thomas Markle, followed by the devastating betrayal of her money-grabbing father, which led to his exile from his daughter’s new world. This tangled family history will, inevitably, come to bear on baby Sussex, who will grow up with two grandparents fewer than the usual number, and from starkly different backgrounds.
The Prince ofWales has proved himself to be a doting father and grandfather. It is plain that William and Harry have nothing but the deepest respect for their father’s public work and involvement in their family life.
As the product of a stifling upbringing of royal formality unimaginable even to his own sons, it is, say friends, a miracle that Charles has emerged from it all relatively normal.
After decades of turmoil, those who know him say the prince today is happier, more content, and more at peace with his life than ever before.
It has been, however, a hard road.
One of the cruel twists of monarchy is that when the Queen succeeded to the throne, it could only be achieved by the death of her beloved father, King George VI.
Proud grandparents Doria Ragland and the Prince of Wales (Image: Brian Lawless – WPA Pool/Getty )
The Prince of Wales with his two sons the dukes of Cambridge and Sussex (Image: Tim Graham/Getty)
Charles was only a little boy when he lost his grandfather, so it is not surprising that he has often sought the company of elders who could offer him a safe refuge from the pressures of palace life.
One courtier explained: “Inside the monarchy, people will always tell you what they think you want to hear. You rarely hear the truth.
“What Charles needed, though, were people who had experience of this sort of life and who were utterly trustworthy, people who would allow him to let off steam and tell him the truth.”
Charles found them in the grandmother he adored Queen Elizabeth, and his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten – or Uncle Dickie to the prince.
As Charles once explained: “For me, Lord Mountbatten represented the grandfather I never had.”
And the prince’s deep bond with his grandmother was everything that the starchy, sometimes chilly, relationship he had with his parents was not.
Admiral of the Fleet Lord Mountbatten was murdered by the IRA (Image: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty)
Following Queen Elizabeth’s death in 2002, Charles said: “She meant everything and I had dreaded…dreaded, this moment.”
Baby Sussex’s other grandparent, Doria, 62, however, did not grow up with any of the privileges, opportunities and easy choices that cosset the Royal Family from the perils of the real world.
There were no castles, private schools or servants for Doria and her family in their modest neighbourhood in California.
She gave birth to Meghan in a Los Angeles public hospital, a far cry from the £10,000-a-time private clinic in London where Harry came into the world.
And anything they wanted, Doria and her family had to work hard to get.
Her adult life has been a series of messy false starts.
She began her professional life as a TV make-up artist where she met husband-to-be Thomas, a studio lighting expert.
Meghan Markle with her mum Doria Raglan (Image: Press Association)
Source: EXPRESS CO UK