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Prince Harry-Meghan Markle: Americans, Britishers divided over quitting royal frontline

News Agencies | Updated on: 10 January 2020, 9:55 IST
Prince Harry-Meghan Markle

US tourists outside Britain's royal residences on Thursday were quick to welcome Prince Harry and his American wife Meghan's decision to withdraw from royal front-line duties -- but locals were less impressed. "I think it is going to turn a lot of people off them and upsetting the family -- it seems a bit unnecessary," British operations manager Paul Brown told AFP outside a gloomy Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II's London home.

"For the sake of a week or two and a few conversations, preparing the ground, a lot of this might have been avoided," he added. "If they want to leave the royal duties then fine, that's up to them. But they can't have their cake and eat it." Roger Sainsbury, who works in the British military, said the couple "knew what they were getting into" and that "they need to meet that challenge".

"There is a lot of privilege that comes with that position but it's also a very busy job," he said outside the palace. The couple, who now want to divide their time between Britain and North America, received more sympathy from Meghan's compatriots as they took in the sights of Windsor, some 26 miles (42 kilometres) west of central London.

The town's castle hosted the couple's fairytale wedding in 2018, and they now live in its grounds. Tourists took advantage of the sunshine and mild weather to take photos of the royal residence, fully aware of the sensational news. US visitor Andrew Steernket said it was "a decision we definitely support.

"Being Texan, we appreciate and like that because we are all for being independent," the 41-year-old consultant told AFP, while visiting with his wife. The decision broke tradition and protocol, but Steernket believes it is a sign of the British royalty becoming more modern.

"It's showing that they are becoming more progressive, which I think is a key thing. "It's a positive move for the family," he added. A few steps from the castle, Tina Juilliert, who arrived from North Carolina on Thursday, supported the couple's decision, but was "surprised" by how it had been handled.

"I believe in choices in life," she said, stood outside a souvenir shop. "I would think it would have been coordinated more closely with the rest of the family and communicated more gracefully," added the 50-year-old. She expects former television actress Meghan to be cast as the "villain" of the piece.

"People say she is dividing the family, but what do they know? Nobody knows what's really happening," she added. The couple's decision to give up their role in the monarchy and work towards "financial independence" was also welcomed by tourists from other countries.

"It's tricky because they are huge public figures and they have duties associated with the royal family, but at the same time they only have one life and they have to live it like they want," said 49-year-old Russian tourist Larissa Lyonas, camera in hand.

"They've got all the spotlights on them and the media weren't very nice to Meghan," added Carla Xavier, a Brazilian translator. "He chose his family over the crown. Stepping aside was a wise choice," she added.


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First published: 10 January 2020, 9:55 IST