The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have always been one of the more private royal couples. But since the birth of baby Archie, the UK media has been increasingly intolerant of that need for privacy. Now, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were slammed by royal photographer Arthur Edwards, who claims the couple has adopted a standoffish attitude to both their royal duty and the press. Since Meghan came along, Edwards contends, Harry’s demeanor has completely changed — and it’s time the Sussex couple makes amends.
Edwards has been a royal photographer for The Sun for 40 years, covering eight royal births (including Harry’s!), and once earning a personal shout-out from Kate Middleton and Prince William due to his longstanding relationship with the family. He’s now published an account of his time working with Meghan and Harry, and clearly takes issue with the Sussex royals’ conduct. He spends the first half of his op-ed focusing on their spending, criticizing them for the cost of updating Frogmore Cottage (rather than staying in Kensington Palace), and specifically calling out Meghan for her expensive baby shower (which was not paid for with taxpayer money).
Edwards also feels that the handling of baby Archie’s birth was unacceptable, accusing the couple of “deliberately diminishing the public’s enjoyment” of another royal baby. There was “no excuse” for the “cock-ups” in how the press was alerted to Archie’s arrival, he writes, and the press conference itself he found insulting. “When I learned only one Press photographer was to photograph Archie, I decided to cover the Prince of Wales’s tour of Germany,” Edwards says. He wanted to “be with members of the Royal Family who want [him] to photograph them, not with Harry and Meghan who clearly don’t.”
Edwards’s primary issue, however, is the effect that he believes Meghan has had on Harry. “The old Harry is no longer there, and he seems to have forgotten that being a royal is a two-way street,” the photographer writes. He takes great offense at how Harry and Meghan handled Trump’s state visit, claiming that “Harry seemed to sulk all the time he was with the Trumps,” and that “it was Meghan’s duty as an American member of our Royal Family to support the Queen and welcome her President.” As you might recall, this was the state visit that took place two days after Trump called Meghan “nasty” in an interview — and only a few weeks after Meghan gave birth.
Finally, Edwards thinks the royal press has a right to a closer look at the Sussex royals’ lives. “It would be great if Harry and Meghan had a clear-the-air reception for the royal press corps and tell us what’s really been going on,” he writes in his closing. “But I don’t suppose they will — because it’s not what Meghan wants.”
Clearly, Edwards has been deeply offended by Meghan and Harry not keeping him as close as Kate and William may have. And while no one would argue that Meghan and Harry are following exact royal tradition, what gets lost in all these critiques is the notion that the Sussex’s way of doing things may actually be better than what came before. It’s no doubt a tough pill to swallow in a nation that rewards tradition so heavily. But any photographer hoping to get up close and personal with the Duchess of Sussex should get excited about documenting change — and give up the idea that Meghan owes the public any more than what she’s giving.
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