Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Privacy Policies Are Breaking Royal Tradition Set by Princess Anne

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle push for privacy, but the fact that they've taken titles and public funds makes that a break in tradition set by Princess Anne.

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  • Since their wedding in May 2018, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (opens in new tab) have worked to maintain some privacy for their personal lives.
  • This has been a source of controversy for the couple, with some critics complaining that they accept public funds, but then don't give the public full access to their lives.
  • Express (opens in new tab) points to Harry's aunt, Princess Anne, as the royal who set the standard for living a private life.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (opens in new tab) march to the beat of their own royal procession music.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have worked hard to maintain a level of privacy (opens in new tab), for example, which is not an easy feat, considering the immense public interest in every single thing about their lives.

According to Express (opens in new tab), however, that quest for privacy marks a break in royal tradition, particularly because Harry and Meghan have taken public money (notably for their May 2018 wedding) and because Meghan accepted a royal title when she married Harry.

As Express notes, Meghan and Harry's new home, Frogmore Cottage (opens in new tab) on the Windsor Castle estate, was reportedly (opens in new tab) largely paid for with Sovereign Grant money. The Sussexes were particularly criticized for the Frogmore Cottage money since that news coincided with the birth of their son, Archie Harrison, whose christening they decided to keep private.

So, what could Harry and Meghan (opens in new tab) do differently to avoid some of this criticism? Well, the first option would be to embrace the public aspect of their lives and open milestone moments like Archie's christening up to the public.

The other? Express points to Harry's aunt, Princess Anne (opens in new tab), as the model for living a private life as a high-ranking royal. 

One of the biggest moves Anne took to maintain her family's privacy is actually something that Harry and Meghan have mirrored.  Anne's children, Peter and Zara Tindall (opens in new tab), weren't given any titles when they were born—and neither was Archie.

Anne took things even further than Harry and Meghan however. For one, she took on running of her estate, Gatcombe Park, privately. Perhaps the biggest difference between how Anne and Harry have differed, however, is when it comes to their spouses. While neither of Anne's husbands took royal titles, Meghan Markle, obviously, did.

Princess Anne also set a precedent by refusing to take money from the Sovereign Grant for her royal duties, instead living completely off of private income from her and her husband's career. Harry and Meghan (opens in new tab) are basically full-time working royals, regularly making appearances for the royal family and both have taken over duties from the Queen.

Of course, just because something hasn't been done before doesn't mean that it can't be done or even shouldn't be done. Harry and Meghan are carving out their own version of royal life, which, for them, means dedicating part of themselves and their lives to public work while still keeping some aspects of their life together definitively private.

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Kayleigh Roberts
Weekend Editor

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.