Prince Harry and Meghan Markle May Not Be Able to "Control the Narrative" Moving Forward, Royal Expert Claims

Public opinion is changing.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
(Image credit: Getty)

Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle moved to the U.S., they have done their best to protect their privacy in their own way—by only appearing at select public events and only revealing what they actually want to reveal in their various media projects (although, as it turns out, what they actually want to reveal is a lot).

But for one royal expert, it's not going to be as simple for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to do that moving forward, as public opinion towards them shifts, and as their relationship with the King and the Prince of Wales worsens.

"This rift with the Royal Family, which is extremely deep, has received vast international coverage," Richard Fitzwilliams tells Marie Claire on March 6. "Until now, with a series of interviews especially on Oprah and with the Netflix docuseries and the publication of Spare with its attendant interviews," the Sussexes have been able to "control the narrative."

However, Fitzwilliams continues, "The signs are that—especially since it is unclear what they want to do in the future and their obvious reliance on their royal status for their lucrative contracts—this is changing fast.

"Two recent polls in Newsweek point to a seismic shift in opinion in the United States after Spare was published. They were mercilessly mocked on South Park and have been taken less seriously since Harry’s badly timed revelations in his memoir about losing his virginity, penile frostbite and experiments with drugs."

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle

(Image credit: Getty)

For the expert, a full-blown reconciliation seems like a pipe dream right now, but he's not ruling out the possibility of the Sussexes attending the coronation regardless. (We now know they were officially invited.)

"They won’t get the apology they seek from the Royal Family for what they believe they suffered when they were senior working royals," Fitzwilliams says.

"It’s up to them if they attend the coronation and, if they do, talk with the other royals will be strictly about the weather. They will receive huge press attention before the coronation whatever they decide but, as we saw at the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, they can be controlled during it."

general views of frogmore cottage

(Image credit: GOR)

The biggest royal news of the past couple of weeks has been the King's decision to evict his youngest son and his family from their English home of Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, which Fitzwilliams says sends a clear and unmistakable message.

"King Charles’s eviction of them from Frogmore clearly showed the Royal Family’s distaste for their attacks," he says. Indeed, Charles reportedly made this decision directly following the publication of Harry's incendiary memoir Spare.

"It is obviously also part of a shake-up of royal properties and a move that no one anticipated. It is unfortunate for public relations for the Royal Family that it appears Andrew will be replacing them in Frogmore."

This last point has previously made the object of criticism from commentators. Royal expert and historian Dr. Tessa Dunlop previously said of the eviction, "A broad-shouldered confident monarchy would have weathered the storm. With a coronation around the corner, the King has bigger fish to fry.

"Instead, by evicting the couple from the Queen's generous gift of Frogmore Cottage King Charles is going directly against the conciliatory style of Her late Majesty.

"Worse, he has conflated the problem of the Sussexes with that of Prince Andrew by asking the latter to relinquish his larger home, the Royal Lodge, and move into Frogmore Cottage. Big mistake. The optics are terrible."

How did we get into this mess, eh?

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.