Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Left “Charisma Vacancy” When They Left as Working Royals

And, says a royal author, the three Cambridge kids are set to fill it.

Princess Charlotte Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Anwar Hussein / Getty Images)

A royal author says when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s time as working members of the royal family ended in January 2020, they left a “charisma vacancy” that is now down to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s children to fill.

Cele Otnes, coauthor of Royal Fever: The British Monarchy in Consumer Culture, borrows the term “charisma vacancy” from Tina Brown’s The Palace Papers, and says that there has been that vacancy since Harry and Meghan left the Firm.

“There’s a great quote where Tina [Brown] says one of the big problems with Harry and Meghan leaving the brand is that now there is this ‘charisma vacancy,’” she tells The Daily Express. “I love that.”

For example, during her life, Otnes says Princess Diana filled the royal family’s charisma quota. Now, with Harry and Meghan gone, “the position has been filled by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children, who have regularly shown off their personalities,” writes the Express.

Otnes, a professor of marketing specializing in the royal family, says charisma is a necessary factor for the Firm’s brand image, as it shows personality and appeals to an audience.

“What you want is people to have a personality, or at least some of them do,” she says.

And, while Prince Charles “has more charisma than people give him credit for,” he lacks confidence, Otnes says.

“What holds him back from expressing that is that he seems to just wallow in self-pity and a lack of self-confidence, which is, I think, completely unwarranted,” she says.

As for Princess Anne? She “is not someone one would say is charismatic, nor does she care,” Otnes says.

Though maybe not through speech but more so through visuals, the Cambridges’ three children—Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4—can fill the void.

“Well, one that does, not through speech, but through visuals are William and Catherine’s children,” she says.

Who can forget Charlotte’s sassy remark outside of Louis’ 2018 christening, when the princess, three at the time, “showed she was a force to be reckoned with when she told photographers ‘You’re not coming,’” writes the Express. Like Uncle Harry before her, Charlotte has also been spotted more than once sticking her tongue out to crowds.

“She and her siblings also can’t help but make hilarious faces at Trooping the Colour over the years and are often photographed pulling a less than serious expression,” the outlet reports. “The youngsters appear to be following in their uncle’s footsteps because, as a child, Prince Harry was photographed numerous times sticking his tongue out in the direction of photographers.”

The Cambridge kids certainly don’t lack for personality, and we’re loving watching them grow up—occasional tongues out and all.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.