What does it take to be a royal in the real world?

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January 26, 2020 1:13 AM

The glitz and glamour of royal life can take you places, help you scale big achievements, and put you in limelight forever.

During an official tour of Africa, Prince Harry addressed his relationship with his brother in a documentary.

The surprise news of Duke and Dutchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to step down as senior royals will have a dramatic impact on their future. This may forever change their relationship with the royal family, and there may be little-to-no desire among them to take over monarchy. But what could have led to them taking such a decision? Perhaps they have been going through some serious ‘royal’ pressure.

A front-row seat to the dangers of life in the royal family may have been one of the reasons for the Duchess of Sussex to call it quits. Post their fairy tale wedding, the royal couple has struggled with the pressures of royal life and family rifts. In a recent television series, they spoke about the burden of being in the spotlight. Even the press bullying Markle in the past has had Prince Harry take legal action against the tabloid over a ‘ruthless campaign’ to smear her image.

Time and again, Markle has expressed her distress over adjusting to the pressures of her role, the harsh media coverage and ongoing struggles as a new mother. Like Prince Harry’s mother Diana, the Duchess of Sussex too has expressed concerns over feeling the burden of the title. “Not many people have asked if I’m OK,” she said in an interview with BBC.

Prince Harry in a media statement confirmed the anguish she has been facing mentally. “My wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences — a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our new born son. My deepest fear is history repeating itself,” he said. “I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces,” he said.

Despite being a doting mother, Princes Diana faced similar royal pressures. The princess told writer Andrew Morton in his book Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words, that she took on too many roles at once. “One minute I was nobody and the next minute I was Princess of Wales, mother, media toy, member of this family, you name it. It was just too much for one person at that time,” the Princess had confessed then.

According to media reports, rumours are rife of a rift between the brothers, Princes William and Harry. During an official tour of Africa, Prince Harry addressed his relationship with his brother in a documentary. “Inevitably stuff happens, but we’re brothers, we will always be brothers,” he had said. “We are certainly on different paths at the moment, but I will always be there for him and I know he will always be there for me.”

As the Duke and the Duchess quit their roles to spend more time in the US, and to become financially independent by ‘carving out’ a ‘progressive new role,’ the fact is that there are more whys and wherefores on the pressures of royalty.

The glitz and glamour of royal life can take you places, help you scale big achievements, and put you in limelight forever. But being a royal in today’s world requires an awful amount of hard work, where drawbacks overshadow the perks. To cope with such a situation, one has to go through immense scrutiny and protocol. Or continuously succumb to the pressure of living in the spotlight, thereby being forced to look and sound perfect at all times.

It’s inevitable that the family and well-wishers look up to them as role models. But as they say there is no messing up, once you do, it’s part of you forever. There can be no justification for the actions undertaken. There is a fear of losing life and identity.

Too much planning also makes one operate around a set timetable. One is constantly flashed on by the paparazzi, uttering anything controversial, or particularly interesting, even if it involves knowing more about a subject results in intense scrutiny.

One has to be cautious of stating the obvious, a political opinion of any kind whatsoever, as the most important constitutional duty of the royal family is to be above politics. Since the society you live in idolises you as a member of the royal family, some behavioural requirements followed in the daily routine are important.

On the contrary, for better or worse, the future generation can have freer choices in life, to pursue professional and business careers or shape lives as individuals in the future, more freely.

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