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Speculation that Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle might move to America has been rife since the early days of the relationship, even before they were married.
Many people familiar with the staid and sometimes stultifying traditions of the British monarchy, and the brutal way in which the royals are regarded as public property by the press and the people, questioned whether Meghan would ever truly be able to adapt to life as a palace marionette.
As the days have ticked by, Meghan and Harry have appeared ever less suited to the dutiful life of a minor British royal. Instead of doing what they should do, they have rejected and discarded royal traditions in dizzying succession, and kicked back against the prevailing “never complain, never explain” culture.
Whether it’s guest editing Vogue, insisting on the right to fly private to Ibiza or setting up a shadow press team to represent them to the U.S. tabloids, their behavior makes it legitimate to wonder whether life in Los Angeles might suit the couple better.
Meghan and Harry are not following any established pattern of royal precedent, instead, they are setting themselves up as super celebrity philanthropists, seeking to leverage their vast global fame in the service of vast global causes, such as the environment and poverty.
If this requires them to scoot around the planet by private jet, they certainly don’t see a problem with that in service of the greater good. They are hip and driven, and out to change the world.
Certainly the appointment of the veteran Hollywood publicist Ken Sunshine this week, as reported by The Sun, suggests they are at least interested in building a significant media presence and power base in America.
Also while Meghan’s falling out with her father is well-publicized by the media, moving to L.A. would allow her to strengthen what already appear to be excellent relations with her mother, Doria.
Earlier this year, Meghan was caught on camera telling pop star Pharrell Williams: “They don’t make it easy.”
One assumption was that she was referring to the British media.
Cut to William and Kate dropping their daughter off for her first day at school today, looking like their main priority was to simply fit in and not cause offense, and you can see just how difficult a long-term future for Harry and Meghan inside the royal family really is.
The criticism directed at Kate was every bit as bad and unfair as that now coming Meghan’s way, but Harry and Meghan have the option to leave the country, which William and Kate never have. While Kate was subjected to terrible snobbery in the early days of her relationship, she had little choice but to hunker down and wait it out.
Meghan, it seems, despite her claim not to read the papers, has grown tired of the barrage of relentless criticism that they face in the U.K. for what in Los Angeles would be rather minor infractions of the celebrity code, such as talking about the importance of tackling climate change while flying around in a private jet.
“It’s incredible really, to people over here, the abuse they are getting over a few flights,” said one L.A.-based film producer. “The theory in Los Angeles is simply that if you can take a private jet everywhere, why wouldn’t you, especially if someone else is paying? You just pay the carbon-offset people and hop on board.”
Perhaps the relentless criticism from the press over perceived hypocrisy wouldn’t, alone, be enough to trouble the young couple, but The Daily Beast continues to hear a steady stream of unflattering reports from people close to the royals, complaining in particular about the way they treat staff.
For example, one source told The Daily Beast that a senior member of Meghan and Harry’s team who quit last year did so because they found Meghan so difficult to work for.
“Of course on the surface it was all very diplomatic and they said that it was just time to move on, with the wedding, but the truth is they just found that she was a complete nightmare to deal with.”
You don’t have to attend many British dinner parties these days to hear an astonishing amount of trash talk directed at Meghan.
One of the latest rumors is that a falling out with Kate and William was turbocharged after Meghan was overheard gossiping about them.
Another source told The Daily Beast that Kate was far from impressed when during a fitting, a courtier made an unspecified mistake and Meghan turned to her friend Jessica Mulroney and said, “You see what I have to deal with.”
The courtier apparently left the room in tears and, once again, word of the incident filtered back to Kate.
Meghan’s camp denies these stories, saying they are invented by trolls with classist, sexist, and racist agendas.
That there are such agendas is true. But what is also true is that Meghan has failed to gel with William and Kate, and her and Harry’s ongoing refusal to conform to and respect precedent is starting to annoy more senior members of the family.
The queen is likely to be more than a little peeved they haven’t made the trek to Balmoral in Scotland this summer (as William, Kate and family did, on a budget airline) and Charles is said to be despondent that Harry and Meghan have shown no interest in taking on a country estate on the Welsh borders.
Meghan is sometimes compared to Diana (although Princess Diana was actually rather shy and retiring, who did not remotely enjoy being the center of attention), but it is worth noting that Diana absolutely hated going to Balmoral as well.
She used to stay in her room when the royal family headed out for yet another rain-soaked, wind-lashed picnic on the barren grouse moors, much to the Queen’s extreme disapproval.
More to Meghan’s taste are a few nights at a super premium luxury villa in Ibiza, and a few nights after that hanging out with Elton and David, no doubt brainstorming how they can make the world a better place.
The endless criticism points to a deeper truth, which is that Meghan seems to have a vision for herself as a celebrity delivering high-profile philanthropy, more in the mold of Angelina Jolie than Prince Charles.
She has no interest in being publicly accountable for her life.
She has no interest in running a country estate with splendid pheasant shooting on the Welsh border.
She has no interest in going to Balmoral for a week of damp and freezing walks, watching men shoot things.
And, unlike many newly royal women who have gone before, Meghan has no interest in pretending that she is interested in such things.
Life, she appears to think, is too short to waste it on maintaining the status quo.
This is what makes the rumors of an imminent move to America so credible, although the palace declined to comment to The Daily Beast.
One thing’s for certain: If Meghan and Harry did decide to decamp to Malibu, America would greet them with adulation.