The Duke and Duchess of Sussex put on a united front during their final appearance as working members of the royal family in a major sign of how they’ve become even closer over the past year.
“They’ve just become even tighter, even closer, you can see in the way they interact together that this is very much a team,” says 9Honey’s royal commentator Victoria Arbiter.
“This is not two individuals trying to support the same message, this is a team and it’s a team that works incredibly well together.”
Harry and Meghan’s attendance at the Commonwealth Day service, and a few days before at the Mountbatten Music Festival and the Endeavour Fund Awards, appeared to be some of the most confident from the couple since they married in 2018.
Their decision to leave the UK and set up a new life with their son Archie in Canada came as a shock to many but for Harry and Meghan, it was a move they had to make.
In October, Harry and Meghan spoke openly in a documentary about their struggles with negativity, both from online trolls and some aspects of the media.
Arbiter points to similarities in how Diana, Princess of Wales, and Sarah, the Duchess of York, were initially treated when they joined the British royal family and Meghan’s experience.
“In the beginning, Meghan was a breath of fresh air. But Fergie was a breath of fresh air, Diana was a breath of fresh air, Kate was a breath of fresh air,” Arbiter says.
“It is an incredibly difficult label to live up to, and invariably what happens, unfortunately, in the media the world over they build you up and then they just bring you right down. “That’s part of the royal soap opera.”
Arbiter says the heat from the press has been “tricky” for the couple – especially Meghan.
“I think that has been incredibly difficult for Harry and Meghan. You have to feel for Meghan, because she comes from a background where, if there is an incorrect story put out in Hollywood, in acting circles, then a publicist comes forward and says, ‘No that’s not true, print a retraction, print the correct story’.
“Well, if the royals were to do that with every incorrect story that ever got published, they wouldn’t do anything else, they’d need an office the size of the Empire State building to try and manage the global press that gets stories wrong.”
The inability to control the type of stories being written about them could have played a part in their decision to step back, Arbiter muses.
“What’s been difficult for Meghan, in particular, coming in to this very new environment, seeing how this operation works, is that you don’t really have any recourse when things are particularly critical, judgmental, negative, and incorrect,” she explains.
“It becomes very difficult to know who to trust.
“I think Harry and Meghan are wounded and feeling bruised and feeling vulnerable, and that’s why I think some time out from the spotlight, some time away from the media, to allow them to regroup, and reset their perspective is going to help tremendously.”