Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's interview had the potential to destroy the monarchy. Prince Philip's death could save it.

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's interview had the potential to destroy the monarchy. Prince Philip's death could save it.
Prince Philip's death could bring the royal family back together.BEN BIRCHALL/AFP via Getty Images/Max Mumby/Getty Images
  • Meghan Markle and Prince Harry painted the monarchy as an unfair business instead of a kind family.
  • The new perspective could put the monarchy at risk of falling apart when the Queen dies.
  • But Prince Philip's death provides the royal family with an opportunity to save the institution.

The royal family has been in turmoil since Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's interview with Oprah Winfrey, where they claimed some royals made racist remarks about Archie and disregarded Markle's mental-health issues.

Harry and the royal family have been distant as a result, with the royal telling Gayle King his conversations with Prince William and Prince Charles following the interview were "not productive."

Markle and Harry's revelations have the potential to bring down the monarchy, as public sentiment turns against the royal family.

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But Prince Philip's death at 99 years old might have turned the tides back in the royal family's favor, giving the monarchy the chance to change its narrative again.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle talk about the royal family like a business with bad policies

As Michelle Ruiz wrote for Vanity Fair's May cover story, "the British monarchy is built on mystique and magic," and it relies on people's awe at princes and princesses to keep it afloat.

The Queen is at the heart of that magic, as her steadiness has prevented the monarchy from falling apart through countless scandals.

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But in their interview with Winfrey, Markle and Harry presented the monarchy as a business rather than a family, where protecting the CEO - those in the direct line of succession - comes before the needs of any other employees.

"To hear Meghan and Harry tell it, the Windsors are just another dysfunctional family; the Firm, one more toxic workplace where H.R. is not your friend and there's a lack of diversity in upper management," Ruiz wrote.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's interview had the potential to destroy the monarchy. Prince Philip's death could save it.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry present the royal family as a bad business.Jack Taylor/Getty Images

For instance, the royal family has a history of not protecting Markle from the tabloids, which Harry suggested was because the monarchy is "scared" of "the tabloids turning on them" in their interview with Winfrey.

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The couple also revealed that the Firm denied Markle's request to see a therapist after she experienced suicidal thoughts while pregnant with Archie, again presenting a disregard for Markle's needs.

The royal family's pattern of protecting everyone but Markle, the only Black member of the royal family, sends the message that there's no room for difference or dissent in the monarchy.

The royal family's existence is dependent on public sentiment

Today, the monarchy is mostly a symbolic institution of Britain as a world power, helping the country maintain its relationships with the countries in the Commonwealth.

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But Markle and Harry shed light on the uglier things the monarchy symbolizes, like its history of imperialism and refusal to denounce racism.

The interview was particularly damaging to Prince Charles, Ruiz wrote, because "The Crown" resurfaced people's negative feelings towards him as a result of his tumultuous relationship with Princess Diana.

Charles is set to become king when Queen Elizabeth II dies, but British citizens and countries that are part of the Commonwealth may not support him as they do the Queen.

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's interview had the potential to destroy the monarchy. Prince Philip's death could save it.
The public doesn't love Prince Charles.WPA Pool / Pool

His ascension to the throne could make the monarchy crumble, Diane Abbott, the first Black, female Parliament member, told Vanity Fair.

"I think the monarchy as we know it will last as long as the queen is alive," she said, adding that she believes there will be public debate about whether the monarchy should continue to exist after she dies.

"I think what the royal family and their advisers did with Meghan will be part of the argument for change," Abbot added.

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Abolishing the British monarchy would be a complicated and time-consuming process.

"It would take legislation, an act of Parliament, and signed by the Sovereign to end the monarchy," royal commentator Marlene Koenig previously told Insider.

But calls to abolish the monarchy went viral after Markle and Harry's recent interview, and it's possible the movement could gain momentum.

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Prince Philip's death presents the monarchy with an opportunity to spin the narrative again

Harry and Philip have always shared a close relationship, with Philip supporting him through Princess Diana's death and the duo bonding over their military service.

Harry has gone out of his way to defend his grandmother and grandfather even as he's distanced himself from the rest of his family. For instance, he clarified that they were not the members of the royal family who made racist remarks about Archie.

Harry and Markle also shared that the Queen and Philip gave Archie a waffle-maker for Christmas 2020, again hinting at a close relationship.

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's interview had the potential to destroy the monarchy. Prince Philip's death could save it.
Prince Harry with his grandfather, Prince Philip, in 2015.Phil Walter/Getty Images

That closeness brought him back to the UK for Philip's funeral, physically reuniting him with his family.

William and Harry were seen chatting after the funeral, making it seem like they were able to put aside their differences for the sake of their grandfather.

The funeral successfully re-centered the monarchy as a family rather than a business, providing some much-needed positive PR for the royals.

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Harry and Markle's next planned interaction with the royal family - a statue dedication to Princess Diana in July - will have the same effect, Ruiz wrote. William and Harry will once again set aside their differences to come together in grief.

By focusing on their familial connections and those they've lost, the royal family can brush aside Markle and Harry's critiques of the monarchy as a familial spat. Philip's death gave them the chance to become the benevolent family they need to be for the public once again.

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