There is an English expression to define the art of the impossible that some lucky ones manage to master: to have the cake and eat it (keep the cake and eat it). Equivalents in Spanish can be “chocolate and have a snack” or “swim and put your clothes away,” although the closest thing would be simply the idea that, in this life, you can’t have everything. Or if. When on January 8, 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex started their little Instagram revolution, announcing that they were resigning from the public duties imposed by membership of the royal family to start a new life with their own income, some exalted commentators even spoke of a constitutional crisis in the UK. British citizens understood more clearly what became popularly known as Megxit, compared to another scared sounded like that of Brexit. Harry and Meghan wanted to keep the cake and eat it. The latest poll published by YouGov on the popularity of the couple, at the end of October, it is devastating. Predictably, much more devastating for her than for him. The difference between the British who have a positive view of the American actress (33%) and those who have a negative view (59%) reflects a balance of -26 points. In the case of the prince (48% versus 47%), the result is also negative but lower: -1. Both, however, have lost almost 20 points since last March.
And still, what a year for the Sussexes and what a year for the rest of the family. The couple has established their permanent residence in Montecito (Santa Barbara, California, USA). Nine rooms. 16 bathrooms. 22,000 square meters of land. 12 million euros. His marriage partnership has closed agreements with Netflix (80 million euros) and Spotify (25 million euros) to produce documentaries and podcasts where together, they choose to “activate compassion”. This is how the entry of the website of his foundation proclaims Archewell, in which the only trace royalty is a photo of little Enrique on the shoulders of his mother, Lady Di. Next to it, another of little Meghan hugged by her mother, Doria Ragland. “I am my mother’s son. And I am our son’s mother”, They announce in the first lines of the page. “I am my mother’s son. And I am the mother of our child ”. Clearer, water. The banners of the couple are the “princess of the people”, Diana Spencer, ―the greatest challenge suffered by the House of Windsor in recent decades― and little Archie, the great-grandson of Elizabeth II, who will be the first to grow up outside of the suffocating golden cage of the British monarchy. “I have the feeling that even though things were not exactly as they wanted, in the sense of continuing to assume some public functions, in general they are quite happy with their new life,” said Victoria Murphy, one of the many journalists specialized in royal affairs. A conclusion not very difficult to reach.
At the same time, back in the UK, the British royal house has not had such productive relationships with Netflix. The fourth season of the series The Crown has once again brought to mind the worst image of the Lady Di years, with a Prince Charles who borders on psychic abuse of his young wife, a distant Elizabeth II and a royal family overflowing with cruelty. To make matters worse, they have ended up losing the pulse that they tried to throw, through the Johnson Government, the entertainment giant. The threat to force Netflix to warn at the beginning of each chapter of the series that it was a work of fiction was in the water. When the legend is better than the facts, in the West we publish the legend, paraphrasing the editor of the newspaper of The man who killed Liberty Vallance. 2020 was the year the Queen was held in Windsor Castle due to the pandemic. The heir, Carlos of England, ended up falling ill with covid-19. Like Prince William, third in line of succession. Zoom appearances and video messages are only worth up to a point. And the causes they can support – irreproachable, like support for mental health – have limited flight in a world of trenches. Enrique and Meghan, for their part, have joined the Black Lives Matter anti-racist movement, feminism and even political activism in the United States, by asking citizens to go en masse to the polls. It went without saying who to vote for.
The only moment of sadness came in July, although it was not until November that the Duchess of Sussex revealed it in a text published in The New York Times. She had suffered an abortion during the summer, “an almost unbearable painful experience suffered by many, but one that only a few dare to tell,” she wrote. The torrent of support and affection received was remarkable, and it showed that affection goes for generations. The fine print of the survey YouGov indicated that, among British 18-24 year olds, the image of the couple is mostly positive. And let the SussexRoyal label, that Buckingham Palace insisted on eliminating, was not so relevant. Enrique and Meghan, to dry, has proven to be a more attractive brand.