Photos prove Meghan, Prince Harry lost Royal battle - Australian Latest news
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Photos prove Meghan, Prince Harry lost Royal battle

The town of Windsor dates back to at least 1070 when William the Conqueror had the nifty idea of building a castle on a particular verdant rise in the area and right outside the stone walls of the imposing, vast fortification something incredible is happening.

Since Friday midday, UK time, hundreds of bunches of flowers have begun to appear after Buckingham Palace confirmed the death of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Within an hour or so of the sad news hitting airwaves and the internet, they started arriving – Brits bundled up in coats laying bunches of blooms in honour of the 99-year-old royal and the Queen’s husband of nearly 74 years.

Since then, the sea of vivid spring bouquets has only grown.

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Superficially, this is a touching tribute to a man who dedicated his life to unwaveringly supporting Her Majesty and to doing his bit for his adopted homeland.

(He was born in Greece of a family of Danish descent and was brought up in Paris before going to school in Germany, the UK and Scotland before becoming a UK citizen in 1947 to marry his wife.)

However, Philip’s passing comes after the royal house has barely emerged from one of its most bruising and tumultuous periods and which has triggered a painful British — and international – reassessment of the very institution of the monarchy.

Which is what makes the appearance of crowds, many of them young families, toting flowers so powerful and portentous.

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What those bouquets really signify is that despite everything, the royal family has emerged in one piece after one of the most bruising episodes in its storeyed and tumultuous history during which Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, took explosive aim at the institution.

In early March the couple took part in a lengthy TV interview with Oprah Winfrey which may well go down in the history books as the most damaging blitzkrieg Buckingham Palace has faced since Nazi bombs landed in the grounds in 1940.

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Over the course of two hours, the sombre duo lobbed explosive claim after explosive claim at the royal family, including that when Meghan experienced suicidal thoughts her requests for help were denied and that during her pregnancy an unnamed family member raised “concerns” about their baby’s skin colour.

While the house of Windsor had never previously been known as a lovey dovey, touchy feely beast, in the Sussexes’ telling their image morphed from cool indifference to one of callous disregard with an abhorrent vein of racism running through the institution.

The duke and duchess’ prime time outpouring sparked a global outcry with even the US President Joe Biden going on to praise her “courage”.

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Back in the UK, however, something very different was going on.

In the days and weeks after the Oprah interview aired, and after which the palace had put out a shockingly economical 61-word statement saying “recollections may vary”, British pollsters got to work to find out if the interview had dealt the royal house a mortal blow.

The answer? Not really.

Days after the interview, which was viewed by 50 million people globally, one poll found support for the Queen remained unchanged at 80 per cent favourability. While the percentage of Britons who believe the country should continue to have a monarchy fell slightly between October 2020 to March 2021 (67 down to 63 per cent) it was hardly as if Her Majesty needs to start thinking about getting the corgis a new day job.

Sure, the monarchy has not come through wholly unscathed but the key thing is, the venerable edifice is still standing. While their Oprah denouncements might have sparked a bruising, testing chapter (and one that is far from over) nor have the Sussexes’ Oprah allegations dealt the royal house a mortal wound.

The Queen; 1: Harry and Meghan; 0.

(By contrast, in the wake of their TV outing, both Harry and Meghan’s popularity fell to their lowest levels ever in the UK.)

If in unleashing their PR broadside against the palace the Duke and Duchess had been seeking to once and for all cast the royal house in the villainous role in this agonising set piece, they have not succeeded.

The public reaction to Philip’s death has further confirmed the buoyancy and resilience of the royal brand in Britain even in the face of the self-exiled couple’s damning criticism and allegations.

The crucial caveat here is that much of this ongoing support is tied to the reign of Her Majesty. Her indefatigable approach to her role and her unflagging commitment to the crown and her people have earned her enduring respect and support.

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The same cannot necessarily be said for her son Prince Charles who will ascend to the throne when she passes away.

While the house of Windsor might have survived their recent trial by Sussex, will they be able to survive the seismic convulsions that the death of Her Majesty will set off?

In the meantime, Brits are still leaving their houses, parting with their hard-earned cash to buy flowers and make the journey to Windsor, all to pay their respects to man they never knew, a powerful testament to the enduring royal brand.

For the time being, the crown has retained its lustre, a tad tarnished maybe, but with plenty of sparkle left. And when it’s time for a new head to don the enormous diamond-crusted topper? All bets are off.

Daniela Elser is a royal expert and writer with more than 15 years experience working with a number of Australia’s leading media titles

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