When opening up about life in the lens of the British tabloids, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have traded the traditional British “stiff upper lip” approach to tough times for a rare display of emotions and candor.
In recent weeks, the royal couple have spoken out in official statements, leveled lawsuits, had teary-eyed moments and provided a series of headline-grabbing comments. And following all of that, there’s been speculation about whether or not they and their 5-month-old son, Archie, might just pack it in and move far from their troubles — maybe all the way to the country the former Meghan Markle once called home.
But is a move to the United States even a possibility? According to royal expert and bestselling author Victoria Arbiter, “In a word, no.”
After all, they can’t exactly become the Duke and Duchess of Los Angeles.
“It really comes down to logistics,” Arbiter explained during a Tuesday morning visit to TODAY. “It’s not that they’re banned from moving, but who pays for security if they move to L.A.? Does the American taxpayer pick that up?”
Not a chance. Besides, as long as the pair are part of the royal family, they have a job to do elsewhere.
“Harry and Meghan, as royals, their first responsibility is to the queen and the 16 nations for which she is head of state. America is not one of them,” Arbiter continued. “Also, particularly with L.A., you’re swapping one set of problems for another. The paparazzi there are ruthless.”
And while that statement can certainly be said of the paparazzi abroad as well, there are laws restricting coverage of children in the U.K. that don’t exist in the U.S.
“You can’t publish pictures of celebrity or royal children in the U.K.,” Arbiter said of the paparazzi pics. “You can here. So while they’re not chased in the U.K. in that regard, that would be something they’d take on here.”
During an interview given for ITV’s documentary “Harry & Meghan: An African Journey,” the prince addressed rumors that his family might make a move to Africa instead. While Harry has long considered the continent to be a home away from home, he said that he doesn’t “see how we would be able to make as much difference as we want” from there.
So it seems their British tabloid problem will require a British-based solution, and their subjects in the U.K. have strong feelings about the situation.
“There’s very much been a mixed reaction — as you would expect. The royals are as divisive an institution as any other,” Arbiter said. “There’s certainly been a lot of sympathy. You’d have to have a heart of stone to have not felt some kind of compassion for what this couple are talking about.”
For instance, in the same documentary, the duchess, at times near tears, revealed that a friend warned her that the British tabloids would “destroy (her) life” if she married Harry, and she’s obviously already feeling some of the painful effects her friend feared.
Still, not everyone has expressed sympathy for the royals.
“Of course, the die-hard cynics are all saying, ‘You live in a palace; you have servants; you’ve got all this wealth,’” Arbiter said.
But, as she pointed out, wealth and status can’t eliminate suffering.
“We have only to look at so many people in the public eye,” she said. “Robin Williams, Alexander McQueen, Kate Spade — these are people you think had everything, and yet, they were hurting inside.”