The news Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will step back from being “senior royals” knocked the Iran crisis and Brexit from the headlines in Britain on Thursday. The pair announced on Wednesday evening they were quitting to “carve out a progressive new role within this institution” — but reportedly without the approval of Queen Elizabeth II.
That prompted immediate headlines of “Megxit” and palace intrigue. “Queen’s dismay as Harry and Meghan step back from royal life,” screamed the Daily Express.
Every British newspaper, including the Financial Times, put the news on their front pages — with the country’s infamously lurid tabloids getting characteristically creative with their headlines. “Megxit” screamed top-selling The Sun on the day lawmakers will finally approve Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal to leave the EU. Its rival the Daily Mirror went with “They didn’t even tell the Queen”.
The right-wing Daily Mail echoed the sentiment: “Queen’s fury as Harry and Meghan say: We quit.” Even the FT, which typically reserves its front page for the world’s leading business and economic news, got in on the act. “Royal couple pull out of public eye in search of financial independence,” it headlined. Media around the world also covered the story prominently. Germany’s most popular daily Bild declared that the announcement had “fallen like a bomb on the royal family”. Noting Buckingham Palace’s response that the couple’s future role “would take time to work through”, the Munich-based daily quipped: “It sounds as if Megxit could turn out to be as messy and long-winded as Brexit.”
In the US, where the duo may now spend more time, the New York Post mocked Meghan and Harry as heading for a “commoner life”.
Back in Britain, royal commentators and prominent personalities flooded the airwaves and social media with their takes.
“Wow. What a disgraceful way to treat The Queen. Shame on Harry & Meghan,” tweeted morning TV host Piers Morgan, a persistent critic of the duchess.
Rachael Bletchly, a columnist for the Daily Mirror, said the shock statement from the queen’s “petulant grandson must have hit her in the solar plexus”.