On the heels of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s recent tour of the Caribbean, which featured some controversial moments amid the usual glitz and glam, we can’t help but think back to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first royal tour as a married couple. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had a successful first tour through Australia, New Zealand, and a few other Australasian nations, though a royal biographer claims Markle “hated every second of it.” Here’s how Markle and Harry have addressed those allegations in the past.
All About Prince Harry, Meghan Markle’s Australasia Tour
In the fall of 2018, just a few short months after their grand wedding, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle jetted off for what would be their first royal tour together as a married couple. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex went on a jam-packed 16-day tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga soon after announcing that they were expecting their first child.
There’s been conflicting reports about what Markle in particular thought of her first royal tour, with one royal biographer claiming the duchess “hated” every moment and found the engagements “pointless,” according to information she got from a former palace employee. Tina Brown writes in The Palace Papers: Inside The House Of Windsor – The Truth And The Turmoil, published in April, that Markle “apparently hated every second of it. She found the itinerary of engagements ‘pointless,’ a former palace employee told me.”
Markle Allegedly Didn’t Get The ‘Purpose’ Of Trip
The former palace staffer is also quoted as saying Markle “didn’t understand why things were set up in that way. Instead of being excited when thousands of people showed up at the [Sydney] Opera House, it was very much like, ‘What’s the purpose? I don’t understand this.’” Brown interjected to add, “The ‘this’ being the representational role of the British monarchy and its traditional agenda, rather than the focus on causes she wanted to spotlight. Such engagements are old school, yes, but create classic royal ties that bind.”
Despite how Brown characterizes the trip, the reception both in the Australasian countries the Sussexes visited as well as back home in the UK was overwhelmingly supportive. Some critics did note that Markle didn’t always adhere to the unspoken royal protocols governing dressing, but other members of the royal family have broken those rules themselves (looking at you fashion rebel Kate Middleton) without a hint of pushback. Otherwise, the reviews were glowing, which led to a supposed revelation for Markle, Brown insisted.
Royal Biographer Paints Unflattering Portrait
Brown wrote that Markle’s reaction to the praise she received for the tour was that she concluded, “that the monarch likely needed her more than she needed them.” Brown continued, “She had starred in the equivalent of a blockbuster film and wanted her leading-lady status to be reflected in lights.”
In 2021, a year after stepping back as working royals, both Harry and Markle sat down with Oprah Winfrey for an exclusive interview where they discussed their time on the tour. Harry told the veteran broadcaster, “My father, my brother, Kate, and all the rest of the family, they were really welcoming. But it really changed after the Australia tour, after our South Pacific tour.” Markle added, “That’s when we announced we were pregnant with Archie. That was our first tour.”
Harry went on to add, “But it was also the first time that the family got to see how incredible she is at the job. And that brought back memories.” Winfrey recalled how the Netflix drama The Crown had depicted Prince Charles as being jealous of Princess Diana after their own tour of Australia. She then asked if that might be the “memories” Harry was referring to. He replied, “Look, I just wish that we would all learn from the past.”
Markle Details ‘Exhausting’ Tours To Oprah Winfrey
In that same interview, the Sussexes also admitted that the tour, like most others, gets “exhausting” after a while. Over the course of their 16-day trip, the two fit in 26 engagements, which is no walk in the park. Markle told Winfrey, “Those tours are – I’m sure they have beautiful pictures and it looks vibrant and all of that is true. It’s also really exhausting.”
Considering she was still in the early stages of her first pregnancy with her son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, it’s no wonder Markle found the experience to be “exhausting.” As always, we’ll note that many of these biographies tend to follow the same storylines laid out by the tabloids, which have been proven false over and over again.
Just because Meghan Markle worked as an actress before she joined the royal family doesn’t necessarily mean she was an unrepentant diva who didn’t mind shoving anyone who got in her way out of the path of the spotlight. It’s a ridiculously one-dimensional way to describe anyone and a particularly rude and dismissive way to treat a fellow woman.