4 times Meghan Markle and Prince Harry shot themselves in the foot in 2021: from their ‘patronising’ and ‘meaningless’ Archewell statement, to throwing shade at Queen Elizabeth

Oops I did it again. Harry and Meghan aren’t having the best year when it comes to their public image. Photo: Spotify

If 2020 was a blockbuster disaster movie, 2021 feels like the painfully predictable sequel that’s dragging on forever. Just us?

We’re sure Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would agree, if their 2021 is anything to go by. Following disastrous interviews, controversial statements and lashing out in the press, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex can’t seem to catch a break this year.

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Since being based in California, the couple have been highly visible on social media and television, and not by accident. Photo: Apple TV

Here are four times the pair landed themselves in hot water already (it’s only August, so we’re expecting a few more bloopers before the year is over).

The bizarre world affairs statement

Harry and Meghan raised eyebrows this week when they released a new statement focused on current world events. Through their charitable foundation Archewell’s website, the couple commented on Afghanistan, the Haiti earthquake, and the ongoing pandemic.

While that all sounds good and well on paper, many royal followers found the message to be “inappropriate” and “condescending”.

The statement read: “The world is exceptionally fragile right now. As we all feel the many layers of pain due to the situation in Afghanistan, we are left speechless.”

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The pair posted a collage of photos alongside their statement. Photo: @archewell_hm/Instagram

They continued: “As we all watch the growing humanitarian disaster in Haiti, and the threat of it worsening after last weekend’s earthquake, we are left heartbroken.

“And as we all witness the continuing global health crisis, exacerbated by new variants and constant misinformation, we are left scared.”

Followers immediately criticised the bizarre message, calling it a “word salad” and “preachy”.

Instead of telling their followers what they were doing specifically to help the international crisis, they concluded: “As an international community, it is the decisions we make now – to alleviate suffering among those we know and those we may never meet – that will prove our humanity.”

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Royal author Angela Levin, who penned Harry: A Biography of a Prince, called the open letter “patronising”, adding: “It’s as if we are all small children and now they are going to look after us. It’s meaningless – completely meaningless.”

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Piers Morgan wasted no time in weighing in with his opinion about the Sussexes’ “tone deaf” statement concerning the situation in Afghanistan and Haiti. Photo: GOR/GC Images
Piers Morgan, known for his rivalry with Meghan, also lashed out at the statement on Twitter.

Sharing a newspaper headline reading “Prince Harry and Meghan Markle break silence on Afghanistan to say they are ‘speechless’”, Morgan replied, “If only they were.”

The whole “Lilibet” drama

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry can’t seem to do anything right this year – is the fairy tale over, or are they just going through a rough patch like the rest of the world? Photo: AP
When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed a new baby girl in June and announced her name as Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, eyebrows were raised. There was considerable debate over the choice of the name Lilibet, which is famously Queen Elizabeth’s family nickname.
Aside from the baby’s names and the story behind them, her date of birth and weight was the only information shared with the public, and bizarrely, there was no picture of the little one to be seen. Not exactly the protocol royal fans have been used to up until now.

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At the time, “friends” of the couple told the press that Harry had sought permission from his grandmother to use the name. But soon after, a palace source told the BBC that Meghan and Harry had done no such thing.

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The couple hit back and claimed the queen was in fact the very first family member they asked.

“During that conversation, he (Harry) shared their hope of naming their daughter Lilibet in her honour,” biographer Omid Scobie revealed. “Had she not been supportive, they would not have used the name.”

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The Oprah interview

After much media coverage of their candid Oprah interview, Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry have launched an Apple TV+ series on mental health. Photo: Handout
It’s no secret that the Oprah Winfrey tell-all interview was the straw the broke the camel’s back in the big royal rift between the Sussexes and the royal family. While the interview garnered record amounts of views and made international headlines, it also caused international outrage.
Meghan and Harry may have had every right to open up to the Queen of Talk, but many royal fans felt their shocking revelations were a blatant attack on the family, and that they had gone too far.

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The front pages of British newspapers in the UK in March 2021 after the couple’s bombshell Oprah interview. Photo: EPA-EFE

Days after the interview aired, Reuters reported that the popularity of Harry and Meghan tumbled in Britain and had never been lower. In fact, the interview is now one of the most complained-about broadcasts in British television history, with 6,203 people making official complaints to Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator.

Throwing shade at the queen

Did the queen approve of the couple’s name for their child, given that it’s also her nickname? We’ll likely never know. Photo: AFP
Back in February, when Harry and Meghan relinquished their duties, they weren’t too pleased, and lashed out with a shady statement.

It all started when the palace announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would return their honorary military appointments and royal patronages.

“The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service,” a statement said.

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Queen Elizabeth with the couple at Royal Ascot in 2018 before they officially left the royal family and were relieved of their official duties. Photo: Getty Images

A spokesperson for Harry and Meghan responded: “As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the UK and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organisations they have represented regardless of official role.”

They added: “We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.” Ouch.

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Kate Middleton’s uncle Gary called Harry and Meghan “muppets craving attention” in a since-deleted LinkedIn post. Ouch. Photo: Getty Images

And a throwback to 2020: that time Kate’s uncle lashed out

It’s not just the general public that’s getting annoyed with the Sussexes.

Last year, Gary Goldsmith, the 55-year-old brother of Kate Middleton’s mum, Carole Middleton, lashed out on LinkedIn after Harry and Meghan called for an end to structural racism in the UK during a Zoom interview from their mansion in California.

In a now-deleted post, he wrote: “With so much stuff going on in the world, still these two muppets are craving attention.

“Please shut the F up and bring up their child and stop talking, let alone demanding.

“Now hush please we are kinda busy saving lives and an economy.”

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  • Since leaving the royal family, the couple has taken to social media more than ever to push their point of view – so why is it backfiring so spectacularly?
  • From that ‘condescending’ statement on Afghanistan and Haiti, to the Lilibet baby name drama and, of course, the Oprah interview that refuses to die