SOCIETY TALK

Megxit: Millennial choices and disregard of consequences

Stepping back from royal duties put Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in the spotlight

In Summary

• Harry and Markle's move is a typical disregard of choices and consequences by millennials

A couple wear Prince Harry and Meghan Markle face masks outside Windsor Castle, in Windsor, Britain, May 15, 2018
A couple wear Prince Harry and Meghan Markle face masks outside Windsor Castle, in Windsor, Britain, May 15, 2018
Image: REUTERS

On May 19, 2018, millions of people around the world turned their attention to the United Kingdom, where ‘the wedding of the century’ was taking place. For the first time ever, a royal prince was marrying an American woman who is his senior and previously divorced.

The same setting was the centre of the abdication scandal in 1936, when King Edward VIII abdicated his throne as he was denied marrying twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. Then again, this is the new age, where anything is possible. As such, the marriage of Harry and Meghan became a crucial turning point in the traditions of the monarchy.

Meghan Markle, 38, is among the first generation of millennials. In her own words, Meghan says she started fighting a patriarchal system from a young age as she witnessed a liberal family setting from her own parents. When she was younger, she wrote a strongly worded letter to a dishwashing soap, condemning their action of showing women as dishwashers in the family.

Meghan’s role as an activist is a privilege associated with being born in the millennial era. We were born in a time where the foundations of fair and just societal systems had been cemented for us. We grew up in a better world than our predecessors did. We were taught from the onset to go for our dreams and achieve the impossible.

That is what Meghan Markle did. She came from a middle-class biracial American family and worked her way up through the entertainment industry. Through her continued work as an activist, Meghan met Harry, and the couple became a real-life Cinderella story. However, what they do not write in the fairy tales is the life that is lived after the ‘happily ever after’.

Meghan and Harry found out the hard way that marriage is not the happily ever after that we believe it to be. Press and paparazzi hounded the couple and Meghan, being the foreigner, took most of the jabs from the British press. The couple even proceeded to sue some tabloids for defamation.

On January 8 this year, the world was taken aback by an announcement from Meghan and Harry that was posted on Instagram. The couple announced through their official Instagram account (how typically millennial) that they would step back from their royal duties as senior members of the royal family and that they would be moving to Canada for a more independent life. The announcement was met with shock across the world, including Buckingham palace, where it is reported that Queen Elizabeth was not informed of the decision prior. The move was termed ‘Megxit’, which is a play on the word Brexit.

‘Megxit’, or the action of a young person to choose to live free from the binds of parental control, is not a new phenomenon. Even amongst royals. Take away the palaces, the royal lineages and the duchy and you have an average young couple who wants nothing more than to live an independent life; free from the shackles of aristocracy and the rules that come with receiving family money.

Whilst there is an innate need for freedom among millennials and a desire to do away with traditional values, we often forget that everything comes at a price. In most cases, we forget that while we find traditions outdated, they serve as guidelines that allow us to travel a more direct path forward without veering off the tracks too much.

Harry and Meghan are eager to move to Canada, a country that is not theirs, eager to quit their current jobs without concrete job offers, and willing to give up family money without any income of their own. This is a typical disregard of choices and consequences by millennials. We take decisions lightly and simply wish for the best outcome.

However, we expect family to come to our rescue when we need them to. As Canadian taxpayers have vehemently refused to foot any of the couple’s bills, it is up to daddy dearest, in this case Prince Charles, Harry’s father, to foot the bill. In this case, the decision of Harry and Meghan to walk away from the Royal family to become more independent is moot.