Why is everybody penny-pinching on Meghan and Harry

Published March 19, 2021, 4:30 PM

by AA Patawaran

Cha-ching, cha-ching, b-bling, bling—that’s the sound of things like hearts and relationships breaking in the British monarchy

ROYAL TRIPTYCH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (Photo by Max Numby, taken on Feb. 11, 2020); Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (Photo by Samir Hussein); and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (Photo from the Royal Household)

It’s been more than a week since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sat down with Oprah Winfrey, but we still can’t get enough of everything that’s been said and unspoken. It’s true that maybe the royal family had underestimated these gripes that the royal runaways had been harboring, the details of which, a little too mundane for what could have been a you-and-me-against-the-world romance set in time-honored castles and getaway mansions, include security costs.

As it turns out, it’s no small detail. Security is dear. According to Vanity Fair, “Until 2011, Prince Andrew’s daughters, Princes Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, had received protection at a reported £500,000 per year.” That’s a whopping $697,228.50 or ₱33,897,531.44!

When Meghan was spotted being tailed by a Canadian Mountie, on top of her own security detail from London, during their brief stay in Vancouver, the incident raised not a few Canadian eyebrows. Pressure mounted on the Trudeau government not to spend a cent of taxpayers’ money on account of the royal couple.

SHE MUST PAY After the interview, Buckingham Palace released a short statement on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II (right), Prince Harry’s grandmother

They were right to be alarmed. Recently, the Canadian Taxpayer Federation claimed to have obtained documents, including bills, that revealed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police spent $56,384 on overtime and logistics costs alone, salaries not included, to provide security for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry,” as reported by DH News Vancouver. Who knows how much more it would have cost had they stayed longer?

If it’s money, no detail is too small, indeed, that even Donald Trump, erstwhile president of the US, had to weigh in as soon as word got around that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had moved to California. In a tweet, he said, “It was reported that Harry and Meghan, who left the Kingdom, would reside permanently in Canada. Now they have left Canada for the US. However, the US will not pay for their security protection. They must pay!”

I’m no duke or prince, but I would have been so embarrassed, if not completely disgraced, to have so many people penny-pinching over my welcome, especially since my move is being made to look like Escape from Alcatraz, but maybe he and his wife did find it so unacceptable they just need to vent.

Enter Oprah Winfrey.

AUDIENCE WITH THE MONARCHS Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in a televised tell-all with Oprah

I’ve to put it out there: There’s something off-putting about a 36-year-old man whining to the world that his 70-year-old father, Prince Charles, who has been rumored time and again to have had a strained relationship with his sons, has cut him off financially.

I mean I’ve been making my own money since I was 19, not enough, never enough, to get me even a patch half the size of a shoebox in that $14.7 million estate Harry and Meghan bought right in the heart of Montecito in seaside Santa Barbara. So exactly what is the problem?

There’s something off-putting about a 36-year-old man whining to the world that his 70-year-old father has cut him off financially.

“To be fair,” explained my friend, royalty observer Harry Mosquera, in a comment on my Facebook post, “the duke is limited by his background and his own country’s traditions. As a blood royal, he is not supposed to work, and to find employment is frowned upon by the palace. If he manages to get a money-making racket, he is not allowed to keep the money and is expected to donate it to ‘good causes.’ He is supposed to get by with his government allowance supplemented by income from his family’s estates, which unfortunately are still controlled by his father. His only real skill is military, piloting a helicopter gunship (ironically a weapon of death), which again, unfortunately, is not highly marketable, unless he works in intelligence, counter-terrorism, or as a mercenary.”

Fair enough, but why cry to the world like a baby? Why even cite the money his mother left him, “without (which) we wouldn’t have been able to do this,” he told Oprah, looking out on the garden of his 7.4-acre Montecito compound to indicate that that was what he meant by “this.”

MEGXIT BROUHAHA Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, illustrated by film director and graphic designer Pablo Lobato

I wonder if Oprah even cringed. What would it be like for a self-made powerhouse chat queen worth $2.6 billion, a black woman at that, to listen to a grown man crying about not getting money from Daddy? But then maybe she was too busy counting the $$$ she would make out of this pity party. She’s no self-made billionaire for nothing. BTW, she too lives in Montecito. So does Ariana Grande, also a self-made billionaire, who’s been working her ass off since she was 14.

If I were Meghan, I’d be pretty scared, very, very scared, scared enough in my $4,700 Armani dress to wilt the florals there, even shaking in my stiletto-heeled, pointed-toe pump, which might have been her favorite shoe brand Aquazzura.

Either that or I’d put on enough of my best drama queen persona to snag a multi-million-dollar contract with Netflix and Spotify.

Cha-ching! Cha-ching! B-bling! B-bling!

That’s the sound of things like hearts and relationships breaking in the British monarchy. Prince Charles is hurt. So is Harry’s brother, Prince William, who is so far the only royal who has openly said anything about the issue, particularly about racism that has been moved like a chess piece to checkmate the monarchy. “We’re very much not a racist family,” said the Duke of Cambridge, after admitting that he had not spoken to his brother, although—Update! Update!—it has been reported that Harry has spoken to Charles and William since Oprah, but “conversations were not productive,” or so said British broadcast journalist Gayle King. While it should take more than 65 years’ worth of heartache to hurt Queen Elizabeth II, she’s been through it all, maybe she is also hurt, judging from her not having lifted a finger to put a stop to all these claims that Meghan bullied her staff while she was at Kensington Palace as a direct backlash against her own allegations putting the royal family in a bad light.

I have a feeling there’s more to this Megxit brouhaha, but the Queen did say in a statement that the issues raised “are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.” Not too privately, I hope, though I think we will see more of what goes down in an HBO exclusive.