The Duchess of Sussex and husband Prince Harry were targeted by the public after appearing to go against their eco-friendly pledges by simultaneously using expensive, fuel-guzzling private flights. Harry had initially claimed he would only have two children as this was the best course of action for the planet, yet he, Meghan and their new son Archie were spotted getting off a plane in France. Criticism was severe, with many infuriated at the couple, especially considering their previous comments and bold claims on wanting to make sure the world was a green place to live.
The row became so tense singer Elton John leapt to Harry and Meghan’s defence, posting a series of tweets to ensure the public he had paid for the flight, and the trip.
But when dissecting how Meghan and Harry were treated in comparison to other members of the Royal Family, particularly those who have just married into it, historian Kate Williams explained that the Sussexes’ treatment wasn’t that different.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast in the aftermath of last year’s row, Ms Williams said: “Elton’s tweets, he was obviously very upset about this he thought it was a private visit and he was paying for it so who would be concerned.
“He obviously felt he had to speak out and there was a huge amount of coverage on social media, and a lot of support he got. But I think that everyone who marries into the Royal Family has a terrible time.
“Prince Philip was called a Nazi when he was actually fighting on the Allied side. Diana was hounded and she was chased, and I think we forget actually that often she was heavily criticised before that, about doing the wrong thing and going above her station.
“And really, she got a huge amount of criticism.”
The main criticism came after Harry’s interview regarding children was released, while he then posted that “with nearly seven billion people inhabiting this Earth, every choice, every footprint, every action makes a difference”.
Sir Elton, best friends with Harry’s mother Princess Diana, was quick to back the Sussexes by saying he “ensured their flight was carbon neutral, by making the appropriate contribution to [charity] Carbon Footprint”.
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They did receive an outpouring of support, particularly from their Hollywood friends, such as Ellen DeGeneres.
The chat show host tweeted: “Portia and I met Prince Harry and Meghan in England to talk about their work on wildlife conservation.
“They were the most down-to-earth, compassionate people. Imagine being attacked for everything you do, when all you’re trying to do is make the world better.”