There are lots of ways to break up with a partner, be it a polite conversation, a series of passionate mistakes, a maudlin text message, or ghosting. But there is only one way, at least one decent way, to break up with one’s royal family, rending oneself from the dynastic machine in the process, and that is to have it in writing. According to the latest tabloid report, that’s how Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ended things with the queen.
The Daily Mail reported on Friday that in early January, Harry informed his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, and father, Prince Charles, that “he and Meghan wanted out” over email. Charles and the queen reportedly snapped immediately into action, asking the couple not to be so hasty in their decision. A family source told the Mail, “They understood that he and Meghan wanted something different and were willing to help.” It’s kind of like that time Jack Berger broke up with Carrie Bradshaw with a Post-it note on Sex and the City, but royal.
Also, it’s basically hearsay at this point — no other source has confirmed the Mail’s story — but it doesn’t seem so ridiculous and can’t be ruled out. At around the same time the loaded email is reported to have been sent, Harry and Meghan made their official announcement that they’d “stepped back” as senior members of the royal family (according to the Mail, the couple made their decision public once they believed the family was “stonewalling” them). Shortly after that, the couple was splitting their time between the U.K. and Canada, and in the past few days appeared to move on again to Los Angeles; meanwhile, Meghan has already found a new job narrating a Disney nature documentary about elephants. That puts them far away from the queen, who is self-isolating at Windsor Castle. The stage is set for future emails and plenty of long, uncomfortable Zoom meetings.