Meghan Markle has had an unsteady relationship with fans of the royal family over the past several years, but according to one royal expert, the Duchess of Sussex might have won some people over throughout the week.
Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the royal family — including Markle and husband Prince Harry — were reunited all week long to pay respects to the late monarch. Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Sept. 8.
The queen’s state funeral was held on Monday. According to royal expert Duncan Larcombe, this is the “first time” since Megxit that “Meghan has won a few more fans in the U.K.” Harry and Markle moved to California after they stepped down as senior royals in 2020.
Now that the queen’s funeral services have concluded, here’s a look at what is next for Markle, Harry and the members of the royal family.
Since Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stepped away from their senior royal titles and moved to California in January 2020, the duchess has made negative remarks about the royal family, some of which involves racism.
Markle recently shared on an episode of her podcast, “Archetypes,” that she only felt like a Black woman when she married into the royal family.
With these comments, Markle has reunited with the people she’s been talking about for the past two years and did well, according to an expert, even winning some people over in the U.K.
“I mean, she’s fired out all these accusations, but now you have to spend the best part of a week on television with the people that you’ve criticized,” Larcombe shared. “So, it must have been a really difficult week for Meghan, but I think it might have actually, for the first time since they left Britain, Meghan has won a few more fans in the U.K.”
Larcombe noted that the last few days must have been “quite difficult” for Markle, and he said she’s done very well given the circumstances.
“We’ve got to be honest, Meghan has been the subject of much criticism in Britain. [She] and Harry decided to leave, and Meghan may have enjoyed sitting down with the queen of the sofa with Oprah Winfrey, but this must have been quite a difficult few days, and I think she’s actually done really well,” Larcombe said.
“She hasn’t appeared like she’s trying to come over and muscle in on anything. She’s just basically gone and done whatever was required,” he noted.
At the late Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral on Monday, one member of the royal family in particular seemed to be overcome with emotion: Prince Harry.
“Harry just looked traumatized,” Shannon Felton Spence, a royal expert, told Fox News Digital.
The late monarch’s grandson sat next to Markle at the funeral. The couple were seated in the second row directly behind King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla.
Harry, who did not arrive to Balmoral Castle in Scotland before Elizabeth passed, has had the spotlight on him over the last several days during his return to the U.K.”
“Harry just had almost the same expression etched onto his face throughout this whole period since she died,” Larcombe shared. “Obviously in photographs, when there’s thousands of pictures taken. You could probably pick any expression you want, but certainly from the TV viewers point of view, it looks like Harry was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.”
The world has been watching Harry’s every move since the queen’s death on Sept. 8. It is expected that Harry and Meghan will return to Montecito, California, now that Elizabeth’s funeral services have concluded.
Their two children, Archie, 3 and Lilibet, 1, were missing from the funeral service on Monday. It is believed that their children never made the trip overseas and have remained in the United States.
King Charles III is now the reigning monarch in Britain with wife Camilla as Queen Consort.
“What we’ve seen in Camilla since the queen’s death and talking of people that have gone up in the popularity poll, the woman that Diana famously dubbed the ‘Rottweiler’ certainly, finally [showed] that her bark is a lot worse than her bite because actually now, I think if you took a straw poll of the British public, I would guess that you probably find most people would just be happy that King Charles is actually with someone that maybe will make him a better king,” Larcombe shared.
Much like Markle, Camilla was not the public’s favorite after the death of Princess Diana in 1997.
“It’s almost like they’re exonerated in where they were a couple whose relationship caused … great embarrassment, shame and criticism, and so you know, finally, I think all of those demons have been [exorcised],” Larcombe said of Charles and Camilla’s relationship.
“I haven’t seen anybody say that she shouldn’t be called Queen Consort with any particular voice,” he added.
Prince Andrew has faced his fair share of scandal throughout the past several years.
The Duke of York’s military affiliations and patronages were returned to the queen in January, according to a statement from Buckingham Palace.
Andrew, who was accused of sexual assault of a minor in the United States, recently settled out of court for an undisclosed amount, and his reputation was permanently soured.
“Prince Andrew is finished,” Larcombe said plainly.
“As a royal, as a working member of the royal family, there’s no way back for him. He may not have been found guilty in any court of law, but in the court of public opinion, I think the verdict has been fairly unanimous on Prince Andrew,” he continued.
Andrew was very close to his mother and many deemed him as being Elizabeth’s “favorite” child. The Duke and Duchess of York gave Her Majesty two of her favorite breed of dogs just last year after her late husband, Prince Philip, died in April 2021 in efforts to lift her spirits.
Muick and Sandy, the queen’s beloved corgis, are reportedly being taken care of by Prince Andrew and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson.
“He was the queen’s favorite. Andrew was really quite close to the queen, and I suppose in a way out of respect for the queen was allowed to play such a prominent role,” Larcombe said.
“I think it’s too early to say whether that is just a temporary suspension of reality to get through this week for the Royals, or whether it marks a turning point for the likes of Andrew and Harry to come back into the fold, but I don’t think so,” the royal expert added.
“I think Prince Andrew, though we’ve seen a lot of him in the past few days, I think we’ll see very little of him in the next few years.”
Prince William and Kate Middleton have been closely watched over the last 11 days. As the heir to the throne, there has been a lot of attention on William as he is expected to be “king for an era.”
“We’ve just come out of the second Elizabethan era. I don’t think Charles is destined to be king for an era,” Larcombe said. “I think this is a kind of almost interim, steady the ship, continue the queen’s legacy and prepare the way for the next great monarch in Prince William, a guy who is probably looking at 30 or 40 years on the throne.”
The Prince and Princess of Wales opted to bring two of their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, to Elizabeth’s funeral service on Monday. According to Larcombe, “It was the right thing to do,” bringing the young royals to the funeral service.
“I think there is a sense that when William and Kate brought along George, and I’m so pleased that they did, there was some clearly behind-the-scenes discussion on whether or not it was fair to George. I think one image that is likely to linger the most, I would argue, is that sight of a young king [George] to be standing, trying to understand what is going on around him. I can’t imagine what that must be like for him,” he said.
According to the royal expert, the Prince and Princess of Wales are “devoted” parents who prioritize their three children: George, 9, Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4. Kate and William balance their roles as senior members of the royal family and raising their children.
“The question is: how much pressure is that going to put on them as a family? Just think of the pressure that’s on that little boy; watching this, let alone the pressure that’s on William and Kate,” Larcombe added.
Larcombe also noted that William and Kate “are by far and away the most popular couple now.”
“Certainly before the queen’s death, William and Kate were by far the most popular and respected royals, ahead of King Charles. A lot of people talked about William being a more suitable king than his father and some even suggested that the whole structure of the royal family should change, but it doesn’t work like that, they’re not elected,” Larcombe stated, adding that the couple’s “credentials as members of the royal family is not in question.”