The Duke & Duchess of Sussex: Prince Harry,
Meghan Markle & Archie
Paternal 18th cousin, Paternal 21st cousin 1x removed & Paternal 18th cousin, 1x removed.
Researching my family is never boring, and surprises seem to pop up quite frequently. I have known for some time that I am related to the British Royal Family through several different branches of my paternal lineage, and in the case of Prince Charles and his first wife, Princess Diana, I am related to both of them. What I did not expect to find is that I am also a double-relation to the Duke & Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
In the case of Prince Harry, I am related to him through his father's maternal family lineage as well as through his mother's paternal lineage. My ancestral lineage is closest through Prince Harry's mother, Princess Diana (who was my 17th cousin), making him my 18th cousin while his father is my 20th cousin. Through Prince Harry's father, he and I are 18th cousins, 1x removed.
What I didn't expect to find was that I was also distantly related to Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex. It turns out that Meghan and I are related through her paternal lineage and she and I are 21st cousins, 1x removed. I came across this familial link after doing some research on Meghan's ancestry and discovered that we had a number of ancestors in common.
Since I am related to both of the Sussex's, their son, Archie, is also a distant cousin - 18th paternal cousin, 1x removed. When their baby girl is born later this year, she will also be my 18th cousin, 1x removed.
While I have never met the Duke & Duchess of Sussex, I am certainly familiar with the couple. I have always taken an interest in both Prince Harry and his elder brother, Prince William, since they were children, long before I had any clue that I was related to them (albeit distantly). When Meghan came on scene, I took an interest in how the couple interacted. I thought that they were a good fit and, most importantly, they seemed happy together.
As Harry and Meghan's relationship continued, it became clear that they intended to get married. At that point I began to wonder how the new couple would be received and how Meghan would be able to adapt to being a member of the Royal Family. Although Meghan had experience with the spotlight and the press as an actor, being part of "The Firm" in my ever-humble opinion, would be vastly different. It would be comparable to learning to drive in a Corolla and having to take your driver's test in a Greyhound bus!
After Harry and Meghan were married, I was impressed with how Meghan seemed to be welcomed into "The Firm", especially by H.M. Queen Elizabeth. I was impressed with the interaction that I saw between the Queen and the Duchess - the Queen seemed to be very grandmotherly as she took Meghan under her wing and along with her on tours of the UK. I thought to myself; "Meghan's going to make it." I was glad to see how well Meghan was handling things.
Not too long after however, the press machine started churning out stories of missteps made by Meghan, complaints leveled against the Duchess by palace staff, etc., etc., etc. I held my judgement as I have seen and heard all of this before, and it seemed all too familiar.
When Harry and Meghan announced that they were pausing, and ultimately leaving their royal duties in order to find their own path, I thought that it was a brave but difficult move for them. I didn't have to be Nostradamus to see what was coming down the pipes.
As I write this page, Harry and Meghan are now living in California with their son, Archie, and are expecting a baby girl shortly (summer of 2021) after a short stint here in Canada. Having left their royal family duties behind, they now rely on themselves to earn a living which they seem to be doing quite well. They have also started a charitable foundation called Archewell (www.archewell.com) which was founded in 2020. The charity states on its website that their mission is to drive systematic cultural change across all communities, one act of compassion at a time. If you visit the Archewell site you will see some of the causes that they currently champion such as COVID-19 vaccine equity, biodiversity, a community relief center for COVID ravaged India and mental health initiatives.
The charity is not where Harry and Meghan earn a living, of course, but both are actively employed and are involved in a number of businesses, including a multi-year deal with Netflix. It seems that they have successfully conquered one of the biggest worries that almost everyone has - their finances appear to be on-track.
For Harry, a member of the inner-circle of the British Royal Family, I am sure that leaving his country and family behind has been a challenge. It is not easy to leave everything that you have known behind and head out into unknown territory (even though he had spent time in the US and Canada previously - visiting is not the same as living there!). I give him a great deal of credit for standing up for his convictions and following his own path rather than staying in England and being miserable; he's had more than his fair share of tragedy and it's about time he was able to lead a quieter life with his wife and children. The reported turmoil within Harry's family back in England will hopefully pass and fences will be mended, if indeed they are broken. Again, this is Harry and his family's business, not ours.
I've always been of two minds when it comes to fame - the glitz and glamour of being part of a privileged group of people may be fun, but if it meant that I had to trade my privacy and ability to move freely, unrecognized and anonymous in crowds, then it's not for me. Harry, Meghan, Archie and the as yet to arrive baby girl Sussex all deserve to be happy and allowed to live their lives like the rest of us. No one should have to live their lives under constant scrutiny and criticism. or how Royal they may be. Let's remember that no matter how famous or how wealthy someone is, they are still a person, and that they have feelings just as we all do.
I wish my distant cousins, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and their family all the best as they continue to carve out their own destinies.