Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Sarah Arnold, The Independent
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are rarely out of the headlines. This has been the case since they broke royal protocol by holding hands at the Invictus Games during their first public appearance back in 2017.
We want to read about them. We want to know what they’re up to. We, as the public, are often infuriated at the royal couple wanting to have a public life in private. In fact, I wrote about this many moons ago (pre-Meghan) when Harry was struggling to meet girls because the media wanted to know everything.
And we still do. It means that the Sussex’s have a great platform from which to campaign on. And Meghan Markle got on board with this from day one. She carefully selected outfits representing causes she cares about and selected a myriad of women from all walks of life to appear in this year’s September issue of Vogue.
They campaign to end female genital mutilation. They campaign for endangered species. They are a voice for environmental issues and climate change.
And here’s the problem. Last week they jetted off to Nice courtesy of Sir Elton John. In fact, the family took four journeys on a private jet within 11 days. That’s not out of the ordinary for celebrity lifestyles, but for people who campaign for awareness of climate change, this behaviour is damaging.
What’s more damaging is the celebrity response. John was the first to leap to their defence saying he was “deeply distressed by today’s distorted and malicious account in the press” regarding their stay in his home.
More so, we have Labour MP David Lammy jumping in as well, tweeting: “the hounding of Harry and Meghan is becoming a witch-hunt replete with nasty racial and xenophobic overtones.”
While the topic of race and the rise in xenophobia is an important issue when it comes to coverage of Meghan, Lammy was wrong to bring it up in this case. The criticism aimed at Meghan and Harry is purely because of the hypocrisy of their actions.
But the celebrity support didn’t stop there. When speaking of Meghan, singer Pink tweeted that “the way people treat her is the most public form of bullying I have seen in a while” before oddly stating that we should show our children to be kind.
Again, Pink is miles off. Critiquing the couple over their elaborate use of private jets is more than apt when airline emissions are one of the major factors in climate change. Obviously, emissions are much higher when flying private rather than a commercial airline flight.
These celebrities are way off the mark. In a world where we as consumers feel shame over booking a trip to Europe on a crammed low-cost airline flight, it’s difficult to sympathise with people who jet around the world privately in the same way the common Brit thinks about taking the bus or the tube.
These celebrities share on social media that they’re going plastic-free. They share photos of their #MeatfreeMonday. They do this because it looks good. It’s great for public image but I’ll call a hypocrite out when I see one. And Harry and Meghan are hypocrites.
Yes, they have said they’ll only(!) have two children and that for environmental reasons, having one fewer child is the best thing we can do to reduce emissions, but when they’re shown to be flying around the world constantly, I find these words to be empty.
If they were passionate about the environment, they’d significantly reduce their flying time. It can’t be one rule for us mere plebs and another for the literally high-flying celebrities and royals. They’ve got to realise that their carbon footprint matters too and no amount of social media posts are going to offset that when they use jets like buses.
If we were all to follow the lead of our royal superiors and take this climate change carry on with a pinch of salt, then the world as we know it really is doomed.
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