Prince Harry and Meghan Markle should “study” and learn from Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson’s experience because the two couples appear to be on the same trajectory, a royal biographer has suggested.
Ahead of the release of his new book “Traitor King: The Scandalous Exile of the Duke & Duchess of Windsor,” British biographer Andrew Lownie discussed the many similarities in the stories of the late Duke of Windsor and Prince Harry in an article published in the New York Post.
In 1936, Edward Vlll gave up the British throne to marry Simpson — like Markle, an American divorcée — and withdrew from royal duties to live abroad. Two years after their 2018 wedding, Prince Harry moved to California with Markle after stepping back from their roles as working royals.
But Lownie pointed out that the parallels between Prince Harry and his great-granduncle go far beyond these.
After giving up royal duties, Edward VIII “never quite reconciled himself to his loss of status, and the ensuing years were to be marked by a series of disputes with his family,” the author wrote.
One point of contention was who would pay for Edward VIII and his wife’s security, with Buckingham Palace insisting that the Duke of Windsor should cover this expense himself. The former king “ultimately enjoyed police protection until his death” in 1972 — a privilege that Prince Harry and Markle are given only when they’re in the U.K., according to Lownie.
The Sussexes’ decision to quit royal duties reportedly also caused a rift between them and the royal family, with biographers Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand claiming that the tension between Prince Harry and his older Prince William dates back to 2016 when the former started dating Markle.
While Prince Harry personally funds a private security team for his family in the U.S., he took legal action against the U.K. government to allow him to pay for police security, which he lost after he stopped being a working royal.
When it comes to titles, the Duchess of Windsor was withheld the title of Her Royal Highness. Prince Harry and Markle kept the titles Duke and Duchess of Sussex but gave up their HRH titles and agreed to stop using the word royal in their commercial and charitable venture.
Lownie also noted that both Prince Harry and the Duke of Windsor had inherited considerable wealth but complained that they were cut off financially after their withdrawal from royal duties. Both men also later complained of “poor parenting” and “fallouts between siblings and sisters-in-law,” according to the biographer.
Lownie went on to point out the similarities in how both couples gave interviews, cooperated with biographers and took legal action against newspapers in the wake of their royal departures.
Prince Harry and Markle sat down for a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, while the Windsors spoke to Kenneth Harris and Wallis wrote articles for McCall’s Magazine.
Edward VIII and Simpson each produced memoirs, while Prince Harry is set to release his memoir later this year. Lownie added that the Sussexes “cooperated” with Scobie, referring to their 2020 biography “Finding Freedom.”
In addition to these, allegations of mistreatment of staff also plagued Markle and the Windsors. The former actress was accused of “bullying” palace aides when she was a working royal, and Edward VIII and Simpson were rumored to have “treated their staff in an entitled and unforgiving manner,” according to Lownie.
“The Windsors were frozen out by the royal family. It will be interesting to see if the same strategy is deployed against the Sussexes,” the biographer wrote.
“Traitor King: The Scandalous Exile of the Duke & Duchess of Windsor” will hit the bookshelves on July 5.