Skip to Content

Believe it or not, it’s been almost five months since Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stepped down from their roles as senior members of the royal family.

Yes, Meghan and Harry have been private citizens for almost as long as the coronavirus pandemic has been going on.

Photo via Getty

Even though the world was on lockdown for much of that time, a whole lot happened in the lives of the renegade former royals.

Harry and Meghan moved to America; they (predictably) ran afoul of the American media, and most importantly, they announced their intention to devote their professional lives to humanitarian work.

Granted, Meghan and Harry’s charity announcement was criticized for being poorly timed (usually a bad idea to announce a charity during a global pandemic, unless you’re planning to help with the pandemic), but their hearts were clearly in the right place.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Red
Photo via Getty

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have a young child at home, so they’re limited in how much they can put themselves out there during the pandemic.

But the announcement was meant to serve as a reminder that Harry and Meghan didn’t leave royal life because of the sky-high expectations or the constant scrutiny of the British tabloid press (though both factors played into the decision).

No, they left because they wanted to make the world a better place, and the royals were restricting their ability to do so.

Whispering to Meghan
Photo via Getty

All projects needed to be approved by the Queen, and private fundraising was strictly limited, which was a problem, as the couple often received less funding than more senior members of the family.

Meghan touched on these constraints — and her joy at being freed from them — in a recent interview with feminist icon Gloria Steinem.

"In fact, on the land where we are, before Europeans showed up, there were Native American cultures in which women were equal, in which grandmothers chose the Chief," Steinem said while seated in Meghan’s backyard.

Markle and Prince Harry
Photo via Getty

"It was a system of balance and our Constitution is based on that, which we should remember," she continued.

"And it was about a circular idea of consensus, circles of consensus going up rather than hierarchy, which is the source of the linked not ranked."

From there, Meghan thanked Steinem for gifting her with a bracelet inscribed with the words, "Linked not ranked."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Outta There
Photo via Getty

"I love this", Meghan said.

"Well, you know actually, ‘we are linked not ranked’ is the shortest way I’ve ever found to say what our goal is," Gloria chimed in.

"It means everything to me on every level; we are linked not ranked," Meghan added.

Meghan Speaks

If you think that seems like a subtle shot at the royals, you’re absolutely right.

Ranking is everything in their world, and it’s clearly a system that Meghan found distasteful.

"And I thank you for understanding that rank is less important than being linked. That’s a big thing," Steinem added.

Meghan Markle in a Car

The conversation echoes comments made by authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand in their new book Finding Freedom.

The authors noted that Harry and Meghan "often took a back seat to other family members" during their time as royals.

"While they both respected the hierarchy of the institution, it was difficult when they wanted to focus on a project and were told that a more senior ranking family member, be it Prince William or Prince Charles, had an initiative or tour being announced at the same time – so they would just have to wait," Scobie and Durand added.

Meghan Markle In 2020
Photo via Instagram

"Where you are born in this family dictates your position of power, and because of that, Harry has always come second to his brother, especially when it comes to funding," they continued.

"There were times in the past that Harry wanted to take on bigger projects and do more work, but he couldn’t get the money to support it … William was always the priority. A lot of quarrels have been over budgets."

It’s not hard to see why Meghan might have chafed under such a system — or why she can barely contain how thrilled she is to be done with it.