Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's new lives in the US aren't that free, a royal critic has claimed
Recently-uploaded but then-deleted photos of the Sussex's kids could reveal something much more about the lives of the Duke and Duchess, according to royal expert Daniela Elser, and that their now "normal" existence may not be so liberating.
After jetting off to the US on their $220million (£184m) private plane in 2020, not a leaky boat or on weary foot, says Elser, the couple said they wanted the same thing as everyone else – to experience the promise of "the land of the free".
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"New images – which have now been deleted – emerged on Thursday showing the Sussexes, along with their three-year-old son Archie, which call into question just how free their new lives just might be," writes Elser, of the pictures published by a fan on July 4 Independence Day.
"The Sussexes celebrated this day [July 4], one all about escaping from regal rule (symbolism much?), in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, according to photos which were shared on Instagram.
"The now-deleted shots in and of themselves are not that remarkable – a very cute little boy sucking a lollipop while watching a parade, Meghan casually but chicly dressed and Harry doing his usual impression of a hirsute thundercloud."
But it is the fact the shots were even taken in the first place that is significant, says Elser.
"Ask yourself this: Have you ever seen similar images crop up of William and Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children?," she asks.
"Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis all go to school, tennis lessons at the Hurlingham Club and have been seen shopping with Kate. And yet how often do we ever really photos on social media, snapped of the kids and taken unawares?
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"For the last five years these kids have been raised in the very centre of London (and less than one kilometre away from the head offices of the Daily Mail) and yet they are by and large left totally alone to get on with the business of growing up.
"While the British press have come in for regular, and sometimes well-deserved, pastings for their treatment of the Sussexes, the tabloid culture in the US is a far cry from that in the UK."
She says America has websites like TMZ and Radar Online that will happily pay members of the public for images of celebs, even doing the most mundane of things.
"Harry and Meghan might not be enjoying Beyonce-levels of popularity (the most recent polling shows that less than half of Americans view them favourably) but there is no end to the fascination with the nation’s very own branch of the royal family," Elser added.
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"The whole family is, in short, valuable prey for anyone who might come across the family out and about.
"What will it mean for Archie and his little sister Lilibet to grow up in a country where there is a ready market for iPhone snaps of them?
"The Sussex family might live on a seven-acre estate but the minute they set foot outside those gates, they are unprotected from the glare of lenses, both professional and amateur."
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