As Queen Elizabeth II’s health took a turn for the worse on Thursday, all eyes appeared to be fixed on Britain’s royal family, with many a side-eye glaring at the monarch’s grandson Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
The former senior royals have made headlines since stepping back from royal duties in January 2020 and have become a common scapegoat for many of the monarchy’s recent public-facing headaches. (More so than her son Prince Andrew’s sex crime-adjacent troubles.)
On Thursday, when Buckingham Palace announced that the 96-year-old ruler had been placed under medical supervision at Balmoral Castle in Scotland because doctors were “concerned for Her Majesty’s health,” the whereabouts of those in the line of succession came to the front of mind. Shortly thereafter, the palace announced that the longest-lived and longest-reigning monarch in British history died peacefully at her summer residence in Scotland, ending the second Elizabethan Age.
Now-King Charles III, 73, will probably have a formal coronation in the coming months.
The New York Times reported that Prince Harry — who is now fifth in line for the British throne behind his brother Prince William and William’s three children — made the trip to Balmoral. Meghan would stay back in England but still not attend Thursday’s WellChild Awards. William’s wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, remained in Windsor with their three children.
But allegations of a rift still enveloped British and American media. Since announcing their move away from the crown, other senior royals were “hurt” by Harry and Meghan’s decision. More royal scandals ensued, as well as the death of the queen’s husband, Prince Philip, last year. But headlines about the toll of Harry and Meghan’s bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview remained, along with others about the couple struggling to find their footing abroad and how Harry was also reportedly hurt when the queen did not include a picture of his family in her 2019 Christmas speech.
Still, Harry sometimes tried to paint a prettier picture, appearing on the “Today” show in April to say that he and his grandmother “have a really special relationship. We talk about things she can’t talk about with anyone else.”
And despite royal intrigue, the Sussexes had reportedly remained close with the queen and even named their second child, daughter Lilibet, after her.
Speculation still ran rampant online this week, with observers casting blame on his wife, accusing the former “Suits” actor for the decline in the queen’s health and her death, coupled with scathing reviews about the duchess’ new Spotify podcast and how it has thrown even more shade at the firm.
Naturally, social media was abuzz with accusations and memes, but many also came to Meghan’s defense.
Here’s a look at some of the discourse: