The question everyone is asking now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have stepped back is who is going to cover their royal duties? The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are obvious candidates but their schedules, worked out months in advance, are already almost full.
No doubt things will be divided across the family, but no one is sure about Prince Harry’s military appointments, in particular his role as Captain General of the Royal Marines, which was approved by the Queen after the Duke of Edinburgh retired from public life in 2017. Prince Philip had held that position since 1953, succeeding his late father-in-law, King George VI. Harry was proud to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps, although he had personally never completed the famous commando course.
Senior Royal Marines officers are reportedly dismayed that Harry had to walk away from his position and would like to see Prince William or the Princess Royal in the role. Prince Harry’s other appointments – Commodore-in-Chief of Small Ships and Diving (Royal Navy) and Honorary Air Commandant of RAF Honington – were bestowed on him by the Queen in 2006 and 2008 respectively.
On Harry and Meghan’s wedding day all three of these units lined the streets of Windsor and considered it a great honour to do so. They subsequently said ‘it bolstered the great relationship between the royal family and the military’.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s self-imposed exile from royal life comes into official effect this spring, which is also the time they hope to be able to unveil their charity plans. They want to set up their non-profit charitable organisation in a style similar to those run by Barack and Michelle Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Bill and Melinda Gates. Philanthropic Americans get favourable tax deductions on monies ploughed into charitable ventures, which is why they are so generous. This is exactly what Harry and Meghan are hoping for to kick-start their venture.
The Queen and Prince Philip’s first grandchild, Peter Phillips, has made a foray into the world of celebrity endorsement with an advertisement on Chinese television. The shot shows Peter in evening dress looking out of a window over a grand estate sipping a glass of milk served by a butler from a silver platter. He talks of his childhood and recalls enjoying the milk from the Windsor royal dairy.
It is quite harmless as Peter has no royal title, was never dependent on public funds and has always had a career, but it is rather embarrassing. It is unfortunate the Queen and Prince Philip’s ‘favourite’ grandchild should feel the need to do something like this, though understandable if Peter was offered a considerable sum of money for the appearance.
This also applies to Harry and Meghan. They will be able to command vast fees for all kinds of endorsements, but will they look tacky and tasteless? To secure their services would be a major coup for any corporation and therein lies the danger. They need to be financially independent and yet must be circumspect about what they decide to do. It is a worry for all parties concerned, but the couple will go to great lengths to avoid upsetting anyone as they carve out their new life.