Sussexes risk repeating mistakes of ex-King and Wallis Simpson -expert

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex face a similar fate to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, a royal commentator has claimed. Tom Quinn, author of the newly-released book Gilded Youth, has drawn similarities between the life lived by former King Edward VIII and his wife Wallis Simpson after he abdicated and the future possibly looming for Prince Harry and Meghan. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Mr Quinn said, have made several appearances and interviews as well as a docu-series and a memoir united by one main theme – “how badly they were treated”.

However, he added, that is a topic that will interest people only “for so long”.

He continued: “And when you’re not saying that anymore, and you can’t make any more films and interviews about how badly you’ve been treated, what then, what do you do?

“My fear is that Harry will become like Edward VIII and Meghan will become like Mrs Simpson.”

Edward VIII acceded to the throne in January 1936 following the death of King George V.

But, in December that year, when asked to choose between marrying twice-divorced socialite Mrs Simpson and remaining the UK’s head of state, the King stepped down.

The pair married in France the following year and were created the Duke and Duchess of Windsor – although King George VI did not style Mrs Simpson as Her Royal Highness.

Mr Quinn said: “They lived in this beautiful house in France, but we know they were desperately unhappy – Edward VIII was a bit like King Lear, where he gives away all his power, but somehow thinks he can still exercise power through his children. And I think Edward VIII, when he abdicated and went to live in France, thought he would still be an important figure.

“And he was for a little while, in the same way that Meghan and Harry are kind of significant now because there’s so much coverage and commentary about them.

“But that will fade and, unless they can escape all this negative stuff and find something positive that people are interested in, they will become insignificant in the way that Edward VIII became insignificant and very unhappy.”

Unlike Mrs Simpson and former Edward VIII, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are free to return to the UK without needing the permission of the monarch.

However, since they relocated to the US, they have only made a few trips back to England, first due to travel restrictions created by the coronavirus pandemic and then for the security concerns harboured by the fifth-in-line to the throne after he lost his taxpayer-funded security.

Meghan and Harry stepped down as full-time working members of the Firm in the spring of 2020, when they also moved to California with Prince Archie Harrison.

One year later, they sat down for their first tell-all interview, during which they spoke to Oprah Winfrey about their struggles as working royals, the mental health issues experienced by the Duchess while pregnant with her first child and what brought them to decide to leave the Firm.

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Meghan and Harry hit out at the Palace and its members during other interviews or, at times, in the Duchess’ podcast series Archetypes.

But they decidedly lobbed grenades at the Firm and its members in December last year, with the release on Netflix of their biographical docu-series titled Harry & Meghan.

A few weeks later, Harry also released his tell-all biography, which included criticism of Queen Camilla and of the upbringing he received from King Charles, as well as details of the competitive and often difficult relationship with Prince William.

Gilded Youth by Tom Quinn, published by Biteback, is available in hardback at £15.

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