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Public vs. private

Between becoming the Duchess of Sussex and then, the mother of the seventh in line to the throne, public scrutiny of Meghan Markle has grown.

Despite this, Markle and husband Harry are carefully crafting a life of balance: public and private.  They respect the public’s interest, sharing obvious milestones, and keep personal aspects of their lives off limits.

However, TV host Piers Morgan recently attacked Markle for asking that she not be photographed at Wimbledon.  This wasn’t a royal duty.  She was just watching the match “in a private capacity”.

But according to Morgan, “If you want to go to a private place, don’t go to the Royal Box at Wimbledon”.

I can’t argue with that.  It’s an international televised event. It’s a lot of money for tourism, advertisers, the media outlets, and the athletes.  Celebrities are everywhere.  So privacy?  Not likely.

But the request to not take photos?  The Royals have historically avoided taking photographs with the public.  They can be mis-used.  Instead, photographers are carefully selected for events and the photos distributed to the media.

So why are Meghan (and Harry) being condemned for simply attempting to follow tradition and protocol?

Unfortunately, there’s more.  People complained that Meghan and Harry kept the christening for their son, Archie, private with only close friends and family.

Not so unusual for the average family.  However, it was performed in a Royal chapel by the Archbishop of Canterbury – apparently making it fair game for public interest and their “right to know.”

But remember, there are politics in the church too.  Can you imagine the phone call from a local vicar telling his boss that, “No thanks, Prince Harry doesn’t want the Archbishop to baptize his son”?

The public was also critical that the Queen gave the new family a home in Windsor which they renovated using public funds.  However, the house – consisting of five separate apartments – was already slated for renovations long before it was offered to the couple.  So it was not only pre-planned, but necessary for functionality.

Yet their detractors are holding firm.  The Duke and Duchess cannot have it both ways.  They’re either public or private.

Why?  Everyone has a public and a private life.  And just because you share a secret with a close friend doesn’t mean you have to share everything else.

Given the historically tragic consequences of their media coverage, it’s no wonder this family controls the public’s intrusion into their lives.  At one time, Princess Diana tried to placate the media with scheduled family photo ops, thinking the paparazzi would then leave, satisfied and respecting the family’s private time.

They didn’t.  So Harry and William learned early on that they couldn’t negotiate with the media.  It was an all-or-nothing relationship.

However, with the growing number of personal cameras and media formats, “nothing” is no longer an option.

We must remember that we don’t have the right to every corner of someone’s life even if they’re “public.”  Because first and foremost, they are human beings – not a commodity for our personal entertainment.

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