- The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are reportedly preparing for a working sabbatical in Africa with baby Archie.
- Although Buckingham Palace is yet to publicly comment on the claims, royal experts have estimated the move could last sometime between several months and two or three years.
- The relocation would undoubtedly change the future of the royal family – after all, baby Archie could become the first royal baby to be raised outside of the UK.
- INSIDER spoke to royal commentators and experts who broke down how exactly the reported move will change the dynamic of the royal family.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are preparing for a working sabbatical in Africa, according to reports that first surfaced back in April.
Despite the fact Buckingham Palace is yet to publicly comment on the claims, royal commentators and experts all seem to have an opinion.
Royal biographer Katie Nicholl previously told INSIDER that the couple’s move will take the form of a working sabbatical and that Botswana is “high up on the couple’s wish list.”
The actual role the couple would undertake is still yet to be seen, but undoubtedly it will have a huge impact on the future of the royal family. After all, if the rumors are true and they relocate for several years, Archie could be the first royal baby to be raised outside of the UK.
INSIDER spoke to royal commentators and experts who broke down how the couple’s reported move could impact the rest of the royal family, and how this could change their legacy for future generations.
Harry and Meghan could help the UK to “maintain international trade relationships” after Brexit
While the pair’s reported move could be implemented “in the same spirit they have done all of their tours of the Commonwealth,” Brexit could provide an additional reason for their stay, according to BBC royal commentator Kristen Meinzer.
- Samir Hussein / Getty
“If it does happen, it will be in the same spirit that they have done all of their tours in the Commonwealth, partly a show of goodwill, and partly diplomatic in terms of supporting the Commonwealth,” Meinzer told INSIDER.
“I do think in this case, it would be slightly different just because it’s going to be a longer post. It’s going to be longer than a few weeks, it could actually be a few months.
“There has been speculation that this would be an attempt to at least maintain some sort of international trade relationship. If Brexit does, in fact, go through, maintaining good trade relationships with the Commonwealth would be important,’ she added.
Baby Archie could become the first royal baby to be raised outside of the UK – but the decision may come at a price
If Meinzer’s predictions are true, Harry and Markle’s new role could indeed help the UK, and subsequently the royal family’s image, in the long run.
However, celebrity brand management expert Eric Schiffer believes the move could actually tarnish Harry and Markle’s reputations, and that their fans will ultimately turn against them for keeping their baby so far from the public eye.
“Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are boldly redefining the meaning of royal in the 21st century,” said Schiffer, Chairman of Reputation Management Consultants.
“Based on the length of the sabbatical, Archie could become the first royal baby raised outside of the UK, upsetting its citizens and risking separating Meghan, Harry, and Archie from the royal family and ratcheting up tension.”
Schiffer’s comments may seem extreme, but they do make sense when you consider the public’s reaction after the couple decided to keep the details surrounding Archie’s birth secret.
Harry and Markle broke from tradition when they decided not to partake in the post-birth photocall on the hospital steps, instead opting for a photo call at Windsor Castle a few days after the birth. Additionally, neither Harry nor Markle confirmed the location of Archie’s birth until Portland Hospital was shown on Archie’s birth certificate several weeks later.
However, whether the public and the press loses interest in the couple will largely depend on where in Africa they are located, Meinzer explained.
If they decide to live and work in a secluded area, there would, of course, be a lack of press access, and therefore a lack of engagement with fans. However, Meinzer believes it would be in their best interest to work in a busy city, because that way they would be closer to non-profit organisations.There was an issue between William and Harry.
“If this is a diplomatic mission, they have to be in those areas, so I’m guessing there’s going to be more cameras and so on there, but even so it will probably be slightly more controlled than it was during their tour of Australia and New Zealand, where there are so many members of the Western press already. “But depending on what cities they visit in Africa, that might not be the case,” she added.
‘Harry can fully start his life, not as the spare’
There have been rumors of a rift between Harry and Markle and Prince William and Kate Middleton since Markle joined the royal family in 2018.
The couples officially split households earlier this year, with Harry and Markle relocating their office to Buckingham Palace, further fueling the claims.
- Stephen Pond/ Getty Images.
Last month, it was confirmed that the couples would enter talks about their future within The Royal Foundation, a charity the couples spearhead together. It is believed that Harry and Markle will soon make an announcement to confirm their departure from the charity, however, this has not been confirmed by the palace at this stage.
While most reports initially suggested the fallout was between the duchesses, ITV royal editor Chris Ship recently claimed that the rift is actually between William and Harry.
“There was an issue between William and Harry. It was written as a problem between the wives – that actually isn’t true,” he said on the Air Time podcast for ITV.
“We’re told it’s slightly better now, we’re told they’ve been having a conversation after Archie was born,” he added. “A royal aide told me recently that they’re back on track. It remains to be seen.”
While it could then be considered that the reported decision to relocate was influenced by the brothers’ fallout, Meinzer said the root of the problem is far more complex.
“I’m more inclined to believe that this is not about a rift between the brothers, so much as it’s about the fact that now Harry can fully start his life, not as the spare. He can fully start his life doing something else,” she explained.
“Because before now, that’s what everyone thought of him as. Now, he’s married and a father, and he can separate himself from just being the little brother.
“He can go out into the world and pursue these other things, and why shouldn’t he? He and Meghan are so adored throughout the world. They’re not just royals, they’re celebrities. What they have is something unique and special within their family, it’s different from what William and Kate have,” she explained.
“It’s much more sparkly, and more star power, so why not harness that and use it as a way that’s unique to them in the way that they are? They’re not the same as Kate and Will, because they’re not the future king and queen.”
Archie could avoid ‘ridicule’ like other ‘children of the spare’
Allowing Archie to be raised in a different environment from his royal cousins will also allow him to avoid being subjected to the same fate that children of the spare face, Menzier added.
Raising Archie “on the path to do diplomatic work” like his parents may shield him from the “ridicule” that the children of other spares have faced in the past.
“The royals frequently get ridiculed, especially Eugenie and Beatrice, who a lot of people are making comparisons to Archie because they are the children of the spare,” she said.
“A lot of people, especially the press, which can be quite cruel in the gossip pages, think that they are being wards of the state, essentially, living millionaire lifestyles, and not necessarily working very hard.
- Chris Jackson/Getty Images
“I think that, with Archie, if he’s actually being put on the path to do diplomatic work from a young age, that would hopefully shield him against some of the criticism that Beatrice and Eugenie have had, who don’t have that experience.”
Not only will Archie be exposed to a different lifestyle than his royal relatives, but living in Africa could ultimately influence his speech patterns as he grows up, according to Jennifer Dorman, dialect and language expert at Babbel.
While every other member of the royal family grows up to replicate the Queen’s English, there was already speculation as to whether Archie would break away from this and grow up with an American twang from his mother.
However, a move to another continent could further change the way his accent and dialect develops, Dorman says.
“Should Archie spend some of his formative years on the African continent, as rumored, in South Africa, this may influence his speech patterns. At around the 8-10 month mark, children start to focus more on the sounds that are affiliated with the languages dominant in their close surroundings,” she explained.
“Archie will be used to hearing two varieties of English – British and American – but, what happens if, during this critical period in Archie’s linguistic development, he has contact with individuals speaking Xhosa, one of the official languages of South Africa?”
Doorman went on to explain that it depends on how much exposure Archie will have to the language, and that if he has regular contact with those speaking it “he may acquire some of the sound patterns.”
“These linguistic features may result in an accent that is not-quite-Harry and not-quite-Meghan but, rather, quite-distinctly-Archie.”
Therefore, if Archie is raised with an African influence – whether that be in the culture, the language, or in his parents’ charity work – this could make a distinct difference to the way in which he approaches adult life.
This could change the way that he raises his future children, until eventually what it means to be a member of the royal family has no one set definition within the generations to come.
While the reported plans to relocate are yet to be confirmed, we can be sure of one thing – Harry and Markle are certainly writing their own paths when it comes to royal life.