Britain's Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. File picture: John Stillwell/AP
Britain's Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. File picture: John Stillwell/AP

Harry and Meghan put themselves before their duty, says Queen's former chaplain

By STEPHEN ADAMS Time of article published Jan 12, 2020

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London - A former chaplain to the Queen has accused the Duke and Duchess of Sussex of choosing ‘self-interested’ celebrity over the selfless duty demanded of royalty.

And Dr Gavin Ashenden, Royal chaplain from 2008 to 2017, predicted that Harry and Meghan’s decision would not make them happy. In choosing what he called the ‘celebrity love’ of Hollywood over the ‘dutiful love’ embodied by the Queen, the couple would eventually be left impoverished, he said. ‘This has erupted in part because the Queen stands for one kind of love, and Meghan another. Dutiful love and celebrity love are two different philosophies – almost two different religions.’

Dr Ashenden, who converted from Anglicanism to Catholicism over what he says is the failure of the C of E to stand up for Christian values, added: ‘You don’t ever hear the Queen talking about what she needs. The genius and beauty of her role is that she does her duty. That is her way of loving others.’

While the monarchy was grounded in Christian ideals of service, he said celebrity love was ‘born out of the narcissism of the entertainment industry’ which was ‘based on a rather fragile adoration’ – the ‘fickle’ adoration of the crowd. He added: ‘It is beginning to look like Meghan has been unable or unwilling to transition from celebrity love to dutiful love. The first is more about me and my needs, and the second more about them and theirs.

‘To my mind, it looks like the Sussexes have chosen to put their own self-interests before their public duty and family. The tragedy is that, while the aim is self-fulfilment and happiness, it almost always ends in self-pity and sadness.

‘It may well be that Harry and Meghan can be happy and fulfilled, making their own money, claiming their own freedom, selling their own branded life-style, doing their own thing, but it will have nothing to do with royalty, duty or selflessness.’

Mail On Sunday

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