Clarification: This article was published on January 8, 2020. It was updated following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Ah, the monarchs. They are just like us and, although series like “The Crown“Tell us that some of them feel a greater obligation to their country than to their relatives; at the moment of truth humanity prevails. That is what happened in the case of Meghan Markle and the prince harry of the Windsor house of the United Kingdom.

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At the beginning of 2020, the married couple announced that they would abandon their lives as members of British royalty, but without ceasing to work for their loved ones. This Sunday, in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, they revealed the reasons for their departure. Among them: a “true smear campaign” by the royal institution to discredit Meghan Markle, as well as uncomfortable situations in which the skin color that Prince Harry’s children would have with the African-American actress was even questioned.

The departure of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry from royalty may be the most mediatic and controversial, but it is not unique in UK history, with pre-Victorian examples.. However, the so-called Modern Age had its own abdication and that was that of Edward VIII, the brief king. Viewers learned of a version of this story a few years ago thanks to “The Crown.”

Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II in "The Crown" season 3, available on Netflix since last November. Photo: Diffusion.
Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II in “The Crown” season 3, available on Netflix since last November. Photo: Diffusion.

“He was naive and somewhat stupid”

Played by Alex Jennings, Duke Edward that “The Crown” shows in its first two seasons to be a proud man. The series presents him decades after he left the throne to marry the American Wallis Simpson. The marriage was forbidden at the time by the Church of England, which did not welcome the head of royalty marrying a divorced woman.

Thus King Edward VIII left his crown and became Edward Spencer, Duke of Sussex, in 1936. His brother, George, assumed the throne in replacement and was later succeeded by his daughter, Elizabeth II. All of this is mentioned in the series, which in turn details a visit the duke made to the genocidal Adolf Hitler in 1937, a visit not approved by the Royal Family.

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“I tried not to judge him when I played him,” said actor Alex Jennings in an interview with the Galway Advertiser website in 2018. “I think the series is very critical of him as a person of what I could be. I think his relations with Nazi Germany were less involved than the series suggests. He was naive and somewhat stupid and was somehow manipulated by the Nazis, ”he added.

The series does not leave Duke Eduardo well off, who on several occasions returns to his country; be it to ask for money or to remember the brief glory that he had and that he refused to marry.


Duke Eduardo in one of the most emotional moments of “The Crown”.

End of the road

The Duke Edward theme returned a couple of months before Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s announcement, also with “The Crown” (season 3). Around this time we observe an aging abdicating king (played by Derek Jacobi), who sees in Prince Charles and his affair with Camilla Shand (a separated woman) a reflection of his own history.

In this context, Queen Elizabeth returns to see her uncle, who is seriously ill. Both have an exchange of words in which the monarch assures that the abdication brought much suffering to the royal family. The old king, in his defense, only tells him that “the crown always finds its way to the right head.”

Eduardo’s story came to an end in 1972, the year he passed away. Charles’s story, on the other hand, was different. Years after the death of his first wife, Diana of Wales, he married Camilla Shand.

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