Forget out of Africa — Palace officials are out of their mind if they think their plan to send the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to Africa will work.
Over the Easter long weekend it was revealed royal mandarins were considering a scheme for the newlywed Sussexes to decamp from their Windsor bolthole, Frogmore Cottage, for the warmer climes of Africa. The plan, the Times reported, is to shunt the “rock star” couple and their bub off to some far-flung part of the Commonwealth, either next year or the one after.
The reason: Their penchant for jeans, aromatherapy, hugging commoners and talking about pesky issues like climate change means they are soaking up the limelight and thus upsetting future king Prince William who reportedly wants his brother and sister-in-law “as far away as possible”.
All the nasty attention their advocacy and warmth is generating is detracting from the trio who are meant to be the focal point of the public’s adoration — the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William. (Never mind that one of them is a nonagenarian who has most likely never sent an email, and the other two are balding blokes with about as much charisma as a wet piece of Wonder White. No, it’s all the Sussexes fault for being too damn likeable.)
“People are telling William, ‘Don’t worry. Your influence will grow and Harry’s will fade’,” a source told the Times.
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So, the idea is, park Harry and Meghan somewhere hot and far away and hope the fickle public’s imagination is recaptured by Wills and his balding pate.
Whether they end up packing up their yoga studio and decamping to say Botswana or South Africa is still up in the air — Palace officials have glaringly not refuted the reports. However, what is apparent is this plot to make Wills the star of the show again is doomed to fail.
For one thing, Africa has the internet, just like the rest of the world. There is something inherently racist about thinking that shunting them off to the “Dark Continent” means they will somehow be out of Wi-Fi and Instagrammable range.
The Palace seems to be under the misapprehension that by removing Harry and Meghan from London and its environs, they will be able to exorcise them from the daily media cycle because coverage of them will be patchy.
No matter where they go in the world, there is blessed constant internet connectivity and the smartphone-toting Harry and Meghan fans will snap, record and post about their movements with glee abandon. Their every word, outfit and hug will be chronicled and shared, just the same as it is would be if they were in the UK and spied nipping out to Tesco for some kombucha and loo paper.
Secondly, the Africa scenario would only serve to well and truly cement Harry and Meghan as dashing, roving, international ambassadors par excellence. It would place them on the world stage and only make their brand more exciting, fascinating, and compelling. I can already see their Insta follower count going through the roof — sorry Selena Gomez.
And just imagine the posts they would share on their @SussexRoyal account! There would be shots of Harry out saving endangered leopard cubs and Meghan helping deliver a baby in a remote village somewhere. Away from the glaring eyes of the Palace trying to reign them in, they will be able to be as touchy-feely, passionate and Insta-happy as they want to be.
Meanwhile, back home, poor old Kate and Wills would be stoically plodding along to open regional Scout halls and hospital wings in knee-length coats and rictus grins. By contrast, they would seem stodgy and dated, like two Marks & Spencer-wearing relics, while Harry and Meghan are hashtagging their way to globetrotting world domination.
We will just have to wait and see whether the couple do trade Old Blighty for the farthest reaches of Her Maj’s empire, aka the Commonwealth, but it would only backfire.
Now, if they could rocket them to the International Space Station, that might be an idea …
Daniela Elser is a royal expert and freelance writer. Continue the conversation @DanielaElser