Only days following the December 2020 premiere of a new podcast produced by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s audio production company, royal biographer Angela Levin criticized the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for supposedly collectively changing Harry into a “shadow” of his former self. The blame? According to Levin, a mixture of the couple’s focus on social justice issues, which she categorized as simply “woke[ness],” and his move to California with Meghan in January 2020, otherwise known as “Megxit.”
In an op-ed published by The Telegraph on Jan. 3, 2021, Levin mocked Prince Harry for what the biographer deemed as, in her purview, weak behavior — which she blamed on being “besotted with a beautiful woman with a different agenda that he then meekly adopts as his own.” She also lambasted the royal for what others could consider benign, if not inclusive, phrasing: Namely the motto “love wins.” Harping on the line in particular, Levin went on to proclaim that the phrase — which is most commonly associated with the LGBTQ+ rights movement — was one that eschewed the decorum of the British royal family as a whole. “I don’t think many senior members of the royal family have felt much of that love over the past 12 months,” the biographer wrote.
But is Levin’s apparent disapproval of Prince Harry’s marriage and current lifestyle rooted in something more than a perceived personality change? Read on after the jump to find out.
Prince Harry has become a 'shadow of a man,' according to one royal biographer
While royal biographer Angela Levin’s disapproval and condemnation of Prince Harry were seemingly and specifically levied against the royal, there might be more to the story than meets the eye. In the larger context of Levin’s history of criticizing the royal couple, it may very well be that her targeting of Harry is a red herring, one that fits into a pattern deployed by the British tabloid press and is, to many, the sort that stems from a prejudicial foundation.
In her Telegraph op-ed, the biographer was quick to deride the prince for becoming a “shadow of a man,” using terminology that pointed to a view of emasculation. Among her examples, the biographer also called Prince Harry an “airy-fairy do-gooder” — a phrase that keeps in line with Levin’s previous accusations that the Duke of Sussex has become “emasculated.” (The inclusion of the word “fairy” has its own troublesome implications, as a common slur against queer men in particular, who have historically been persecuted en masse for not complying to more traditional, or even toxic, norms pertaining to the concept of masculinity.)
In response to Levin’s essay, royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams criticized her take via Express. He claimed that The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s “undoubtedly sincere” podcast was “the way they genuinely see the world,” and that while “some,” like Levin, “see it an unbearably ‘woke’…others [see it] as inspiring.”
Criticisms of Prince Harry might be deeply rooted in controversial takes
While Angela Levin’s rhetoric in her January 2021 op-ed might seem somewhat eyebrow-raising to those unfamiliar with her opinions on Prince Harry’s relationship with Meghan Markle, Levin herself has been criticized for like-minded framework in the past.
In May 2019, Cosmopolitan magazine hinted at the royal biographer engaging in prejudicial rhetoric when critiquing the relationship between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex during appearances Levin made on the CBS documentary Meghan and Harry Plus One. Speaking to Gayle King, who hosted the television special, Levin opined that the Duchess of Sussex is “not popular in a lot of circles often because they adore Harry and they seem to think that she’s running the show. The article also quoted another commentator featured in the special, magazine editor Maiysha Kai, who described reactions like Levin’s as those founded upon a racist and antifeminist trope: that of the “angry black woman.”
“Whether it is saying she is difficult or demanding, there is a subtext there that reads very much into this angry black woman stereotype that leads into a domineering woman stereotype,” Kai relayed to King. ” … That doesn’t just allow [Meghan] to be a human being who has agency and who wants to do the best that she can.”
Biographer Angela Levin's criticism of Prince Harry might be personal
Despite the fact that biographer Angela Levin’s critical take on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in her Telegraph op-ed might seem controversial on a broad level, there might be a more personal slant to Levin’s takes, too. While Levin is one of very few royal biographers to have had, at one point, a one-on-one relationship with Prince Harry, it seems that they have not been in communication for some time. (Levin, who penned a 2018 royal biography on Prince Harry, was presumably in contact with the royal before the book’s May 2018 release, but has not seemed to have had any correspondence with him since — possibly due to the fact she continues to write for publications both Harry and Meghan decided to stonewall due to allegations of slander and libel.)
It also might be the reason why Levin’s own opinions on the behavior of Prince Harry since “Megxit” seem, at times, to contradict each other completely. In Levin’s Telegraph piece, the writer slammed what she categorized as a “Californication” of the prince’s style of speech, citing the use of slang like “twenny twenny” and “I wanna” as evidence. But in December 2020 (per The Express), she assessed that their patterns of speech and tone in their podcast were instead the result of a formal, “regal” affectation, rather than influenced by a Californian laxness. It’s confusing, for sure.
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