Fans Call Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Portraits An ‘Insult’ That Would Have Former Queen ‘Turning In Her Grave’

Jun 28, 2024 by apost team

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced on Jan. 8, 2020, that they would step down as senior working members of the British royal family in a move popularly dubbed “Megxit.” By spring of 2020, the transition was complete, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were no longer carrying out royal duties. 

Prince Harry is King Charles III and the late Princess Diana’s youngest son. His older brother is Prince William. He now lives outside of the royal family, raising his and Meghan’s two children in the United States. Although he and Meghan stepped down from their duties as senior royals, they have not shunned the spotlight, appearing at public charity events, and pursuing their own creative and philanthropic ventures, many under their own brand, Archewell.

In the beginning, Harry’s relationship with Meghan seemed like a modern-day fairy tale that captured the world’s attention. The couple first met in July 2016 when a mutual friend introduced them during Harry’s visit to Toronto, Canada, where Meghan was living at the time. They were set up on a blind date and immediately hit it off. In November 2016, news of their relationship broke, and the couple faced intense media scrutiny. Meghan faced particular attention due to her status as an American actress and her biracial background.

On Nov. 27, 2017, Prince Harry and Meghan announced their engagement. The news was celebrated around the world, with Meghan becoming the first American to be officially engaged to a British royal. The couple were married on May 19, 2018, at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.

However, their stint as working royals was marred by tensions between other members of the royal family and attacks by the press. Although they are no longer tied to the duties of the royal family, they continue to attract media attention.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle (2023), (IMAGO / ZUMA Wire)

Since the announcement of their relationship, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been subjected to intense media scrutiny. Tabloids and paparazzi often invade their privacy and publish sensationalized stories.

Meghan, in particular, faced racist and sexist commentary from certain sections of the press, highlighting the challenges she encountered as a biracial woman entering the British royal family. Despite all these difficulties, Harry and Meghan were expected, as members of the royal family, to adhere to certain traditions and protocols, including public engagements, official duties, and a strict code of conduct when in public. However, Meghan’s background as an American actress and her outspoken nature clashed with traditional royal norms, leading to criticism and clashes within the institution.

Harry and Meghan’s decision to step back from their roles as senior members of the royal family did not spell the end for the Sussexes when it came to the spotlight.

As public figures, the buzz surrounding them continues to this day. In May 2024, they garnered attention again after Welsh artist Dan Llywelyn Hall chose the pair as the subjects of his latest paintings. Hall’s works, painted in a surreal and stylistic manner, have been exhibited in the Saatchi Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery, and Windsor Castle, among others. 

In line with 2024’s London Art Week, Hall exhibited his portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at The Society of Antiquaries of London’s exhibition called “The Reign.” While Hall’s creations are very much painted in his usual incandescent style, what piqued the interest of royal watchers most were the historical royal figures he chose to depict them as.

Hall’s painting depicted Prince Harry as Charles Edward Stuart, also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie. His portrait of Meghan showed her as Dame Elizabeth Grey, also known as Elizabeth Woodville, who married into the British royal family and became Queen of England in 1464.

Stuart’s romanticized legacy as “Bonnie Prince Charlie” endures in Scottish history and culture, symbolizing the lost cause of the Jacobites, and the end of the old Highland way of life in the 18th century. Grey, whose status was that of a commoner, courted controversy after marrying Edward IV in secret. As queen, Grey wielded considerable influence and sought to advance her family’s position, arranging advantageous marriages for her relatives, which led to further political tensions.

In explaining his reasons for the depictions, Hall said:

“In Harry's case, I have entered the story before he met Meghan – the young party-goer with his future very much in the balance, a bit like the Bonnie Prince I have likened him to. … I thought putting Meghan in the role of the White Queen, who was a Queen Consort and possibly the most influential ‘outsider’ in royal history, might have a fine irony to it and not necessarily beyond the realms of reality.”

Hall’s works raised the ire of some royal fans, who said the portraits were “Not flattering at all!” They took issue not only with the Sussexes' dissimilar likeness but also with the allusions to great historical figures.

“Quite terrible, poor Elizabeth Woodville will be turning in her grave,” one commentator wrote, while another said, “Whatever the artist's intention with this, at least it is a horrid depiction of her.”

“That is supposed to be Markle? Looks nothing like any of her faces!” one user responded, as another remarked, “It’s an insult to Elizabeth Woodville. Edward chose her for her personal qualities & this caused the scandal. Marriages were made in those days to align for political & power reasons. She proved her worth & when he died she became Queen Dowager. Markle is nothing like Elizabeth.”

Harry was not spared either, with one user saying:

“Poor Harry 😂 looks like a crayon piece.”

What are your thoughts on the portraits? Do you think they portray Prince Harry and Meghan Markle well? Let us know and pass this along to friends and family, too!

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Meghan Markle, Prince Harry (2023), (IMAGO / i Images)