Photos have surfaced on Instagram showing the little boy at a Fourth of July parade with his parents, exposing a stark new reality.
The American national anthem closes with the lines: “Oh say, make that Star-Spangled Banner still wave, O’er the land of the free.”
In the more than 200 years since those words were written, tens of millions of people have flocked to the United States in search of that same powerful promise of emancipation and freedom, and in March 2020 the country achieved two of its most famous freedom-longing arrivals in the United States. history – Harry and MeghanDuke and Duchess of Sussex.
They may have emigrated on a $220 million private jet, not with a leaky boat or on tired feet, but they wanted the same thing as everyone else.
Look, this week Americans celebrated the holiday of July 4that’s their Independence Day, a day that was particularly bad news for Harry’s great-great-great-great-grandfather George III, but excellent news for those looking to shake off the tyranny of the British monarchy.
The Sussexes celebrated this day, a day all about escaping royal rule (a lot of symbolism?), in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, according to photos shared on Instagram.
The pictures themselves aren’t all that remarkable – a very cute boy sucking a lollipop while watching a parade, Meghan dressed casually but smartly and Harry doing his usual impression of a hairy thundercloud.
But it’s the fact that the shots themselves were taken that matters here.
Ask yourself this: Have you ever seen similar images of William and Kate, Duke and Duchess of the Children of Cambridge†
Very occasionally paparazzi images of the children surface, such as when the family was surreptitiously photographed when she arrived on Heathrow’s A+++ list last October for a vacation, probably to Jordan. (Last year’s family Christmas card and image released to mark British Father’s Day in June were both taken on that trip.)
But while the Troika is heavily protected by both security and the intent of two parents to shield them as much as possible, they are not house-bound, nor are they permanently kept behind six-foot walls.
Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis they all go to school, play tennis at the Hurlingham Club and have been seen shopping with Kate.
And yet, how often do we ever actually take pictures on social media of the kids snapped and taken aback?
In January, a photo of George taking to the field with his school football team appeared on a Cambridge Instagram fan page, but it was taken by a parent attending the game whose account was set to private.
Other than that, if you dig really hard, you can find some social media, you can find a short video, made by a person who walked in Kensington Palace Gardens years ago, showing George and Charlotte are cycling on their bicycles in the private gardens of the palace.
For the past five years, these children have grown up in central London (and less than a mile from the Daily Mail’s headquarters) and yet are largely left alone to continue growing up.
It’s not that eagle-eyed locals don’t have opportunities to capture or photograph the Cambridge Three, but whether it’s out of courtesy, British restraint or an abiding desire to respect their privacy, people just never seem to do that. .
So, what about the so-called “land of the free”?
While the British press regularly, and sometimes well-deserved, placards for their treatment of the Sussexes, the gossip culture in the US is far removed from that in the UK.
America is home to websites like TMZ and Radar Online, which happily pay the public for smartphone images of celebrities doing such scintillating things as standing, walking and stocking toilet paper.
Harry and Meghan You may not enjoy Beyonce’s levels of popularity (the most recent polls show less than half of Americans rate them favorably), but there’s no end to the fascination with the country’s own branch of the royal family.
In short, the whole family is a valuable prey for everyone who encounters the family.
(Let me say here in the strongest possible terms that I don’t condone this for a second and think that all kids should be strictly off limits to all snappers, no exceptions. The ending. Good night. Forever.)
What does it mean for Archie and his? sister Lilibet to grow up in a country where there is a market for iPhone snaps from them?
The Sussex family may live on a seven-acre estate, but once they set foot outside those gates, they are unprotected from the glare of lenses, both professional and amateur.
In the two and a few years that the Duke and Duchess have transplanted themselves to California, we’ve had pictures of Harry on the beach with their dogs, a miserable looking Harry on his bike, followed by a Range Rover full of security, the couple who dining out with friends several times, Meghan shopping in Montecito, Meghan picking up her young son from kindergarten and most recently photos of the couple leaves neighbor Oprah Winfrey’s house.
A huge backyard, children’s playhouse, tennis court and swimming pool may provide more than entertainment and space for little ones to play and roam safely away from the gaze of the public and the gaze of the press, but the couple cannot help Archie and Lilic locked up at home forever.
For centuries America has sold itself to the world as the land of the free – but I’m not sure how free life can or will be for the Sussexes and their children (especially as they grow up) when the family may represent cash or instant fame on social media for anyone who might spot them in the wild.
Contemplating the loss of his North American colony, George III wrote that there will always be an “emigration of troubled, disaffected, or unhappy people, who fail to dwell at home, hoping to succeed better.”
In fact, we hope that Harry and Meghan and their family “can do better” even in a country with 298 million (real) smartphones.
Daniela Elser is a royal pundit and writer with over 15 years experience working with a number of leading Australian media titles.
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