Life

Leona O'Neill: Harry and Meghan are just right to leave the hate in 'Old Blighty' behind

Harry and Meghan are leaving for a new life in Canada to escape a tabloid media-influenced British society that has become fixated on tearing down those in positions of privilege. Who can blame them for wanting a better life for their child, asks Leona O'Neill

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are waving goodbye to their public life in Britain
Leona O'Neill

FOR your kids, you would move mountains: you would go through walls, you'd even move to another country if you thought it was the best thing for them. And that's what a young couple from England decided to do last week.

They felt life was a bit drab in Old Blighty. The weather was rubbish, opportunities for their little boy might not have been there in abundance, they got a hard time from some sections of the media and they didn't have the freedom they would have liked to enjoy.

So they set the wheels in motion and packed up their stuff, made arrangements at the other side with regard to a house, set up some work for themselves and went and told the family that they were about to start a new adventure in Canada. But these folks weren't your ordinary Joe Smos: they were Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and most of England and the world went mad at them choosing to move away.

I've written about the couple a few times now, mainly in defence of American-born Meghan, who seemed to have been tormented by the papers. Some sections of the media seemed to turn on her and, in doing so, turned a lot of the public against her also.

They criticised her engagement photos, they tore apart her wedding dress, they ripped her fashion sense apart, how she wore her hair, how she spoke, smiled, breathed. They hunted down members of her family who told the most unflattering and sensitive stories to the press for money. They hung her dirty laundry out for all to see, printing terrible stories about her relationship with her father as she got used to life with a newborn baby.

Yes, she lives a life of privilege – she lives in a million-pound house, she is married to a prince, she will probably never have to worry about money – but she is also a human being who has feelings and a heart that can be broken. Just because people are elevated to such positions of power and wealth does not make them immune to vicious attacks.

The more well-known a person is, the more intense and vicious the attacks. With great power seemingly comes an even greater concentration of melters. We see it everyday on social media. People who have their profiles raised by their job, their fame, political power or for whatever reason are fair game in the eyes of the public. They have money, so we have every right to tear them down. They are famous, so they deserve every ounce of our vitriol. Who the hell do people in the limelight think they are? We need to destroy them.

This is the society our children are growing up in. One where ripping into one another like vultures is almost a pastime. One where we absorb terribly negative information about other human beings and even join in with the feeding frenzy for fun.

Meghan and Harry are doing the right thing leaving the circus that our society has become. I am not a big follower of the royal family, but I wish these two young people and their child peace and happiness in their new home and their new roles.

If they want to move away from all the traditions, rules and restraints that revolve around the royal family institution to make themselves feel better, then the best of luck to them. I'm sure they pondered this decision and the way they were treated by some members of the media and the public no doubt prompted it.

As for the rest of us, society needs to change. We need to start being kinder to one another. Tearing each other apart and spreading negativity is so very last decade. Let this decade be the one in which we ditch hate and spread some love. It will make us all feel better.

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