Australia’s brutal reaction to royal saga
Royal-sceptic Australians have seized upon Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's bombshell announcement, saying it shows the monarchy "cannot be taken seriously" and is "irrelevant to modern Australia".
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex revealed they would be stepping down as "senior" royals, splitting their time between the UK and North America, and become "financially independent".
In reaction to the announcement, The Australian printed a scathing editorial today calling for an Australian republic when the Queen's reign ends.
The newspaper said swearing allegiance to the monarchy beyond then "would be an anachronism".
"Hypocritical as they are in lecturing the world on climate change while living the high life on private jets, Harry Mountbatten-Windsor and Meghan Markle have recognised something that has eluded too many conservatives in Australia for too long," the piece reads.
"That is, in the third decade of the 21st century, hankering after an institution with ranks such as Silver Stick-in-Waiting - the deputy to the Gold Stick-in-Waiting - cannot be taken seriously."
It argues that the "excitement among younger Australians over the emergence of the younger generation of royals" in Harry and Meghan has now "well and truly dissipated".
The Australian Republic Movement (ARM) has welcomed the announcement.
"Harry and Meghan have said they're distancing themselves from the British Monarchy because they want to earn their own keep, and be more 'progressive'" ARM chairman Peter FitzSimons said.
"They've effectively said they've outgrown the British Monarchy, and we in Australia can certainly relate to that. In Australia, more than half of us have felt that way for the better part of a generation.
"Most grandmothers would be happy to see their grandkids move out and stop asking for money, but the monarchy certainly does things differently to the rest of us."
Overnight, Mr Fitzsimons' wife, TV personality Lisa Wilkinson, weighed into the debate appearing to welcome the couple's decision.
"Perhaps Prince Harry came to the simple conclusion that the brutal reality of being second-born in the royal family's line of succession is, you can either make a break for it & do something you find valuable with your life, or you can be Prince Andrew," she wrote on Twitter.
This interpretation, generous towards Harry, seems typical of Australian reaction - while in Britain the response seems to be all but universally vitriolic. https://t.co/kXKaPKUEuC— Peter FitzSimons (@Peter_Fitz) January 9, 2020
Mr FitzSimons said this was a "typical Australian" reaction to the news, whereas in the UK the response "seems to be all but universally vitriolic".
The British press has blasted the couple as "spoiled brats", reacting with articles, columns and editorials that ranged from disappointment to fury.
The Daily Mirror said in an editorial that the couple's failure to tell Harry's grandmother Queen Elizabeth II about their plans "shows shocking disregard for a woman whose entire life has been ruled by a sense of public duty and honour".
"Harry has selfishly turned his back on the institution she has fought to modernise and secure for him and his children," the paper's chief feature writer Rachael Bletchley wrote.
The taxpayer should not be paying a single penny to support Meghan & Harry’s new life as duty-free celebrities. Not. One. Penny. pic.twitter.com/GzALYVYCfs— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 9, 2020
The Times of London accused Harry of "petulance and hot-headedness," while the Daily Mail said the couple wanted "the status of being 'senior' royals but the privacy and freedom of being private citizens."
Broadcaster Piers Morgan, an outspoken critic of the pair, labelled them "the two most spoiled brats in history".
In a column for the Daily Mail he called upon the Queen to "fire Their Royal Hustlers".
" … at the age of 93, and with her 98-year-old husband Prince Philip suffering ill health, she's (the Queen) had to suffer the repulsively rude indignity of being treated like a piece of insignificant dirt by her own spoiled brat grandson and his scheming, selfish D-list actress wife," he wrote.