The Duke of Sussex looks “miserable”, according to an official royal biographer who claims that royals are happiest when they live a life of duty.
Hugo Vickers, the biographer of the Duke of Kent, said that members of the Royal family do not tend to find happiness when they choose their own path over the burden of their duties.
The author has said that the Duke of Sussex appears “miserable” having stepped away from responsibilities of royalty, like his great-granduncle, the short-reigning Edward VIII.
The former King, who later became the Duke of Windsor, abdicated after only 325 days on the throne after opposition to his marriage to Wallis Simpson. He chose to prioritise his relationship, which led to “sadness”, said Mr Vickers.
Speaking at the Henley Literary Festival, Mr Vickers said: “As for members of the Royal family stepping away, I don’t think it usually leads to happiness in the long run.”
“I don’t think it did with the Duke of Windsor.
“As for the Duke of Sussex, who knows what is going to happen to him, but he looks utterly miserable.”
In 2021, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who had stepped away from their royal duties, confirmed that they would not return to their former roles.
The author has argued that “the most successful members of the Royal family” are those who “support” the monarch rather than “compete” with them - citing the late Queen’s cousin the Duke of Kent as a perfect example of a royal tirelessly devoted to their duties.
His biographer has said that the Duke has always been willing to step into the help the more senior members of the Royal family, and has passionately supported the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the RNLI - contributions that Mr Vickers believes the public would miss if the monarchy were to be trimmed down.
He said: “I don’t see how you can have a slimmed-down monarchy. Because people do want members of the Royal family, particularly if it's to do with charity. You do need members of the Royal family to do these things. They do perform a very, very useful role.”
Mr Vickers has written A Royal Life, a memoir of the Duke of Kent, co-written by the Duke himself. He has previously written about Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and a history of St George’s Chapel at Windsor
Lady Diana Spencer’s brother Charles spoke at Henley to argue that history students are only taught about Adolf Hitler and Henry VIII, in a critique of the modern curriculum.
“One of my bugbears is how history is taught,” he said.
“I’m 58, and I’m probably the last generation which was brought up on a very wide arena of British history. History was compulsory when I was at school.
“Now it’s a niche subject. History teachers quite really have to attract people to their subject, so what they’re going to do is give you Hitler and Henry VIII. Things like Henry I just drop off the chart.
“I would broaden the way history is taught, because I think you miss out so much if you don’t have that.”
New photos of Sussexes
New photographs of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been released before they attended the opening of One Young World last month.
There are two photographs, shot by Southbank Centre chair and photographer Misan Harriman. The first, in colour, showing the Sussexes in a relaxed pose, facing the camera with Meghan holding Harry’s hand.
Meghan wears a bright red jumpsuit in the photograph, while her husband is dressed in a dark suit and tie.
The second photograph is shot in black and white and shows the couple in profile, hand in hand before attending the opening ceremony.
Harriman, a friend of the couple who frequently photographs them, took the first portrait of their one-year-old daughter, Lilibet, in June, In 2021, he also took one of the rare images to be shared from the couple’s home in California ahead of their announcement of their second pregnancy. He has known the couple for several years and attended their 2018 wedding - he also introduced Meghan to the mutual friend who would later arrange her meeting with Prince Harry.
Nigerian-born Harriman was the first Black photographer to shoot a Vogue cover, when he photographed footballer Marcus Rashford and model Adwoa Aboah in black and white. He has also shot other members of the Royal Family during his career - in 2019, he released an official portrait of Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi to announce their engagement.
The release of the photographs taken before One Young World comes days after a new Royal portrait was released, taken at Buckingham Palace, of King Charles, the Queen Consort, and the Prince and Princess of Wales. It showed the four side by side wearing black mourning clothes, taken on the night before Queen Elizabeth II's funeral.