The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in Toronto Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Harry and Meghan at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto

“Come to Canada, where you belong.” It’s a bold invitation from the Toronto Star as the world’s media digests the news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will step back from royal duties and consider basing themselves abroad.

Not everyone is as supportive of Prince Harry and Meghan’s decision, and there is some outright criticism to be found in editorials and leader columns of British newspapers.

A scathing review of the move in the Daily Mirror says there “can be no sympathy” with the way the announcement was made.

“They were unable to find even a few moments to do our Queen the courtesy of discussing their plans,” its leader reads.

It says the move may cause “an irreparable rift” with the rest of the Royal Family.

Image copyright Getty Images

The Times leader calls the move “premature… petulant and ill-judged”.

“The announcement carries all the hallmarks of the petulance and hot-headedness for which Prince Harry is sadly becoming well-known,” it reads, adding that little thought has been given to the practicalities of their new roles.

It argues that Harry and Meghan’s wish to be financially independent but still be members of the royal family implies that they “want to have it both ways”.

The Daily Express’s leader is slightly more forgiving. It calls the couple a “tremendous breath of fresh air” but says they would have “gained more empathy” had they “shown respect”.

“It is a massive error judgment not to have informed the Queen of such a bold decision,” it reads.

“As a country we do expect a certain decorum from members of The Firm. And Harry’s latest decision of not playing by those rules falls way short.”

‘Rewriting the rule book’

The Daily Mail’s Richard Kay analyses “where it all went wrong” for Harry and Meghan.

He says the couple were “bent on re-writing the rule book of what being a member of the Royal Family actually means” from the moment they married, which led to a “disconnect”.

“The rot set in even before the glow of that May wedding day had passed,” Kay writes, citing, among other things, the privacy of their honeymoon and their “secrecy” over their son’s birth.

The Daily Telegraph’s Camilla Tominey says their “break for freedom” was “long planned” and can be traced back to November 2018, when they announced a “split” from the royal household they shared with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

She quotes a source telling the paper at the time that Harry had “always complained about being sidelined by William” and they wanted to “spread their wings”.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The “Fab Four” at Sandringham on Christmas Day, 2017

Across the Atlantic, “Megxit” dominates the front page of the New York Post, which says Harry and Meghan are choosing “commoner” lifestyles.

The New York Times says the duchess faced “lacerating criticism” from Britons who “like their royals to be dutiful and traditional”.

She was criticised for being “too bold, too outspoken, too difficult, too American, too multicultural”, it writes, adding that the couple’s desire to “renounce the usual menu of royal obligations speaks directly to the challenges facing the monarchy”.

Back at the Toronto Star, columnist Vinay Menon writes that the move will mean the couple are “finally free” and adds: “Stepping back from your royal duties amounts to stepping into your future.”

He adds that the rest of the Royal Family “don’t deserve” them.

The Australian says the move has “breathed new life into the age-old debate over Australia’s ties to the British monarchy”.

It interviews the chairman of the Australian Republic Movement, who says that it “highlights the Royal Family’s waning power”.

‘Royal circus’

In France, Le Figaro interviews French royal expert Stephane Bern, who says that royals who are “not at the core” need to show they can “earn a living” in today’s world.

“Gone are the days when the English paid for everyone without wondering why,” he tells the paper.

Le Monde says it is “a revolution in Buckingham Palace”.

Die Ziet, in Germany, says the Queen now has a “shortage of skilled workers”, and Frankfurter Allgemeine agrees that Harry and Meghan’s decision is a “serious loss” for the Royal Family.

Spain’s El Mundo says on its front page that the couple have “[slammed] the door in the British Royal Family’s face”, while El País says they became the victims of a “curse” that sees royals without a “determined destiny” heavily criticised.

The Italian paper La Repubblica says it is not clear whether it is “the definitive strike that will weaken the foundations of The Firm” or “a publicity stunt” to get more Instagram followers.

Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter compares what it calls “chaos and civil war in the British royal house” with Brexit, while the Belgian Flemish-language newspaper Het Nieuwsblad says Harry “has had enough of the royal circus”.

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