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Megxit and costly Iranian mistake

Editorial

The runaway prince, Harry the Duke of Sussex, provided the surprise of last week's news cycle which ended with a shock of a very different kind when Iran owned up to the accidental shooting down of a Ukranian jet.

The decision of Harry and his wife Meghan Markle to step back from frontline royal duties, in effect giving up their place in “the firm”, captured the headlines and in the process showed the impact the royal family has on the media.

Royal gossip, an industry that flourishes on innuendos and half-truths if not absolute fiction, had indicated for some time that Harry was not happy with the treatment he and his family had been getting.

The couple's decision, however, came as a surprise, with claims that his father and 93-year-old grandmother were told only minutes before the announcement.

Believe or disbelieve that as you like, it definitely captured the world media's attention. A meeting later today (NZ time) is intended to try to clarify the situation.

Unsurprisingly there has been a firestorm of comment, much of it critical of the couple.

Controversial British pundit Piers Morgan described them as spoilt brats, which is a view shared by many. The couple's private fortune will ensure they are not left out in the cold as they share their time between North America and the United Kingdom.

But while his wife does not seem to be so universally popular, Harry will be badly missed. He has always been considered something of a rebel and has real star appeal with the public, while his older brother William, the future king, is forced by his role to be more conservative.

Is there some sort of a curse for the family involving divorced Americans? This echoes the situation in which Edward Vlll abdicated to marry the woman he loved, Wallis Simpson.

The British royal family seems to divide people into two camps, those who support it and those who are opposed, with few neutrals. That was reflected in our street survey on Saturday.

The news week ended with Iran grudgingly admitting that “human error” was responsible for the shooting down of a passenger jet that killed all 176 people on board, including 82 Iranians and 57 Canadians. With this disaster happening as both the US and Iran were stepping back from all-out conflict, it would be a fitting memorial to the victims if some sort of lasting peaceful relationship could be attained from this tragedy.