Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, appeared on Emma Barnett ’s show on BBC Radio 5 earlier this week and called the criticism Meghan has received “totally undeserved.”
“She’s a person of profound humanity and deep concern for people, seeking to carry out her role with every ounce of her being, and I think she’s a remarkable person,” the most senior bishop in the Church of England and head of worldwide Anglican Communion said.
Justin also said the Royal Family is under an extraordinary pressure that most people cannot and will not ever possibly understand, and said this needs to be taken into consideration.
“I look at anyone in public life at the moment, whether it’s the Royal Family or politicians of all parties, and think the amount of abuse, misrepresentation, trolling, just horrible behaviour towards all of them is absolutely terrible,” he said. “I feel a deep sympathy for those in that position.”
Justin called those in public office are “very brave” and remarked that while being royal does come with an immense amount of privilege, it also has huge costs.
“One of the things I’m most aware of is their sheer sense of duty and commitment, which means they know this is a life sentence,” he empathized. “Even if they decided that they withdraw from public life and never take any public money and disappear, they’d still be pursued because they’d be… the ex-royal. It is genuinely a life sentence without any let-up. I’m so admiring of the way they behave.”
This isn’t the first time the 105 th Archbishop of Canterbury has made such statements. Earlier this year, Justin said again spoke about the pressure the royals are under on a daily basis.
“All members of the Royal Family are under a pressure that none of us outside it can possibly imagine,” he said to The Sunday Times in October. “Every personal action is scrutinized. Every statement is over-interpreted, over-read.”
Justin’s previous comments came after Meghan and Harry appeared in a TV documentary shot during their royal tour of southern Africa, in which they discussed the media scrutiny they’ve experienced. Last month, the archbishop said he saw nothing unusual about the couple taking some much-needed leave, saying it made sense for them to do so since if one looks at their roles as jobs, they did not take the full leave to which they were entitled after their son Archie was born.
Harry and Meghan are currently on an extended, six-week break from royal duties and intend to spend Christmas with Doria Ragland, Meghan’s mother, instead of with the Royal Family at Sandringham. The Queen supports their decision.
“I don’t know why it should be a point of criticism that they take leave to spend time with a new baby in the way that the law provides for every single employee in this country,” Justin told the newspaper. “They’re not superhuman. They’re a very remarkable group of people, all of them. But you can’t lay that kind of extra burden on people.”