Did Meghan Make Harry Give Up Grouse Hunting?

Each week, we apply our smell test to the new batch of royal rumours to tell you what’s true and what stinks worse than rotten kippers.

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Mehan and Harry sit side-by-side in pantsuits

Meghan and Harry attend the WellChild awards at Royal Lancaster Hotel. (Photo, Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The rumour: Prince Harry skipped the grouse hunt because of Meghan … and some royals were shocked

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Where you heard it: The Sun
The report: Most royals relish the opportunity to participate in Her Majesty’s semi-annual grouse hunt. Even five-year-old Prince George was there for this summer’s firing fest, but the real story (per the Sun) was the royal who didn’t attended. Namely: Prince Harry, who has participated in the past, but has given up the hunting habit, “so as not to upset [his] animal loving wife,” per The Sun’s unnamed informant.  The same source notes that Harry also sat out at the annual holiday season hunt: “Harry loves it and has always been out there on Boxing Day. But if it means breaking with long-standing royal traditions to avoid upsetting her, so be it. It’s fair to say that there are some pretty stunned faces around here.”
The smell test: Of course it’s possible that Harry skipped the hunt based on any number of factors, but given Meghan’s well-documented fondness for animals and the fact that he has missed the event twice in a row, the connection does seem sound. So does the part about all the royal fuddy duddies being peeved over Harry’s perceived betrayal. (Because it there’s one thing the English aristocracy detests more than a live grouse, it’s a husband who would dare to make a rational decision in consideration of his wife’s convictions.)

The rumour: Prince Charles and his sons don’t get along

Where you heard it: The Daily Beast
The report: A new and scandalous exposé brings readers “Inside the Cold War” between Prince Charles and his sons, claiming that the boys have never been close with their dad, and that events surrounding their mom’s unhappy marriage and their dad’s affair have left a significant frost. On his end, Prince Charles apparently “hates” when his sons express their emotions (read: behave like caring, empathetic people) in public. That these frequent PDHs (public displays of humanity) have made the next gen more popular makes things even worse: “The fact that polls routinely show that two-thirds of Britons would rather have William and Kate as their king and queen than Charles and Camilla has always been a source of tension between the two camps,” says author Christopher Andersen, one of many sources to go on-record in the story.
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The smell test: Unlike the vast majority of scandalous royal stories, the piece has already prompted an actual denial from Clarence House that handles media for Charles and Camilla. “Complete fiction,” is how they referred to the piece. But does the fact that they are dignifying it with a response say something different? Hard to say. Certainly some of the claims make sense (old-school Chuck doesn’t like his sons’ new school ways, it hurts to hear the people you have spent your life preparing to lead prefer your son), but does that mean that they are at war, or even that they don’t ultimately love each other? What family would be complete without simmering tensions? And consider reports of Charles’ speech at the recent royal wedding where he began, “My darling old Harry.” Not exactly fighting words.

The rumour: The Queen isn’t fond of Meghan’s pantsuits

Where you heard it: People
The report: Newsflash: Meghan Markle wore another pantsuit this week and apparently this is an issue (or at least a source of annoyance) for a certain reigning monarch. QEII prefers female royals in skirts and dresses, whereas her newest granddaughter-in-law is “often asking Harry why things have to be done in a certain way,” per People’s inside source.
The smell test: This isn’t the first time royal sartorial protocol has allegedly bumped up against Meghan’s desire for personal autonomy…and a good pair of pants. (Nor is it the first time People has used these exact same quotes.) The real question here is whether the younger female royals feel pressure to eschew pants based on HRH’s preferences. And the answer is that appears to be no. And no. And absolutely not.