Entertainment

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Announced They Were “Stepping Back” From Royal Life, Sending Twitter Into An Uproar

In a bombshell announcement, Duke and Duchess of Sussex–more affectionately known to the public as Harry and Meghan–released a statement on Wednesday revealing that they would be “stepping back” from their official duties as senior members of the British royal family. 

The announcement came after months of speculations as to how the famous couple would respond to the maelstrom of negative press the duo–and especially Meghan–have been facing from the British tabloids. 

The Sussexes revealed that they would be “balancing” their time between the UK and North America, and that they are doing so to “provide their family with the space to focus on the next chapter”.

“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” the Sussexes said via multiple social media channels. “We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen”.

And while the abrupt announcement was surprising for everyone, the move also comes after Harry and Meghan have long hinted at their discontent with their roles in the spotlight. 

The dissatisfaction seemed to reach a fever-pitch around the time that the couple appeared in the ITV documentary “Harry & Meghan: An African Journey”.  Both Harry and Meghan were candid about their struggle to endure the British media spotlight, with Harry saying, “…Every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash, it takes me straight back [to my mother’s death]”.

As for Queen Elizabeth, the monarch released a statement saying that the discussions with the Sussexes are still in an “early stage” and the issue is “complicated”.

Since then, multiple outlets have reported that the entirety of Buckingham palace was “caught off guard” by the Sussexes’ decision. The British media is reporting that the Sussexes did not consult with Buckingham palace before either making the decision or announcing it. Sources close to the royal family say that while the queen is “sad”, Prince Charles (who is next in line to inherit the throne), is “furious”.

“There is fury over how they’ve done this without any thought for the implications for the institution,” a source recently told Page Six. “The Queen is deeply upset. The Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge are incandescent with rage.”

As for England’s reaction to the shocking news, the public opinion seems to be firmly divided into camps both “pro” and “against” “Megxit”.

While one Londoner expressed her support for Meghan and Harry to NBC News, saying she “can’t really blame them” for their decision to leave, another expressed their disappointment.  “It’s like, ‘We’ve now given you a ton of money, what do we get in return?,'” said a student named Frederick Bathurst, adding that his mother found their decision “disgraceful”. 

And while the Sussexes’ decision to step down from royal duties is surprising, it is not unprecedented. As any devotee of royalist media like “The King’s Speech” and “The Crown” will tell you, a similar situation to this has happened before, when King Edward abdicated the throne in 1936 in order to live in peace with his American girlfriend, Wallis Simpson. And while that situation worked out in the end, the aftermath was difficult to deal with for the Royal family.

Within minutes of the Sussexes’ announcement, both Harry and Meghan’s names were trending on Twitter.

Although Americans like to pretend they’re above being invested in the British Royal Family, their reactions to “Megxit” told a completely different story. The hilarious Tweets and reaction memes were enough to keep us entertained for hours.

Here is actual footage of the Royal Family reading Meghan & Harry’s statement

While Harry and Meghan are hoping that this decision will protect them from the media, something tells us that the media scrutiny is going to be stronger than ever.

Of course, there was tons of speculation as to what Harry’s mother would think if she were still alive:

We wonder if lingering trauma over Diana’s death had anything to do with this decision.

This person imagined what #Megxit would be like as a Reddit post:

This couldn’t be more accurate. 

There were also tons of takes on the Sussexes desire to become “financially independent” from the Royal family:

If there’s one thing for sure, Prince Harry has a very particular set of skills that might not be useful to everyone.

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The Dominican Republic Finally Outlaws Child Marriage After Years of Campaigning by Girls’ Rights Activists

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The Dominican Republic Finally Outlaws Child Marriage After Years of Campaigning by Girls’ Rights Activists

Image via Getty

Outside of the U.S., some good news has occurred amidst a week that has otherwise been full of mayhem and chaos.

On Wednesday, the Dominican Republic’s Executive Branch approved a law that unilaterally bans child marriage in its country.

In the past, children younger than 18 were allowed to marry with a special exemption from a judge. These exemptions happened often. Now, no woman or man under the age of 18 are allowed to marry under any circumstances in the Dominican Republic.

This move is significant because the Dominican Republic has the highest rates of child marriage in Latin America and the Caribbean. Official government figures show that 36% of Dominican girls and adolescents marry or enter into “unions” before the age of 18. In 12% of these relationships, the female partner was less than 15 years old.

More informal “unions” where a girl simply moves into an older man’s household are also common in the DR. These are very common in higher poverty communities where many girls are considered a financial burden on their families. Unions like these will be harder to penalize because there is no formal documentation of their partnership.

There are multiple factors that play into the Dominican Republic’s high child marriage rate.

One of the main factors is the culture of machismo that informs the way that young men and women approach relationships.

According to research conducted by Plan International, 81% of Dominican girls said they preferred men that were five years older than them. This statistic is in stark contrest to 39% of Dominican men who prefer their partners 18 or younger because they found them more “obedient” and “adaptable”.

Not only that, but there is also a strong cultural expectation for girls and women to become mothers and wives. These cultural beliefs have simply stoked the practice of child marriage.

“Child marriage and early unions are seen as normal in society. It is driven by machismo that sees the role of a woman to be just a mother and wife,” said Rosa Elcarte, UNICEF’s representative in the Dominican Republic, to the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Ending early unions will require years of work to change cultural norms.”

Feminists and human rights activists consider this law a win after many years campaigning to put an end to this practice.

But on a bittersweet note, many advocates realize that one law doesn’t dismantle the patriarchal structure of their culture that enabled this practice for so long. There is still a lot of work to be done.

“Our girls and adolescents will be protected … and cannot be forced into marriage in their childhood or adolescence, which in the past was often carried out by parents and legally allowed,” said Sonia Hernandez, an associate director of the International Justice Mission, in a statement to NBC News.

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Vanessa Bryant Said It Was ‘Love At First Sight’ When She First Met Kobe

Entertainment

Vanessa Bryant Said It Was ‘Love At First Sight’ When She First Met Kobe

Donato Sardella / Getty

Vanessa Bryant says love at first sight is very real.

The wife of the late NBA great recently revealed that it happened to her the very first time she met Kobe Bryant 21 years ago.

Over the weekend, Bryant shared a photo of her and the former LA Laker while visiting Disneyland.

Last Friday, Bryant celebrated the 21st anniversary of the day she and Kobe met. She captioned the Instagram post writing “Love at first sight 11/27/99 #21.”

Vanessa and Kobe met in 1999 during a music video shoot while she was still in high school and he was 20 years old. The couple became engaged when she turned 18, announced their engagement at her 18th birthday party, and the Bryants married in April 2001.

In 2013, Kobe shared a picture of the day they met on Instagram.

“On this day 20 years ago I met my best friend, my Queen @vanessabryant I decided to take her on a date to Disneyland tonight to celebrate old school style (pre 4princesses) I love you my mamacita per sempre,” Kobe wrote in the Instagram post at the time.

After their 2001 message, Kobe and Vanessa had four daughters together, Natalia, 17, Gianna, 13, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 1. Tragically, in January, Bryant and Gianna passed away in a helicopter crash alongside seven others.

Last year, Kobe also reflected on the day he met his “best friend,” posting a throwback pic along with the Disneyland snap.

“On this day 20 years ago I met my best friend, my Queen @vanessabryant,” he captioned his post at the time. “I decided to take her on a date to Disneyland tonight to celebrate old school style (pre 4princesses) I love you my mamacita per sempre.”

It’s not the first time Vanessa honored her husband since his death. In October, the former model and philanthropist honored her husband and daughter with tattoos.

Speaking about her loss, Vanessa’s friend La La Anthony told Entertainment Today that she’s done her best to stay strong.

“Well, you know, I’m a real friend, that’s what friends do,” Anthony told ET in September. “You know, you don’t dip out on your friends when it gets really hard. And she’s going through something that is unimaginable, that, you know, I can’t even fathom what that feels like. So, just to be a friend and be there to make her laugh when she needs to, cry when she needs to, is a beautiful thing. But that’s what friends do for each other, you know, so I’m always going to be there for her and the girls and just, you know, want to see her just continue to be strong and amazing.”

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