Love vs Duty: Shadows from the Past
by Mari Garcia
When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markel took the unprecedented step to move away from their Royal duties, leaving behind titles and tradition for a new life in America, the move created shockwaves amongst Royal watchers, courtiers, the media and of course, the Royal family. It was understandable as the scenario of an American bride luring a Royal away from their duties had echoes of Edward and Wallis Simpson. Edward, Duke of Windsor, renounced the throne in favour of marrying Wallis Simpson, a commoner, a divorcee and an American!
The only difference in today’s scenario is that Harry is not the heir apparent to the British throne. According to former Buckingham Palace press officer Dickie Arbiter it was an unprecedented move and he compared it to Edward VIII's abdication in 1936 in order to marry twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson. “That is the only other precedent, but there's been nothing like this in modern times”, Mr Arbiter said.[i]
With the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of Sussex returned to Britain for the first time since the split and also after a televised, explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey, which has deepened the rift with members of the Royal family.
But are the similarities to the Abdication arbitrary and coincidental or is there more than meets the eye? If we apply the lens of astrology to examine the events and the personalities we will see a pattern emerging that is part and parcel of the issues surrounding the British throne.
Looking at both events: the Abdication of Edward VIII occurred in December 1936 and Harry and Megan’s announcement to leave the Royal family was made in January 2020. They are 84 years apart, a Uranus cycle give or take a few months. If we then apply the concepts associated with Uranus we have disruption, the unexpected, upsets to the current order, independence, rebellion, unconventionality and instability. Both events encapsulated an event which challenged the traditions of the monarchy, caused upset and disruption to an established order and was unexpected and unprecedented as a consequence of an expression of independence.
Inner Chart - Abdication of Edward VIII; Outer Chart - Announcement of Harry and Meghan's Decision to Walk Away from Royal Duties
As events, the two share some remarkable similarities. The image above superimposes the chart of the Harry Meghan announcement (outer wheel) on the Abdication chart (inner wheel) and it shows that apart from the Uranus return, the Harry-Meghan announcement features transiting Uranus on the MC at the degree of the Abdication chart Uranus. Additionally, the Sun-Mercury conjunction in Capricorn of the Harry-Meghan announcement is at the degree of the Abdication Ascendant at 16 Capricorn.
The bi-wheel also shows Neptune of the Harry-Meghan announcement conjuncting the Saturn-Neptune opposition of the Abdication chart. That these two charts echo each other across nearly a century suggests that the basic issues of conformity versus independence and collective duty versus personal desire are still very much alive within the institution of the British monarchy and the Royal family.
Both Edward and Harry also experienced Uranus transits to their natal charts with Edward experiencing the Uranus opposition across his Fourth-Tenth house axis while Harry is experiencing transiting Uranus opposing his natal Saturn. Both Edward and Harry have embodied the Uranian energy of disruption and upheaval and the price demanded in return for their bids for freedom from the traditions and expectations of the positions to which they were born.
It is interesting to also note that in 1936, Edward had a profected Seventh house year with the ruler in the natal and solar return charts in the difficult Sixth house. Harry was in a Twelfth house profected year in 2019 with the ruler Jupiter, in fall natally in the First house but in rulership in the solar return although aspected by malefics. For both Edward and Harry, the lords of these profected houses, although benefics, have difficulties both in the natal charts and in the relevant solar returns.
Natal Chart of Edward VIII, Duke of Windsor on the left and on the right, Solar Return for 1936.
In the year of his abdication, 1936, Edward entered a Seventh house profected year and its lord is the Sun and natally, although in reasonable dignity and receiving a trine from the Moon, the Sun squares the Nodal axis as well as a Mars in rulership. In the solar return for 1936, we see the Sun conjunct the South node and Venus, in a tight sextile to the Moon. It can be said that the proximity of the lord of the year, the Sun to Venus together with a Seventh house profection suggests that relationships and/or marriage are the topic(s) of the year. Additionally, the lord of the Seventh house, the Sun is featured in the Firdaria as the major period lord.
Edward entered the Sun ruled Firdaria period in 1933 on his 37th birthday. He had already met Wallis Simpson in 1931 but it was in 1933 that Edward turned his full attention to her. Their social lives had become more and more entwined and when Edward’s long-standing mistress and Wallis’s friend, Thelma Furness sailed to the United States in early 1934, Edward started buying Wallis clothes and jewelry, just as she and her husband, Ernest were starting to have trouble paying for their lavish lifestyle. Ernest amiably went along, though it's unclear if he knew the extent of his wife's romantic involvement, even wrangling an invitation to join the exclusive Freemasons via his connection with the Prince.[ii]
By May 1934, Wallis was Edward's only girlfriend just as the Firdaria translated from the Sun/Sun to the Sun/Venus period highlighting the focus of the period on relationships and their central role in Edward’s definition of himself. By the time he entered the Sun/Mercury period, Edward was articulating his love for Wallis which eventually culminated in his abdication speech in December 1936.[iii] Looking at the solar return for 1936, we see Venus is also prominent as the lord of the solar return Ascendant in Taurus. Venus sits conjunct the Sun and is combust giving a literal description of how Edward is ‘burnt by love’. The solar return also features Uranus in the First house describing the instability and disruption which characterized this period.
Edward’s natal Ascendant at 1 Aquarius sits in the solar return Tenth house suggesting that the natal issue of status and public life was rising to the surface. At the same time Edward’s focus as described by the placement of the solar return Ascendant in his natal chart at 15 Taurus sits in the natal Fourth house opposite natal Uranus, emphasizing the effect of his actions on the family and the tradition of the Monarchy.
Harry and Meghan’s decision to step back from Royal duties and to make their home in the USA came as a bolt from the blue to the British public as well as to the rest of the world. The shock waves of the move raised the spectre of Edward’s abdication and its impact on the relationships within the Royal family. Looking at the astrology we see Harry in a Moon Firdaria and moving into a sub-period ruled by Mars. The Moon Firdaria overall brings up issues of emotional security as well as concerns for physical health and safety. As Mars takes over from the benefic Jupiter, the tone of the time becomes more personal and internal. Harry’s natal Moon in Taurus is exalted in the Fifth house describing an ‘exalted’ Mother figure, which his mother, Diana was. It also brings her to prominence in this period. Indeed, what is interesting is that Harry has made various references to his mother and her struggle with the British tabloid press in relation to his own wife’s battle against the same foe. The Duke also suggested that this was a major factor in their decision to leave the Royal fold and make an independent life abroad.
From his birthday in 2019 Harry moved into a Twelfth house profected year. The Twelfth house represents sorrow and fears. With Sagittarius on the cusp, the lord of the year is Jupiter and natally his Jupiter is in fall in Capricorn in the First house. This first testimony tells us that although the great benefic promises bounty and success, the ‘quality’ is somewhat lacking. A planet which is essentially corrupted but accidentally dignified (Jupiter is in the First house) can be a problem as what it delivers may be tainted or be more of a problem than a gift. With Jupiter’s position in the First house it suggests that Harry is the driver of the action and that any outcomes will affect him personally. An interesting point is that Jupiter is also the lord of the Third house of siblings so actions which are taken will also spill over into his relationship with his brother, William. This has indeed been the case and sources have talked about the anger Harry’s actions have generated within the Royal family generally, but with William in particular.
Natal chart of Harry, Duke of Sussex on the upper left, and on the right Harry's Solar Return 2019, below left 2020 and then 2021.
Looking at Harry’s solar return for 2019, we see the lord of the year, Jupiter in rulership in Sagittarius in the Fifth house. Jupiter in good condition does promise there will be success however it sits as the apex point of a very tight T-square with a Mars-Neptune opposition. Any benefit promised by Jupiter is eroded as the struggle against insecurities and other worries find a resolution in the bid for freedom, also represented by Jupiter. One of the interesting things is the historian, Robert Lacey’s comment:
Harry and Meghan’s ambition to avoid dependence on taxpayers’ money or handouts from Dad is admirable, though their ambitions will founder if this prompts contrary dependence on over-wealthy banks, or dubious patrons in the hyper-capitalist Epstein mode that has discredited Uncle Andrew.
But the couple seem to be aware of this, and the massive popular appeal they enjoy in Canada and the U.S. could prove quite transformative. One day William’s younger children, Charlotte and Louis, may have reason to thank their uncle and aunt for pioneering a brighter, freer and more creative international destiny for royal “spares” than a carriage-borne wedding and seats on the board of a dozen predictable British charities.[iv]
This seems to bear out the seeming ‘bid for freedom’ as suggested by Jupiter as lord of the year and Uranus conjunct Harry’s solar return MC. Transiting Uranus is also moving to oppose natal Saturn and will go on to conjunct the natal IC over the next twelve months underscoring the continued instability, insecurity and seeming independence which has characterised this period.
Harry’s natal Ascendant of 11 Capricorn sits in the solar return Sixth house conjunct Saturn and the South Node showing that natal issues of inherited and traditional obligation are rising to the surface, perhaps suggesting that these may have lain heavier on him than anticipated. The solar return Ascendant at 19 Leo sits in the natal Eighth house suggesting that Harry’s focus had been on the ensuing crisis created by his and his wife’s decision. We can possibly add that there is also a lingering grief of a life left behind.
By his birthday in September 2020, Harry moved into a First house profected year with Saturn as the lord of the year. His natal Saturn sits conjunct the MC and in a tight sextile to the Capricorn Ascendant. The First house profected year highlights cncerns for the self, life direction and also health. For Harry, this was indeed the time when he chose to ‘expose’ what he and his wife were subjected to. His First house also has the corrupted Jupiter in the sign of its fall implying that the lingering issue of the split from the Royal family was far from over. Indeed, it was an interview with Oprah Winfrey where the Sussexes aired their grievances with regard to the Royal family that much of the damage has been done. Here we see the corrupted Jupiter accidentally dignified giving vent to injustices which Harry perceived to be detrimental. Many have seen this interview as an affront with comments such as, “They look like spoiled, ungrateful millionaires.”[v]
The solar return Saturn, lord of the year, is retrograde and sits in rulership in the solar return Fourth house emphasising that family issues continue to be at the forefront. Saturn is aso conjunct the IC of the solar return suggesting perhaps that an end of some sort is imminent in this period. The death of Prince Philip in this period is perhaps the first of these ‘endings’. It seemed too, that some sort of ‘ending’ to the brotherly rift with William went some way to being mended at Prince Philip’s funeral.
The natal Ascendant of 11 Capricorn sits in the solar return Fourth house highlighting yet again the topic of family and tradition. The 2020 solar return Ascendant at 20 Libra sits in Harry’s natal Tenth house, sitting close to Venus. The focus of the period being on status and reputation but also highlighting Venus, as personified by his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex whose issues with the Royal household and the British press have been cited as major contributors underlying the move to America.
Finally, transiting Saturn squares natal Pluto and then goes on to squares natal Saturn as it passes through the natal Second house, highlighting the topic of money and wealth. Again, this was an issue that the Sussexes mentioned in their separation speech, citing a desire for financial independence.
What Next in 2021?
As the Sussexes await the birth of their second child, Harry enters a Second house profected year in September 2021, continuing the Saturn narrative. The Second house profected year is about not just wealth but also about resources and priorities. Saturn sits in the solar return Third house highlighting the brotherly connection which will again be part of the year’s narrative. It is in rulership in Aquarius and makes a very tight square to a Venus in Scorpio, in detriment in the Twelfth house. Again, the role of a woman or women in the brothers’ lives is emphasised.
Both brothers suffered the turmoil of their father and mother’s marriage breakdown and the tragic death of their mother, Diana. William’s tonic was to live up to his duty of being the heir to the throne after his father. His choice of woman supported this and in her turn, Kate has also worn the mantle of duty very well. Harry on the other hand has chosen love as his tonic to dealing with the pain and grief of the loss of his mother. Here is the heart of the brothers’ rift: love versus duty. Where duty has triumphed, love has moved abroad, just as it happened with his great-uncle Edward, Duke of Windsor. It is this that will continue to rankle within the Royal family as duty has always been such a focus. One could also say that with natal Saturn conjunct his MC, Harry has struggled with the expectations and burdens of his role within the Royal family. Where William’s role is straightforward with the Crown as his focus, Harry has had to fashion a role straddling the fine line of expectation versus personal endeavour.
In 2021, I believe this will certainly come to the fore again with the role of both wives highlighted as well as the spectre of Diana. Harry’s Capricorn Ascendant falls into the 2021 solar return’s Second house conjunct the solar return Moon, raising the natal issues of wealth, resources and priorities as well as providing another testimony to the prominence of women and female figures at this time. Conversely, the solar return Ascendant at 22 Sagittarius sits in the natal Twelfth house showing Harry’s focus is on fears, anxieties and hidden matters. It is interesting to see his involvement in a docu-series on mental health, The Me You Can’t See where he has been opening up on the anger, resentment and panic attacks he has suffered as a consequence of his mother’s tragic death. This coupled with the over-arching Moon firdaria makes this narrative even more compelling. It has been said that William is anxious about how many more ‘truth bombs’ Harry will unleash, showing that the brotherly bond is still fraught and fragile.
Harry will have the third hit of transiting Saturn squaring the Saturn-MC conjunction as well as squaring the natal Moon. We will see the love versus duty narrative continue to evolve and define this period. Transiting Uranus will also continue its opposition to natal Saturn and eventual conjunction of the natal IC. The period between March and August of 2022 will be critical as these transits peak and bring to a head the lunar and saturnian matters that have been percolating over the last three years. The love versus duty theme will come to a head and it will be very interesting to see the role that the women play.
5 June 2021
[ii] Natalie Finn, Inside the Biggest Royal Scandal Ever: How King Edward VIII's Explosive Affair With Wallis Simpson Changed the Course of History. Source: https://www.eonline.com/au/news/900036/inside-the-biggest-royal-scandal-ever-how-king-edward-viii-s-explosive-affair-with-wallis-simpson-changed-the-course-of-history Accessed: 28/4/21 [iii] Edward’s abdication speech articulated his reason for giving up the throne: “… I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love….”
[iv] Robert Lacey. Harry and Meghan Are Right, and Will Help Future ‘Royal Spares’. 28 Feb 2020. Source: https://www.robertlacey.com/2020/02/28/harry-and-meghan-are-right-and-will-help-future-royal-spares Accessed: 6/05/21.
[v]NBC News https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/meghan-harry-s-oprah-interview-revealed-cultural-divide-between-u-n1261275 Accessed: 21/5/21.