An excellent piece in yesterday’s Telegraph by Celia Walden, Piers Morgan’s wife:
Do you hear that sound? That wincingly high-pitched lament drifting across the Atlantic all the way from LA? It’s the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, sitting on the terrace of their Beverly Hills mansion, playing the world’s smallest violins.
In the three and a half months the pair have been holed up in Tyler Perry’s $18 million villa, all we’ve heard are plaintive noises. Back in April the Prince’s primatologist friend Dr Jane Goodall admitted that Harry was “finding life a bit challenging right now.” Within weeks a royal expert had backed this up, claiming Harry was “struggling” and “at a loss, without any structure in his life.” There were more reports of Princely distress in June: according to Andy Tillett and Dylan Howard, authors of Royals At War: The Inside Story of Harry and Meghan’s Shocking Split With the House of Windsor, Harry was “secretly tortured” over his dramatic move away from the Royals, and “overwhelmed with guilt.”
With the Prince feeling “particularly down on William’s birthday on June 21”, as an insider claimed, and his wife Meghan “having gone very quiet” amidst the fallout of her best friend, Jessica Mulroney’s ‘white privilege scandal’, the couple were last week “struggling to cope.” And things don’t seem to be looking any sunnier in Megxit Mansion this week. According to royal author, Tom Quinn, who has spoken to a number of sources close to the couple, the Prince isn’t just “struggling” to find his “role” in LA, but struggling to find himself. Having been “swept up in Meghan’s positive energy”, Harry now simply feels “lost.” “Because he is now experiencing in America what Meghan was experiencing here,” says Quinn.
Meghan, Harry: you could have had it all. You didn’t even have to ‘play the game’ – an expression I know you both hate. You could have invented your own game. You could have hot-footed it to LA the day after the wedding, built a horrifically vulgar Sussex-Crested McMansion in Beverly Hills at the British taxpayer’s expense, and spent every Sunday guzzling lobster ceviche with George and Amal on the Nobu Malibu patio – without losing an ounce of national support. I know: I was in the grounds of Windsor Castle on the day you got married. I saw the tears of excitement in women’s eyes as they prepared to welcome this independent-minded, biracial glamazonian into The Firm, felt the force of royal adoration as you both took your vows.
You wouldn’t have had to be constrained by the same traditions as William and Kate. You could have diluted your royal duties down to the odd so-low-profile-it-has-to-be-heartfelt event and the royal calendar biggies – the weddings and christenings, along with Royal Maundy, the Christmas Day service and Commonwealth Day – where you could have turned up and had your picture taken before going back to your own lives. In fact there were only three things you needed to do in order to live the easier life you craved: honour and respect the Queen and Commonwealth, however distantly, avoid hypocrisy like Covid-19, and always, always behave with grace.
What you couldn’t do was turn your back on the Commonwealth – and then insult it. You couldn’t publicly take the Queen to task over “branding issues” in a manner of such Kardashian-like crassness that just reading your ‘Sussex Royal’ rhetoric made the country want to bathe in hand-sanitizer. You couldn’t guzzle lobster ceviche (with George, Amal, Oprah or whoever else you felt validated your importance in a city that’s built on schmooze) whilst mourning white privilege, or drive around Beverly Hills in a gas-guzzling six-litre engine SUV, whilst lecturing us about environmentalism. Do you see how that works?
Because here’s the funny thing about the British public: they may nit-pick over trivial mistakes, but they will always have your royal back. The love we feel for our monarchy isn’t far off the kind parents feel for their children; it takes a lot to prompt more than fond headshakes. I’d call it unconditional if it weren’t for Prince Andrew: that’s how much it takes to alienate us. So how did Prince Harry get it so stupendously wrong? How did he veer off such a straightforward path, at a time when the Royal Family are more purposeful, necessary and respected than ever – only to find himself “struggling”, “challenged”, “tortured” and “lost” in a stranger’s house and an even stranger city?
I suspect we know the answer to that question. [J4MB: Meghan is a feminist. Simples.] But until Prince Harry works it out for himself, those increasingly tremulous minor notes will keep drifting across the pond – and falling on deaf ears.
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