Another gem from Celia Walden, in yesterday’s Telegraph:
Since moving to America, it’s become obvious that the Duke of Sussex needs to re-familiarise himself with the concept of national pride
I’m going to give Prince Harry some PR advice. And it’s the best he’s ever going to get. It doesn’t necessitate lengthy conference Zooms or complex ‘communications strategy’ spreadsheets – complete with popularity flowcharts – and, unlike the advice he will have been paying through the nose for from the team of Hollywood supremos responsible for rebranding the exposure of Janet Jackson’s right breast at the 2004 Super Bowl (from “nipplegate” to “a wardrobe malfunction”), it has the bonus of being free.
Harry: stop talking. Pipe down. Quit chattering. Put a sock in it. Shush.
It shouldn’t be hard for the Discontented Duke to stick to this gagging order. After all, it was freedom of speech Harry was criticising when he made his own “boob” on actor Dax Shepard’s podcast last Thursday. Oh, and one of America’s founding principles. But let’s not get bogged down by any small print dating back to 1791.
It was while on a brief break from the public bashing of his own father (and, implicitly, his grandparents) that Harry apparently got confused about the First Amendment that protects basic US freedoms including freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble, and the right to petition the government.
“I’ve got so much I want to say about the First Amendment as I sort of understand it, but it is bonkers,” he said during the podcast aptly entitled Armchair Expert last week. “I don’t want to start going down the First Amendment route, because that’s a huge subject,” he maintained with a commendable if, by that point, entirely redundant caution, “and one which I don’t understand because I’ve only been here a short time, but you can find a loophole in anything.”
If you listen hard enough here, you can actually hear the dull thud of Harry’s old Eton history master’s forehead against plasterboard. And that thwacking sound? That’s Meghan giving her well-meaning husband a handbagging with her Burberry Baby Bridle: “Not the Constitution, Haz – never the Constitution!”
But there’s more royal wisdom where that came from. “You can capitalise or exploit what’s not said,” he muses, “rather than uphold what is said.” The backlash was swift and brutal. Americans are funny like that. They’re as fond of their founding principles and freedoms as we are of our similarly archaic monarchy. Just imagine if an American came over here and trashed the Royal family. Wait – that’s right. We don’t have to. And what with the ink on Harry’s passport stamp still drying, a storm of strongly worded suggestions ensued. If the prince doesn’t like it in The Land of the Free, perhaps he should head back home?
“Don’t let the doorknob hit you, Windsor,” tweeted Fox News TV host Laura Ingraham on Sunday. “This is why July 4th is referred to as Losers Day in your homeland,” added Managing Editor of the Washington Examiner, Jay Caruso. “Prince Harry attacking America’s First Amendment tells you everything you need to know,” chimed in veteran Navy Intelligence officer Jack Posobiec, as incensed fellow Americans piled in.
“His family is one of the world’s largest welfare recipients [sovereign grants] of all time with no real jobs and no set policy, which he benefited from for years. That is bonkers.” And while one threatened to fly over to Ginge and Cringe’s Santa Barbara mansion and “dump a box of Tetley in his pool if he keeps running his mouth like this”, another reasoned that: “Well, here in America, he has the right to say stupid things.”
Lucky for Harry he has that right. Because thanks to a dangerous combination of entitlement and fatuousness, those stupid things are likely to keep on coming. They have to now, don’t they? It’ll be in the multi-million-dollar contracts drawn up with Netflix and Spotify (incidentally, though not coincidentally, the floggers of Shepard’s podcast), and the glittering partnerships forged with the likes of Procter & Gamble that Harry needs to keep up the claptrap – let it all hang out.
And one wonders how long it will take to percolate that the demands made by these companies and organisations will be more onerous and exploitative than any once made by The Firm. Well done you for getting out of opening yet another bridge in Chester! Now if you could please detail your most intimate struggles to 60 million people in a singing-and-dancing cabaret of grief, that would be great.
If I’ve learned anything from living in the US for over a decade, it’s this: Americans are among the most welcoming people you will ever meet. They will take you in, relish your charming British idiosyncrasies and let you start afresh, if that’s what you need. But beneath that unparalleled generosity of spirit, one thing powers them more than any other – and while Prince Harry’s researching his adoptive country’s founding principles, he might want to re-familiarise himself with the concept of national pride.
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