In Royal Family Drama, Harry and Meghan Look Worse and Worse

As the drama of Harry and Meghan unfolds, it becomes ever clearer that Harry is a figure not of tragedy, but of self-interested hypocrisy.  The prince is not only dull, but the cause of dullness in others, more a figure of betrayal than of sacrifice.

The psycho-drama of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is one of spoiled individuals shedding crocodile tears over their fate.  In his final speech on January 18, 2020 in London, Harry delivered what was in essence an address about himself, mentioning as always the impact of his mother Diana on him but never mentioning his father, Prince Charles, who has been financing him. 

Eighty years ago, King Edward VIII explained his abdication by saying he could not be king without the support of the woman he loved.  In similar fashion, Prince Harry explained why he was "giving it up" for the woman he loved.  But unlike the consequent action of King Edward in leaving the country, it is not clear that Harry is as direct and straightforward.  Harry said, "What I want to make clear is we're not walking away.  We both do everything we can to fly the flag and carry out our roles for this country with pride.  The U.K. is my home and a place that I love.  That will never change."  However, he did walk away and immediately left for Vancouver Island, where Meghan is residing with son Archie, accompanied on the flight from London by at least three Met protection officers.

Harry defended himself: "I haven't always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option."  But in fact there were a number of other options: at one extreme, fulfilling royal obligations in a life to which he was born, and at the other retiring completely from public life and becoming a private citizen.  His chosen option is to have his cake and eat it, retention of some privilege and continuation of financial support, at least from his father for at least a year, without fulfillment of official obligations or military duties.

For her part, Meghan, still formally duchess of Sussex, issued a bizarre, curious statement, saying quitting the royal family was the best thing that could ever happen to Harry.  In the royal family, his spirit, and hers, was being crushed.  Her love for him made their new life possible.

For a long time, Harry has played the Diana card.  Meghan seems to be doing that with son Archie.  Meghan, presumably referring to Buckingham Palace, said she did not want Archie around such a "toxic environment," one where she can barely breathe.  Moreover, she confessed she cannot be the best mother to Archie if she is not her true, authentic self.  That self is not defined, but to outsiders, she is an elitist snob, happiest with Hollywood royalty, not a social justice warrior.  She has no immediate desire to move out of the $14-million mansion in Vancouver Island she has been lent.  She and Harry do not intend to change their website or Instagram name.  She can now do as she pleases without asking permission.  Not the least important is that the Sussex pair they will keep their royal titles, though they cannot use His or Her Royal Highness in public or for commercial use.  Nor can they officially represent the queen at events.

One of the disconcerting features of the actions of the Sussex couple is their criticism of, even war on, the media.  Harry and Meghan appear to believe in a vendetta by the media against them, suggesting they can make a living by suing the media.  Meghan lodged claims against the Daily Mail alleging breach of copyright, invasion of privacy, and misuse of personal data after the Mail published excerpts from a letter she sent to her father complaining about his treatment of her.  Harry sued a number of papers — The Mirror, The Sun — regarding claims that evidence of misconduct involving phone hacking had been concealed and destroyed.  In 2019, they got substantial damages from an agency that took aerial photos of their Cotswold home, forcing them to leave it.

On January 20, 2020, Harry said he wanted to stop the TV series The Crown before the plot can feature him and Meghan.  The latest photo on January 21, 2020 is of Meghan strolling in a park in Vancouver Island with her son and two dogs, accompanied by two bodyguards, one British, one Canadian.  In the photos, Meghan was smiling and seemingly at ease.  However, the couple are threatening to take legal action over the photos, saying they were taken without her consent and were an invasion of privacy.

In all, the Sussex couple have six protectors, three British and three from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  It is still not clear who will pay for the 3-million-pound security arrangements.  A recent poll in Canada reports that 73% of Canadians polled, 80,000, did not want their government to pay for the security. 

What to do?  The ex-royal couple can engage in movie and TV production, Meghan can resume her acting career, they can start a for-profit business, and they can be involved in major charity.  However, there is no inner conflict between patriotic duty and service to the nation on the one hand and desire for a less constrained life on the other.  The Sussexes want and claim privacy, but they are a celebrity couple.  They have spoken of their need for emotional support, but they have shown little or no concern for their own families.  They are annoyed at the press but have no understanding of the free speech media.  Perhaps they are imitating Diana, who was critical of but not naïve about the press and used it to her advantage, as shown in her famous dance with John Travolta. 

It may be some consolation that members of the British and other royal families have had financial problems of their own.  It was recently revealed that Crown Prince Frederick and Princess Mary of Denmark have owned a secret ski lodge in Verbier, Switzerland and rent it out for a substantial fee. 

In the British family, Peter Philips, aged 42, son of Princess Anne, 15th in line to the throne and known for his expansive lifestyle, advertises on Chinese TV milk from a state-owned dairy farm.  He is accused of blatant trading.  In the ads, he uses a replica of the Queen's coach, saying the words, "I love to drink Jersey milk.  It is a privilege to represent Bright Dairies in the project to bring Jersey milk to China."  He never had HRH status but has been scrutinized for the way he makes money.  Peter got 500,000 pounds from Hello Magazine for covering his wedding; he is involved in a number of businesses, including entertainment and sports companies.  He is interested in launching a horse-racing private member club in Hong Kong. 

It is saddening to dwell on the continuing behavior of Sussex.  In their new life, they may do well to recall the words of Machiavelli in The Prince: "We must bear in mind that nothing is more difficult to set up, more likely to fail and more dangerous to manage than a new system."

Image: Mark Jones via Flickr.

As the drama of Harry and Meghan unfolds, it becomes ever clearer that Harry is a figure not of tragedy, but of self-interested hypocrisy.  The prince is not only dull, but the cause of dullness in others, more a figure of betrayal than of sacrifice.

The psycho-drama of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is one of spoiled individuals shedding crocodile tears over their fate.  In his final speech on January 18, 2020 in London, Harry delivered what was in essence an address about himself, mentioning as always the impact of his mother Diana on him but never mentioning his father, Prince Charles, who has been financing him. 

Eighty years ago, King Edward VIII explained his abdication by saying he could not be king without the support of the woman he loved.  In similar fashion, Prince Harry explained why he was "giving it up" for the woman he loved.  But unlike the consequent action of King Edward in leaving the country, it is not clear that Harry is as direct and straightforward.  Harry said, "What I want to make clear is we're not walking away.  We both do everything we can to fly the flag and carry out our roles for this country with pride.  The U.K. is my home and a place that I love.  That will never change."  However, he did walk away and immediately left for Vancouver Island, where Meghan is residing with son Archie, accompanied on the flight from London by at least three Met protection officers.

Harry defended himself: "I haven't always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option."  But in fact there were a number of other options: at one extreme, fulfilling royal obligations in a life to which he was born, and at the other retiring completely from public life and becoming a private citizen.  His chosen option is to have his cake and eat it, retention of some privilege and continuation of financial support, at least from his father for at least a year, without fulfillment of official obligations or military duties.

For her part, Meghan, still formally duchess of Sussex, issued a bizarre, curious statement, saying quitting the royal family was the best thing that could ever happen to Harry.  In the royal family, his spirit, and hers, was being crushed.  Her love for him made their new life possible.

For a long time, Harry has played the Diana card.  Meghan seems to be doing that with son Archie.  Meghan, presumably referring to Buckingham Palace, said she did not want Archie around such a "toxic environment," one where she can barely breathe.  Moreover, she confessed she cannot be the best mother to Archie if she is not her true, authentic self.  That self is not defined, but to outsiders, she is an elitist snob, happiest with Hollywood royalty, not a social justice warrior.  She has no immediate desire to move out of the $14-million mansion in Vancouver Island she has been lent.  She and Harry do not intend to change their website or Instagram name.  She can now do as she pleases without asking permission.  Not the least important is that the Sussex pair they will keep their royal titles, though they cannot use His or Her Royal Highness in public or for commercial use.  Nor can they officially represent the queen at events.

One of the disconcerting features of the actions of the Sussex couple is their criticism of, even war on, the media.  Harry and Meghan appear to believe in a vendetta by the media against them, suggesting they can make a living by suing the media.  Meghan lodged claims against the Daily Mail alleging breach of copyright, invasion of privacy, and misuse of personal data after the Mail published excerpts from a letter she sent to her father complaining about his treatment of her.  Harry sued a number of papers — The Mirror, The Sun — regarding claims that evidence of misconduct involving phone hacking had been concealed and destroyed.  In 2019, they got substantial damages from an agency that took aerial photos of their Cotswold home, forcing them to leave it.

On January 20, 2020, Harry said he wanted to stop the TV series The Crown before the plot can feature him and Meghan.  The latest photo on January 21, 2020 is of Meghan strolling in a park in Vancouver Island with her son and two dogs, accompanied by two bodyguards, one British, one Canadian.  In the photos, Meghan was smiling and seemingly at ease.  However, the couple are threatening to take legal action over the photos, saying they were taken without her consent and were an invasion of privacy.

In all, the Sussex couple have six protectors, three British and three from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  It is still not clear who will pay for the 3-million-pound security arrangements.  A recent poll in Canada reports that 73% of Canadians polled, 80,000, did not want their government to pay for the security. 

What to do?  The ex-royal couple can engage in movie and TV production, Meghan can resume her acting career, they can start a for-profit business, and they can be involved in major charity.  However, there is no inner conflict between patriotic duty and service to the nation on the one hand and desire for a less constrained life on the other.  The Sussexes want and claim privacy, but they are a celebrity couple.  They have spoken of their need for emotional support, but they have shown little or no concern for their own families.  They are annoyed at the press but have no understanding of the free speech media.  Perhaps they are imitating Diana, who was critical of but not naïve about the press and used it to her advantage, as shown in her famous dance with John Travolta. 

It may be some consolation that members of the British and other royal families have had financial problems of their own.  It was recently revealed that Crown Prince Frederick and Princess Mary of Denmark have owned a secret ski lodge in Verbier, Switzerland and rent it out for a substantial fee. 

In the British family, Peter Philips, aged 42, son of Princess Anne, 15th in line to the throne and known for his expansive lifestyle, advertises on Chinese TV milk from a state-owned dairy farm.  He is accused of blatant trading.  In the ads, he uses a replica of the Queen's coach, saying the words, "I love to drink Jersey milk.  It is a privilege to represent Bright Dairies in the project to bring Jersey milk to China."  He never had HRH status but has been scrutinized for the way he makes money.  Peter got 500,000 pounds from Hello Magazine for covering his wedding; he is involved in a number of businesses, including entertainment and sports companies.  He is interested in launching a horse-racing private member club in Hong Kong. 

It is saddening to dwell on the continuing behavior of Sussex.  In their new life, they may do well to recall the words of Machiavelli in The Prince: "We must bear in mind that nothing is more difficult to set up, more likely to fail and more dangerous to manage than a new system."

Image: Mark Jones via Flickr.