Prince Harry elevates whining to art form
Prince Harry keeps alerting the public to his money-making ambitions, and now he offers teaser build-ups to his pending "blockbuster memoir": it "promises to shake the monarchy to its core," according to the royal's close friend.
The royal's rich-person's drama appears to take on the spectacle of a prince in an imperial bubble when comparing his headlines to the world's tragedies: he's about to "lay bare his feelings toward Camilla," but the rest of the world seems far more concerned about Ukrainian families being blown to smithereens by the Russian military. There is also the matter of his 95-year-old grandmother — the queen — who was recently quarantined with COVID.
None of these issues has come between Prince Harry and his throwing stink bombs over the palace walls. He's now mired in a web of his own making by pocketing a whopping $20 million in a multi-part book deal with Penguin Random House. High-level gossip must be an integral part of the memoir to justify the price tag.
Decorum, decency, and respect for the crown — everyone knows that sort of thing isn't going to prompt readers to turn the book into a blockbuster bestseller. One can only guess at the queen's feelings. She's maintained an official silence. Keeping a stiff upper lip isn't merely a matter of public display, but a matter of retaining one's dignity.
"Gossip," she had warned her offspring, "was the lowest form of speech." Royal family members aren't naïve about the tidal wave of headlines about to drown them all in controversy, having experienced a dress rehearsal of Prince Harry's indiscretions in the infamous Oprah Winfrey interview.
The family "is very much not racist," was Prince William's rare response to a reporter whose question was referencing the interview. His brother had managed to tar the entire family with the same brush by mentioning a royal member who had speculated on what color Prince Harry's future progeny would be — given his racially mixed marriage.
The prince wasn't alone in wreaking havoc on reputations: his wife, Meghan Markle, was by his side.
Oprah's titillating preamble promised viewers: "There is no subject off limits." But millions of viewers in England were perplexed by the interview dissolving into a two-hour "whine-a-thon" and equally confused as to why the couple were complaining.
Perhaps the memoir will expound on those "shocking disclosures": Meghan rattled on about how Kate, her sister-in-law, made her cry over the flower girl dresses (not the other way around, as reported); she expected more guidance from the palace (although she was assigned the queen's favorite assistant and household staff); and the duchess complained the family "even took her passport," despite her freedom to gallivant around the world, including numerous trips for vacations, visits to African nations, and even a quick jaunt to celebrate her baby shower in New York (to the tune of 300,000 pounds).
Meghan didn't want to appear unfair, and she disclosed in the interview that Kate had "owned" her behavior and sent her flowers in the form of an apology. Such trifles seemed to hold a paramount importance in the duchess's life — even as her father-in-law, Prince Philip, lay dying in the hospital and the world was engulfed in a viral pandemic claiming millions of lives.
There are now rumors that Prince Harry hopes to make his way back into the Royal Family once the crown is passed to a "modernizer": his father. It would be wrong to credit Harry with making public such a ghoulish thought of sidestepping his grandmother's original ruling on the subject, especially while she is still alive.
And it's unlikely Prince Harry will be an honored guest at the coronation once he "lays bare his feelings" toward his father's wife. His chances, and his wife's prospects, of being welcomed back into the royal household grow dimmer with each mounting controversy: Meghan is now the target of a lawsuit filed by her half-sister, Samantha Markle, who alleges that the royal made false statements that reflect badly on the family, and Harry appears downright tone-deaf, advising firms to "give everyone (employees) time to focus on themselves" in the midst of an economic pandemic crisis.
Those benefiting most from every misstep made by the duke and duchess of Sussex are the English tabloid media. Ironically Prince Harry makes his disdain well known for the English tabloids, but he continues to feed the prurient interest of the public.
If a lesson is to be learned, Prince Charles — who engaged in an ugly divorce spectacle from Princess Diana — could teach his son that nothing is to be gained from taking a family squabble into a public arena.
Humiliating a member of the family in public? In the words of the queen: "It just isn't done."
Image: DoD News Features.