Why we should all care that 'Yankee Wally' was yanked off You Tube
This week, a small YouTube channel with 47,000 subscribers, Yankee Wally, disappeared. Several years of videos are gone. Most people, most readers here, probably never heard of this channel. But this should concern us all. This was an attack on freedom of speech, the necessary freedom to criticize those with power, privilege, money, and fame, or to express simple disgust towards a public figure. This small YouTube channel covered matters of significance to the United Kingdom, specifically the line of succession. These are not insignificant issues for U.K. subjects, and there are reasons for skepticism about recent births connected to the royal family.
Yankee Wally was the work of Sadie Quinlan, a Welsh pensioner with a colorful life history, a small flat, and a couple of cats. She's not shy about criticizing minor royal Prince Henry (AKA Harry) and his aging, former D-list cable actress and American citizen wife, Meghan Markle. Occasionally, Sadie joked that if they visit the U.K., she has enough money for a ticket to London and rotting tomatoes to express her opinion of the couple. Lobbing rotten fruit is a time-honored way the English public shows disapproval. This public expression was aided by the government immobilizing criminals in the stocks or pillory, where overripe produce was an expected part of the punishment.
All a rotten tomato can hurt is an ego. Although Meghan fans characterize Yankee Wally as a "one topic hate account," Sadie's topics included her dental adventures, cats, neighbors, daughter, love of the queen, and tips for making meals of prepackaged foods.
Just before Yankee Wally vanished, BuzzFeed published "Meghan Markle's Biggest Troll is her Half Sister Samantha." Partway down, the focus abruptly shifts to Yankee Wally. Sadie and Samantha are depicted as diabolical allies determined to spread lies about Meghan. Ellie Hall tries her best to paint a picture of irrational hateful scheming. But these quotes from Sadie point to deeper concerns. "'I'm not a stalker. I don't want to see Harry and Meghan in my life. But at the same time, let's get them — those children — off the line of succession. Because they don't belong on it. They don't belong on it and it's wrong to put them on it,' she said. 'I am not going to accept those children of his as heirs to the throne. No way. No way on God's green earth will I ever accept that, because those children were born from surrogates." Sadie is also quoted as saying, "'So that's what would stop me,' she said. 'For Meghan to tell the truth, and the truth, the biggest lie, is the surrogacy.'"
A royal birth chamber was traditionally a crowded place. Considering the power and lifestyle enjoyed by monarchs' children, witnesses — lots of witnesses — were the best insurance against questions about birth details in pre-DNA times.
Modern British royal birth transparency efforts trace back to turmoil in 1688. King James II's wife, after several pregnancies and no live children, had a healthy son. Claims that the infant was smuggled into the queen's bedroom led to the scandal known as the Warming Pan Baby. This birth was followed by formal hearings, abdication, mother and baby fleeing England, and invasion.
In our time, royal infants, including William and Harry, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice and their kids, and William's three children, were shown to the world on the steps of the hospital where they had been born. Birth certificates were released and announcements displayed at the front of the palace. The dates of the christenings and the names of the six godparents of each child were announced in advance, and photos were published.
There's not enough room here for all the controversies surrounding Meghan and Harry, so this is just an overview of some controversies about the children.
News of Archie's June 6, 2019 birth included Meghan already being home from the hospital. His first birth certificate was issued on May 17, 2019, with an illegible signature of a "deputy" (the word is handwritten) registrar, above text certifying the document as a true copy. On June 5, 2019, according to the Mirror U.K., a revised birth certificate was issued, changing the mother's name from Rachel Meghan to Duchess of Sussex (a title, not a name, and legally, there's a difference). The names of his godparents are sealed. One brief video showed such a completely wrapped baby that photographers asked to see his face. Harry moved a tiny sliver of blanket, revealing a glimpse of cheek and one closed eye. A single photo was released after the christening.
The parents and palace didn't release Lilibet's birth certificate. They just announced that she was born in Santa Barbara County, California on June 4, 2021. Meanwhile, the California vital records online database shows no child born in California with first name Lilibet, last name Mountbatten, Wales, Windsor, or Markle, mother first name Rachel (Meghan's first name on her birth record, which is available on the website). I checked multiple times in the summer and fall of 2021 and today.
A serious question is whether Archie and Lilibet were carried by surrogates. Under U.K. law, no matter whose DNA is used, the woman who gestates the child is the legal mother, and surrogacy contracts are not binding. Children born of surrogacy, or adopted, are not eligible to inherit royal or aristocratic titles in the U.K. or be in the line of succession.
Those who removed Sadie's videos might have been hoping to thwart anyone seeking evidence to dispute the characterization of Yankee Wally as a "one topic hate account." But even the BuzzFeed story describes Sadie and Samantha investigating two children listed on the Royal Family Succession website. Succession is a serious matter, and researching it is not indicative of irrational hatred of an individual.
Americans haven't been ruled by anyone from the British line of succession for some time. So why should Americans care? There are several reasons. Harry came to America with Meghan, and he called our First Amendment "bonkers." They're actively campaigning to remove "misinformation" from the internet. Using the foreign, royal title "Duchess of Sussex" and private cell phone numbers allegedly provided to her by Kirsten Gillibrand, Meghan called women U.S. senators to lobby in favor of paid family leave. Her political ambitions are not limited to complaining and lobbying and may reach as far as Meghan Markle for president.
Even if Sadie posted nothing but pure negative emotions and no legitimate political questions, a citizen with ambitions to political power in America should be the first person to stick up for Sadie's right to say such things. The fact that Sadie's videos are more honestly described as questioning and frustrated than targeted hate makes the removal of her videos not only despicable but suspicious.
Photo credit: YouTube video screen grab (cropped).