Harry and Meghan: polarising a nation

Harry and Meghan hit the headlines again and once more it wasn’t for the ‘right’ reasons. This time they are polarising opinion, and not just in Britain.

Back in July I wrote about Meghan and at that time I was sympathetic to her plight. I posed the question “Are her friends doing her a disservice?”.

Now the situation is very different. What has happened to change my opinion?

The Public

As the months have gone by Meghan has come across as a bit of a prima-donna. Air-fresheners in an ancient edifice; insisting that no photographs of her at Wimbledon were to be taken by members of the public. Reports from her staff complaining she was overly demanding / critical.

People at Wimbledon didn’t even realise she was there until she got security to speak to those near her; one chap who was singled out was taking a selfie.

The Press

There have been repeated complaints by both Harry and Meghan about the intrusiveness of the press. She has gone so far as to sue a newspaper for publishing a letter she wrote to her father. It is being said that the press (and the British public) are racist and misogynistic in their attitude toward her.

The press has been no more intrusive with them as they have been with anyone else. They are members of the Royal Family and, in effect, ‘public property’. Harry had no choice, Meghan did. There was no way she could have had no notion of what it would be like. Even a little research would have helped. She wasn’t exactly playing house with the boy down the block.

As for other newbies, Kate Middleton had a similar experience – more so in fact as she was the potential ‘Queen of England’. The story of Diana is well-documented. And as for the accusations of racism? How does that stack up with the treatment of Kate and Diana?

Lastly, the letter. Her father offered it to the newspaper. Enough said.

The Royal Family

There has been a comment, “They want their cake and eat it.”
I can’t help but agree.

Spend only half the year in Britain. Keep Frogmore Cottage as their home here. What about the upkeep of an ‘empty’ property? What about staff?

Refurbishments to Frogmore Cottage took place less than a year ago. The costs were in the millions. Of taxpayers’ money. They had deep discussions about living out of Britain months ago. Was there no overlap? Did they never think it was a huge expense for a place they didn’t want as a permanent home? Or exactly who would foot the bill?

Step back from being ‘Senior Royals’. Make their own way in the world. Become financially independent.
Until then, live at the taxpayers’ expense. The taxpayers in a country they have rejected as their permanent home. And be heavily subsidised by Harry’s father.

Final insult? Not discussing it with the people who matter. The people who are not only Harry’s father, brother, and grandmother, but the Queen, and two future kings. It is not surprising that they are all upset and disappointed – not as family, not as members of the same ‘firm’, but as monarchs.

I accept that people outside Britain will very possibly be in support of what the Sussexes have decided. But I do wonder if they would feel the same if it was their tax that was being squandered. If it was their Royal Family (or equivalent) that was being ridden roughshod over.
And now the republicans here are boldly stepping out of the woodwork to ask ‘do we need the Royal Family?’.

I shall come clean. I am a monarchist. I love the very notion of having the Queen on the throne. But I’m not blinkered. I prefer the feistiness of the Princess Royal and Prince Philip to the fustiness of Prince Charles. I prefer the WYSIWYG of Camilla to the two-faced simpering of Diana. I like strong individuals. But I abhor people who are so self-satisfied that they think it their right to, in effect, just take the piss! And the sympathy vote. And the money.
And what do I feel about Harry? I honestly feel sorry for him. And this is when I do lay the blame at the feet of his family. It has little to do with his age when his mother died. It has all to do with his personality. He couldn’t cope with his emotions. This led to the trauma, feelings of persecution, paranoia, call it how you will. He needed, and still needs, bereavement counselling.

Unusually for me I’ve made some pretty contentious comments. But I have been riled by the reports and tweets I’ve read that are so critical of the press and the public in Britain.
People who live in glass houses … ” comes to mind.

Hopefully both sides will come to an amicable arrangement. The rest of us will have to wait and see.
If you have thoughts on this matter please share them. Join the conversation in what could be one of the ground-breaking events of this year. Thank you for reading.