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Last week, the United Kingdom saw three significant developments curbing freedom of expression.

This post explores the first incident.

On the morning of Monday, March 8, 2021, the nation received snippets of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex interview with Oprah Winfrey.

ITV broadcast the interview in full that evening.

ITV is also home to Good Morning Britain (GMB), the rival programme to BBC Breakfast.

Until last week, Piers Morgan was a co-host on the show with Susanna Reid. Weatherman Alex Beresford also sits down to join in the conversation.

ITV recruited Piers several years ago to help prop up the show’s sagging ratings. The strategy worked. Regardless of what one thinks of him, he is a polemicist sans pareil.

On September 25, 2019, the show welcomed then-MP Rory Stewart (Conservative) to talk about the court case against Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament and Brexit. It was a dismal time for the Government.

Piers noted that Stewart had won the award from GQ: Politician of the Year.

The Express reported (emphases mine below):

“You’ve had the old GQ curse,” Morgan added. “Because I was made GQ’s Editor of the Year and later GQ’s TV Personality of the Year, both cases I lost my job that I got it for within several months.

Rory Stewart became confused and walked off the set, by mistake. For whatever reason, he thought the interview was over.

However, although Piers Morgan’s remark was blunt, it ended up being true. Not only did Stewart not stand for re-election in December 2019, he also packed in his campaign to run for Mayor of London in 2020.

On November 18, Morgan rightly took issue with Prince Andrew’s interview with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis. The Express reported about Morgan’s tweet, which read:

“Brilliant forensic dissection by @maitlis – desperate, toe-curling bulls*** from Prince Andrew.

“Why on earth did he do this? Insane.”

Morgan is known for his continuous tweeting. One wonders how he manages to find time to do anything else.

On Friday, December 13, there was a right royal row on GMB after Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour lost in the worst drubbing since 1935. I watched this and it was magic. The Conservative pundit Iain Dale, who was part of the mostly female panel, actually walked off the set. This was pure ratings heaven, partly thanks to Piers Morgan:

The Sun has more about Morgan’s scathing views of Labour and celebrity Remainers from that day.

Here’s one of his tweets, which, like it or not, is spot on:

In 2020, just after the New Year, the Sussexes announced they would be pursuing their life together away from the Royal Family.

Morgan tweeted furiously on January 8, replying to cricketer Kevin Pietersen:

He tweeted about their announcement, his dislike of the Duchess, his disappointment in the Duke, the couple’s hypocrisy, their media rules, the shabby way they treated the Queen and his criticism of people who know nothing about the Royal Family.

The following day, Morgan wrote a column for the Daily Mail railing against the couple. The newly elected Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis was so taken aback that he invited the Duchess to his constituency of Stoke-on-Trent North to see the sights:

Guido Fawkes has more on the story.

By the middle of January 2020, the couple were living in Canada. Piers’s column for the Daily Mail on January 15 criticised the Duchess for visiting a homeless women’s shelter. He tweeted like mad that day, too.

The Mail promoted his article:

One week later, Morgan and weatherman Alex Beresford had a discussion about the backlash against the Duchess. Both points of view are understandable, but you can see Morgan’s skill as a polemicist in play, thanks to his long background as a journalist and tabloid editor:

The perspectives in that exchange resurfaced in March 2021.

On Monday, March 8, before the interview was aired, GMB had ITV’s royal correspondent Chris Ship on to discuss the snippets that had appeared so far from Oprah’s interview broadcast in the US on Sunday:

Already, there were calls for Piers to go:

Tuesday, March 9, proved to be the final straw. Here he is with Alex Beresford discussing the interview which ITV had aired the night before. Piers had enough and walked off:

He later returned to finish the show:

Remember that a big part of a polemicist’s role is to attract attention. In the case of GMB, Morgan was after ratings. He was not wrong.

Like it or not, his strategy worked:

Hours later, he and ITV agreed he should leave GMB (more here):

Here is a short version from the Daily Mirror‘s Showbiz Editor Mark Jefferies:

The next day, Chris Ship tweeted that the Duchess had complained about Morgan’s polemics:

In his farewell tweet to his colleagues, Morgan mentioned ratings. Job done!

A lot of people seriously dislike Piers Morgan. I am in complete disagreement with his support of the Government’s coronavirus damaging strategy. Americans dislike him for his views on gun control. Millions of Britons are angry with him about his views on the Sussexes.

However, there is something important for us to bear in mind, in Piers Morgan’s own words:

We have to get comfortable talking about the uncomfortable.

I fully agree. We used to be able to have civilised debates on television. Sadly, we have lost the ‘lively art of conversation’, as the late Chicago talk show host Irv Kupcinet used to say.

In closing, Piers Morgan encouraged the participation of his son in last summer’s protests and tweeted about it at the time.

So, rather than censor, let’s have the maturity to discuss and listen to all points of view, few of which are as binary as censors — official or unofficial — like to claim.

On Thursday, January 16, 2020, the BBC’s Question Time (QT) had an unusual guest: an actor.

He was no ordinary actor, as the presenter, panel and live audience were to discover.

Laurence Fox, co-star of the popular Detective Morse-spin-off series Lewis, spoke his mind cogently and calmly.

What he said was controversial to half the people who heard it and common sense to the other half.

Guido Fawkes promptly posted Fox’s ‘best of’ moments early Friday morning (emphasis in the original):

Few knew who Laurence Fox was before last night’s Question Time appearance. After this barnstorming performance Guido reckons his appearances will be more keenly anticipated.

Most viewers would make time to watch QT were Fox on it again. However, unlike Guido, I doubt whether he will be invited again. Although his views are centrist, that’s too balanced for the programme, known for its overwhelmingly left-wing panel and presenter (Fiona Bruce) as well as the blunt, emotional discussions, if one can call them that.

No one with any common sense watches QT unless there’s someone on they want to see. I only watched the programme in full after seeing Guido’s post.

This was one of the best QTs ever, because of Fox.

One wonders if the programme researcher who booked him still has a job. I hope so, because ratings on the online replays of the show must have gone through the roof over the past week.

This is what Spiked‘s columnist, Patrick West, wrote about the actor only a few weeks ago in November 2019 (emphases mine below):

We need more Laurence Foxes

Most intelligent grownups don’t pay attention to the political opinions of actors. The film Team America summed it up. Their opinions are usually shallow and conformist. Not so the actor Laurence Fox.

He is decidedly un-luvvie in his opinions and pastimes. The Lewis actor told The Sunday Times the other week that he recently walked around south London in a MAGA hat. He’s fine about multiracialism, but hates multiculturalism: ‘You have to be a Somewhere person. If you’re in England, be English.’

He openly doesn’t hate Donald Trump. He doesn’t think there should be 50-50 gender quotas for scriptwriters at RADA. He calls his fellow thesps ‘hypocrites’ for supporting Extinction Rebellion while leading ‘high-carbon lives’. He is irked most by today’s culture of conformity. ‘Our parents taught us to think for ourselves and then stayed out of the way. Now our kids turn up with a preconceived idea which they’re getting from school.’

Research by King’s College London’s privacy institute published last month showed that young people today had much more liberal views on soft drugs, homosexuality and abortion than they did 20 years ago

This is the great paradox of our day: young people are more tolerant than they used to be, except towards those who question the consensus.

You can see an interview here from December 1 in which he describes his MAGA hat experience in London and the Trump Derangement Syndrome he received:

This is the full 27-minute interview:

The Telegraph‘s Madeline Grant was also on the QT panel last Thursday. She wrote about it on Friday morning, including a clip of the show when the Sussexes departure from the Royal Family was discussed:

The woman attempting to take Fox on over his views on the topic turned out to be a BBC plant, a lecturer at Edge Hill University (a former teacher training college):

Now on to Madeline Grant’s article, most of which lies behind a paywall:

To say I was in a state of panic on the way to Liverpool for my maiden Question Time outing on Thursday would be an understatement. I imagined vomiting onstage, trying to speak and croaking, wardrobe malfunctions, furious audience members throwing tomatoes, and more. I considered pulling a sickie or emigrating.

Yet the experience defied my expectations; with a rare Right-leaning panel, a terrific audience posing intelligent questions, a generally polite and enjoyable conversation without the point-scoring tedium that often accompanies such shows.

Perhaps the most astonishing revelation, however – the needle in the haystack, the flying pig, the blue moon – was the presence of a non-woke actor on the panel. My new friend Laurence Fox, who perfectly captured public resentment of stifling identity politics and the culture of permanent offence. He skewered the hypocrisies of pontificating celebrities and disconnected politicians. And, like Ricky Gervais’s tirade against the Hollywood elite at the Golden Globes, his words found a receptive audience

The aforementioned lecturer, Rachel Boyle, accused Fox of being ‘privileged’ in his comments about the Duchess of Sussex. The Telegraph‘s Jamie Johnson wrote an article, free to view, which recapped some of what the actor said:

Responding to a claim from an audience member that the media’s treatment of Meghan amounted to “racism”, Mr Fox responded: “It’s not racism… we’re the most tolerant, lovely country in Europe.

“It’s so easy to throw the charge of racism and it’s really starting to get boring now,” he continued.

The audience member then described Fox as a “white, privileged male”, to which he responded: “I can’t help what I am, I was born like this, it was an immutable characteristic.

“To call me a white privileged male is to be racist,” he claimed.

You can read an analysis of Boyle and QT here. She tweeted on Saturday, January 18, and got a number of pro and con responses, including this one:

Fox believes that the media turned on the Sussexes when they decided they did not want to put in the hard work as Royals yet still get paid a salary:

Further discussing Meghan and Harry’s decision to quit as senior royals, he told host Fiona Bruce: “When you’re younger you do want to make a life for yourselves.

“So I do empathise with them, but I do think there’s a little bit of having your cake and eating it which I don’t enjoy.”

Absolutely! The more one reflects on this, the more one can see the British public’s indignation at the indirect insinuation by the Sussexes that we’re just not good enough for them. They cannot bear the idea of pressing our oh-so-common flesh on a regular basis. They’re far too good for the likes of us. What snobs.

Returning to QT, the first of Fox’s brilliant comments came on the subject of climate change and frequent flights. He willingly admitted to flying a lot:

Joking about the hypocrisy of celebrities who fly regularly, Fox said: “The carbon footprint’s huge.

But we make up for it by preaching to everyone how they should change their life.”

Yes! (Looking at you, Sussexes — along with dozens of others!)

Fox received lots of praise from QT viewers:

The Mail on Sunday has more reactions from Twitter on Fox’s views as expressed on QT.

In this interview with journalist and polemicist James Delingpole from January 16, Fox discusses his attitude towards dating:

The aforementioned Mail on Sunday article reported some of what Fox, 41, said on the topic:

Laurence Fox has revealed he once broke up with a girlfriend because she liked a pro-#MeToo TV advert

The actor, 41, told his ex-lover: ‘Bye. Sorry I can’t do this with you,’ after she praised Gillette for their TV campaign on ‘toxic masculinity’

He also said he no longer dates women under 35 as they are ‘too woke’ and most of them are ‘absolutely bonkers’

The controversial Gillette advert subverted the razor brand’s famous ‘The Best A Man Can Get’ slogan by challenging traditional views of what it means to be a successful man. 

It featured news clips of reporting on the #MeToo movement, as well as images showing sexism in films, in boardrooms, and of violence between boys. 

In an interview with the Delingpod podcast, Mr Fox, who has two children with actress Billie Piper, 37, said of his Gillette argument: ‘I don’t know how we ended up together. It was a very short relationship

‘We were walking down the road together and she was talking about how good the Gillette advert was. I just looked at her and went, ‘Bye. Sorry I can’t do this with you.’

It is not clear which former girlfriend Mr Fox was referring to.  

He told the podcast that before his current relationship began, he was put off dating women under 35 because they are ‘primed to believe they are victims’

Mr Fox’s previous girlfriends include DJ Lilah Parsons, Sky Sports News presenter Kirsty Gallcher, 43, and Vogue Williams, 34. 

Asked what his former flame would think about him sharing the unusual reason for their break-up he told the podcast: ‘She will probably sit there and say, ‘See I told you he was patriarchal. He’s abusing me and I’m offended.’  

That same day, Fox gave an interview to Spiked’s Brendan O’Neill, an ex-leftist who is now centrist and/or libertarian. This is a good discussion, just a little over an hour long. O’Neill clearly agrees with Fox:

Fox said, among other things, that he was very grateful that people were beginning to be more open about their views in the face of political correctness. As a result, he believes the tide is beginning to turn.

Millions of us are grateful to Laurence Fox for going on national television and unreservedly voicing his opinions in a calm, civilised manner.

As I close a week discussing Disroyalty starring the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, here are a few more views about their plans as well as a summary of what went on at Sandringham on Monday, January 13, 2020.

Before I get to those, however, it is important to remember that other Royals will have to pick up the Sussexes’ slack, leaving 200 engagements per year to divide among them.

Key points about the Sandringham summit

Here’s what to know about the Sandringham summit on Monday.

The Daily Mail says that Harry arrived at 11:20 a.m.

By then, Prince Philip had already left and was driven elsewhere on the estate. He was reportedly furious last week:

Philip was reportedly ‘spitting blood’ with anger when he found out last Wednesday and yelled at his aides: ‘What the hell are they playing at?’

If he left, he wasn’t feeling any calmer.

Prince Charles had arrived the day before. Prince William showed up 15 minutes before the meeting began at 2:00 p.m.

The meeting was held in the Long Library, which used to be a bowling alley. Princes William and Harry spent much time there as children.

It is located away from other rooms where the Royals might have been overheard.

Meanwhile, the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, denied charges of racism (same link):

Ms Patel, speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, said: ‘I’m not in that category at all where I believe there’s racism at all. 

‘I think we live in a great country, a great society, full of opportunity, where people of any background can get on in life.’

Asked if the media had been in any way racist, she replied: ‘I don’t think so, no… I certainly haven’t seen that through any debates or commentary or things of that nature.’

On January 14, the Mail reported that Prime Minister Boris Johnson wisely refused to be drawn in on the controversy:

In his first major TV interview since the election, Mr Johnson said: ‘I am a massive fan of the Queen and of the Royal Family…

‘I am absolutely confident that they are going to sort this out.’

I was happy to read that Harry’s early arrival ensured that he could have a lengthy one-on-one conversation with his grandmother.

Bolter

In 2018, a few months before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got married, Germaine Greer gave an interview to Australia’s 60 Minutes in which she said she thought the bride would end up leaving.

The Cut posted the story on April 16. Prescient (emphases mine):

During an interview with 60 Minutes Australia this weekend, outspoken and controversial feminist author Germaine Greer said she thinks Markle “will bolt” as soon as she gets a sense of what life in the British royal family (which Greer refers to as “the firm”) is really like.

“Let’s hope they’re in love. If they’re not it’s going to be totally unbearable,” Greer told journalist Tara Brown. “She will see vistas of boredom that are unbelievable. I think the pressure to escape from the firm is crushing.”

When Brown asked what she predicted for the couple’s future, Greer answered, “I think she’ll bolt.”

“She bolted before. She was out the door,” she said, referring to Markle’s 2013 divorce from Trevor Engelson. “I think she’ll bolt. I hope in a way that she’ll bolt but maybe she’ll take Harry with her.”

When asked why Markle, already a successful television star, would give up her career to marry into the royal family, Greer quipped: “Why would a girl born in poverty marry a man with 53 million quid? I can’t think of single reason.”

It seems Harry might be worth less than that — possibly £30m, but the point stands.

There is also the status involved.

Opportunism

The deputy political editor at the Daily Mail, John Stevens, had this to say about the Sussexes’ announcement last week:

In fact, that is quite possible.

Allegedly, Justin Trudeau knew of their plans before the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family. So did Elton John.

On January 11, the Daily Mail reported:

There was speculation last night that Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may have given a cryptic Twitter clue about the crisis that was about to engulf the Royal Family.

When news emerged that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had turned their back on Royal tradition and flown to Canada for Christmas, their powerful friend was one of the first to welcome them on social media.

He wrote: ‘You’re among friends, and always welcome here.’

Just weeks later, the Royal couple were looking to test that ‘always’ by announcing their move to Canada.

And the tweet has done little to dampen gossip in Embassy circles that Mr Trudeau was more aware of the Sussexes’ emigration plans than even their closest family.

Diplomatic sources claim Mr Trudeau and his wife Sophie were consulted about the decision late last year, before members of the Royal family and even the Queen.

The Trudeaus are friends with the Sussexes:

Last night, the Canadian government did not respond when confronted about the claims, but sources close to the Sussexes denied they had discussed the move with Prime Minister Trudeau.

The Canadian First Couple and the Sussexes have been close friends, with Meghan and Sophie even sharing a stylist – Meghan’s best friend and sometime babysitter for Archie, Jessica Mulroney.

Prince Harry, 35, and Mr Trudeau, 48, are two of the younger fixtures on the world stage, with both men appearing to enjoy each other’s company at events such as Commonwealth commemorations.

The two have also encountered each other on multiple occasions through Prince Harry’s Invictus Games for disabled servicemen.

I wonder if the Sussexes are aware that, many years ago, Trudeau once attended a fancy dress party in blackface. He thought nothing of it at the time. Terrible.

Returning to John Stevens’s tweet, here are a few responses:

Money

Although, technically, what Prince Charles does with his income from the Duchy of Cornwall is his business, the British would be annoyed if he continued to finance Prince Harry:

This YouGov poll shows similar results:

This Briton tweeted about the video of Harry touting Meghan to Disney’s Bob Iver for voiceover work:

Naturally, some of the money she would earn from such work would go to charity. Of course:

Trudeau said that his country will pay for the Sussexes’ security detail. Canadians won’t be too happy about that:

Another Daily Mail report said that Canada would pay half the Sussexes’ £1m annual security detail cost. We shall see. On January 14, the Mail published an article quoting Trudeau, who said:

I think most Canadians are very supportive of having royals be here, but how that looks and what kind of costs are involved, there are still lots of discussions to have.

Family

The young Anglican priest who tweeted the following has mistakenly said that the Sussexes are on the Civil List. They are not.

However, the larger point about their role in the Royal Family is what is important:

The Revd Giles Fraser, formerly Canon at St Paul’s Cathedral and now Rector of St Mary, Newington in South London, wrote a considered article on the topic that the Revd Philip Murray raised. The Bishop of Dorking (Surrey) complimented him on it:

Excerpts follow:

Do we still recognise moral obligations that exist prior to our having chosen them? That is, it seems to me, the question embedded within the whole Megxit scandal. It couldn’t have been better designed to drive a wedge between two very different ways of seeing the world

But this isn’t just about monarchy. For the same tension exists within the very idea of a family — the Windsors being, as well as royal, the most famous family in the world. How does liberalism — of which Meghan Markle feels like a supreme representative — deal with that age-old sense of moral obligation towards those who have brought you into life and have raised and nurtured you, without you having chosen them for the task. Of course, some families fail in this very basic duty. And most of us parents only get it half right, at best.

Without this very basic idea that we are born into some fundamental unit of existential solidarity, something towards which we owe an allegiance long before we are able to choose it, human life is released from its moorings and we are all deeply lost. This is where liberalism flounders. For when it comes to the most important basis of human flourishing, family life, liberalism has nothing useful to say, other than to remind us that some families are destructive and dysfunctional and best escaped from. Be your own person, it advises. Break free. But this is to cut off the branch on which nests are built.

Sense of duty

A Theology graduate from Cambridge University has the ultimate analysis of the Duchess and her outlook on a sense of duty.

This is a must-read:

So true — especially the closing thought about helping minority Britons!

When they got married, I thought she might look forward to such a role. I was wrong.

Poll on the monarchy

Between Thursday and Friday, January 9 and 10, Deltapoll conducted a survey on the monarchy. This was after the Sussexes’ announcement.

The favourable results were lower than I’d expected:

A Pole responded to that tweet, encouraging us to keep the Royal Family:

Good or bad? It’s important. I come originally from Poland. I read Polish papers and monarchy issues make front page headlines there. The monarchy is ‘s trademark, as it were, recognised worldwide. Try and lose it to see how good it actually is to have it.

I fully agree.

This is a breakdown of the question by age group:

I also agree with these replies:

I do not think that most of our Prime Ministers would have made great Presidents.

The Royal Family are good for Britain. Let’s not discard them because of the actions of a few bad apples.

Being a member of Britain’s Royal Family requires special personal characteristics which, when combined, are as rare as hen’s teeth:

– intestinal fortitude;
– a stiff upper lip;
– a perpetual sense of duty;
– the ability to keep one’s mouth shut;
– control over one’s personal life.

Many are called, but few are chosen — and even fewer succeed.

In recent memory, Sarah Ferguson didn’t make the mark. Nor did Princess Diana. Nor has the Duchess of Sussex. Nor has her husband, Prince Harry.

It is not easy, and it is a constant obligation.

The Royal Family is not called The Firm for nothing.

In fact, in reality, it carries with it more obligations than a corporation.

People see formal dress, tiaras and crowns in sumptuous palaces and castles. The flip side is that one’s life is never one’s own. One serves Queen and country under the unsparing eye of the media and the British public.

Being a British Royal is one of the world’s most difficult jobs imaginable.

For the most part, with the exception of those conferred at birth, one’s titles are on loan.

It is important not to assign oneself a title one does not possess. Case in point, with reference to the Duchess of Sussex:

To be clear, she is NOT a Princess (unless you consider a future Disney voiceover role as one). She is a Duchess, and that can just as easily be taken from her as it was given.

Another important point is not to show disloyalty. It’s bad enough offending the Queen, without casting shadows on the British public and expecting to get all the glory for no guts.

If you get a ‘sensitive content’ message about the second tweet, please ignore it and open it up. It’s a parody letter:

The publicity surrounding the Sussexes was positive for at least two years. Note the 2018 headlines from their engagement and wedding in the second tweet below. They reflected the national mood:

Many of the Sussexes’ pronouncements since then, including the secrecy surrounding their young son, made many members of the public feel as if they no longer wanted to be part of our nation.

It turns out we were not wrong.

An opinion piece on Spiked, a free-thinking, quasi-libertarian website, pulls no punches. This is from ‘A woke Wallis Simpson’ by Brendan O’Neill, a republican — not a monarchist. Yet, even he sees a problem with the Sussexes (emphases mine):

H&M, the most right-on royals in history, are breaking off so that they can foist even more woke bollocks on the plebs without having to worry about receiving a tutting phone-call from Her Maj’s press secretary reminding them that they’re royalty and not virtue-signalling Hollywood celebs.

Megxit, as this royal bombshell is wittily being called, is a striking sign of the times. What Harry and Meghan are doing is virtually unprecedented in the history of the royals. They are jacking in their jobs (I say jobs) as senior royals and pursuing a more ‘financially independent’ path that will allow them to earn, travel and – this is important – jabber on about their pet concerns and causes as much as they like.

This is also a major sticking point:

Even leaving aside the fact that they won’t actually be financially independent – they’ll still get wads of cash from the Duchy of Cornwall and will still stay in that Frogmore Cottage us British taxpayers just splashed 2.4million quid on – still their move is a startling and concerning one.

This is the difference between Meghan Markle and, say, Prince Charles:

What it fundamentally reveals is the incompatibility of the modern culture of narcissism with the values of duty, loyalty and self-negation traditionally associated with royal life. To someone like Meghan, who sprang from celebville, who sees herself as the embodiment of right-on goodness, and who loves nothing more than advertising her eco-virtue and performing her PC credentials, life in the British monarchy was never going to be a good fit.

Yes, the woke agenda Meghan expresses so well shares much in common with the old-world elitism of the monarchical system. Both obsess over inherited characteristics (the woke bang on about race and gender, the monarchy is all about bloodline). Both have a penchant for looking down their noses at the little people. And both have an instinctive loathing for modernity, from Charles’ longstanding conservationism to H&M’s humanity-bashing eco-hysteria.

But there’s one big, irreconcilable difference: where the woke value the self over everything else, senior royals are meant, ostensibly at least, to be selfless, to submerge the self into the crown. It looks like this is a deal-breaker for the younger, more celebrity-oriented royals, especially newcomer Meghan but also Harry, too. Their unprecedented ‘stepping back’, and the fury this has allegedly caused in the Palace, suggests the cult of the self that Meghan and other showily virtuous celebs embody and promote, does not work within an institution whose ideal is the Queen: opinion-free, emotions hidden, dutiful, unquestioning and in it for the long haul.

Correct!

But wait, there’s more. Their way of speaking about the Queen is also unprecedented:

Even more startling is the way they talk about the queen. They say they will ‘continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen’. Collaborate with? They sound more like Kendall Jenner talking about her adverts with Pepsi than individuals who are meant to devote themselves for life to royal duty and the preservation of the crown. I’m about as republican as it gets (abolish the monarchy is my view), but even I recognise that treating the queen as a kind of big business one temporarily ‘collaborates with’ is out of order. Meghan comes off like a woke Wallis Simpson, taking away a senior royal into a new life of PC globetrotting.

One of the readers’ comments (second one, no hyperlink available) describes the contrast between the Sussexes and the Queen’s parents during the Second World War:

The current situation should remind us all of the remarkable differences between generations. Winston Churchill was desperate to move the Royal family to Canada when hostilities commenced in WW2. The King refused and said that he wanted to stay with his people. In fact the Queen Mum said she was relieved when Buckingham Palace took a direct hit during the Blitz as she could then look the Eastenders in face thereafter. Princess Elizabeth herself served in the military as a mechanic and truck driver. The King, in fact, wanted to be part of the advanced landing parties on D-Day, fortunately he was talked out of it. The Royal family’s sense of duty inspired the British people to see the crisis through even though at the beginning of hostilities it was touch and go for Britain. Running away to safety was not an option for them.

Harry and Meghan find Royal duties tedious and boring. It’s not for them and they want to make lots of money instead. The Press have given them a hard time and some gutter types have written some nasty things about them. They would, it seems, prefer deference rather than criticism. The only option available to them is to escape to Canada.

Is it no small wonder that older people view the Millennials as mere snowflakes.

The first readers’ comment is about personal dynamics between the Sussexes. This is another danger, namely for the Duke:

I have the feeling it is Meghan manipulating Harry as I think she is quite narcissistic. And she knows Harry has a problem with British press re: his mother. She may be exploiting that. I also think their marriage will therefore be in shambles in the not too far future

There is a good article on narcissism relating to this, ‘A Very Royal Narcissist — Part 9’, excerpts from which follow.

Is it possible that this is what has been going on behind the scenes for the past several months? Emphasis in the original:

    • Smearing the family members (“They are trying to control you, I am just trying to help you see that.”)
    • Exaggeration of Threat (“They do not want you to be happy, I do, that is why they see me as a threat.”)
    • Projection (see the above comment).
    • Pity Play (“Your family do not like me.” “This country has it in for me and I have tried so hard, you know, tried the stiff upper lip, but they just do not like me.”)
    • Guilt (“If you loved me, you would move for me.”)
    • Triangulation (“If we stay, it will end up the same for me as it was for your mother and you do not want that to happen do you?”)
    • Use of The Victim´s Weaknesses Against Them …
    • Promised Gain (“If we live there, we can do our own thing and both be happy, you want that for us don’t you?”)

Remember, the narcissist will do this through unconscious manipulations. The narcissist genuinely believes that they are doing the right thing and cannot see, because of their narcissism, that they are actually being manipulative.

Such manipulations will have been used in isolating Prince Harry from his father, brother, grandparents, friends and extended family (save those who are viewed as supportive and therefore no threat to the control) and thus choosing water over blood.

The article on narcissism goes on to speculate as to what possibly happened at Sandringham on Monday, January 13, and the aftermath.

Whatever the outcome, the article concludes:

In the short term, Miss Markle will exert control in some form and in her “world” she will be winning. Of course, there is much more that is yet to happen with this ongoing saga of a Very Royal Narcissist.

I hope that means that this awful saga comes to an end, in favour of the Royal Family.

Tomorrow I will close a week of disroyalty with two more views about the Royal Family and the Sussexes.

Sooner than expected, I am writing about the Sandringham summit, held on Monday, January 13, 2020, to provide a way forward for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in their disroyalty.

Present at Sandringham were the Queen and Princes Charles, William and Harry. Contrary to earlier reports, the Duchess, in Canada, did not participate via telephone. The Daily Mail reported that aides issued a brief statement to that effect:

The Sussexes decided that it wasn’t necessary for the duchess to join.

Afterwards, the Queen issued a statement:

That would seem the most sensible solution.

No commercialisation of the Sussex titles, either. (I don’t care what arrangements are in place at present.) The Queen issues titles, and they are not the property of recipients.

The Queen’s statement reads as follows (emphases mine):

Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family.

My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.

Harry and Meghan have made clear that they do not want to be reliant on public funds in their new lives.

It has therefore been agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK.

These are complex matters for my family to resolve, and there is some more work to be done, but I have asked for final decisions to be reached in the coming days.

ENDS

Political pundit Guido Fawkes wrote, using a Brexit term (emphasis in the original):

Looks like an orderly transition to a Canada Plus model…

His readers, however, are sorely disappointed.

So am I.

However, the monarch is much wiser than her subjects. Her statement is probably not all it seems on the surface. She might want to take the venom out of events from the past week and let the wound begin to heal. She probably also wants to avoid a Princess Diana situation: different circumstances, granted, but the same reaction from certain quarters, which turned Prince Harry’s mother into a martyr figure.

Whilst journalist and television presenter Piers Morgan was as disappointed as I, a few of his readers think the Queen could be playing the long game:

On Monday, January 13, British GQ posted an interview with Piers Morgan:

In 2017, Morgan supported Prince Harry’s choice of future wife. He wrote an article for the Daily Mail: ‘PIERS MORGAN: Hearty congratulations, Harry, you picked a real keeper’.

Excerpts follow from the British GQ article (emphases in purple mine).

Contrary to what he thought in 2017 and 2018, Morgan believes the Duchess is a threat to the monarchy:

GQ: You have engaged in some very personal and sometimes vicious arguments over Meghan and Harry over the past few days. Did you feel passionately about this before the news about them broke or did it just get out of hand?

Piers Morgan: I’ve felt strongly about this for about 18 months, ever since I could see the way the wind was blowing. The truth about Meghan Markle is that she’s a social climbing piece of work and all the people rushing to her defence have not, I’ve noticed, had any personal dealings with her. The number of people she has used and then cut loose is long and illustrious and involves almost her entire family, most of her oldest friends, most of Harry’s best male friends and now she’s trying to extricate Harry from the royal family. I think she represents a clear and present danger to the future of the monarchy and I don’t say that lightly. If you are going to have two renegade celebrity part-time royals bestriding the globe cashing in on their royal status, I think that could accelerate an atmosphere of republicanism that can be very dangerous to the existence of the monarchy. There are very important issues here and I think it’s something people should be emotive about if they, like me, value the monarchy and the royal family.

He objects to the Sussexes wanting all the benefits of being Royals without having to put in any of the day-to-day duties:

I noticed you have focused on the Queen in these discussions.

The Queen’s a 93-year-old woman who has been on the throne for over six decades – she’s probably the most respected world leader of modern times. She’s recently had to put up with a scandal involving her middle son, whom she’s had to effectively fire; her husband is 98 and suffering serious health issues. So she’s got enough on her plate without these two upstarts deciding they’re going to rewrite the way the royal family conducts itself with their new agenda. Nobody wants a progressive royal family, nobody wants a woke royal family. This is entirely driven by Meghan Markle, who has turned Harry, I’m afraid, into a simpering doormat and the result is fairly cataclysmic. They want to leave the royal family on their terms where they get to keep all the good bits – the taxpayer-funded security and travel, the free mansion which was refurbished at our expense – but they don’t want to do the Wednesday duty at a community centre in Stoke. That’s not going to wash.

He explains why he changed his mind about the Duchess:

Do you think the mainstream media have been fair in their scrutiny of Meghan and Harry?

PM: Yes, I wrote a lot of very positive things about Meghan Markle. Then a number of stories began appearing about the way she had ghosted people. Look, I was a very minor ghosting. I thought we were good friends. She tweeted we were good friends – tweets she has now deleted. She was the one who reached out to me for media advice so I did and I thought we got on very well, but the moment she met Prince Harry, bang! And she’s done that to many people. She is a social climbing cut-and-runner. I fear what will happen to Harry.

He says that what the Sussexes are doing is not what the Royal Family is about:

How do you think the future royal relationships will pan out and could it help the royals in the long run?

You can’t be half royal and half not. You can’t take public money and flog your status off to commercial entities. I don’t see how this works. They are entitled to lead any life they want to lead, but they are not entitled to be a drain on the British taxpayer. Also, why is Meghan Markle a global star? It’s because she married into the British royal family and I think the public will take a very dim view of somebody coming into our royal family for three years and then buggering off and fleecing everything off the back of her royal status. You can’t be a part-time royal and not do the dirty work that goes with it. If they want to give up all their free stuff and pay for everything themselves then good luck to them, but even then if she makes tens of millions of dollars it won’t be because of her acting work, it will be because she married Prince Harry.

In his Daily Mail column published the same day, Morgan listed the reasons why he went off the Duchess.

However, going back further, he cites his column on the Sussexes’ wedding and reminds us of how much the British public looked forward to it (emphases mine):

From the moment Meghan Markle came on the royal scene, and it was revealed she was from a mixed-race background, she was welcomed with warm open tolerant arms by a wonderfully multi-cultural and diverse modern Britain that was thrilled to finally see a non-white member of the Royal Family.

She was showered with almost universal praise, especially when the engagement was announced.

The media, in particular, was unanimous in its verdict that this was a great thing for the country. In fact, I haven’t seen a press so united in joy for anything royal since Diana first became Charles’s girlfriend.

This extraordinary tidal wave of goodwill continued through to the big wedding in May 2018, which by common consent was a triumph.

As I wrote myself in the Daily Mail the following day, ‘it mixed the best of traditional British pomp and majesty with large dollops of Markle Sparkle and the result was a biracial, Hollywood-fused union of very different cultures that worked magnificently well.’

True! People were thrilled. Royal fans lined the streets of Windsor that day, even if they had little hope of seeing the new Royal couple.

He is criticising the Duchess — and the Duke — for the following:

… her erratic conduct – and Harry’s – since the wedding, which has been spectacularly ill-advised;

hypocritical of Meghan to have a $500,000 celebrity-fuelled baby-shower party in New York, including a lift on George Clooney‘s jet, on the same day she and Harry tweeted a plea for people to think of the poor;

… they went to such ridiculous lengths to hide basic details of their baby Archie’s birth from the public that pays for much of their lavish lives;

… appalling when Meghan’s bodyguards stopped members of the same public taking her photo at Wimbledon;

… she refused to meet President Trump during his UK state visit, despite being the only American member of the Royal Family;

… dreadfully two-faced of her and Harry to preach about the need to watch every carbon-footprint, as they jumped on Sir Elton John’s private jet every ten minutes;

she ended a tour of poverty-strewn parts of South Africa by moaning about her own ‘struggle’;

their incessant war with the media, throwing hysterical abuse-laden warnings and lawsuits out like confetti, so pathetically thin-skinned and self-defeating given how much positive press they’ve also enjoyed;

the way they’re treated the Queen so deplorable and cruel, given her age (93), the fact her 98-year-old husband Philip has been so ill, and the recent enormous stress she has suffered over having to fire her own son Andrew over the Jeffrey Epstein scandal

He concludes, in part:

The reality is that Meghan and Harry have brought this ugly situation entirely on themselves

Here is one more self-inflicted injury by the Sussexes:

The youngsters complaining about the media were too young to remember the press drubbing that the Duchess of Cambridge — Kate — received when she got engaged to Prince William. Her mother was also ridiculed for having been a former airline attendant. A few years ago, the Duchess and her mother were criticised for having young Prince George stay at the Middleton home now and then so that he could spend time with his maternal grandparents.

She got her media flak, but she rose above it. Now she can do no wrong:

As Morgan says:

That is definitely true.

Before then, there were Charles’s girlfriends from the early 1970s, all roundly sniped at in the press.

Princess Anne was similarly criticised during the same time period.

So did Princess Anne’s first husband. The media called him ‘Foggy’, not just once or twice but often. So often, in fact, that to this day, I do not remember his real name.

Before that, there was Princess Margaret — the Queen’s sister — who suffered a barrage of negative press during her adult life, from the 1950s to her death in 2002.

Conclusion: Meghan Markle is NOT the only Royal who has ever been criticised in the media. Others suffered far worse for no compelling reasons at all.

More tomorrow on other commentators’ reactions to the Sussexes.

In the meantime, for anyone compiling pub quiz stumpers, here’s one for you:

Q. What was Prince Harry’s last public engagement as a senior Royal?

A. The official draw at Buckingham Palace on January 16, 2020, for the Rugby League World Cup, which will be hosted in the UK in 2021.

Of course, that could well be subject to change in the years to come, but it’s good for the time being.

I was of two minds as to whether to report on the royal wedding which took place on Saturday, May 19, 2018.

I turned off the television after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — Harry and Meghan — took their preliminary vows.

A wedding not a blessing

I wondered why they were given a full wedding ceremony rather than a church blessing, since Meghan Markle had been married previously.

However, Sky News reported that the Church of England changed the rules well over a decade ago (emphases mine below):

The Church of England agreed in 2002 that divorced people could remarry in church, with the discretion of the priest.

The duchess, a former actress:

married American film producer Trevor Engelson in 2011. They filed for divorce in 2013, citing “irreconcilable differences”.

The Most Reverend and Honourable Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, officiated at the service.

The Dean of Windsor, The Rt Revd David Conner, conducted the service and the initial vows (‘I will’), although rings were exchanged later in the service with the Archbishop of Canterbury officiating.

It was somewhat off-putting to hear the Dean’s words at the beginning, which included ‘the joy of sexual union’.

If people are getting married only to salve their consciences in that department, they’re headed down the wrong route.

There are two reasons for this.

The first is that a marriage should be a partnership of equals — the best friendship a man and a woman can ever share with God’s blessing.

The second is that no one knows what the morrow will bring. I do know of young couples who were deprived of ‘the joy of sexual union’ early in their marriages because of sudden debilitating illness or accidents.

Friendship comes first in a marriage. The Dean would have been better placed to use the old American adage:

Kissin’ don’t last, cookin’ do.

Prince Charles took the wise decision to walk his future daughter-in-law part way down the aisle:

The Duke’s aunt, Princess Diana’s sister, gave the one reading of the ceremony:

Here is Justin Welby formally joining the couple in matrimony. These video clips are excellent. No one does weddings like the Church of England (I’m so pleased to be a part of it):

The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States gave an address. BT.com reported:

The Most Rev Bishop Michael Curry, the first black presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, gained worldwide attention with his address at Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding on Saturday during which he evoked Martin Luther King and spoke of poverty and injustice.

Mr Curry, along with the gospel choir, brought a flavour of the American bride’s homeland with the speech at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.

At the end of the ceremony, the happy couple left St George’s Chapel, Windsor:

Back story: Meghan’s Baptism and Confirmation

The Duchess of Sussex was baptised and confirmed privately prior to the wedding.

Sky News reported:

Prince Harry and Ms Markle announced their engagement in November. A day later Kensington Palace confirmed that Meghan, who identifies as Protestant, would be baptised and confirmed ahead of her wedding day.

Heavy had more:

According to Access, Markle has already been accepted into the Anglican faith, and Welby baptized her in a secret ceremony in March 2018.

The cake and reception

The Queen hosted the first reception:

Sir Elton John, who had sung at Princess Diana’s funeral, performed:

Thankfully, the cake was not the usual heavy fruitcake:

A filling made from Amalfi lemon curd and elderflower buttercream ties all the elements together. The cake is decorated with Swiss meringue buttercream and 150 fresh flowers, mainly British, and in season, including peonies and roses.

Then it was time for the second wedding reception:

Official wedding prayer

This is the couple’s wedding prayer from the Church of England:

But Heavy pointed out:

This stands in contrast to the previous royal wedding, between then-Prince William and Kate Middleton, who wrote their own prayer for the ceremony, as the Telegraph reported.

God our Father, we thank
you for our families; for
the love that we share and
for the joy of our marriage.
In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on
what is real and important
in life and help us to be generous with our time
and love and energy.
Strengthened by our union, help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I have prayed for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and hope that they grow together in the peace and love of Jesus Christ.

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