I thought that today in this column I would completely by-pass the Harry & Meghan controversy for other more mundane subjects.
Sorry, only joking! Come on admit it - you can’t get enough of it either can you? What’s not to like; a right Royal schism, talk of racism at the palace and a Hollywood actress-come-duchess throwing a mega strop!
Say what you like about the media coverage of this spat - the story has relegated Covid-19 to between 3rd and 4th item on the news and personally I am very grateful for that fact at least. To be perfectly honest, although I did watch the screening of the Sussex’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, I did on occasions flick about other channels during the more ‘needy’ bits of the interview seeking out a bit of football to enliven the boring sections.
Not that the interview was totally boring, but you have to admit that after a while, relentless whining about your humble position in royal life does pale somewhat when played-out against a spectacular multi million dollar villa in southern California.
And while I am at it; come on, tell the truth - is there actually anyone reading this who hasn’t had a family fall-out of some description over the years?
I ’m as bad as anyone regarding this royal row. I have rather pompously revealed my distaste of the whole sorry mess via social media, whilst secretly sighing in relief that I have at last got something else to write about other that you-know-what! Not that this saga isn’t front-page-news material, it is - and for those in the media - long may it last.
Cynical? Yes, of course, but only as cynical as the duke and duchess using their star quality to take a swipe at both their relatives - the press and all those who don’t subscribe to their recently acquired Woke sensibilities.
I suspect that Meghan was not treated in the way that she expected by her ‘outlaws’ - but, when you’re already a monarch, prince or princess of the crown, common sense might tell you that a starring role in a television soap opera ain’t going to have the aforementioned chinless wonders (of both sexes) bowing and scraping at your every whim.
In previous centuries, the plan was always that ‘spare’ younger sons of a monarch were married off to daughters of minor German aristocrats with no redeeming features save for fat ankles and the exact same lineage as them, but - not anymore.
A love match
When you think about it, at least Harry & Meghan are a ‘love match’ unlike past royal princes and princesses. And by that I don’t mean way-back-in-time either. Nevertheless, I think that most people of middle-age and beyond are “Surprised that they are surprised” when hearing about the couples disappointment in the situation they found themselves in.
Prince Harry must have known the score, if not, he was being somewhat evasive in describing their future life together to the woman he clearly adores. In truth, none of us know the dynamic of the relationship and the glittering excitement of a Windsor Castle wedding was maybe just a glorious precursor to the realisation that Meghan future life would be dominated by municipal ribbon cutting gigs that the Cambridge’s didn’t fancy doing themselves.
The two elements of the whole Oprah interview that cannot be set aside as royal fluff and nonsense, is that of accusations of racism and a supposed indifference towards Meghan’s mental health.
On the first issue, Buckingham Palace, via an official statement signed off by Her Majesty the Queen - say that they will investigate the circumstances of the accusation. However, speaking as someone who has never had any ‘truck’ with racism, the overall context of the conversation surrounding the colour of the then unborn Archie, surely has to be taken into account?
Moreover, any claim of mental ill health brought about by strained relationships are hardly well served by an indiscriminate accusation that nobody helped her. Which begs the question - what if no-one knew?
What about poor Piers?
As we all ponder the Sussex’s and HRH’s next move - I’d like to bring to your attention the 2nd biggest story of the week so far. Yes, it can only be about the ‘standing down’ of Piers Morgan from his position of lecturing the British people over breakfast on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
I think we all realise that Piers is ‘Marmite’ as in - you either love or hate him - that’s his schtick. Personally, I thought he made a monumental fool of himself, launching a spittle-flecked attack on Meghan, publicly arguing with a colleague and storming out of the studio. After that, he had to go, and I suspect he knew it - even as he was doing it.
Anyway, not to worry, no doubt Piers will turn up on one of two new news outlets being put together by someone like Rupert Murdoch anytime soon. However, as a former national newspaper editor I find it hard to believe that he ignores that journalistic tenet that insists that when interviewing anyone, the primary objective is for you to reveal to the public what your interviewee actually has to say for himself/herself for the benefit or your readers listeners or viewers.
My problem with Piers Morgan has always been that after an interview - I always knew what he thinks, but - rarely what his ‘victim’ has to say for himself. For example, Jeremy Paxman and John Humphrys were fearsome interrogators of politicians as they certainly took no prisoners - but, a viewer or listener would never know what they personally thought of a particulate subject, policy or position - that wasn’t what they were there for - there is a difference you know.
Anyway, as I am now in danger of becoming holier-than-thou in regard to the events of earlier in the week, can I share with you my ideal ‘must have’ television interview? Oprah Winfrey got the big-one with H&M - Piers cuddled up to Meghan’s dad before he was sacked (er sorry…resigned!) - meanwhile who will get the interview with the Duchess of Sussex’s ex husband, Trevor Engleson? Now that would be fascinating television.