REFORM UK LEADER AND SENIOR EDITOR-AT-LARGE, “THE DEBATE”
ON 3/9/21 AT 12:50 PM EST
When it comes to winning over public opinion, so-called mover’s advantage is key. The ability to get your side of the story across first—preferably with some unpleasantly negative claims against your opposite number—allows you to operate from a position of strength. It leaves others playing catch-up and is often decisive.
As an actress, Meghan Markle gave the performance of her life when she spoke to Oprah Winfrey. Whether the royal family will comment publicly on her allegations, I don’t know. There is another very important side to this saga that must be told, however. American audiences—no doubt influenced by supportive messages from Joe Biden and various West Coast celebrities—seem to have had no difficulty in accepting the narrative of victimhood expressed by Meghan and Harry. Yet the couple betrayed the royal family at a time when the Duke of Edinburgh, 99, is ill in hospital. Furthermore, their version of the “truth” (in Winfrey’s words) was in fact littered with falsehoods.
Let’s begin with Prince Harry. He was born into immense privilege and was taught from an early age that with such privilege came duty as well. Everybody knows that he went through a terrible trauma at age 12 when his mother died in tragic circumstances. (I still can’t quite believe that anybody thought it was a good idea to make him walk behind his mother’s coffin through the streets of London with world watching him.) It was therefore no surprise that there followed some years of teenage rebellion. Eventually, like so many troubled boys, he came through this phase, though.
As a young man he joined the Army and served with distinction in Afghanistan, giving every impression that he had found a role despite his man-about-town image. Until recently, he held some very distinguished military titles and was widely adored among Britain’s armed services. Yet his comment to Oprah that his brother William and father Charles are “trapped” and can never shake off the media glare is very telling. Escape is not an option when you are born into duty. Harry may have relinquished his role as a working member of the royal family by moving to Hollywood, but he knows full well that this option is not, and never was, open to his closest relatives. How can he possibly expect to enjoy the privileges of both lifestyles?
Worse still is the damaging revelation that as captain general of the Royal Marines, he shunned one of its events and on the same day attended a film premiere in London where he was overheard pitching to Disney boss Bob Iger for voiceover work for Meghan. I can only imagine how dismayed the Queen, who has been a magnificent exemplar of public service and duty for more than 70 years, must have felt at the time. For that same, selfish grandson to have now taken to television to betray his own flesh and blood is despicable.
Meghan’s performance was in a different league to that of her husband, though. While there is no doubt that the British press gave her a hard time in the months after her fairy tale wedding in 2018, the truth is that the same thing has happened to every member of the royal family at some point. It comes with the territory. In Meghan’s case, the thing which British newspapers did not like, and indeed could not abide, was the sight of her and her husband lecturing the public about climate change and carbon emissions while flying around the world in private jets. The word “hypocrisy” did not quite cover i
Nevertheless, during her session with Oprah she managed to play the wronged party to perfection, emphasizing mental health and discrimination. If this was done to gain sympathy from the White House, it certainly worked. Yet much of what she said was either inaccurate or dubious.
At one point Meghan said she never researched the royal family before entering into a relationship with Harry and maintained “I never looked up my husband online.” Is that really credible? Does anybody actually believe it?
She also claimed to have been married in secret by the archbishop of Canterbury three days before her official wedding in Windsor. This cannot be true. Church of England marriages require at least two witnesses, and Meghan claimed only the archbishop was present.
Meghan further insinuated that her son, Archie, was denied the title of prince, declaring that “the idea of the first member of color in this family not being titled in the same way that other grandchildren would be…. It’s not their right to take it away.” This is nonsense. Archie did not have a birthright to be a prince. He could potentially become one, but only when his grandfather, Prince Charles, accedes to the throne. Prince William’s children have the his royal highness (HRH) title and are styled as princes and princesses—and Archie is not—because of a ruling made in 1917 by King George V. His written order—that only royal offspring who are in the direct line of succession could be made a prince and receive HRH titles—stands today. One would have thought Harry would be aware of this.
Meghan’s accusation of racism in the royal family is the most damaging and dangerous. The idea that the Queen, who has toured the Commonwealth since the 1950s, would have allowed such monstrous bigotry to fester among her relatives is too incredible for words. The Commonwealth has 2.3 billion citizens, most of them Asian and black.
Meghan has advanced a story that is, to say the least, highly questionable. I urge everybody not to be taken in by her manipulation or by her self-serving husband.
Nigel Farage is senior editor-at-large of Newsweek‘s “The Debate” platform.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.