For all the times that we’ve heard about the British royal family staying above the fray, and never complaining or explaining, the events of this week should shut that sh-t down forever, non? The British royals are out here doing the MOST right now, as we get closer and closer to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s two-hour special with Oprah Winfrey airing on CBS this Sunday. F-ck the Super Bowl, this is the television event of the year.
On Tuesday, The Times published a report with source quotes from royal aides who revealed that complaints have been filed at the palace about Meghan’s alleged bullying of staffers. Conversations took place with Samantha Carruthers, the head of HR. Supposedly nothing was done about it. But as I wrote yesterday, if the royals are leaking information about internal HR complaints, it opens them up to further scrutiny about how their HR works in general. How often do we hear about royal HR complaints? And suddenly it’s all over the news over the only member of the family who happens to be a person of colour? And not the prince who was friends with the dead rapist pedophile and who was seen on multiple occasions hanging out with the dead rapist pedophile’s victims!?
What’s especially hilarious is that following The Times’s story about Meghan’s supposed bullying, Buckingham Palace released a statement:
“We are clearly very concerned about allegations in The Times following claims made by former staff of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Accordingly our HR team will look into the circumstances outlined in the article. Members of the staff involved at the time, including those who have left the Household, will be invited to participate to see if lessons can be learned. The Royal Household has had a Dignity at Work policy in place for a number of years and does not wand will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace.”
How does this make sense? Royal aides were the ones who leaked the information about the alleged bullying to the media in the first place. And now as a result of said leak, the royal family is going to investigate themselves?
First of all, what has become quite clear in the last few years is that there is no hope of impartiality when the corporation investigates itself. If the royal family’s HR is looking into HR issues within the royal family, how objective of an investigation can we expect? Typically in these situations, an independent third-party is brought in to do the work. And even then, it depends on how that independent consultant is brought in and at whose behest. See Ray Fisher and Warner Bros. We’re talking about the monarchy here – is anyone seriously going to believe that the royal family is going to investigate the royal family and actually be transparent about the findings on the royal family?
Also… the “Dignity at Work” policy is a joke. Because any time you want to throw around the word “dignity” and “work” in that family, you run up against the problem of Prince Andrew. And it’s not just the Jeffrey Epstein association. Remember Andrew had to step down from his role as UK trade envoy a decade ago because of shady dealings with bad actors. If we’re talking about violations of Dignity at Work, why the f-ck are we starting with Meghan Markle?!
Black women know all too well the answer to that question. But that perspective will likely be missing from whatever bullsh-t “investigation” the royals will be conducting on themselves because, of course, theirs is not a diverse workplace. And the reason why there has been a push across the board, in all industries, for diversity at work is so that the experiences of all employees can be considered. So that when people of colour find themselves in positions of authority, and women in particular, they’re not labelled with the “angry Black woman” stereotype that is a direct product of prejudice. The fact that the royals leaked this story out now, desperately, is a gross reminder of what they’re capable of, how low they can go.
At the same time… it’s a f-cking scramble. This is messy – and also frantic. Nothing about the cards that the British royal family have played this week gives us any indication that they’re cool, calm, and collected, which is the image that they’ve been selling from time. These people are famously stoic, or at least they were. We were told they’re unflappable, composed at all times. But all it took was an interview with Oprah to completely destroy that illusion. How is any of this on-brand?! Are they Real Housewives now? Because these moves are reality show star moves!
It used to be that the British royal family’s machinations happened in secret, they let other people do the dirty while they made the orders from afar and kept themselves clean. Nowadays they’re waist-deep in their own sh-t, no longer capable of distancing themselves from the drama – because we’re no longer living in the 60s and 70s. And their problem is that they want to be half back and half forward. They want things to work like they did in the 60s and 70s and to be rewarded with 2020s clout, which is not coming as quickly or as easily as they expected it to. Playing this offense against the Sussexes when they did, just days before the Oprah interview, is clumsy. Everybody, even those who are predisposed to side with the Queen and the royal family, is aware of the timing. And it only highlights how dramatically UNCHILL the institution is about what’s about to go down in this Harry and Meghan interview. Which only makes us all the more fixated on Sunday. The added complication here for them is that they’re trying to fight pictures with words. These reports in the UK papers have gotten a lot of coverage, no doubt. But they have to go up against video, two hours worth of video featuring Harry and Meghan with Oprah, and soundbites that will travel a lot farther than article links. Like the new preview that just dropped yesterday. That’s coming up in the next post.