That was… a very clever and deliberate misdirect, wasn’t? In the days leading up to Oprah’s special with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, most people, probably everyone, thought this was going to be Meghan going in hard on the British royals, that this would mostly be about Meghan, and that Harry would come in for a brief appearance. This is not what happened. Harry, in fact, was almost the entire second hour. This may be why the special went from 90 minutes to two hours and they still have so much content that they’ve been rolling it out on CBS This Morning. Because Harry came in there like, well, a slugger.
All I have are sports analogies right now to describe how it actually went down – which is that Meghan basically loaded the bases, and it was Harry who stepped up the plate and hit the homer; Meghan with the alley-oop and Harry finished with the dunk on his family. This, I think, is why the British royal family and the people who support them, including the UK media, are in such a panic. They thought that they’d be contending with Meghan and they’re used to firing at Meghan anyway, so they were readying their usual bullets to discredit her in their usual way. The surprise is that Meghan wasn’t the closer. Harry was the closer. The hour that featured just Meghan with Oprah was to lay the groundwork, to set the table about the royal environment, from an outsider’s perspective – someone who came into the family and was not supported. Once that image was in place, Harry came to fill in all the colour, complementing Meghan’s account with his own, very insider, AS INSIDER AS IT GETS, version of life as a royal. It’s an insider’s story of the serious flaws in the royal system. And, most critically, an insider’s perspective on perhaps the biggest flaw in the royal system – perhaps one individual in particular: his father, Prince Charles.
Like, there were jaw-dropping moments in the special, but the moment I jumped off the bed was when Harry said his dad stopped taking his calls. Oooof. Remember, the anticipation was that Harry and Meghan would come for the Queen. And leading up to the broadcast, all the haters were all like, how dare you do this to her, she’s dedicated her life to this role. But during the interview Harry and Meghan did not aim for the Queen. In fact, they spoke warmly about the Queen. Oprah also clarified today that it was NOT the Queen or Prince Philip who were questioning how UN-white Archie would be:
WATCH: @Oprah says â€œit was not his grandmother nor his grandfatherâ€ that were a part of the conversations about Prince Harry & Meghan's baby's skin color. #OprahMeghanHarry pic.twitter.com/LpPLmkUEFR— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) March 8, 2021
So if it’s not them…who was it? Someone very senior. And then we’re told, by Harry, that his father at some point stopped taking his calls. And cut him off financially. So it wasn’t the Queen who came off looking bad in this interview, it was the future king of England. And it’s not Meghan implying this, it’s HARRY. It’s his own flesh and blood. This is f-cking Shakespearean. Aren’t these the dots we’re supposed to be connecting?
Harry is subtly, but not exactly indirectly, implying that Charles is in control of the monarchy more than has been made public. Obviously we know that the Queen has already been, gradually, handing sh-t off to her heir. But they always go out of their way to insist that Her Majesty is still the boss, the matriarch of the family, the buck stops with her. And yet… here’s Harry basically telling us that she is surrounded by advisors, that she may not, in fact, be making all the decisions. Where the future of the monarchy is concerned, this is the clip that could be most telling that came out of this interview – and Meghan has nothing to do with it:
In January 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan announced plans to step back as senior members of the Royal family. In this exclusive clip, they tell @Oprah they were then invited to spend time with his grandmother, the Queen, but the plans abruptly changed citing she's "busy all week." pic.twitter.com/dLhq0SAgfN— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) March 8, 2021
This is what I was looking for with Oprah and that she delivered – that follow-up: “Doesn’t the Queen get to do what the Queen gets to do?”
Which opened the door for Harry to be like, nope, she’s surrounded by people who are counseling her: viper courtiers, personal dressers perhaps, and … her oldest son, the Prince of Wales? Harry’s not spelling it out. But somehow plans for him to meet with the Queen were changed. After he had written to his dad who stopped taking his calls. And suddenly the Queen couldn’t see him for that whole week. Who else could have authorised it?
Harry didn’t just reveal then that Charles is in command, he has revealed the innermost workings of the British royal institution, exposing secrets about how the monarchy actually functions to the world. And for an organisation as secretive as the Firm – and he actually calls it the Firm! – that would be terrifying. He’s telling on his family using his family’s language.
Another example is when he refers to the “invisible contract” between the British royal family and the UK tabloids. I’ve been writing about this for years now, that one of Harry and Meghan’s biggest frustrations is that their family members continue to work with publications that have been racist and have continued to harass them, Meghan in particular. That not only have they not supported Meghan enough, they are actually supporting those outlets – with information, leaks, and even allowing them to have parties at royal venues.
I cannot stress how MONUMENTAL this was, for Harry to have revealed this, ON CAMERA. This is some sacred royal sh-t, they don’t ever, ever, ever talk about how they gladhand the media. It’s verboten. And yet here is he, with Oprah, knowing the red light is on and recording, comfortably and conversationally telling the world that, yeah, my family, the British royals, operate like celebrities who have a scratch-back relationship with the media during junkets and press tours. You thought royals were above that sh-t? Please. We’re not only above it, we are afraid of them.
Yes, afraid. With our palaces and our titles, and all our money, and the finest dinnerware in the world, and all our f-cking manners and protocol, we the royal family are afraid of the Daily f-cking Mail. My God, how embarrassing. That’s how Oprah reacted too. She’s sitting there all like…seriously? WTF? There’s a thousand years of history here and 800 crowns and scepters, and they tremble in fear of the tabloids?
For an institution that’s all about strength and stability, that prides itself on its stoicism, that protects its reputation at all costs, the fact that one of their own, a (formerly) high-ranking member of the institution is saying that they wither and cow in face of the tabloids? He just told us how weak they are. And don’t think for a second that they aren’t super concerned with that kind of information. Because it speaks to integrity – their moral integrity, or lack thereof, to be sure, but also, like their foundational integrity.
How is the British monarchy supposed to uphold its foundational value when they can’t even stand up to a newspaper that routinely has on its front page stories about people having drunken rowdy sex on Ryanair?
And how are people supposed to have any confidence in an institution that is unofficially, as Harry may be implying, being led by a man who is still so insecure? To go back to Charles, and how he, really, is the one who came off the worst out of this interview, you’ll note that it was Harry who dropped Australia – and it was Oprah who picked it up. Harry talked about how well Meghan did on the Sussexes’ tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga. Right away, Oprah perked up. And brought up The Crown. (The Crown continues to f-ck with the British royals, LOL.) You’ll recall, there was an entire episode dedicated to Prince Charles and Diana’s trip to Australia. On the show, it was depicted that they had a rough start, then became close, and were quite happy for a while – and in that happiness, Diana dazzled not just Australians but the entire planet. She was a megastar. She was the main star. And Charles, more and more, became irritated by her popularity – so much so that their relationship soon soured because of his jealousy, or so it was suggested on the show.
So Harry’s talking about how great Meghan was in Australia, Oprah’s like…oh, just like on The Crown and how great your mother was and…
Harry basically confirms, AGAIN, that it’s “history repeating itself”. Certain people saw how wonderfully Meghan was received, how much press she was getting, and glorious press at that, and the same jealousy that happened 30 years ago was activated anew. Someone in the palace was threatened by Meghan – and by extension Harry’s – popularity. With The Crown fresh in our minds, and Charles famously insecure about his own appeal, as we saw just recently a few years ago as his sons came into their own, we find the narrative once again coming back around to Charles and his ego. Which brings his leadership into question. Given that he is the king-to-be, the future head of the British royal family, upon whose head the crown will be placed…
What Harry has just done in this interview is give all kinds of ammunition to those who may have doubts about Charles’s fitness as the sovereign. If we’re questioning the fitness of a monarchy, the entire f-cking monarchy is in jeopardy.
You know, for years, there’s been allllll kinds of speculation about whether or not the British royals should just skip over Charles and go direct to William. Google it, “Charles should step aside for William”. Could Harry’s comments in this interview be seen as an endorsement of this proposal?
THAT is going to be one of the most pressing concerns that the British royals are facing – that Prince Harry may be contributing to those calls for a succession switch. Or maybe an overhaul of the whole damn thing. And why? If you go back and watch the interview with Oprah, there’s a real change in tone when Harry talks about his father compared to how he talks about others, even his brother. The hurt is palpable whenever Charles comes up. The hurt is also undeniable when Oprah tries to get him to say who it was that was asking about Archie’s skin tone and he refuses to talk about it but you can see the disgust, can’t you? The memory of that conversation DISGUSTS him. Of course it does. Racism is disgusting, but that person was referring TO HIS SON. And if that person is indeed his father, well, wouldn’t he then, based on that example, and everything else that’s disappointed Harry, be enough for him to change his opinion about who should head the family?
His mother apparently felt the same way.
So to go back to the beginning, and whether or not this was just Meghan’s time to speak…
If you really break down the blows that the monarchy would consider the most detrimental, the ones that really are shaking the beams today, in public they’ll try to tell you that it’s Meghan, but really, Harry’s the one that brought the fire. And you get the sense… he WANTED to. He’s been waiting for it. Maybe for his whole life. There was nothing reluctant about Harry’s disclosures. He agreed to a cameo and turned it into a leading role. Think about what he’s gone through, his childhood, everything that he’s observed, and then when he finally falls in love and starts his family, in his mind the ultimate betrayal comes from within his own home? Someone who’s new to the house isn’t going to light the match. It’s the ones who’ve been living in it and are tired of it who want to burn it all down. That’s the Harry who was talking to Oprah.