I heard from a lot of people on Twitter and via email yesterday because Prince William was trending worldwide. There’s even a hashtag. Several of them. And not for the reasons that House Cambridge would approve of. So what’s it all about?
The same thing. The Turnip Drama. It’s been over a month now and just when they thought it would blow over, it keeps coming up again. To be clear, there’s no update from the last time we talked about this. Some people either didn’t hear about it then and others are retweeting new tweets from people still speculating about it and, as happens often on social media, the swirl rose up and this time picked up even more dust. As usual, they’re ignoring it.
But maybe it’s worth exploring why people can’t let it go, beyond the fact that this is the most salacious and intriguing royal gossip mystery that we’ve had in years: Princess Kate isn’t friends anymore with Rose Hanbury, the Marchioness of Cholmondeley – and no one can say why, and everyone’s filling in those gaps. (Also I can now spell Cholmondeley without having to spellcheck so that’s saying something.)
Still, it’s more than just people trying to sniff out a royal scandal. It also has to do with how the royals have handled or mishandled their media the last six months. In the fall of 2018, after announcing they were expecting and a very successful tour overseas, House Sussex’s overwhelming popularity was undeniable. And then it started to turn. Coverage of Prince Charles’s 70th birthday included details about his sons, about Prince William’s attitude, Prince Harry’s moods, and then the focus shifted towards their wives, with reports about Meghan Markle’s demands, and rumours that she and Kate Middleton weren’t getting along. Meghan Markle was being compared unfavourably to Kate Middleton – and that led to the initial reports that the brothers would be separating households.
Through it all, the UK media seemed to side with House Cambridge as Meghan was taking sh-t almost daily, until earlier this year when she flexed, using her celebrity experience to generate and dominate headlines with her baby shower and trip to New York. I don’t think I need to rehash what happened from here. House Cambridge and House Sussex are now independent. House Sussex is on Instagram. And we are hearing that House Cambridge might want to banish House Sussex from England. Then House Sussex clapped back. Harry joining Kate yesterday for Anzac Day service didn’t seem to help – people are mad, people are mad because they think William not only hasn’t been supportive of Harry and Meghan but may be working with the very media that’s been unfair to her. And they’re pointing out that while the UK media has been relentless with their sh-tty treatment of Meghan, they’ve remained largely silent over these Turnip rumours, these whispers of an affair. So why the double standard?
This is basically the royal version of getting swarmed, as in bee-ed, bee emojis everywhere, or snake emojis everywhere. That’s where we are now. And, boringly, William and his advisors will blame the media. Part of it, of course, is the media bias, sure. The other part, however, is the Courtier Games. That sh-t is coming from inside, all this business about discussions as to whether or not Harry and Meghan should be sent abroad, all the leaks coming from senior palace officials, they’re the junior-minds thinking they’re still masterminds, playing a game that’s expired. This might have worked 30 years ago, when Princess Diana was around. It doesn’t work now in the time of social media, in the time of intense fandom and fan armies. They’re showing up in 1970s hockey gear, when goalie pads were the size of a maxi-pad, to play in the NHL playoffs against 2019 teams. It’s embarrassing bad work. And the consequence?
Prince William is trending. And the irony of that is that they thought they were protecting the heir, solidifying his position. If anything, these shenanigans have only weakened it. How do you aim for solidarity by division?! How is THAT your strategy?