A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
As the world churns (yes, that’s a hopeless TV reference; get used to it!) with airplanes falling out of the sky, impeachment hearings, Putin seriously off the rails and polar bears poaching in the sun, the big news across the globe is what’s going to happen to Harry and Meghan.
Disclaimer: I am a hopeless monarchist, and I’ve always been in Harry’s corner (even when he dressed up as a Nazi) so it’s more in sadness than anger that I lampoon this two-ring circus.
Apparently, Harry, the Englishman formerly known as a Prince and Ms. Markle (former “briefcase girl” on Deal or No Deal) don’t want to be royals anymore. It’s just too difficult for them. This intolerable situation has caused them to seriously reflect on their role as A-listers on the world’s media stage. They want to “take a step back” from the drudgery of photo-ops and ribbon cuttings. They want to find their own “financial independence.” And they want a chance at “a normal life.” Not to worry though: they’re not going to give up being the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (they’re currently trademarking that brand.) They just don’t wanna waste their time on the royal responsibilities that come with the title. In “normal life” terms, what that means is “Okay, when grandma’s dishing out the cookies, let us know, but we’re not going to hang around and help her clean the oven.”
For the last couple of years, the world has been fascinated by the Harry and Meghan Royal-ity TV series (Season 1 – The Wedding, Season 2 – Here Comes Archie) but so far in Season 3, the story arc has gone a little flat. After all, Harry’s not the heir; he’s the spare, so there’s not a whole lot of drama there. And Archie’s cute and all that, but a 7th in line cousin is not necessarily tabloid news. Meanwhile, Meghan’s media presence has disappeared entirely. Even the bitchy stuff isn’t getting much ink these days. The truth is Harry and Meghan might impress the likes of Oprah Winfrey and George Clooney (Ya gotta ask, though, would they have showed up at the wedding of second banana TV star, Meghan Markle, if it wasn’t for Harry?) but in the rare air of royal affairs, it’s William and Kate who carry the big stick. From here on, Harry and Meghan are going to be trotted out for Ascot, hospital openings in Sheffield, Eastern European funerals and that’s about it. They may have decided to “take a step back” from the limelight, but the reality is it’s already getting pretty dim.
I don’t actually care if Harry and Meghan trash it all and open a bed and breakfast on Vancouver Island. Knock yourself out. But what the hell does ‘a normal life” look like to someone who’s negotiating with two national governments, Canada and Britain, to figure out which one is going to pay for the bodyguards? I don’t care how you slice the Gateau des Rois, that’s not “normal.’ Here’s the deal. Harry’s accident of royal birth and more importantly, Meghan’s accident of royal marriage have given them both a ton of advantages that they can’t ever switch off. If they don’t understand that, they’re totally out of touch with the real world. If they do understand it, this latest semi-royal proclamation is simply grandstanding. Personally, I think it’s a little bit of both.