Rabu, 10 Maret 2021

Britain may never forgive Harry for his treatment of the royal family -

For the ninth day in a row, British papers on Wednesday will be wholly given over to the only story that matters in Blighty right now: The sorry, sad saga of Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex. (Fish and chip wrapping has never looked so samey for so many days on end …)

The global fallout from their incendiary Oprah Winfrey TV interview, two hours of nuclear bombs wrapped up in soft lighting and lip gloss, continues to dominate not only the UK but international headlines.

RELATED: Glaring question Oprah didn’t ask

However, something else is coming into focus: The world might now know their truth, but it is not going to set them free.

Instead: they’ve opened Pandora’s box.

Harry and Meghan have now set in stone what will be – potentially forever more – the decisive narrative of how things went so spectacularly off the rails. The palace has been judged in the court of public opinion and prime time TV and found very, very guilty.

After 13-months of trans-Atlantic tit-for-tatting in the media, the constant scuffling in the press via unnamed sources and friends whispering in the ears of journalists, finally the fight is out in the open.

There has been – and will most likely continue to be – a raging torrent of sympathy for the duo and their genuinely shocking treatment at the hands of the royal house.

But if there is one thing the monarchy is particularly good at is taking the long view and today the question is, Harry and Meghan might have won the battle but have they also shot themselves in the foot too?

RELATED: Queen move highlight’s Meghan’s mistake

Back in Blighty, while the public might now be looking at Buckingham Palace through their fingers with new, horrified eyes, there is also a view that Harry and Meghan have just done something unforgivable.

In deciding to dump explosive revelation after revelation into the public realm, they were not just taking a few well-aimed shots at Buckingham Palace but have, publicity-wise, nearly razed it to the ground.

(The Georgian behemoth has not come under such direct fire since German bombers had a crack in 1940 and even then, the bombs only destroyed the palace chapel.)

What is not up for debate here is not how dirty – if not horribly putrid – the laundry is that Harry and Meghan just aired but what they might also have coincidentally unleashed in deciding to do so.

Overnight, the palace finally addressed the situation, putting out a terse, three-sentence statement which belied the severity of what they now stand accused of.

RELATED: Huge personal cost of Harry’s war

While in the US, public sentiment – across the political spectrum – is wholly in the Sussexes’ corner, back in the UK the public remains unsympathetic towards the couple (only 22 per cent of respondents to a YouGov survey thought, post-Oprah, they deserved more sympathy than the Queen). Elsewhere, another poll has found that 51 per cent of Brits think Harry and Meghan should lose their titles.

What kind of reception might they expect when they return to Blighty?

Harry, speaking to Oprah, referred to the UK as “home” but it seems hard to imagine hordes of flag-waving fans will be lining his route home from Heathrow on the day he zips back across the Pond.

The Duke is slated to stand beside his brother William on July 1 for the brothers to unveil a statue of Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington palace on what would have been her 60th birthday.

How are they going to pull off any sort of chummy front given Harry’s wife just accused William’s wife of making her cry? (And on International Women’s Day too.) Harry said of his brother, that “I love William to bits” – but that same brother is also in training to head the very institution Harry has just put the boot into with bloody effect.

On his relationship with his father Charles, he said he felt “let down.” Nothing like telling 17 million Americans how crap your dad is to really start improving things with dear old Pa.

They might very carefully have not targeted the Queen but everyone around her came under direct fire.

They argued they respected and loved Her Majesty but then proceeded to strafe her family and her monarchy at a time when her husband of 73 years has spent three weeks in hospital and has had heart surgery. On this front especially, will Brits ever forgive Harry?

And what of the personal, private front? Before the interview, the Queen, Charles, the Sussexes and the Cambridges all had a long, long road to walk to ever deal with the events and trauma of recent years. That project just got stratospherically harder after the Duke and Duchess’ bout of truth-telling.

The notion that Harry might one day ever again stand on the Buckingham Palace balcony surrounded by his family in a heartwarming show of unity now seems laughable.

Harry and Meghan might be the victims here but they have also, knowingly or not, cast themselves out into the wilderness. (Lord knows why we are getting all Biblical today but it’s been a long week.)

Likewise, if the Sussexes had hoped that by unburdening themselves to Oprah, who pastel-clad nodded her way through two-hours while pocketing a reported $9.1 million for the outing, they would be drawing a line under this horrible chapter then they are in for a rude shock.

Already, Oprah has appeared on US TV to specifically say it was not the Queen or Prince Philip who raised (as Meghan recounted) “concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he was born”. By excluding these two names, the entertainment supremo has therefore lumped even more suspicion on Charles and thus guaranteed this is going to get much, much messier.

Similarly, extra video footage that did not go to air has been put out by CBS in the wake of the interview, ensuring that this particular squall is only going to grow in the coming days.

But, let’s forget this week and next, and even next month. Take the long view and whether the Sussexes’ will ultimately ‘win’ is up for debate.

Exhibit A: Diana, Princess of Wales’ bombshell 1995 interview with the BBC where kohl-eyed she delivered what might be the most legendary line in 20th century royal history, saying “there were three of us in the marriage”.

After 23 million Brits tuned in to watch her speak candidly about her suffering and the heartbreaking reality of the Wales’ marriage, the nation’s position was unanimous: A Daily Mirror poll found that 92 per cent of Brits supported her speaking out while even the tweedier Times found that 67 per cent thought Diana had been right to do the interview with 70 per cent saying they thought she should be given an international goodwill ambassadorial role.

However, what started looking like a sure-fire win for the princess started to disintegrate. Her speaking out put in motion events that she reportedly had not foreseen and which ultimately led to her and Prince Charles’ divorce.

Only a month before her death in 1997 she told former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown she would “go back to Charles in a heartbeat if he wanted her”.

Such was the rancour after the interview that the palace moved to withdraw her styling as Her Royal Highness in the couple’s divorce, a move that devastated her.

Her private secretary at the time Patrick Jephson has revealed that the princess went on to regret her decision to do the interview. “I think the scales fell from her eyes and suddenly what had been a rather subversive or daring scheme … it suddenly in the cold light of day didn’t look like such a good idea,” he has said.

Jephson has also said that she also regretted casting herself “as a victim”.

“She was in a position to be a healer, rather than a victim. She could have appeared from a position of strength.”

This week’s events bear a startling similarity.

Harry and Meghan have unequivocally established themselves as casualties of the cold-hearted monarchy. That might be a mantle they happily wear now but will it also come to define and pigeonhole them as they embark on their Stateside lives and careers?

As Pandora found out so harshly, opening certain boxes can have vast, devastating and unforeseen consequences. Now that their charges of racism and cruelty are out there, this can never be undone.

Welcome to The Wilderness, Harry and Meghan. You might be here for a very long time.

Daniela Elser is a royal expert and writer with more than 15 years experience working with a number of Australia’s leading media titles.

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2021-03-10 14:02:33Z

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