This is Part 7 of a series of posts on Harry and Meghan. (tag: Royal Mess) Here’s Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4 and Part 5 and Part 6. Part 8 of a series of posts on Harry and Meghan. (tag: Royal Mess)
When I wrote my last post on the royal family, right after the funeral of Prince Philip, I assumed it was my last. Royal family gossip is not my day job, and I figured the main family would retreat back to the country estates with their Barbour coats to putter around the grounds with their walking sticks and venture out periodically for scripted visits to various good causes. I figured that Harry and Meghan had no more bridges to blow up, so they would fade into their own Hollywood background, with occasional appearances with D-list stars like Selena Gomez.
Wrong-o! There’s more drama!
In the past few weeks, Oprah’s PR folks have been giving us a slow drip of information about “truth bombs” that Harry’s going to drop about the royal family. He also appeared on Dax Shepard’s podcast, where he rambled on about his sad, sad youth and his sad, sad wife.
What exactly did he say? There’s a lot, and it’s bit hard to sort out his word salads at times, but let’s do our best.
Harry said that his father was brought up coldly and without warmth, and that he passed that parenting style onto his kids. Harry said that he suffers from “genetic pain.” Harry said he never processed his mother’s death properly, so he drank a lot and smoked a lot of weed in his 20s.
According to Harry, when he first met Meghan, they got into an angry fight, and she told him that he should go into therapy. He did and now he sees the world more clearly. Like Plato’s cave dweller, he has shed the blindfold on reality that his family still wears.
When Meghan was pregnant, he said, she was so devastated by bullies on the Internet and the tabloid press that she wanted to commit suicide. He tried to get help from the royals, but to no avail. I’m not entirely clear why he was able to effortlessly get himself a therapist, while she was denied one. Couldn’t he have asked his therapist to hook up his wife with some talk-time? Not sure.
Harry called Prince Charles a bad father and a neglectful father-in-law on a podcast with a guy who has built an entire career around acting stupid. That’s not terribly nice. Now, how did the royal family respond to these accusations?
Well, Prince Charles probably drank quite of lot of his homemade gin and kept going to events with his puffy hands in his jacket pockets, stretching out his $1,000 suits until they looked like bathrobes. He’s clearly sad about the whole thing. The rest of the family is going full passive aggressive.
Side note: Will someone please hire an interior decorator for Prince Charles? It’s clear from all these zoom calls that his house was last decorated in 1964 or something. Even his lamp shades depress me.
Back in 2018, on the morning of the wedding of Eugenie, one Andrew’s kids, Meghan and Harry announced her pregnancy with Archie. Everyone was a little pissed about the timing of their announcement, especially Fergie. Last week, on Harry and Meghan’s third anniversary, which was completely ignored by the social media of the royal family, Eugenie’s sister, Beatrice broke the news that she was pregnant. Coincidence? I think not.
According to the royal family, the Queen is devastated, but not by Prince Harry’s “truth bombs” — whatevs — but by the fact that her puppy died. The rest of the family is going to deal with Harry in their own way. The word is that the only way back for Harry is without Meghan.
Then we have the news that Martin Bashir gained the trust of Princess Di, which led to an infamous interview in 1995, through trickery. He showed her forged bank statements, which lead her to believe that the royal family was spying on her. Diana thought that William, who was 13 at the time, had a recording device in his watch. She ripped up the rugs and the floors of her apartment looking for bugs. The poor woman was batshit crazy, because of the manipulations of a terrible man.
William immediately came out a with a statement, which the palace was careful to say was very much his own words. He said that his mother was paranoid and isolated. In other words, Diana was not perfect. Then he criticized a particular journalist — Bashir — and a particular media source — BCC — for covering up his actions. His anger wasn’t aimed at all journalists or newspapers. His anger was targeted in one particular place.
This press conference was a huge win for William. He came off as confident and smart. I think he just locked down the monarchy for another few decades with this one appearance.
Harry’s written statement was much different. He refers to Diana as brave, resilient, and perfect. She was the victim of devious practices that were widely employed then and now. The entire free press is evil and preys on celebrities. He wrote, “yet what deeply concerns me is that practices like these – and even worse – are still widespread today. Then, and now, it’s bigger than one outlet, one network, or one publication.”
This news reinforces his previous statements about the media. In his podcast with the professional dumb guy, he said that life in the royal family was like being on the Truman show or in a zoo, and that the First Amendment is bonkers.
In a weird way, Harry’s hatred of the press is very much in line with American Republicans, who actually hate him. Both Harry and Republicans are very suspicious of prominent media companies. The New York Times, CNN, and now the BCC are all “fake news.”
Harry keeps making parallels between his mother and his wife. (Not weird at all.) He has a picture of his dead mother in his kid’s nursery and must show the kid the picture so often that one of the kid’s first phrases was “Grandmother Diana.” Makes you wonder if there’s a picture of Charles anywhere.
At the same time, William is surely drawing parallels between Bashir’s manipulation of Diana, which led to isolation and paranoia, and Oprah’s manipulation of Harry, which has lead to isolation and paranoia.
How’s this all going to end? I fear badly for Harry. What will happen to him after Oprah and People Magazine (and Meghan) tire of him? There’s only so many times that he can repeat himself without people getting bored. He can’t go home again, at least not with the wifey. Maybe he can start his own gin making business. Best wishes, Harry!
UPDATE: Is Meghan playing the long game? The flood gates have opened for the Princess Di stories.
8 thoughts on “A Royal Mess: A Tale of Two Brothers, Part 7”
Ha! Was waiting for the analysis – Harry, the gift that goes on giving – so far as pop media headlines and clickbait are concerned.
I was interested to see that he’s now depth-charging his ‘adopted’ (but, not really, since he doesn’t have citizenship) country’s political institutions (bonkers First Amendment).
Does he take *no* political/PR advice? Surely even the ‘Meg team’ would have spotted that this one wouldn’t go down well with US media (who are notoriously sensitive about their constitution).
I don’t think there will be any commentary from the Royal Family. Dignified silence is their modus operandi (apart from notorious media-interview-disasters like the ones with Prince Charles and Prince Andrew)
I would say that Harry is rapidly burning his (personal) bridges with his family – so he’s unlikely to be welcomed back – even without Meghan. I do wonder how much of that is her doing – keeping him isolated and without options – so she can be the one in control, if she decides to ditch him.
I have no idea how much of this mental disintegration (paranoia, distrust of previously close family, etc) was going on previously – and has simply now come out into the open; or whether it’s been made significantly worse by the manipulations of his significant other.
Some was always there – he’s been frankly irrational on the subject of the media for decades, and completely unable to take a balanced view of his mother. But the distrust-morphing-into-hatred for his father and brother (to whom he was previously very close) is definitely post-Meg.
A good therapist would help him come to terms with these issues – bringing balance into his life (no one person or institution is usually all good, or all bad). The therapy he’s talked about is around developing coping mechanisms (self-calming, etc.) which is only one facet. And can be a profoundly dangerous one if the mental issues are not resolved. As we see, the explosive rage is still present (visible at every interview), and just tamping it down is going to have a corrosive effect on him.
Some of the statements in the last interview were just ridiculous (anxiety attacks about flying into London). He’s lived and partied extensively in London, for decades, without regarding it as the sacred site of his Mother’s funeral and his personal scarification in the media.
Much more likely to be that he knows (deep down) that he’s behaved extraordinarily badly to his family, and is deeply ashamed of facing them. No reputable therapist would give him anxiety management strategies without doing a lot of digging into what is causing the anxiety attacks.
My take on the ‘suck it up, buttercup’ advice that Charles apparently gave William and Harry – was that it would have been around the media. And would have been along the lines: Journalists will get the story wrong, they’ll be ‘unfair’, they’ll turn on you in a heartbeat. You’ll have to assume that anything you do in public (and a lot in private) will turn up in the next day’s newspapers. It comes with the job. There’s no use whining about it. Grow a backbone and get on with life. What matters in life is what your friends and family know about you, not what the tabloids say.
And, finally, I also think it’s weird that there is a photo of ‘dead granny Diana’ in Archie’s nursery.
And, I’m speaking as the mother of a kid who’s *father* died before he was born. There has never been a photo of his dad in his room (actually, there are no family photos there) – there are photos around the house – and he gets talked about, but his name would never have been a ‘first word’.
First words for kids are around the people who are a daily part of their lives and/or things that directly matter to them (mostly stuff they want). Given that Archie’s reported first words were ‘Hydrate’ and ‘Crocodile’ this gives me a very strange idea of what his life is like…..
Ann wrote, “Does he take *no* political/PR advice? Surely even the ‘Meg team’ would have spotted that this one wouldn’t go down well with US media (who are notoriously sensitive about their constitution).”
Next up: baseball kind of boring and apple pie not that great.
Harry and Meghan had been suing a bunch of media companies in the US. Part of his 1st amendment complaints are probably due to being told that that won’t work so well here.
“Some was always there – he’s been frankly irrational on the subject of the media for decades, and completely unable to take a balanced view of his mother.”
…which, like you, makes me question how good his therapy actually was.
“As we see, the explosive rage is still present (visible at every interview), and just tamping it down is going to have a corrosive effect on him.”
It’s good to have outlets, routines, and responsibilities, which their life in the UK was probably much better at supplying. Also, the royal family owns so much real estate there that it would be possible to be active but still have a lot more privacy than in Southern California.
This is kind of a weird example, but some of the stuff that Harry has been doing reminds me of an ex-Mormon mom blogger I follow from afar (not one of the famous ones), who has gone from living a very structured, rule-based life in the LDS church to throwing that out the window, doing a lot of day-drinking and pot-smoking and wondering why she’s getting fat, letting it all hang out on social media, and cutting off anybody (including her family) who questions her lifestyle choices. You have the similarity of a person going from a very structured environment and then kind of flailing around once they get outside it. Oh, yeah, and there’s an analogous situation with her oversharing and then throwing pity parties about “trolls” criticizing her regarding the information that she just overshared.
“My take on the ‘suck it up, buttercup’ advice that Charles apparently gave William and Harry – was that it would have been around the media. And would have been along the lines: Journalists will get the story wrong, they’ll be ‘unfair’, they’ll turn on you in a heartbeat.”
Right. Journalists are not your friends. Wasn’t the Oprah interview kind of quasi-therapeutic?
Amy said “Wasn’t the Oprah interview kind of quasi-therapeutic?”
I think it was more ‘enabling’ than ‘therapeutic’.
A therapist will help you unpack your statements, offer some insights, and perhaps give you a task to work on, rather than uncritically accepting everything you say as gospel, and reflecting your outrage back to you.
A journalist is not a therapist (although successful ones in both professions, have a high level of skill in getting people to talk to them).
Mind you, I don’t think Ophah’s interview was particularly good journalism either – more women’s mag level of populist sound-bites.
PS: I think both baseball and American football are intensely boring, and am a bit ‘meh’ about apple pie.
Good thing I’m not about to emigrate…..
Laura wrote, “Harry called Prince Charles a bad father and a neglectful father-in-law on a podcast with a guy who has built an entire career around acting stupid.”
…right after his dad’s dad died.
This empathy thing seems to be kind of a one-way street.
“He tried to get help from the royals, but to no avail. I’m not entirely clear why he was able to effortlessly get himself a therapist, while she was denied one.”
Yeah. I give Meghan a pass on this one, because she’s a suicidal pregnant lady living in a foreign country…but what’s Harry’s excuse for not doing something? Heck, why not talk to her OB?
“Back in 2018, on the morning of the wedding of Eugenie, one Andrew’s kids, Meghan and Harry announced her pregnancy with Archie.”
Tacky, tacky! It’s especially bad because Meghan and Harry are so much higher profile, so it really took away Eugenie’s one big day. Again, where is the empathy?
“In a weird way, Harry’s hatred of the press is very much in line with American Republicans, who actually hate him.”
How do Democrats feel about the New York Post and FOX? Everybody dislikes the press that tells them things they don’t want to hear, true or not.
“Harry keeps making parallels between his mother and his wife. (Not weird at all.)”
Have you seen the photos of Meghan wearing copycat Princess Di outfits? The resemblances are very striking.
The family’s recent experience with Harry is that anything they say or do will be grist for his destructive mill. From a simple self preservation point of view, they need to hold him at arm’s length. https://pagesix.com/2021/05/22/prince-harrys-oversharing-has-deeply-upset-the-queen-report/
Unless they have a ten-foot pole, then they should use that. Seems to me he is doing whatever Meghan thinks will do her the most good – this does not end well.
ds said, “The family’s recent experience with Harry is that anything they say or do will be grist for his destructive mill.”
Right. You can’t have a close relationship with or talk candidly to somebody who doesn’t respect confidences. It makes it impossible to keep up any sort of close relationship when you know that everything you say is subject to being broadcast to billions of strangers, perhaps in a very unfair, distorted form.
I thought the whole ‘panic attack in the aeroplane because about to arrive in London’ thing, was pre-positioning for *not* going to the Diana memorial.
Meg won’t be there (just had a baby, so pretty darn good excuse in my book) and I’m picking that she doesn’t want to let the Prince of Woke out from under her influence. Also H didn’t enjoy the cold shoulder (from the family) and the negative stories (from the British tabloids) – and is looking for an excuse not to go (because it couldn’t possibly be that he’s done anything wrong, oh, no…. it must be that everyone is being mean and bullying him)
Of course, it will be spun as him being ‘shut out’ (because Meg) rather than him not wanting to face the music.
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