A Royal Mess: The Drama of Mourning

For the whole series of blog posts about the Royal Family, tag: royal mess. To start from the beginning, start here.

So, the Queen died. She was an awesome lady. Of course, she was human and made some serious errors. But we should certainly celebrate her great qualities this week.

Her son, Charles, is now King Charles III. He gave a really good speech yesterday, where he doled out the new titles and responsibilities. His wife, Camila is Queen Consort. William is the prince of Wales, gets the million dollar empire – the Duchy of Cornwall, takes over his charities, and is basically the vice-King. Catherine is Princess of Wales and will help out with all that. And he added a note at the end that he loves Meghan and Harry (no mention of titles) and that they will continue their work overseas. In other words: Meghan and Harry are family, but will have no part of the royal world going forward.

The Queen died suddenly. Only Charles and Anne were there, because they were already in Scotland. The others had to take a plane and apparently, there was a lot of drama about who was going to be on that plane. Meghan and Harry, who happened to be in England anyway on their weird faux royal tour, told their reporter lap dog that they were both going up to Balmoral to be with the Queen and hold her hand as she died. The other royals read about that and were like … uh no way.

First of all, everybody wasn’t going. It wasn’t like every random relative was going to be in the room watching her take her last breathe, while taking selfies of themselves for Insta. Kate stayed back home, because her kids were about to come home from school hearing all about it from their friends, and she really wanted to be with them when they heard the news. They actually knew their grandmother and were close with her. They will be sad. But none of the other grandkids, except for Will were going. Will is the next king, after all.

Secondly, Meghan has been giving interviews and doing podcasts all September that were filled with thinly veiled threats and meanness about her in-laws. Nobody wants her around. So, Charles had to tell Harry that he could come but not Meghan. Apparently, there was some fighting and a new announcement for social media. With all the hoopla, Harry missed the family flight to Scotland and showed up hours later, after the official announcement of her death. The others didn’t make it in time either, but at least they were all inside the castle together, when the news broke. On that plane – Edward, Sophie, Andrew, and Will. Will drove the car with everyone to the castle.

The next day, Harry left on his own in the morning and went back to his wife at their house on Windsor estate. His brother is also back at his Windsor house about 5 minutes away. Nobody is apparently talking with each other.

Last week, Meghan gave an interview with The Cut, the fashion arm of New York Magazine. You really should read it. Whiln the surface, it’s a celebrity puff piece, it’s full of juicy tidbits. It paints the pictures of a narcissist hell-bent on revenge against her inlaws. The author of this article is apparently now on the unemployment rolls. Did someone make a phone call?

Harry and Meghan have trying to build their new business, which is apparently all about making money by appearing to care about others. They are building a brand based around kindness and giving, so people will pay them tens of thousands to give speeches. There’s profit in appearing to be nice!

To help build this brand, she and a staff of 28 people (quite a crew!) created a series of podcasts filled with passive aggressive stuff about her in laws. Her podcasts started off getting a lot of attention, but have since dipped down on the charts to the #22 or #24 spot last time I looked. She was all set to do other public appearances and talk show chats to promote these podcasts and puff up her new brand, all of which had to be canceled.

So, in the midst of all this anti-monarchy media saturation, the Queen dies and everybody is massively sad. It’s the biggest media event in ages. The love for the Queen, Charles, William and the rest of the family has never been this high before. And Meghan is there. AWKWARD!

Is Charles going to let the Toxic Twins sit next to him at the funeral? At his coronation? Does he really want Netflix cameras following him around everywhere? Does he want his personal conversations repeated by Gayle King the next day on American television? Not really.

And then there’s Andrew, that old stinker. Having nothing to do, he’s been walking the Queen’s dogs and eating kippers at the breakfast buffet at her castles. But without the Queen, what happens to him? He wants to return to his old job. Charles won’t let that happen.

One of his daughters, who are reportedly very nice people, might get a job with the new King, but Andrew is out. Rumors are that he might start selling his story to the press, but maybe he won’t if his daughters have positions in the firm.

Fun links: here and here.

24 thoughts on “A Royal Mess: The Drama of Mourning

  1. Thanks for the report! I don’t care enough to ferret out all this information myself, but I did wonder about who was there, why Harry drove up when he did, where Megan was, etc. I’m sure you’ve seen this article but I find the coverage of it all so fascinating: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/16/what-happens-when-queen-elizabeth-dies-london-bridge

    Also, fyi, I found out that the queen had died via your tweet, and was able to catch the playing of part of God Save the Queen on BBC at the start of their news report. (Or was it already God Save the King?)


    1. Thanks for the Guardian link. I’m about to get out the car and get lunch in nyc, but just saw some great, but awkward pictures of everyone, including Andrew, Meghan, and Harry, looking at all the photographs. Really fun.


  2. Have said all along that H&M ‘bonding’ with the Queen, but dissing Charles was a massively short-sighted tactic.

    In cold hard reality – she had only a couple of years to go – and then they have to deal with Charles for the next 20 or so. Who has been badly hurt by H in particular (M, while he will be disappointed in her – given that he welcomed her with open arms – and even walked her up the aisle – is really pretty much a stranger). And, at the best of times, is not someone who allows his heart to overcome his head in public matters. There is little chance that they will have any of the juicy royal events which they need to supercharge their otherwise boring lives for fly-on-the-wall TV.

    Charles, much more than H&M has suffered from media invasiveness and the consequent bad press. There is no way that he will allow H&M back into his life with their tame Netflix crew and other media in tow. He has zero desire to see possibly ill-chosen words said to family smeared across headlines. M seems not to have worked this out – and is still drip-feeding juicy bits of gossip (and self-justification) to Scobie, her tame PR flack. Is she really that thick? Or does she just not ‘get’ that the Royal Family control media coverage in a totally different way to California celebrities – and that she has betrayed their trust?

    The PR walk-around with William and Kate was very deliberately chosen as an olive branch. Totally public (so no private discussions to be misreported). No Netflix camera crew. And W&K saving all the smiles and positive interaction for the public (almost zero interaction between the 2 couples). And, reportedly by Scobie, last-minute, so M had no time to try and spin it.
    [NB: does the constant hand-holding by H&M look as weird to Americans as it does to us?]

    So the RF have runs on the board when it comes to olive branches – and the ball is now in H&M’s court.

    H&M will have places at the funeral – which will be run exactly as Philip’s memorial was – with them firmly separated from the ‘real’ RF – both on arrival time, and seating – and no pet-Netflix filming allowed (as well as possible booing when they arrive).

    BTW – H&M should pay very close attention to Charles speech – where he expressed his love to them by name, not title. All of the other royals mentioned, were addressed by both. Now, you could take this as a name/title check (most of them have new titles, now) – but you could also take it as a warning shot across the bows. If you continue down this pathway, I can and will remove any titles – and you can be plain Mr & Mrs (would require an Act of Parliament to remove the ‘Prince’ but, I can see Charles doing this, and Parliament agreeing, if the H&M saga continues). Also the language around Camilla showed that he is deeply attached to her – and there will be war, if H’s book does an unfair hit job on her.

    M is reportedly massively pissed-off by the timing of QE2’s death – as it has killed all of the publicity that she’d ramped up for her podcast, and all of the ‘nice’ events scripted for the tame Netflix crew. The only story in town is the death and funeral- and they’re bit players – and not even allowed to be that on Netflix camera.

    Andrew knows he has no place in royal life. Charles made that very clear over the last couple of years. And (unless he’s massively stupid – which he well may be), knows that he is deeply unpopular with the public (for obvious reasons), so would be used and discarded by journalists – and lose his nice grace-and-favour privileges (which he enjoys). I think he’s unlikely to do the nuclear ‘tell-all’ option.
    He’s likely to be pensioned off into obscurity (no more running tame at Windsor Castle). I think, of all of her children, he is the one who will truly miss the Queen most. She was never a warm mother to Charles & Anne – though I believe that they had much stronger relationships with her as adults; but A was always her favourite – and she was charmed and entertained by him. I don’t think that she regarded his behaviour with young women as anything more than a peccadillo – and was somewhat bemused by the modern fuss made over it.


    1. I still think the best line about H&M was a headline proclaiming “Successful actress marries unemployed, former soldier.”

      I’m more sympathetic to Markle than many. Early on there was a party where various minor rivals were meeting her and one showed up wearing a horrible, racist pin in the figure of a black person with exaggerated lips etc. Like, why would you even have that? https://madamenoire.com/1009566/meghan-markle-royal-family-racist-pin/

      So, if that happened to me, I would be very quick to take offense and would see racism in everything. I would also go out of my way to remind them I was black, that the kids would be biracial and I would say passive aggressive things to the press. It wouldn’t be smart or wise, but I’d still do it.


      1. And now she’s an unemployed former actress – desperately spruiking her domestic life and opinions of her in-laws for content.

        Hardly seems a step up….


  3. I was reading about the money, and, bottom line is that the reigning monarch (Charles) gets 100 million (25 mil from the Duchy of Lancaster & 75 million or so from the Sovereign grant (there’s a accounting math that the soveriegn grant is a percent of the revenue of the Crown estates, but the value of those funds was signed over to the treasury many years ago).

    The heir to the throne (William) gets the income of the Duchy of Cornwall (25 mil/year). I think the Wales title doesn’t come with money, and is given by the monarch. The rest of the royal money is allocated by the monarch to other royals. The Queen gave money to Andrew, Edward, and Anne and Charles gave money to William and Harry (until Harry left in 2020).

    I think the duchy income is their personal wealth, like any other duchy.

    The richest Duke is the Duke of Westminster, through property holdings in London and elsewhere (and the title is now held by a 29 year old).


  4. I’ve been running the 1953 coronation of the queen’s video on the bacground of my computer. A lot of pageantry, religion, references to William the Conqueror, and presentation of silver and garments. Elizabeth transforms from wearing a white dress (with a cloak) to being covered in jewels and coat and cloak. I was intrigued to see 8 prime ministers marching in the beginning, the prime minsters of the 8 commonwealth countires (prime ministers for the 3 South Asian countries, 6 years post-independence, and the 5 settler colonies). The rest of Britain’s empire is referred to as the territories, and includes all the African colonies that would not be independent until into the 60s.

    Now there are 50+ commonwealth countries, including many that were colonies at the time of the Queen’s coronation in 1953. The transfer of “monarch” in the countries that style the UK monarch as their monarch (Jamaica, for example) is not an established process (and, most of the commonwealth countries, including India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka do not have a monarch).

    Interestingly Rwanda joined the commonwealth, though it was never a British colony.

    I do wonder how the formal coronation will be handled in the modern age. I presume it will be televised. Will it be 3 hours? Will it be a formal religious ceremony? How will it be interpreted.

    I like all of this as modern history.


    1. I found this tidbit amusing: “Analysts have wondered whether, with Elizabeth no more, the new monarch would be able to lawfully appoint Governors-General in countries of the Commonwealth realm if those countries do not first change their Constitutions to refer to the “King” as their head of state instead of the Queen.”

      along with all the semi-jokes about how unusual it is to not refer to the Queen.


    2. It will certainly be a religious service.
      The King of England is also the head of the Anglican Church – and the actual coronation ceremony (anointing with chrism, blessing by the Archbishop of Canterbury, etc.) is very much a religious ceremony.

      I’d be surprised if it’s much shorter than 3 hours. It’s a (literally) once in a lifetime event for the King – and (at best) a once in a generation event for everyone else. They’ll be making the most of all of the opportunities for pagentry to set a seal on Charles’ reign.


      1. I would regard the 1953 coronation as being entirely a religious service (except for the processions), which, I think, is the point (the ascension council & the parliamentary address seem to be for the monarch’s other roles).

        Charles is known for having called himself a “Defender of Faith” (rather than “The Defender of The Faith”); only 16% of the country is Anglican, and “nones” are the majority (52%).

        I do think the ceremony might be very similar, but it will appear different to a changed UK & world population


      2. Also notable is how entirely male dominated the coronation is. Except for Elizabeth & her ladies, everyone is male. Will Charles’s coronation be 100% men? Or are some of the positions now occupied by women?

        Again, something that will look different than it did then, when many institutions were all male.

        Kind of like the “river of color” that we can’t see in 1953 because the images are black and white.


  5. Is a brooch with a black portrait cameo racist, but white portrait cameo brooches, which are very common and are very valuable family pieces, are okay? I have no idea. The relative that wore that brooch was like a second cousin and probably worn it without thought for decades. She is old.

    While I may not have experience with racism, I know all about sexism. Plenty of older relatives and acquaintances have said stupid things from time to time. But my biggest -ism is anri-autism, which goes way beyond ablism. People do not understand why my son, who looks perfectly normal, has issues. We get shitty comments or evil stares from strangers frequently. I just came from church, where the priest had made a shitty comment about my kid a few months ago. And beloved family and friends, who should know better, do say things that hurt my feelings.

    How do I handle it? Well, I might write about those experiences with strangers, I would never ever publicly shame family and friends in a public forum, especially since those slights come from ignorance, not malice. If person is capable of understanding, I explain to them what they did wrong and we all move on. If they are old, I just roll my eyes and forget it.

    Meghan didn’t move on. And beyond the brooch and a tasteless joke, she doesn’t have much ammo on them. I think she had other grievances with her in-laws, but the racism charges brought her lots of allies.


    1. Yeah, I just looked up that brooch – yikes. Super weird and awful, especially in the context of the quotes about how she wanted to dress up and be like them? Princess Michael sounds like a piece of work: “In 2004 she was accused of telling a group of Black diners at a restaurant in New York to “go back to the colonies.” Her response to being alleged to have made such offensive comments was to say that she she loves Africans so much she pretended to be one back in the day. “I even pretended years ago to be an African, a half-caste African, but because of my light eyes I did not get away with it, but I dyed my hair black,” she said to ITV at the time. “I traveled on African buses. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted experiences from Cape Town to right up in northern Mozambique. I had this adventure with these absolutely adorable, special people and to call me racist: it’s a knife through the heart because I really love these people.”

      I can see if that happened and the rest of the Family didn’t stand up for the “absolutely adorable, special people” you might be on the alert! If that’s the sort of underlying attitude towards the “colonies” and their “special people” – as suggested by the many non-European critiques of the whole hagiographic response to the queen’s death – maybe she hasn’t overreacted. (And I think it’s different than for other people – Laura’s difficult relatives don’t have the power or influence that the royals do.)


      1. I’m sure this person is an idiot. The point is that MM said her in laws are racist in the press (though she never mentions this particular woman ever). This behavior is unlikely to lead to harmonious holiday family dinners. Weirdly enough, she did try to walk back the racism claims. I do think her biggest issues were other stuff.


      2. Princess Michael of Kent is the daughter of a Nazi – and not exactly one of the shining jewels of the Windsor constellation.


        But she has little, if any influence – apart, perhaps, in her own mind.

        TBH – I don’t think she was trying to be offensive. But literally didn’t think – so insulated from reality that she doesn’t perceive that she could ever be in the wrong.

        It was absolutely OK for Meghan to take offence (not that she or anyone needs my approval). But she really has no idea of how the RF works.
        The way to deal with it, would be to murmur to Harry, who would then inform an equerry, who would then discuss with the Queen, who would then ask the equerry to inform Princess Michael that she needed to remove the offensive piece of jewellery, before she sat down to dinner.

        The RF deal with issues without them becoming issues. Meghan deals with issues by proclaiming her rights to the rooftops.

        If, as is entirely possible, Meghan didn’t even see the offensive piece of jewellery, until it was puffed off in the papers. She could deal with it in 2 ways. Either a diplomatic silence (banking up brownie points for the next thing she wants from the Queen); or a comment that she didn’t even see Princess Michael (implication that PM is too unimportant to bother with), but that racist jewellery, even if not worn with that intent, is in exceedingly poor taste.

        And, I do agree with Laura. This is the one actually documented ‘racist’ incident during Meghan’s time in the UK. And Meghan has never mentioned it during any of her interviews, podcasts, ‘leaks’ to Scobie, etc. Perhaps ‘racism’ isn’t actually the issue ….


  6. Idk. If that was the thing that bothered Meghan, it’s weird that that was the one grievance that she never mentioned with Oprah, her podcasts, the Cut interview, or anywhere else. Everything else, from the tights on Charlotte at the wedding to not being able to be a part-time royal, are things that she’s complained about.

    I think she fundamentally didn’t understand the British traditions and confused American celebrity life (which she did understand) with the monarchy. And that’s the just the beginning of how everything fell apart.

    Charles has long planned on downsizing the monarchy once he took office. I think that losing members of the commonwealth doesn’t bother anyone. It’s an arrangement that is time to go. He’s also long planned to turn a bunch of those old castles into museum. Losing Belize won’t hurt them, but if he starts cutting loose people, then he’s going to have some really pissed off relatives talking to the press. That’s where things will get ugly.

    Things will get even trickier when the royals start to financially extricate themselves from the monarchy. On paper, the Queen was worth billions. But how much of that money is actually her, and how much belongs to the monarchy, a government institution? That’s actually going to be a super interesting dilemna.


    1. “On paper, the Queen was worth billions. But how much of that money is actually her, and how much belongs to the monarchy, a government institution? That’s actually going to be a super interesting dilemma.”

      No, actually the vast majority of it is owned by the Queen (King now) personally. It’s in her gift. Charles didn’t ‘have’ to give William the Duchy of Cornwall – he could have kept it, or given it away to a different relative. [Not likely, but he could have].

      This was all clarified in the middle of the last century when Edward 8th abdicated – and it was clear that the revenues and properties belonged to the monarchy – that is the King or Queen of the day – (not the government – who had zero say in all of the financial negotiations). Edward also lied to George about the state of his finances – in order to extort a better pension – he was a grasping man (mind you, he had to afford Wallis who was seriously expensive)


      The real reason they never lived in either the US or the UK was that they didn’t want to pay income tax.

      The Queen has paid tax on her income for some time now, though legally, she doesn’t have to.


      1. Charles owns Balmoral and Sandringham (200 mil, inherited from Elizabeth) independently of the Crown Estates (which belong to the current Monarch). Balmoral & Sandringha were apparently bought by Albert, Victoria’s husband and Edward, Charles’s great grand father). Those properties originally belonged to Edward (of Edward & Wallis, Elizabeth’s uncle, who inherited them from Elizabeth’s grandfather), but when Edward abdicated, Elizabeth’s father bought them, and gave Edward the money in installments.

        The Crown Estates are owned by the Crown and managed privately and income donated to the treasury, with a percent being returned to the Crown for upkeep and responsibilities of the role. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-king-charles-to-take-control-of-royal-estate-estimated-to-be-worth/

        The Duchy of Lancaster is considered “the personal estate of the reigning monarch since 1399” but, cannot be sold; the monarch can access its income but not its capitol.

        I think the same is true for the Duchy of Cornwall (and, I guess, Charles could have kept the title, rather than handed it down to his heir, but the breaking of traditions — 700 year old ones — might not really be possible).

        Fascinating article on Charles’s Duchy of Cornwall management & investment: https://www.ft.com/content/bb86dd38-073c-4081-8e8e-9dae3a56d7b4

        Charles (or WIlliam) can access the income, and, presumably, invest the income as they chose (in bitcoin? art? American land). I think that investment happens less often then one might imagine because royalty have high expenses.

        The article says does say that the income from the estate grew from 95K in 1952 to 23 mil today (not inflation corrected).


      2. The wikipedia entry says that there were a lot of negotiations between Edward and George, including both requiring Edward to live in UK territory (during the war, when there seems to have been fear of Nazi/German collaboration) and to not live in England.


      3. Yep. Pretty much wall-to-wall coverage if you choose to watch it.

        I’m a bit ‘meh’ – too much else going on in my life, which affects me personally.

        I find all of the gush a bit tiresome and over-emotional; but then I felt that about Diana as well – and all of the various rock stars who’ve dropped dead over the last few years.

        I understand that it’s about change – rather than personal connection – but this for example – is just ridiculously silly and over-the-top.


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