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HomeWorldBoring Revelations And Fanciful Victimhood: The Harry-Meghan-Oprah Show

Boring Revelations And Fanciful Victimhood: The Harry-Meghan-Oprah Show


This is the sort of stuff barnacles clinging on the
antiquated raft known as British Royalty were waiting for.
One of the royal couples makes a dash for it, shirking and
then shedding their subsidised duties. They get in touch
with that great squeeze and fluff of publicity, Oprah
Winfrey. Being interviewed by Winfrey is not going to get
you kudos for aristocratic virtue but will appeal to a
certain demographic. (New fashion design in the offing?
Perfume line?)

The Prince Harry-Meghan Markle
revelations were boring, uninspiring, tedious,
self-promoting celluloid slush. For a moment, royalty
gorgers and gloaters could forget the pandemic, the deaths
of over 500,000 Americans, millions of job losses and
incompetent governance. They could feast their eyes on a
privileged couple being interviewed in the environs of
Californian luxury talking about their terrible
hardships.

Press outlets such as Associated Press were
merely stating
the obvious in claiming that the interview revealed a
“picture of racism, insensitivity and deep-rooted
dysfunction” in the royal family. On the racist charge,
Meghan revealed that there had been “concerns and
conversations” between Prince Harry and the family
“about how dark” the skin of their offspring would be.
Meghan was adamant that her treatment in the British media
was different to that offered to other royals, particularly
Prince William’s wife Catharine. It was one thing to be
“rude”, another to be “racist”.

The discussion
of racism was less bombshell than damp squib; Meghan had
come into the House of Windsor. The records, satirised,
anatomised, and scoured, suggest that if you want to join
such a concern, you must expect a system that rejects
evolution. But the couple, and certainly Meghan, might have
believed that their marriage was somehow a change in the
order of things, a sprinkling of diversity to the
institutional monochrome.

This was itself almost
amusing in its derangement, given Harry’s own past of
race-related behaviour. When training at the Sandhurst
military academy, the prince was
recorded
calling a soldier “our little Paki friend”.
Another video revealed
the royal saying the following to a combat helicopter pilot
before training: “Fuck me, you look like a rag-head.” To
comedian Stephen K. Amos, Harry remarked
that he did not “sound like a black chap.” Then there
was that rather infamous case of donning Nazi
uniform
at a fancy dress party. “Harry the Nazi,”
roared The Sun at the time. The fruit never falls far
from the tree.

In this, Harry shares much with his
grandfather, Prince Philip. For years, anybody interested in
the royals would be waiting for the dotty utterances of a
man whose mouth really ought to have been taped. The Duke of
Edinburgh, currently recovering from heart surgery, is
Britain’s national treasure of petrified prejudice,
incapable of changing and always ready with an incautious
remark. Perhaps it was he who ventured the colour question.
To dampen such speculation, which evidently had the opposite
effect, Winfrey revealed that Harry confirmed
“it was not his grandmother nor his grandfather [who] were
a part of those conversations.”

The bleeding obvious
category was also filled by observations aimed to inspire
audience sympathy and garner click bait. Harry claimed to be
trapped but initially suffered from false consciousness.
“I was trapped but I didn’t know I was trapped.” His
father and brother were similarly trapped. “They don’t
get to leave.” Evidently, the prince lacks understanding
on the difference between roles and people.

The issue
of mental health was also given a generous airing to add to
victim standard bearing. Meghan revealed she had suicidal
thoughts. “And that was a very clear, and real, and
frightening, constant thought.” The palace’s human
resources insufficient support. In this, the Duchess of
Sussex ticked another self-promoting box: as aspiring mental
health advocate. This conversion certainly worked for Serena
Williams, who wrote
of those “mental health consequences of systematic
oppression and victimization” and how they were
“devastating, isolating and all too often lethal.”
Billie Jean King also joined
the party. “Her honesty will hopefully lead to more
acceptance and more help for those who need
it.”

Even the White House was bewitched. “For
anyone to come forward and speak about their own struggles
and mental health and tell their own personal story, that
takes courage,” babbled
the barely credible press White House Press Secretary Jen
Psaki.

What Meghan and Harry have done is publicise
the tedious and the personal as a platform. Brendan
O’Neill, editor of Spiked, sees
a cultural coup at work, an enterprise on the couple’s
part “to seize the throne of the victim industry and
consolidate their cultural power in the post-traditional
world.” At the very least, they have become publicity
harlots, modern royals with a link to their own celebrity
creating machine. They feed that machine even as they
complain before an audience of 17.1 million viewers about
breaches of their privacy.

In the aftermath of the
showing, the couple’s efforts yielded much nauseating
fruit. The whole exercise shows that Meghan is merely
continuing the shallowness of showbiz by other means. Harry
has become a tag along, an essentially useless royal who had
already expressed dissatisfaction with the institution
before meeting his wife. The lack of utility for the royals
was already in evidence before the couple decided to step
back from their duties. Leave that orbit, and you are merely
a spec in search of vacuity masquerading as
relevance.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth
Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT
University, Melbourne. Email:
bkampmark@gmail.com

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