Harry and Meghan's explosive Oprah interview shines a harsh light on the monarchy
Comment

Harry and Meghan's explosive Oprah interview shines a harsh light on the monarchy

I’VE always thought that the British royal family is a matter for the British people.

If they wish to have someone live in a castle or a palace, to have people by virtue of birth be a prince or a princess, have an occasional lavish wedding, then that’s up to them.

If they wish to have their own real-life Disney fairytale, then that’s up to them.

They aren’t the only people in the world who do it and, God only knows, there are far worse things out there.

Maybe there aren’t many things as silly but there are many things far, far worse.

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I’ve never thought, either, that, beyond the pages of celebrity, the royal family warranted much attention.

I don’t think, for instance, that in terms of society and justice and fairness that they signify much.

I don’t think, in effect, that they really matter.

Not that I’d like to give you the impression the Irish are disinterested in them.

There is a fascination in Ireland with the British royal family and there is, despite our past, affection. The Queen’s visit to Cork, the rebel county, was a clear example of that.

But, as of Harry and Meghan’s recent celebrity interview with Oprah Winfrey, if I’m asked do I believe the British tabloid press is bigoted and the upper echelons of British society are emotionally stunted then I only have one reply.

And that is, is the Pope still Catholic?

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That the Society of Editors in the UK should be so quick and so high profile in condemning the couple’s words is laughable.

Ian Murray, the Executive Director of the Society, kept a straight face when he stated that ‘the UK media has never shied away from holding a spotlight to those in positions of power, celebrity or influence. If sometimes the questions asked are awkward and embarrassing, then so be it, but the press is most certainly not racist.’

And he said this, remember, of The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Star, The Express.

He said, in those words, that the Daily Telegraph, staffed and written by cheerleaders to Boris Johnson, was ‘holding a spotlight to those in positions of power’.

Yes, indeed, but only in the way that PR lights are set.

He said this about a press still under the sway of Rupert Murdoch’s ethics, which went as low as hacking the phone of a murdered schoolgirl.

After Trump there is, of course, a sensitivity about lazy, self-serving, untruthful criticism of the media.

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But that doesn’t mean there isn’t lazy, self-serving, untruthful media.

The British tabloid press is sensational and hysterical and that’s a given.

That’s the nature of a tabloid press and is sometimes harmless and sometimes funny.

But if Prince Harry, a direct product of systemic imperialism and colonial racism, says the British media has ‘colonial undertones’ Murray insistence of the press’ ‘vital role in holding the rich and powerful to account’ is a laughable response.

So it is little wonder that Murray resigned from his position with the Society just days after he made his statement.

As for the estrangement and coldness Harry clearly encountered in his own family, well, is that really so surprising?

The upper echelons of British society are, essentially, much like the unfortunate lower, abandoned echelons.

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They are both brought up in care.

One is, of course, a very expensive version of the care system, but it is still one lacking in emotional development.

It is not a coincidence that only seven per cent of the British public share this educational care system - as experienced by the likes of both Princes, Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees Mogg, who all went to the same school - but that 51 per cent of leading journalists did too, as well as 80 per cent of top newspaper editors.

So the response of the Society of Editors becomes more comprehensible when it can be seen that Prince Harry’s words are more of a betrayal to them than most other people.

I’m fairly sure that in the long run of things this is a celebrity storm more than anything else.

But after the self-flagellation of Brexit, this expose of the very highest examples of British life from within the very highest examples of British life does suggest a country fighting with itself.

It couldn’t be true, could it, that beneath all of those Union Jacks and all of that swaggering nationalism, that the British don’t actually like themselves very much?

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