“The sheep that wandered all astray
Are coming home to graze
Symbols, Bachchoo, of your wicked way
Or shall we call them ways?
The path of repentance is steep
And balanced on the cliff
Oh pity those returning sheep
The ‘what’ the ‘why’ and ‘if…’”
From Hurry Home, Hurry Home, Hari Om, by Bachchoo
The idiomatic English expression for excited anticipation is “holding one’s breath”. Is the United Kingdom this week holding its breath in anticipation of the publication of the memoirs of Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, entitled Spare? The media has already scoured a leaked Spanish edition for every episode, detail, sentence or turn of phrase which may be construed as a criticism of his father King Charles III, Queen Consort Camilla, brother William and sister-in-law Kate.
The media has exposed a lot of stuff but nothing in my estimation that could bring massive opprobrium on the Royal House of Windsor and certainly nothing that could fuel the almost non-existent republican wish to see the “monarchy” toppled.
In anticipation of this publication, Harry has given two substantial interviews to the press. Some of it is dirty linen and some of it is innocuous self-pity. So, for instance, he implies that both he and William, now Prince of Wales, could see that their father’s then mistress,
Camilla Parker-Bowles, made their dad happy and they were comfortable with that, but they begged their father not to marry her.
Charles went ahead and did get publicly engaged to Camilla and married her. I am somewhat puzzled by this reported urging. What did the sons want? That Charles, then Prince of Wales, should retain Camilla as a publicly identified mistress but not make “an honest woman” of her? And when he finally acceded to the throne, did they want him to
continue retaining her as some form of medieval concubine?
Harry repeatedly points the finger at Camilla as the villain of the piece who had and has close, if clandestine, relations with the scandal press of Britain and he implies that it was through her that antagonistic stories about Meghan Markle hit the headlines. Proof of the allegation there is none.
In a rather strange “confession”, Harry says that after the supposed death of his mother, Diana, the Princess of Wales, killed in the car crash in a Parisian road tunnel, he and his brother both believed that she had faked her death, was still alive and would reappear -- if not to the world, at least secretly to them. Harry says this conviction persisted for a long time and only gave way inevitably to the truth that Diana was in verifiable ways no more. Is this a confession about being delusionary or is it a plea for sympathy for the boy who has tragically lost his mother?
While constantly carping on about lurking racism -- even admitting at times that it may be sub-conscious -- neither he nor Meghan Markle, in her interviews and in the Netflix documentary series in which she claims to be a victim of British royalty and its ways, conventions and racism, offer any actual evidence.
The repeated contention to support this is the implication that someone in the royal family asked what colour the skin of Harry’s and Meghan’s children would be. I suppose in these days of hyper-sensitivity, this can be taken as inherent racism and not just as curious musing.
Of course, every Indian grandmother (or most) has certainly given thought or voice to the fairness of complexion, or otherwise, of the bride entering the family.
At the same time as launching his autobiography and the Netflix series of six episodes (for which the Sussex pair were paid $100 million), Harry tells the press that he is longing for a reconciliation with his father King Charles III and his brother William. Curiouser and curiouser?
For their part, in keeping with the convention that the royal family never retaliate or even comment on adverse publicity, Charles, William and their palace spokespersons have stayed silent.
It may occur to a neutral observer that Harry and Meghan don’t give a toss for reconciliation with his family or for that matter with the population of Britain who may side, very patriotically or nationalistically, with the House of Windsor. Their $100 million from Netflix and $25 million from Spotify indicate that with a black American woman as the victim and the hyper-privileged royal family of the UK as the villains, this story is bound to appeal to the United States and all in the world who want to sail with her.
And yes, in the Netflix documentaries there was certainly some sleight of editing. Harry’s and Meghan’s complaint that they were constantly harassed by the paparazzi was substantiated by showing film footage of throngs of reporters at several occasions which had nothing to do with the pair.
And yet, quite recently, very clear evidence of rank hatred from a certain individual, if not a section of the media, emerges. A “journalist” called Jeremy Clarkson wrote a column in The Sun in which he said he’d like to see Meghan forced to run naked through the streets of every town in the UK so that she could be pelted with excrement from the angry crowds. Not eggs! Not rotten tomatoes!
The palace said nothing about the column. Public outrage forced The Sun to withdraw the column and compelled Jeremy Clarkson to grinningly apologise....