Oprah, Meghan, Harry and The Crown

Up until now, I’ve steered clear of the whole Harry and Meghan “thing”. I know they got married. And I remember hearing in passing a couple years ago that they wanted out of the Royal Family. I don’t blame them. 

For you see, in addition to the Royal drama and tragedy a few decades ago with Diana, I also watch The Crown on Netflix. As shown in the program, the Royal Family and their institution is a pampered, prestigious tar pit. A well decorated, well mannered and immaculately ruled black hole. An ever so polite version of the Mafia. No one gets out. 

Is The Crown accurate? According to articles I’ve read interviewing the showrunner, they adjust the timeline a bit here and there, and didn’t have access to the most intimate bits of relationships. But it is based on real events, and real people. If anything, the producers show the Royals in a somewhat flattering light, as opposed to reality. The show has skipped over some of the bloodiest Sundays.

Bottom line, Queen Elizabeth, Phillip, and their progeny are all human, with a responsibility to the monarchy. It’s that responsibility that is a bit like an all encompassing web. Some caught within might get claustrophobic, some might thrive, some might self destruct. Be it in the show or real life, her majesty’s life is not her own, but her subjects, to a large degree. Cut and paste that onto the rest of the family.

At some point after the kids got married, after an initially good start, the relationship between Meghan and the family, and the U.K. went to hell. Tensions rose within the family, and the U.K. Tabloids went from ugly to monstrous, with racist headlines about Meghan and their children.

So Meghan and Harry wanted out of the “senior positions” role in the family/firm/institution. They wanted to continue the good works for the Crown, doing charity,  tours, etc., but separate from the clan, and were now residing in Canada, a commonwealth of the U.K.. The Royal family in turn cut off their money, and any and all security for Harry, Meghan, and their children. And also told them that their children will never have titles. On the face of it, this seems a bit extreme and horrible. 

Security’s a big issue, because paparazzi is the disease you’re never rid of if you’re part of the Royals. Suddenly having no protection can be dangerous, especially for the kids, so a friend of theirs in L.A. lent them his home and security until they could sort things out. 

As an aside, Harry and Meghan said in their interview with Oprah that Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, has been consistently delightful since the beginning. So seemingly, Her Majesty doesn’t seem to be the problem.

Here’s the thing…

Watching the big Oprah interview with Meghan and Harry was at times bewildering. During the interview, there were several instances of shock and disbelief expressed. Shock and disbelief at Harry’s circumstances, the ruthlessness of the U.K. tabloids, and that there was racism in the U.K.

When Harry said he felt trapped while in the “firm” or “institution”, Oprah was skeptical, asking him how that could be? After all, he’s lived his life in a palace! Now… Oprah’s allegedly been around the block. A lot. Oprah said she watched The Crown. 

Did she though? How many episodes exactly? I don’t know — maybe Oprah doesn’t feel trapped in *her* palace, but her life is a tiny bit different from that of Harry and the Royal Fam. I mean, they have a footman, she has a Stedman, but I think that’s where the resemblance ends. If one actually watched the show, in short order, the viewer usually gets a good look at the particular social fishbowl in which the family reside. Harry saying he felt trapped sounds spot on. 

Make no mistake, I’m not defending the Royals by any means. Ever since 1688, the whole lot has been, more or less, powerless figureheads of the commonwealth. And there’s been some inbreeding, just saying. Some say they just mooch off the public teat. Others say they’ve done some good work. Others simply no longer care.

Maybe Oprah was just asking the skeptical question because she figured her audience has no clue about the situation. Very possible. Maybe she was their voice.

Next, the tabloids. This might just be down to age on Meghan’s part, but she was stunned at the racist bullshit the tabloids were churning out regarding her pregnancy. I mean, tabloids have been the sensationalistic bottom feeders of the journalistic world forever. It’s been decades since I even glanced at one, but it seems they’ve managed to lower the bar a bit more. They seemed to go after Meghan a lot nastier than when they wrote about Kate Middleton.

But the tabloids being inhuman is nothing new. They, and their ambulatory extensions, the paparazzi, have indeed been around since the ’70’s. I’m not entirely sure why Meghan was surprised. Harry either, for that fact. But I guess the upping of the ante with the racist bent in the headlines even took him by surprise.

There was one of the many Royal functions that were held a few years ago at the palace, where the family was trying to curry favor with the press. It was there that Harry was warned by a sympathetic visitor that the tabloids were going to rip he and Meghan apart. Meghan being half black was a huge part of that. In the interview, dear, smart, diplomatic Harry said he was astonished that the U.K. *tabloids* were racist. *Just* the tabloids Harry? 

Now, of course these days, we know where we stand with our abundant load of racism in this country. Oh, we’ve got loads. But there’s a reason the tabloids over there sell so well. As bad as they get, as trashy and as inhuman as those headlines get, sales are huge. So I think it fair to say that they’ve got big problems too over there. Racism is alive and well in most countries. 

But even within Buckingham palace, H&M were told that there was much concern about the upcoming baby and how dark the skin color might be. Harry wouldn’t say who said it, only stating that it was neither of his grandparents. Hmmm.

Another interesting and possibly very telling tidbit, was that Meghan was told by someone in the institution that perhaps it’d be better if she toned things down a bit. Maybe just be, say “50% of herself”. She and Harry had just come back from a tour of Australia I believe and she was evidently, much, much loved by the commonwealth. A HUGE hit. She made the same horrible mistake as Diana some 30 odd years ago. She showed up the family. That’s a BIG no no. Charles was upset then, and someone was upset now. Hmmm.

It should also be said that I know nothing of Meghan, except, after watching the interview, I learned she was an actor, her father appears to be a douchebag, she fell in love with Harry, and it’s questionable as to how much knowledge she had of history relating to the Royal family, or all the horrific crap that went down with Diana, or what kind of monarchal mess she was walking into. Harry had to give her the heads up at some point though… right? Or DID she know, and couldn’t help falling in love? Or, is she simply a gold digger, lunging for money and fame, who wanted to cash in via Harry and the Royals? If that was the case, it certainly didn’t work out quite like she hoped. But I don’t know what’s going on inside her, or any of the participants. Well, aside from those in the U.K. and the fam who REALLY don’t like the bloodline “polluted” by a mixed race heir to the throne. 

Really? NOW you’re getting particular about the bloodline? The inbreeding wasn’t a red flag? Yikes!

And are we getting the whole story? The Oprah interview telling their side of it is really the only major tv press that’s been able to combat the U.K. barrage of info about the situation. 

This is probably as much energy as I’ll spend on this fiasco. I didn’t even like the fourth season of The Crown. 

Published by rickjlundeen

Storyboard and comic book illustrator/creator/publisher

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