A royal shitshow

God knows I could care less about the Royal family. Nothing against them personally, but I’m an ardent republican, and just the idea of inherited privilege is obscene to me. Plus, the incessant publicity and general fawning over their every move is tiresome. Good on ’em, but I have no more interest in their weddings, their children, their travels, their prognostications than I do any other family, and the commentary on them is even worse.

Then there’s the gossip, which is constant and has now become a very big thing. I have to admit some passing curiosity this time – much the same as if overhearing some tawdry tale down the pub.

I’m not going to go into the details because I couldn’t be bothered, and you’d have to be living under a rock to be unaware of the latest. If you’re reading this in some far-flung future, Google it. (Let me know if this leads to the long-awaited Australian republic).
Basically, Harry and Meghan had their royal version of Brexit, what – about 18 months ago? – and have been living in California ever since. Relations have been strained since, and innuendo, as ever, swirling around. Now they’ve come out swinging in an interview with Oprah, the most controversial accusing some royals of racism.

I’m a sceptic by nature, and it’s rare I take anything at face value. If someone proclaims something, I’ll generally take it as opinion, or perhaps conjecture, and very rarely as fact. In this case, one party have made a claim, and I’ll reserve judgement until the other party responds with any substance.

My gut feel is to be dubious. I suspect that half-truths and spin rule the day. Things probably happened in some form, but not necessarily as described or as insidious. And really, it’s a lot of very entitled people grizzling about other entitled people. There’s not a lot of self-awareness or humility on display.

Though I’m not a fan of the royal institution, it’s bloody hard avoiding the royal family. As an Aussie, I’ve pretty well grown up with them. It would be practically impossible not to have an opinion on them personally, and overall the opinion would be positive.

I don’t think there should be a Queen, and certainly not one that rules over Australia as well – but I can’t help but admire the queen. I think she’s a very decent and public-spirited person, and I suspect a quirky sense of humour. Prince Phillip is a bit of a cracker but pretty harmless. Prince Charles, likewise, perhaps a bit of a duffer but well-intentioned. His son, Prince William, seems another of the same ilk, decent, well-intentioned, well mannered, and self-sacrificing. The less said about Prince Andrew, the better, and then there’s Harry.

I always liked Harry. He had a bit of a spark about him. I reckoned I could have a beer with him. Good on him for escaping the clutches of duty and obligation. You can’t blame him for that – but you can’t have it both ways. At this moment, I think of him as a bit of a naive dope.

This brings us to Meghan, his wife. In my observation, she’s struggled to be popular right from the get-go. That probably comes from being a bit of an outsider to the whole royal biz – American, an actress, and not one of the standard landed gentry they roll out to marry off to royal personages.

I’m never one to join the clamour. I’m more inclined by principal to be out of step – it suits my temperament, and I think you’re more likely to be on the side of right. And I wasn’t interested in having an opinion.

I still couldn’t care less, really, but I have to confess that I never warmed to Meghan. It’s certainly not because of any royal bias – there’s something about her that leaves me cold. It could be just her way, but – excepting a few occasions – she’s never come across to me as someone particularly sincere or genuine.

I’m embarrassed to write that in a way. I don’t want to be one of the crowd agin her – and there are a lot violently agin her. If it were not for the royal circumstances and the family she married into, it wouldn’t matter at all. People are all sorts, but not all of us are in the public eye.

I trust some version of the truth will come out eventually. I doubt there’s any real racism in the royal family. I suspect it’s more of a case of verbal clumsiness, but I don’t know. In general, I believe the royal family are decent, but I accept the establishment can be hostile and unforgiving. I do not doubt that Meghan suffered their snootiness and resentment on occasion, not to mention having to contend with a feral press.

In short, there’s been a definite shitshow, and I reckon that Harry and Meghan have some genuine grievances. But I also believe that they haven’t helped themselves much and probably exaggerated the worst of it. And I think it’s pretty poor form to air your dirty laundry on national TV like this, though it’s also very modern. I don’t know what purpose it serves except that it is self-serving, and it’s hardly dignified. And I think it’s poor to make strident allegations when the alleged perpetrators are constrained in their ability to defend themselves – not to mention hypocritical to say so much without giving the detail that might prove it. Basically, it’s flinging mud.

I’ll keep an eye on what happens now, but it seems to me that Harry and Meghan have the life they want now – what more is it they’re after?

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