Just another battle in the culture war
Since the interview with Oprah Winfrey aired on Monday, you cannot move for stories about Meghan Markle, Harry and the Royal Family. It has entered into the no grey area that is the current culture war in the west. Meghan Markle is the hero bringing down the tyrannical British monarchy, or the evil wannabe princess hacking at the virtuous bastion of British heritage. Unfortunately, the reality is probably a lot more boring and frankly, why should we care?
Before I go any further, I will not be offering any sort of opinion on Meghan revealing that she had suicidal thoughts. Suicide is a very serious issue that does not discriminate against who it afflicts. I would urge anyone who feels like this to reach out to friends or loved ones and the various charities that help people to deal with this.
The words of The Smiths can sum up quite well how I feel about this whole sorry affair ‘It says nothing to me about my life’. A Billionaire interviewed two millionaires about their falling out with a Monarchy. In an era where privilege is one of the hottest topics in western politics, there is no doubt that all parties involved in this are amongst some of the most privileged people of our time.
Those on the left would have you believe Meghan Markle and Harry are great champions of the people for us to look up to. Those on the right would tell you that the Monarchy is the last thing standing between Britain and chaos. The matter of fact is the defenders of each side are both wrong and the answers are not as simple as our modern discourse would like.
I will start with Harry and Meghan. I had some admiration for them when they first decided to step back from their Royal duties. It seemed they were motivated by wanting to live a more private life to bring up their child and to do things their way. I do not know what the pressures of celebrity and royalty bring so I certainly did not begrudge them wanting to escape this. However, it became abundantly clear that this was not the case. We were going to be hearing about how private they wanted their lives to be on their Spotify exclusive podcast. We were going to be seeing how private they wanted their lives to be in their Netflix series. They are going to be paid $25 million for each of these deals too. This is on top of the estimate $7-$9 million they have been paid for this interview, no doubt one of many. It seems they are also going to be lecturing us on various political ideas in their new ‘progressive’ form of serving the royal family. Something about as welcome as a celebrity rendition of ‘Imagine’. They will be doing all of this from the comfort of their $11 million L.A. home I guess too.
I also cannot help but feel Meghan is deflecting from the fact she was not very well prepared to be part of the Royal family. She revealed amongst other things in the interview that she did not realise she had to curtsey in front of the queen and she had to learn the national anthem and other hymns by googling them. She even referenced that it was not like films where there are classes for this. Which I think gets to the very heart of the issue, that much of being a Royal is mundane. It makes me think that Meghan felt a certain amount of regret for trading in her celebrity lifestyle for this. She must have missed the scene in the princess diaries with the supermarket opening.
Let us turn our attention to the Royal family. They are no doubt representative of the very classist society that Britain still is today. It cost British taxpayers in 2020 £69.4 million for the pleasure of having a sovereign. This contributing to their net worth of £72.5 billion. These figures are only made worse when the public find out the money has allegedly been spent on visits to Jeffrey Epstein’s private island. That whole saga seemed to highlight the impact class has on the difference in treatment you receive when you commit such a crime. Couple this with the fact British Prime Ministers have often come from immense privilege too, you cannot help but feel that Britains institutions need some attention.
It seems there is a positive for everyone out of this, however. We will be hearing much less from Piers Morgan. Another person I fail to find the effort to have a strong opinion on. We will likely hear arguments about cancel culture rear it’s head in the coming days, though I am ever more convinced this is a term that should be saved for those without celebrity status.
I am aggrieved that a topic such as this has occupied so much space in my head over the last few days. The world certainly has bigger problems to face than this, but I thought it would be useful to bring some balance to the latest battle in the culture war.