The Only Way is Sussex – a Very Royal Reality Show

It’s been a while since I put pen to paper…or should I say keyboard to digitally recreated A4?

The time constraints brought on by finally getting a job back in November did leave little room for moaning on the internet.

I’d like to think the reason I’ve not been keeping up to date with my blog was because there simply wasn’t enough time left in the day once work had finished.

However, it’s more likely attributed to my poor use of time rather than there being no time to use. Which is a shame really because I do find writing quite cathartic – I mean, who doesn’t love a good moan?!

So I thought it was about time that I posted something because, well, quite a lot has been happening hasn’t it?

Trump was voted out of the white house, which prompted a fascist attack on the Capitol; Boris Johnson has overseen the worst Covid-19 death rate in Europe all the while lining the pockets of his tory cronies with lucrative PPE contracts; NHS workers were given a measly 1% pay rise despite their heroic efforts during this awful pandemic; and Liverpool FC have now lost 6 consecutive games at Anfield, a club record.

But in the midst of political turmoil, government incompetence and sporting failure, the English monarchy has managed to take centre stage – and I’m not talking about Netflix’s hit show the Crown.

That’s right, on the day of Harry and Meghan’s hotly anticipated interview with the chat show heavyweight that is Oprah Winfrey, it’s the Markle Debacle which has drawn me back to the keyboard.

Plenty of ink has already been spilt about what may or may not be discussed in this interview, but it is likely that Harry will continue to defend his family’s privacy and maintain his disdain for the British press.

Clearly aware of the media burden his mum, Princess Diana, had to endure with little support from those around her, Harry has made it crystal clear that Meghan should not face the same treatment. Let’s not forget, back in 2016 Harry released an official royal statement stating that Meghan had been “subject to a wave of abuse and harassment”, to him it was “a line crossed”.

But despite Harry’s best efforts, including the pair stepping back from royal duties, a cursory glance at the tabloids and the right wing broadsheets shows a feral, spiteful and invasive obsession with a couple whose only mistake is wanting to live a peaceful life.

I would suggest the unhinged obsession with Meghan stems from two camps: on the one hand we have a gutter press who, owing to their own sense of self-aggrandisement, have ignored repeated calls for privacy, believing that they have the right to access every inch of Harry and Meghan’s lives because of their very public, high profile royal roles.

In what I can only view as a bitter attempt at teaching the Sussex’s a lesson for Harry’s fight for privacy and public disdain for the media, the barrage of coverage has continuously compared her to Kate Middleton, asked whether Meghan was “fuelling drought and murder” for eating an avocado and branded her “showy” for clutching her stomach while pregnant.

In fact, since the announcement that this interview would be aired the absurd media coverage has intensified: fresh accusations of bullying have now been made against Meghan and just yesterday The Telegraph newspaper argued that *checks notes* the Nazi sympathisers, and friends of Hitler, Edward VIII and his wife Wallis were “dutiful and patriotic to the end”, something which Harry and Meghan appear not for leaving the UK.

Nothing quite optimizes patriotism like sitting down for tea with Adolf Hitler just before World War 2…

While on the other hand, we have the baying mob, who include many high profile celebrities, royal commentators and the media commentariat, who are often fuelled by the aforementioned gutter press and have subsequently weaved narratives which range from the sexist, to the bizarre and offensive, often with racial undertones.

And there is perhaps an argument to be made for racism, but at the very least prejudice. Not only was Harry marrying outside of royalty, she wasn’t even white British. For the hardcore gammon royalist, the very notion that an American with black heritage was marrying into the royal family, and thus squashing the ancient concept of ‘blue blood’ and royal purity, was enough to send them into a frenzy.

Drawing upon the aggressive black female stereotype, Meghan has been depicted as the controlling, scheming and uppity wife who is forcing Harry away from his duty and his family.

Moreover, this was a powerful and wealthy American actress who was as famous, if not more so than Harry. She was a successful woman and feminist campaigner in her own right and I suspect many couldn’t handle that she wouldn’t be cowed into strict royal conformity.

But, most importantly of all, this whole saga lacks any clear sense of perspective. Journalist, broadcasters and media outlets will brand the couple hypocritical for wanting privacy whilst also signing lucrative deals with Netflix to show case their lives.

However, the salient point they forget to mention is: agency.

I suspect that for Harry and Meghan this has always been about sharing highly personal information on their terms, not that of the rabid tabloid press.

There are those who rightly ask where Prince Andrew fits in to all this? Jeffrey Epstein’s friend and alleged co-offender still enjoys the protection of the Monarchy, desite failing to cooperate with the FBI. Perhaps highlighting that despite your wrong doings, as long as you do nothing to expose the inner workings of the palace machine, you get to stay within the circle.

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