By Jonathon Van Maren
Social media is exploding this morning over the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired last night. There was something for everyone: many American conservatives made smug (and mostly ignorant) comments about the monarchy, while progressives frothed about Meghan Markle’s vague allegations of racism, which she pointedly insinuated while stopping just short of outright accusation. The woke got the message anyways. It was incendiary TV—it’s not often that you have former members of the Royal Family dishing on personal conversations, private family fights, and alleging racism, while sanctimoniously claiming that they dearly hope the televised conversation is “healing.” Harry mourned that he’d tried to “educate” his family. I’m shocked that didn’t go well.
If the Royal Family needed more reasons to despise Markle, they certainly have them now. Winfrey is her friend, and the interview was certainly her idea. Whatever you might think of the monarchy (and I hope Princess Diana’s son is happy that #AbolishTheMonarchy is trending on Twitter), family tensions are certainly not going to be resolved by going nuclear on a centuries-old dynasty that the Queen has spent decades carefully protecting. There’s something gross about the family betrayal. The ironies are myriad: Meghan and Harry constantly complain about the intrusiveness of the press while running to the press to air their dirty laundry–and spill stories on his family that the tabloids love. They complain about the rigidity of the monarchy (who knew?) although the only reason anyone is interested in what they have to say is their previous membership in The Firm.
As I noted last year, Harry and Meghan have become a convenient club for those who dislike tradition and hierarchy to smash at one of the world’s last successful monarchies. But there are very good reasons that the monarchy is better off without the Sussexes. It is not that Markle is an American actress; it is that she is a woke member of the Hollywood set who is used to being able to spout off her opinion constantly while secure in the knowledge that she is right and people want to listen. Woke celebrities believe that they have a moral responsibility to share their views and that others have a moral responsibility to listen (even, as it turns out, the Royal Family). Markle actually claimed that she felt like The Little Mermaid—she got a prince but lost her voice. What a tragedy for us all.
We should be so lucky. Harry and Meghan’s contribution to The Firm, before their bitter departure, was to take the side of the abortion supporters, the trans activists, and wokeness more generally. (The irony of Harry’s apex privilege or flying to climate change conferences on private jets never seemed to hit them—they were simply too busy being Good People caring about The Right Things.) As rates of children identifying as transgender in the UK spiked by 4,000% and the government launched an investigation to discover why, Prince Harry threw his weight behind the UK’s most prominent lobby for trans children, Mermaids (named for the mythical creatures who are sexless from the waist down.) The charity, which advocates transition for children, claimed that Harry’s support would do much to mainstream the transgender cause.
Meghan Markle stated up front that she planned to make LGBT advocacy a big part of their contribution to the Royal Family, and the Duchess of Sussex (and Queen of Progressives’ Hearts) made headlines around the world when she expressed her enthusiasm about Ireland’s 2018 referendum legalizing abortion at a garden party at the British ambassador’s residence in Dublin. “She watched with interest and was pleased to see the result,” Irish Senator Catherine Noone tweeted. When outrage grew over a member of the Royal Family expressing a political opinion on abortion, Noone hurriedly attempted to backtrack, but nobody believed it. Markle is pro-abortion, and was happy to talk about her feelings in an official capacity. Now she asks our sympathy—it must have been agony for her to stay silent.
For members of the Royal Family to trot the globe preaching progressivism—or as Harry and Meghan would render it, to use their privilege for “good”—is incredibly damaging to the monarchy. That is precisely why the Queen has taken a silent, symbolic, and serene approach for decades. Nobody wants to be lectured about privilege by a prince and a duchess, and nobody wants to hear about equality from the grandson of a Queen or a Hollywood actress. Harry and Meghan will be able to make millions shellacking the institution in a manner that American divorcees seem uniquely capable of. But considering their views and their activism, perhaps they’ll do less damage outside The Firm than they would in it. Markle will give American progressives the princess they secretly longed for; Harry will mope about at her side, cut off from his inheritance. And in her heart, I wonder if the Queen is relieved that they are in Los Angeles rather than London.