LET me get straight to the point about Meghan and Harrys interview with Oprah Winfrey.
I disagree with my friend Piers Morgan that its broadcast is a scandal, given that the Duke of Edinburgh is recovering from heart surgery. In my view, it would be a scandal if it wasnt shown.
Read our Meghan and Harry live blog for the latest news…
Meghan Markle in a clip from the Oprah Winfrey interviewCredit: CBS supplied by Pixel8000
Not since Peter Finchs character threatened to blow his brains out on live TV in the 1976 film Network has anyone committed such a public act of self-destruction. When the credits roll, I have a feeling that the heads of Haz and Megs will roll with them.
The Prince of Sighs and the Duchess of Self Delusion have committed their ultimate act of folly. They should have remembered the saying people in glass houses shouldnt throw stones. And boy, has their house turned out to be glass of the least durable kind.
That slick trailer promised heartrending tales of Meghans victimhood. These include her silencing by bullying palace officials and her almost unsurvivable ordeals, presumably at the hands of the British Press, to the extent that Harry says, between gulps, that his greatest concern was: History repeating itself.
But its all gone horribly wrong for The Worlds Greatest Victim. No less a paper than The Times reported on Wednesday that Meghan had faced allegations, which she denies, that she bullied two female members of her private staff at Kensington Palace, who were then allegedly silenced by way of NDA agreements.
Delicious, isnt it? To make matters worse for our tragic heroine, it was revealed that Markle sparkled at a banquet in 2018 in cascades of diamonds that were a wedding present from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is accused not only of ordering the assassination of a journalist (something in her dreams Meghan would doubtless like to do herself) but has kept the women of his country in virtual slavery.
Not a good look in both senses of the phrase. But Megs has always wanted to have her diamonds and wear them. I sometimes wonder into what sort of a mirror she looks at herself every morning?
The woman believes herself to be a swan among swans, the physical, moral and intellectual peer of such great figures as Emmeline Pankhurst, Audrey Hepburn and Mother Teresa. Where self-knowledge should be is a hole so large it could be filled by a new galaxy.
Meghan wears the earrings gifted by the Saudi Crown Prince while descending a staircase alongside a blissful-looking HarryCredit: Getty Images
The apogee of Meghan’s acting career was playing Rachel in Suits – ‘how come her transcendent talent has languished unrecognised?’ our columnist asksCredit: Getty Images – Getty
It is not the Royal Family but Megs and Haz who should hide behind the sofa in embarrassment.
One striking irony about personalities such as Meghan is that they continually attack others for the faults that they themselves possess, using them as stalking horses under the cover of which they cry great crocodile tears.
Markle likes to present herself as a perfect presence, a woman of crystal, unsoiled, guileless, dewy. Harry, like all weak men, goes along with this as a bedroom back-seat driver to the extent of fanaticism.
Last year the couple were accused of cooperating on a book about themselves with the ridiculous title Finding Freedom, which begged the question did they think they were Mr and Mrs Nelson Mandela?
Only Mandela spent 27 years in a South African jail. Meghan spent just over one year in the luxury of the British Royal Family. No matter; she appears to see herself as a secular saint, and like a saint has to endure unspeakable suffering daily.
I cannot help but feel that Meghan actually enjoys being unhappy and wronged.
She seems to have convinced a once cheerful and uncomplicated Harry that he was really desperately miserable all along, and abominably ill-served by all around him, to the point where his once-smiling features have set into a permanent, resentful frown.
Lets rewind to Meghan and Harrys move to Los Angeles, in what looks like the first staging post on the Duchesss quest to convince an awestruck world of her stature as an humanitarian and A-list personality; to take her rightful place in the pantheon alongside George and Amal Clooney, Serena Williams and the Obamas.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced they were expecting their second child with this photoCredit: AFP
Meghan ‘seems to have convinced a once cheerful and uncomplicated Harry that he was really desperately miserable all along’, Petronella Wyatt writesCredit: The Mega Agency
The harder she and Harry tried to coerce us into acknowledging their worth, the more they resembled gilt as opposed to genuine 18-carat gold.
We were treated to self-indulgent podcasts, patronising homilies on race and equality, the announcement of a tawdry and undeserved deal with the streaming giant Netflix, and then the photoshoot of pregnant Meghan lying on the grass beside a barefooted Harry. It tried so hard to be Hollywood, but it looked like Hollyoaks.
And the discordant soundtrack to all of this? Meghans continual, histrionic pleas for privacy, while acting like Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, permanently ready for her close-up.
Meghan has made her distaste for journalists known at every turn, even suing one British paper. She has now accused The Times of peddling a false narrative to smear her character. Thats rich. Meghan peddles her own narrative so fast she could outdistance the entire Tour de France.
Moreover, it seems that some journalists are more her equal than others. One can only marvel that she and Harry have put themselves into the hands of Oprah, the worlds most ruthless operator, who will squeeze them like an orange and then cast the peel into the nearest refuse dump.
But Meghans entire life has been a masquerade. She thinks she is a brilliant actress, perhaps one of the best of her generation. But for some reason she never managed to win any parts worth having.
One ‘can only marvel that Meghan and Harry have put themselves into the hands of Oprah, the worlds most ruthless operator,’ our columnist says
‘Meghans entire life has been a masquerade. She thinks she is a brilliant actress, perhaps one of the best of her generation,’ Petronella saysCredit: halfadams/Instagram
IMPRISONED IN PALACES
Playing Rachel in the cable TV drama Suits was the apogee of her career. How come her transcendent talent has languished unrecognised?
Yet she attempts to set up her stall among the cream of America; among people whose fame is of the solid and enduring kind that is based on extraordinary talent and grindingly hard work.
Meghans one big chance to prove her merit was as a dutiful member of the Royal Family. When the curtain came up on the first act of her new, starring role, her audience namely the British public were warm to the point of effusion. So were the Press, though the Sussexes have singled them out for particular opprobrium.
The Queen even gave Meghan privileges, such as allowing her to stay at Sandringham before her marriage, that were denied to her sister-in-law, Kate. Could the barometer have been set more fair?
During the Oprah interview, Meghan will discuss race in Britain. Doubtless it will be some woke diatribe against the institutionalised racism of the British. Hard to watch straight-faced when Megs married a man who found it amusing to wear a Nazi uniform to a fancy dress party. Oprah, of course, will be suitably impressed and horror-struck by her devastating tales of life in the heart of the Royal Family. If only we had realised how wretched it must have been!
Imprisoned in palaces, forced to wear jewels and frocks beyond price, served, literally, on bended knee by liveried courtiers. Chauffeured around in stultifying limousines, protected and pampered at the expense of the British taxpayer. How humiliating for a couple who loudly trumpet their independence!
And, their supporters might add, what of the inhumane tedium of having to perform royal duties surely that contravened their human rights?
Poor Meghan had to shake hands with unwashed plebs on a weekly basis. She even had to do walkabouts in the rain, for Heavens sake, and was a tragic captive of a thing called protocol. Meghan and Harry were actually forced to walk behind Prince William and his wife Kate. Even Mandela was never subject to such an ordeal.
The trouble is that this sorry pair have always relied less on their memory than their imaginations. There is a type of person who, according to their own account, is perpetually the victim of unwarranted criticism and unkindness.
People of this kind can, like Meghan, seem plausible and secure sympathy from those who do not know them. There is nothing inherently improbable about each separate story they relate a treacherous father (Thomas Markle), a cruel article in the Press, an encounter with a bully, even an incident of racism. This kind of ill treatment does sometimes occur in the life of a famous person.
What in the end arouses suspicion is the multiplicity of villains whom it has been the sufferers ill fortune to meet.
Meghan was a tragic captive of a thing called protocol as she and Harry were actually forced to walk behind Prince William and his wife KateCredit: AP:Associated Press
The Sussexes know that Prince Charles will not finance, ad infinitum, their LA lifestyle …so they have turned to OprahCredit: AFP or licensors
If one individual claims to receive almost universal bad treatment, the likelihood is the cause lies in themselves, and that they either imagine these injuries or behave in such a way as to arouse uncontrollable irritation. This appears to have led, in Meghans case, and now Harrys, almost to a sort of Persecution Mania.
The Sussexes expect everyone to feel towards them the same unquestioning love and respect that they feel towards themselves. But neither have the talent to work for their high living, particularly Harry. They know that Prince Charles, who is, according to royal sources, hurt and dismayed by their ingratitude, will not finance, ad infinitum, the LA lifestyle of a couple approaching middle age.
So they have turned to Oprah as a way of building their financial brand. No matter that this may wound Harrys closest family, including his father and grandmother, our irreproachable Queen, while her 99-year-old husband receives painful hospital treatment for a heart condition.
There was always a tragic inevitability about it. Having left the safety of the Royal Family and upped sticks to ruthless, hypocritical La La Land, they cannot escape the toils they have made for themselves.
Genuine celebrity is like diamonds; its value depends on a controlled and limited output, yet as the world endures a terrible pandemic, this pair will undertake a two-hour moanathon.
There may, nonetheless, be foolish and gullible people, the sort who are a sucker for conspiracy theories and tales of wicked royals and there are many in America who will believe them. But the sophisticates the Sussexes love and aspire to join will be laughing at them.
In urbane American society, in the world of the Clooneys and the Obamas, Meghan will never be taken seriously again. She has descended too deeply into the mud. That is why I say of Oprah; bring it on!
I WAS never a major fan of Meghan Markle but the media circus surrounding her over the past few years has radicalised me into one.
Ever since she and Prince Harry announced their engagement, Ive seen her targeted for the crime of being an older woman, an American, an actress, a divorcee, a biracial black woman, a feminist or simply for the audacity of having an opinion.
Outspoken women such as Meghan have long been earmarked for criticism. While men are praised for being assertive with their views, women are too often labelled bitchy or difficult for delivering the same blunt sentiment. I can imagine the tone-policing Meghan faced when she tried to introduce an autonomous way of working.
She and Prince Harry clearly wanted more power over their lives and, given the experience of Princess Diana in the Royal Family, who can blame them for not wanting to be ruled by the same antiquated royal protocol that suffocated his mother?
Even Harry admits Netflixs The Crown got it right about the pressure of putting duty and service above family and everything else.
But at every turn, Meghan alone has been painted as the villain; the angry black Lady Macbeth pulling the strings behind their departure from his family.
Buckingham Palace has fanned its flames by briefing the Press against her. This week aides have repackaged three-year-old bullying complaints to discredit Meghan before the Sussexes interview with Oprah airs.
Workplace bullying is a serious issue, but the timing of this leak seems like a calculated attempt to smear Meghan before she and Harry share their truth.
It practically confirms everything she has claimed about the underhand tactics employed by senior aides and further highlights the double standard between the Palaces handling of the Sussexes and Prince Andrew.
Where is the investigation into the sexual abuse allegations stemming from Andrews long-time friendship with a convicted serial rapist and paedophile? The hypocrisy is rife.
This glorified tourist attraction had an opportunity to make itself relevant again with the arrival of Meghan. Through her work as a royal she has built stronger relations between marginalised communities and the monarchy, and become a symbol for inclusion and representation.
But, I guess, you cant teach an old dog new tricks and Meghan has the bite marks to prove it.
- By Hanna Flint, Writer and Broadcaster
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