• Sat. Oct 29th, 2022

Any chance of reconciliation has just suffered another devastating setback.

May 17, 2021

Prince Harry reveals ‘I wanted out of Royal family ‘job’ in my 20s’. Video / Armchair Expert OPINION:
Haven’t we been here before? Prince Harry lobbing emotional handgrenades at Buckingham Palace; a chuntering UK press angrily clucking away and above all, a sense of general befuddlement, because why Harry, why?
Late last week Harry, former card-carrying monarchical representative and now full-time over-sharer, appeared on an episode of actor Dax Shepard’s podcast Armchair Expert to launch a fresh round of criticism against the royal family.
Harry told the show’s hosts that he wanted to “break the cycle” of “genetic pain”.
“When it comes to parenting, if I’ve experienced some form of pain or suffering because of the pain or suffering that perhaps my father or my parents had suffered, I’m going to make sure I break that cycle so that I don’t pass it on,” the 36-year-old said.
The palace was “appalled” and “shocked” by the broadside, a royal source told the Mail on Sunday while elsewhere royal insiders were quick to try to paint a picture of Charles as an imperfect but loving father who did his best, all politely mediocre damage control.
But, it’s impossible to deny the deja vu here.
Barely two months ago the world watched aggrieved HRHs (Harry and wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex) take to the media (a TV interview with Oprah Winfrey) to very vocally and bitterly condemn the royal family (they said they had experienced racism, callous indifference to Meghan suffering from suicidal thoughts, and they were cut off financially).
History might repeat itself but in California, so do media appearances featuring kvetching members of the Queen’s family, it would seem.
But what is fascinating here is that none of the fallout, none of the anger or the prevailing bewilderment over why Harry would choose to upbraid his family, again, or even the renewed calls for the couple to give up their Sussex titles, is surprising.
“Nobody is shocked any more,” a royal source told the Times. “It is more: ‘Here we go again.’ Get on with your life.”
(Coming from an organisation and family that has been in the same stale business for more than 1000 years, ouch.)
So, if the reaction to Harry’s latest charges is not a shock, it is hard to come to any conclusion but that the royal has no intention of calling for any sort of a ceasefire; that he knew how his words and complaints would be received back in Britain and went ahead with it anyway.
Way back in March when a dour Harry and Meghan sat across from Oprah in the incongruous Californian sunshine (given the tone and tenor of their claims surely some sort of dark, ominous wood-panelled Gothic mansion would have been more fitting) the question was, had the couple gotten their need to vent out of their system?
Would this be a la Harry’s own parents’ devastating TV outpourings (Charles in 1994 and Diana in 1995), an emotional Krakatoa of sorts? One extraordinary, shocking eruption of pique and emotion which the palace would suffer through before everyone got on things?
Clearly not.
Harry could have been under no misapprehensions about how his latest barrage of royal-baiting would go down.
Barely six weeks after the Sussexes’ Oprah interview he returned to the UK for his grandfather Prince Philip’s funeral where it was reported that he had faced a “frosty” family reception with The Mirror’s royal editor Russell Myers saying the Duke “may have been a bit shocked by the cool reception he got from his family”.
It would not seem that “shock” had much of a lasting impact given he has just doubled down on his ‘monarchy is broken’ invective.
In short, Harry could hardly have gone into recording this podcast labouring under any muddled notions about what sort of reception this latest round of whining would receive back across the pond.
If, having experienced the fallout from the Oprah interview and essentially gone ahead and done the same thing again, it would seem that Harry has no intention of backing down or at least backing away from his current competitive stances.
All of which leaves us here: The battle lines have been drawn and no one seems willing to back down. There will be no ceasefire, any time soon.
Sadly, it is hard to see how any of this ends well for either side.
Harry and Meghan have alienated vast swathes of the UK, with their popularity having fallen to their lowest levels ever in late April, while Fleet Street is perilously close to running out of censorious adjectives to use to describe the runaway members of the royal family.
The longer the Sussexes maintain this stance the more entrenched this collective animosity towards them will become.
Meanwhile, for the Duke and Duchess, religiously hewing to their victim narrative could jeopardise their otherwise shiny Stateside future.
While their palace criticisms have been met with a far, far more sympathetic response in the US, to continue to vehemently paint themselves as having unfairly suffered could become an increasingly hard pill for Americans to swallow given the current social and political landscape.
There have only been six days this year so far when American law enforcement has not killed a civilian.
As of mid-December, 81 million Americans experienced food insecurity, that is, they did not have access to sufficient nutritious food. A total of 585,000 people have died from Covid-19, leaving millions of grieving families and communities across the nation.
Against this backdrop, how might repeated public appearances peddling the “woe is us” line go down?
There is also the danger that for a couple intent on building their money-spinning and philanthropic brand of compassion attacking his family so publicly will start to make them look somewhat hypocritical.
As a royal source has told The Telegraph, “For a couple that have been at pains to set out their compassionate principles, they seem woefully lacking when it comes to their own family.”
For the royal family, how long can they withstand these repeated attacks before they cause irreparable damage, if they haven’t already? The palace might have come through the last few months dinged and a bit battered but otherwise intact but a sustained campaign is another terrifying prospect for them altogether.
While overall 63 per cent of Britons think Britain should continue to have a monarchy, that figure falls dangerously low to a measly 34 per cent of 18-24 year olds. Given this, the palace simply cannot afford too much more of a reputational clobbering.
In hindsight, the Sussexes’ Oprah appearance wasn’t a global purging or a cathartic release but what looks increasingly like the firing of a starting gun.
Harry might espouse “breaking the cycle” of family pain but the question now is will that ever apply to media appearances too?
Daniela Elser is a royal expert and a writer with more than 15 years experience working with a number of Australia’s leading media titles.