Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s latest political stunt was carried out for Time magazine’s list of 100 influential people. The pair sat on a bench, spoke of “compassion” and the “global community” and the importance of everyone’s being nicer to each other online, and then — what else? — the U.S. election. “As we approach this November it’s vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity,” Harry said, after Meghan implicitly endorsed Joe Biden.
Now, I don’t much care about kings and queens, or the political opinions of celebrities, but I do care about slighting principled grandmothers. What the couple have done here — severing their family ties, moving to California, and becoming self-righteous wokespeople for social-justice causes — is rather like the Kushners (Ivanka having converted to Judaism in order to marry Jared) suddenly revoking their religion, publicly breaking every rule in the book, then moving off to join a hippie colony. It’s very unseemly, shall we say? Though Queen Elizabeth II gave her consent, she was obviously worried (she asked the pair to drop to their royal titles) that they might cause further embarrassment. And she was obviously right.
“This election I’m not going to be able to vote here in the U.S., but many of you may not know that I’ve not been able to vote in the U.K. my entire life,” Harry said in the Time video. This, presumably, is supposed to signal how hard his life has been. To put it all in perspective: In March 2019, having split from Kensington Palace, the couple spent around $3 million of public money of upgrading their home; after stressing the importance of climate change, saying how it influenced their decisions about family size, the two jet-setted across the globe on vacations, for which they — deservedly — received negative press coverage. Soon after, Meghan and Harry effectively declared war on the press, suing the Mail on Sunday and attacking the British tabloids. In November 2019, they took a six-week vacation in Canada instead of spending Christmas with his family. This year, in January, Harry and Meghan announced that they would be departing the royal family, “taking a step back,” and seeking financial independence.
This financial independence has turned out rather nicely for them. After they arrived in California from Vancouver, they set about feeding the homeless while making sure to be caught on camera, then settled down in a modest $14.7 million home in Montecito. They then founded a production company and signed a multiyear deal with Netflix. The New York Times discovered that “it is unclear how much Harry and Meghan will be paid,” and “a Netflix spokeswoman declined to comment.” But we can take a guess. Rumor has it that they are looking for a deal with Apple and Disney in “the neighborhood of $100 million.” In addition to his inheritance from his late mother, we know that the couple are charging $1 million–per–speech fees with the Harry Walker Agency.
What’s behind all this? Raw ambition and an insatiable hunger for power. Vanity Fair says: “[Markle’s] representatives insist she has no plan to run for office, but a close friend suggests it’s the main reason she didn’t give up her American citizenship when marrying into the royal family.” Apparently, she may run for president as early as 2024.
Meghan complained in a documentary that she wasn’t expecting to be treated so unfairly by the British press. But this is nonsense. The first heard time I heard the name “Meghan Markle,” I was in a London newsroom. The editors there were in a tizzy because a writer — in hindsight, a prophet — had just filed a piece saying that Meghan Markle was bad news. There seemed to be, back then, no justification for such a swipe. How rude and unkind and Oh gosh, what might readers think? Everyone wanted so badly to like Markle, to give her the benefit of the doubt. And everyone did, for a while.
But you see, the one rule for a royal family — a rule Markle was perfectly aware of when she married into it — is that they don’t get involved in politics. They leave us alone. And we leave them alone. With a palace, prince, and pool included — I’d say that’s a pretty good deal.