This is clearly a highly influential publication. Only a couple of weeks after I pleaded in these pages for the repatriation to America of Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, it was accomplished. In a magnificently self-regarding and self-pitying statement to the world, Prince Harry and his recalcitrant wife announced that they would be ‘stepping back’ from royal duties and spending much more time in ‘Canada’, or, as it is more familiarly known, Los Angeles.
In this statement, released without the Queen’s knowledge, Harry and Meghan expressed a vague wish that they might at some point in time become ‘financially independent’ from the British taxpayer, seemingly possessed of the interesting belief that after resigning from a post one shouldn’t necessarily stop receiving remuneration for it, perhaps in perpetuity.
The Queen quickly put a stop to that malarkey and so, within a matter of months, you lucky Yanks may be able to hire the pair to serve drinks at bar mitzvahs, weddings and divorce parties, or maybe just to clean the pool or do some light dusting indoors. They are said to be developing their own brand in order to sell stuff to the world — a brand which right now has connotations only of whining narcissism and petulance. Yes, yes, it might do really well, then.
Don’t let the ‘Canada’ business delude you. You’ve got her, make no mistake. There is not the slightest prospect of Meghan cooling her heels in Ballsack, Saskatchewan — or even Vancouver. ‘Canada’ was mentioned as a sop to Harry, in that it is part of the Commonwealth, a kind of halfway house to freedom, like they use for criminal drug addicts who have just been released.
Nor did the Canucks explode with joy at the news. An opinion poll suggested that three-quarters of the population would rather gnaw off their own legs than pay a single cent in order to keep the pair in the manner to which they are accustomed — with retinues of flunkies, heavies to beat up press photographers, private jets, new house, quinoa smoothies, therapists and a nonbinary vegan nursery for their blameless offspring, Archie. (‘Archie’ isn’t a name, by the way. It’s a nickname, like ‘Bubba’ or ‘Jace’). No — for Megs, it’s California, Here One Comes. She had assumed that being a royal was probably no different to being a B-list sleb. She has been quickly disabused of that confusion and so B-list slebrity once again beckons, in Los Ageless, where she would blend in to the point of invisibility.
She still has her supporters here in Britain, mind you — a small fringe of losers otherwise known as ‘the left’, the people who cannot ever win elections. It is fascinating to see cultural Marxists rally behind a uniquely privileged couple whose position and wealth is the product of a deeply undemocratic institution, the monarchy. And yet it is not so surprising, really. In the last three years the British liberal-left has found succor in all sorts of places it normally loathes — Conservative politicians who argued against Brexit, the unelected House of Lords (which argued against Brexit), the Supreme Court (which ruled against Brexit), rich businesswomen who campaigned against Brexit. So it is with Meghan and Harry, on account of Meghan’s dislike of Brexit and also the pair’s ineffable, flaccid wokeness and ability to use the word ‘progressive’ in a sentence without looking deeply embarrassed. Harry and Meghan have been forced out, they argue, by the racism of the British press and the inherent racism of the British people. This is the trench that the left hastily digs for itself when all of its previous arguments are shown to be otiose. But there is not a scintilla of evidence, anywhere, to suggest that we Brits took against Meghan because of the color of her skin. It was, er, everything else, you know?
There are still some questions to be answered. What happens to Frogmore Cottage, the couple’s UK domicile, lavishly furnished to their specifications at a cost to the taxpayer of at least $3.1 million? Will it remain as an agreeable pied-à-terre when the couple wish to swing by the UK, or will they have to look for a reasonably priced hotel? Will Harry retain any royal duties at all? Will he actually get a job or just try to make money by exploiting his ancestry? And how soon will Meghan appear on a reality television show, given that there doesn’t seem to be a long line of directors anxious to cast her in anything worthwhile?
Oh, and the big question. Will you guys take the couple to your hearts? Will they receive the respect they obviously think is their due, and freedom from an intrusive media? Perhaps, in the end, too much freedom from an intrusive media, one suspects. It is true that in LA Meghan will be enveloped in a comfortable echo chamber where a kind of inane wokeness is not merely widespread but compulsory. Yet once they’re shorn of their royal duties, their capacity to interest the public will be stripped away. And I hope Meghan doesn’t get to see the wonderfully spiteful 60-second skit by Kyle Dunnigan in which she is portrayed as an arrogant, self-obsessed, gum-chewing, hair-twirling airhead who can’t remember her husband’s name.
Still, I remain greatly impressed by the speed with which suggestions made in this publication are acted upon. So here are a few more. A second term for Donald Trump, just to annoy Rose McGowan and the SJW legions. The return of Kevin Spacey to public life, now that he has been found to be innocent. And direct, cheap flights from London to New Orleans, please, with a mandatory business-class upgrade on the way home. By the end of March, please.
This article is in The Spectator’s March 2020 US edition.