Queen's Platinum JubileeImage by Jhoan Cordoba from Pixabay

Journalist Nesrine Malik writes: 'They don’t want a coup: they want their cut,' on Harry and Meghan’s provocative new Netflix show. The six-hour docuseries is a royal exposé, shedding light on the couple’s claims of unfair treatment by the tabloid press, royal press offices, and senior members of the Royal Family themselves.

“[...] The British monarchy is the most dysfunctional family on the planet”

Don’t be mistaken. This is not a republican turn, nor an attempt to undermine the royal institution from within, eroding the marble arch until it collapses. The series simply tells us what we all knew already: that, despite being the most successful family business, the British monarchy is the most dysfunctional family on the planet, while Buckingham Palace is the most tight-lipped, conflict-averse place.

Talking head and author Robert Hazell confesses: 'I don’t envy them for one moment. They live, for me, in a gilded cage.' Indeed, any episode of The Crown could be summarised as such: someone does something naughty that breaks royal protocol (usually involving divorce), and family drama ensues. A structure to which the Harry and Meghan debacle conforms. It serves, to use Jonathan Freedland’s words, as a 'spinoff' to the main show, an equivalent to the Kardashians’ Kourtney and Kim Take Miami.

Harry and Meghan on their official Instagram page

The couple are, understandably, refusing to sacrifice their own happiness and autonomy for the institution. Can we blame them? Is it Meghan’s fault for feeling bullied by the violent, repulsive words that decorate our front pages? Jeremy Clarkson’s Sun piece, despite claiming to reference Game of Thrones, is ultimately frighteningly close to resembling the racist imagery of a twentieth-century lynching. So, I expect that most of us, as students coming of age in today’s socially permissive world, have some compassion for Harry and Meghan.

“What was once a fantasy—being a prince or princess—is now clearly a horrific nightmare”

But still, I don’t want the taxpayer’s money going to them any more than I want it going to Charles, William, or little George when the vampire’s curse nabs him too. The sum going to the Royals in the last financial year was £102.4 million.

The country’s lukewarm, ambivalent response is not because of a lack of sympathetic feeling; it’s not all smoke without fire. What was once a fantasy - being a prince or princess—is now clearly a horrific nightmare. The frustrating thing is that Harry and Meghan don’t seem to want the firefighters to come and put it out. Selling books that expose private family arguments undermines any positive political messaging and instead plays into the soap opera that is unfolding across our news channels. Meghan’s father, with his tabloid and paparazzi bribes, is no outlier on the royal graph of corruption.

An environment built on power, privilege, money and image is not fertile soil for growing nurturing and mutually supportive relationships. It is instead the stage for family tragedy.


Mountain View

Glass Onion: it is the journey, not the destination that matters in this new whodunnit

Let’s not tiptoe around it: ‘H’ and ‘M’ are a cringy couple. Meeting in 2016, they weren’t saved from the naff Snapchat filters and squirm-worthy skinny jeans that defined such a ‘tumblr’ decade as the 2010s. I can’t imagine us ever revisiting such an unfashionable era in the same way we now romanticise the ’90s. But it is not a crime to be cringy. We all have our quirks and annoying habits. However, the bullying - and it is bullyingmust stop.

But I’m not going to sing the Sussexes’s praises. Without the fantastic colonial historians that dissect the tabloid response to Meghan as a mixed-race woman, their inflammatory royal exposé is directionless. They aren’t really whistle-blowers. Harry’s new memoir, by calling itself Spare, continues to subscribe to the same idiomatic language and sentiments he wishes to detach himself from.

Why shouldn’t this Shakespearean history play end with abolition?