The Diana Complex: Who Is More Under Her Spell, Harry Or Meghan? – Opinion

The Sussexes have failed to learn from the mistakes, or the strengths, of the late princess 

Melanie McDonagh | The Telegraph UK 

There was a sense of déjà vu, don’t you think, about Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey? At least for those of us who can remember Diana, Princess of Wales, baring her soul to Martin Bashir in 1995. For a man who says that he fears that history is repeating itself in respect of his mother and his wife, Prince Harry went out of his way to make the same mistakes as Diana. She regretted, though never repudiated, her Panorama interview, but here we are with Oprah, Harry and Meghan: The same again, only more so.          

Indeed, Harry observed in the interview that his mother would be “angry and sad” that he felt he had to leave the Royal family, but he “felt her presence” and observed that “she saw it coming”. Actually, I’m not sure that she could have foreseen quite how completely her son would be dominated by an American wife who has, remarkably, tried to replicate the Diana story. That is to say: Neglect by the Royal family, cruelty on the part of the Prince of Wales and cold shouldering by the Palace establishment. There was, in fact, something uncanny about the way in which Meghan presented herself in the same light as her husband’s mother, though Diana never quite got around to comparing herself with the Little Mermaid.

Actually, a useful preparation for the Oprah interview would have been a viewing of the brilliant documentary, Diana: In Her Own Words, on Netflix, in which the princess speaks of her experiences in a series of secret tape recordings made in 1991 to help the journalist Andrew Morton write her biography.

It makes you wonder: Did Meghan see a Diana-shaped hole in the monarchy and try to fill it? Is that what Prince Harry wanted? His elder brother plainly recognised that he needed emotional stability – and Kate, with her solid middle-class family, provided it – but Harry sought out a woman as emotionally needy as his mother. Does Harry see himself as “saving” his wife because he was not able to protect his mother? 

Harry does seem to replicate his mother in his impulsiveness – evident in the whole Megxit drama – and his willingness to act first and rationalise his actions later. At 36, he is now the same age as she was when she died. Like Diana, he has problems with Prince Charles. Like her, he has an easy, popular touch. Like her, he wants to be outside the Royal family but remain somehow royal, and to create his own idea of public service. It is possible, in fact, that Prince Harry was already primed to replicate his mother’s divorce from the Royal family, but as he admitted to Oprah, it is unlikely to have happened without his wife.

For her part, Meghan is now creating herself in Diana’s image of the emotionally fragile outsider – except with an added race component – and selling her reverse fairy tale, in which she “rescues” her prince from his family, to the US audience at which the Oprah interview was squarely directed.  Certainly, the couple want to be free of the constraints of royalty, but like Diana, they do not want to be ignored.

However – how to put this? – what came across from Diana’s account of herself, is that she was truthful in saying how badly, or insensitively, she was treated. Her aloneness prior to her wedding, her husband’s undemonstrativeness, brusqueness and infidelity, her steep learning curve in the position in which she found herself so soon after her 20th birthday, her self-harm and emotional fragility; all that rang true because it was true.

Much of her daughter-in-law’s account of her victim status to Oprah does not. We may feel sympathy for her assertion that she felt suicidal, but many of Meghan’s crises appear to have happened mostly inside her own head. What’s evident is that there was a curious clash of her expectations about royal life with the reality for which she seemed almost wilfully unprepared.

Granted, no one can possibly be prepared for the avalanche of publicity that greets a beautiful and photogenic woman marrying into the Royal family, and social media amplifies every criticism to a level unimaginable in Diana’s day, but it doesn’t quite wash that Meghan was not offered support had she been willing to take it, or that the Royal family had learnt nothing from the experience with Diana.

What was evident even on the outside, was that the Queen did her best to make her grandson’s wife welcome, as did other members of the family. Alas, no one appears to have pointed out to Meghan the difference between marrying the heir and marrying the spare. It was not Diana’s role she was inheriting, it was Fergie’s.

But the great difference between Diana and her son and his wife – apart from the obvious, that as an earl’s daughter, she talked the same language as the Royal family – is that Diana ultimately had the good of that family at heart. That remark about Charles and William being trapped inside the institution is that of a man who doesn’t really mind what damage he causes it.

What would Diana have made of her son’s wife? She may not have been academic but she was intelligent and shrewd, with an intuitive understanding of people. I fancy she would have taken the measure of Meghan at a hundred paces; certainly, she would have recognised a ruthlessness and manipulativeness that escaped her son. In Diana, Meghan would have met her match. 

There is another parallel between Diana and Harry. After the Panorama interview, the nation was divided between Team Di and Team Charles – and I should say that on the grounds of his affair with Camilla, I found myself on Diana’s side. It was a cultural divide, between those like Nicholas Soames, a friend of Charles, who more or less thought Diana unhinged, and those on the princess’s side who saw her as an inspiring woman who had taken her life into her own hands, on her own terms.

NOW IT HAS HAPPENED AGAIN… the country split between those who think Harry and Meghan are narcissistic, self-regarding, extravagant and ungrateful, and those who feel that they are victims of racism and snobbery and deserve praise for their emotional literacy and frankness. As a friend observed, the couple are like a national Sorting Hat, dividing everyone by house and by temperament. There is a strong generational element, and maybe a racial element, too. Inevitably the divide has a political component… liberal papers are inclined to take a lenient view of the couple. It is not quite the national unity the Queen might have hoped for. 

After Diana’s bombshell interview, things were never quite the same. AND THIS WILL BE TRUE NOW. No family, no relationship, is improved by sharing grievances with several million others; after this, the distance between the Sussexes and Harry’s family may be greater than the physical space of the Atlantic Ocean. Prince Harry is his mother’s son all right, but has not learnt either from her mistakes or from her strengths. 

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  • Clyde Duncan  On 03/14/2021 at 1:19 am

    The Priceless Racism Of The Duke Of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of “Western civilisation”.

    Hamid Dabashi | Al Jazeera

    There is an air of historic solemnity in the tone of the BBC. “The 96-year-old announced his retirement in May, 2017 after decades of supporting the Queen as well as attending events for his own charities and organisations. Prince Philip has completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952.”

    In 1952 I was one year old. The year after that, the MI6, the military intelligence outfit of the Duke of Edinburgh’s government, helped the CIA to stage a coup in my homeland, Iran. The BBC would not say which one of those 22,219 royal duties coincided with that occasion.

    On this occasion, instead, the BBC did what it does best: Pointed to a truth but camouflaged it with a number of choice euphemisms that completely distort what it seems to mark. PRINCE PHILIP – how shall we put it gently here – IS A RANK RACIST.

    The Prince’s racism is a public secret. Everyone knows it. The Prince himself habitually stages it. So, the BBC needs to report it, though in a typically BBC kind of a way – by making it frivolous and innocuous.

    “Prince Philip’s gaffes from decades on royal duty,” the BBC headlines it. So, the good Prince’s astonishing utterances are not what they are, symptomatic of a deeply racist mind. They are just “gaffes” – unintentional and unfortunate remarks causing embarrassment, things he should not have said, and did not really mean, but unfortunately did say. THAT IS WHY THEY ARE “gaffes”.

    The BBC then moves to colour these vintage racist utterances with even thicker brushes as “memorable one-liners that can make some people chuckle and others cringe”. That is meant to cancel the “cringe” with a “chuckle” and come up with a neutralising cough. The rest is entirely standard BBC lore chiselling at brutish facts with etymological gymnastics:

    “Prince Philip is renowned for speaking his mind – often explained as his attempt to lighten the mood – and that outspoken nature has at times led to controversy with some of those remarks teetering on the edge of being offensive.”

    Such vintage BBC phrases ought to be studied at Columbia School of Journalism and other such reputable places as exercise in sheer charlatanism. “Speaking his mind” is lovely, isn’t it? “Lightening the mood” he does – doesn’t he? Fabulous indeed! “Outspoken” is our lovely Prince – isn’t that courageous! Every turn of phrase is brushed thickly to sugar-coat a bitter truth.

    Now let’s look at some of these “attempts to lighten the mood”:

    “BRITISH WOMEN CAN’T COOK” [seems like Harry was paying attention]

    “EVERYBODY WAS SAYING WE MUST HAVE MORE LEISURE. NOW THEY ARE COMPLAINING THEY ARE UNEMPLOYED” [during the 1981 recession].

    “You are a woman, aren’t you?” [in Kenya after accepting a small gift from a local woman].

    “If you stay here much longer you’ll all be slitty-eyed” [to a group of British students during a royal visit to China].

    “You can’t have been here that long, you haven’t got pot belly” [to a Briton he met in Hungary].

    “Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?” [to a wealthy islander in the Cayman Islands].

    “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test” [to a Scottish driving instructor].

    “It looks as if it was put in by an Indian” [referring to an old-fashioned fuse box in a factory near Edinburgh].

    “Still throwing spears?” [question put to an Aboriginal Australian during a visit].

    “There’s a lot of your family in tonight” [after looking at the name badge of businessman Atul Patel at a Palace reception for British Indians].

    “The Philippines must be half-empty as you’re all here running the NHS” (on meeting a Filipino nurse at Luton and Dunstable Hospital).

    Prince Philip to European aristocracy is what Donald Trump is to American liberal democracy: AN EMBARRASSMENT.

    There are other even more remarkable gems that the BBC has of course not listed but others have. But these should suffice.

    PRICELESS RACISM

    BBC’s transparent attempt at whitewashing notwithstanding, Prince Philip’s racism is actually quite priceless because it comes so naturally to him. He is not faking it. He is not trying to offend anyone. HE IS OFFENSIVE.

    This is who Prince Philip is – and the long panoply of his racist, sexist, elitist, misogynistic, class-privileged and unhinged prejudices is a mobile museum of European bigotry on display.

    The Duke of Edinburgh has done the world an extraordinary service by being who he is, by staging generous servings of his bigoted disposition and he is retiring happily with having catalogued all or at least most of his priceless inventory for posterity to read and learn.

    Our dearly beloved Duke of Edinburgh is blissfully old. He has lived a long, rich, and fulfilling life – and may he live the rest of his racist days with the dignity and poise that he has denied others. His xenophobic bigotry is pure, his sense of class entitlement undiluted, unencumbered, uncensored, liberated from any inkling of bourgeois inhibitions. He does not mean to be offensive. HE JUST IS. He is a walking embodiment of every layered lava of European racism summed up inside one royal head.

    Today people of the privileged class have learned how to camouflage their racism in varied codes and convoluted bourgeois euphemism. The kind of bigotry that Prince Philip exudes and stages is now considered rude and vulgar, old-fashioned and outmoded, presumed classed and pointed at the lower social strata. The precious advantage of Prince Philip is that he is a royal from the heart of British (and European) aristocracy. He tells it as he sees it fit.

    THE GUILTY CONSCIENCE OF A FALLEN EMPIRE

    The kind of racism Prince Philip exudes is reminiscent of the very spirit of British and other European imperialism at its height. This is the way the British thought when they ruled India, the French when they ruled Algeria, the Italians when they conquered Libya, the Belgians when they owned the Congo.

    Prince Philip is a museum piece – a living, breathing, mobile, jolly good fellow, smiling, handsome, charming great-grandpa who happily walks about, utters obscenities while his entourage try to cover up for his “indiscretions”. But these are not “indiscretions” or “gaffes.” He means what he says and he says what he means. He is the living memory of an entire history of imperial hubris now being actively repressed to offer a more liberal, tolerant, cosmopolitan character for the British and, by extension, “the European”.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 03/14/2021 at 1:46 am

    All ya still guessing who was talking about the new-born baby’s skin colour??

  • Yvonne-K  On 03/14/2021 at 1:22 pm

    Megan did not force Harry to leave the Royal family. Harry hated living under that institutuion so it did not take much coering I can imagine for him to leave England and that bunch behind. He’s his Mother’s son and is a free spirit just like she was. Why shoul he stay imprisoned in a 1000 year old institution when the only benefit he would derive was an allowance from Daddy and a security detail. He’s 5th in line to the Throne, which I’m sure he’s very glad about because it made his decision to bolt much easier. He and Meghan will live a very happy and successful life whereever they go and make lots more money than the handouts they were given while carrying out their duties as Royals. I do feel, however, that Archie should have been given a title because every other member of the immediate Royal family were given a Prince or Princess and Harry, regardless is the son of the future King of England. The FIRM is just being spiteful because this couple had the courage to expose the hypocricy, bigotry, and racisim that exist within the FIRM and tell them all to PISS OFF!!! Good for them and best wishes for a wonderful life with their new “free” family.

  • Morning star  On 03/14/2021 at 3:34 pm

    Meghan can never replace Diana ! Diana is a princess ! Meghan Only know the royal family two minutes and she is moaning !!!

    No doubt there is an element of racism here like every where else bit they welcomed her and give her a massive wedding and a title but perhaps the title was not good enough . Obviously the royals are weird so she knew what she was getting into .if you wanted privacy go and get married in a registry office . She off the block and it does not matter what.money you have as it can’t buy you class!!

  • Clyde Duncan  On 03/15/2021 at 5:08 pm

    Ernesta wrote:

    I obviously don’t know Harry personally but think he is intelligent and has shown a very caring and humble heart, therefore cannot understand people thinking that he is a ‘whimp’ being led by his nose.

    He has chosen to love and support his wife and marriage, which some find admirable, others think he is being used.

    I wish them all the very best in their future.

    • Morning star  On 03/15/2021 at 6:28 pm

      These people are gross and honest during these unprescendated times who honestly cares about these petty Morons!!!

  • wally n  On 03/15/2021 at 6:40 pm

    Guessing here….you guys got too much spare time on your hands, actually give a rat’s ass?????

  • Clyde Duncan  On 03/15/2021 at 7:21 pm

    20 Headlines Comparing Meghan Markle To Kate Middleton That May Show Why Meghan And Prince Harry Left Royal Life

    Over the years, Meghan has been shamed for the same things for which her sister-in-law, Kate, has been praised.

    Ellie Hall, BuzzFeed News Reporter

    The UK media outlets that currently make up the royal rota are the Daily Express, the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror, the Evening Standard, the Telegraph, the Times, and the Sun.

    Go ahead and find the Headlines and Articles and read the nauseating comparisons, yourself.

    Actually, you will find them all in the same location.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 03/15/2021 at 8:34 pm

    Perhaps, I should narrow the criteria for comparison sake:

    BOTH were commoners that married into royalty

    BOTH had children at their weddings with flowers in their hair

    BOTH had pregnancies with their hands on their baby bump in public

    Now, go check out how the media reported these observations.

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