How We Continue to be Fooled by an Irrelevant Institution
Social media is filled up to the brim with snippets from Prince Harry’s memoir ‘Spare’, a title that I had no idea was something he was ever called. My consciousness of Harry’s place in the royal family was limited to nude photographs of him from Vegas or his Nazi costume from when I was younger.
As I grew older and William’s wedding took centre stage, it became evident that William was the responsible one and Harry was the fun one who was taking advantage of the fact that he was the younger one and didn’t need to be responsible. It’s the same in every family so why should he expected to be any different?
And then Meghan happened and suddenly Harry became known as the Prince who was into mindfulness and bananas and avocados became bigger in the Royal news than I ever thought imaginable. When they stepped down from the Royal Family, I wondered what difference that would make to the UK and the rest of the world. Then, Oprah’s interview happened. I am not a fan of Oprah and, in the snippets I saw of the interview, it seemed like she took great pleasure in fanning the Royal fires.
I couldn’t stand the documentary, Harry & Meghan. Granted I did only watch one minute of it but I couldn’t get on with it and if I had to watch six episodes about their love, I knew I would vomit — and not just because of the wine I would need to support myself through this viewing.
I did listen to the audiobook of Spare, though. I did listen to Harry reciting the words to my — and everyone’s favourite — Spice Girls’ song. I heard the tale of his frost-bitten penis. I heard him talk about his penis six times, actually, no less, in his book. I heard about his sensual reunion with Meghan in Soho House. But I was glad I heard it because I could finally make sense of everything that had been sensationalizing my social feed.
‘Spare’ is a story about a deeply insecure man belonging to a deeply archaic, ancient, and irrelevant institution. It is a story about a man who has failed to understand that his family is not a family and that it is an institution that runs with protocol and a failure to abide by the protocol will lead to the demolition of said institution. And this is very sad.
It is sad that the humaneness of the institution has to be buried deep and it is this quality that saw the rise of these negative sentiments amongst previous royals like the Duke of Windsor and Princess Margaret. It is sad that the members of this institution are reduced to mere showpieces for the media.
But here’s the thing — their existence is funded by the public. They ARE public property so what sort of privacy can they expect? That Harry and Meghan had to leave the royal family was the best solution they could have hoped for. As private civilians, they can sue the media all they want and expect all the privacy they ever wanted. Stepping down instead of stepping back was the right decision.
Whingeing about the ‘gilded cage’ is a pretty poor way of repaying the public that funded not only his existence but the expensive renovation of his home, his expensive wedding, the expensive tiara that Meghan wore at the wedding, the trip to Botswana where he reportedly fell in love with Meghan, and everything else he got up to that he now claims was misreporting on the part of the media. I’m sorry, did the media somehow photoshop a Nazi suit on you? In what universe was that ever going to be a good idea? But that’s for another post.
The paparazzi barricades in Harry and Meghan’s lives are indeed inhuman and insane, but it is evident to everyone that the documentary and the book are just ways of earning their keep seeing as the royal funds are now out of bounds for them. The pursestring that only ‘Pa’ had access to will forever remain inaccessible. If the motive was to get their story out, the stopping point was Oprah.
Now, by creating the documentary and releasing the memoirs of what seems like Harry’s spare testicles, they have merely stirred the media pot more — but at least this time it’s been in their favour. The leaks prior to the launch only prompted more people to purchase the memoir, so well done, there. As the fastest-selling non-fiction book, Harry has championed the author world simply by whingeing about sacrificing the bigger room with the better view at Balmoral.
No doubt everything that he and his wife have been through has been terrible but this book is nothing more than a tawdry attempt at pleading for sympathy from the same people who funded his life for thirty-plus years and are now living in a cost-of-living crisis. And yet again, the public continues to lose as they continue to fund his life through the royalties on the book and the Netflix production.