Bizarre, often unintentionally hilarious, but her warblings also have an unmistakable undertone of cool menace: It’s hard to know where to begin to unpick Meghan’s extraordinary statements, writes REBECCA ENGLISH
Her behaviour ranges from the unintentionally hilarious (likening herself and Harry to entwined palm trees and matching salt and pepper shakers), to the downright bizarre (handing a pre-prepared backpack – unprompted – to a homeless person she comes cross on the school run via her bodyguard).
But there is an undertone of cool menace in the Duchess of Sussex’s latest extraordinary interview with American lifestyle magazine The Cut.
‘It’s interesting, I’ve never had to sign anything that restricts me from talking,’ she notes at one point, adding: ‘I’ve really made an active effort [to forgive], especially knowing that I can say anything.’
Even the interviewer notes that her voice is ‘full of meaning’. Meghan goes on: ‘I have a lot to say until I don’t. Do you like that? Sometimes, as they say, the silent part is still part of the song.’
The language may be strangulated but her message is crystal clear: the Royal Family – her in-laws – had better watch their backs. She makes the not-so-subtle impression that her treatment by the British establishment – which she feels was different to any other member of the Royal Family in history – was because of race.
This observation is followed by a deliberately knowing but ever so slightly wistful look into the distance as if to emphasise her ‘regret‘ at all that has been lost – not that any of it was her fault.
Her behaviour ranges from the unintentionally hilarious (likening herself and Harry to entwined palm trees and matching salt and pepper shakers), to the downright bizarre (handing a pre-prepared backpack – unprompted – to a homeless person she comes cross on the school run via her bodyguard)
It’s hard to know where to begin to unpick Meghan’s extraordinary warblings in the first leg of what promises to be an extensive publicity junket to mark her new commercial endeavours, from her Spotify podcast to a Netflix documentary.
How you read them probably depends on your existing view of the famously divisive Duchess of Sussex. Deluded, narcissistic, manipulative… all words I heard yesterday to describe her musings. Others saw it as a ‘brave, powerful and incisive’.
While Meghan is given plenty of scope to express her opinions on everything from life in The Firm to her plan to get back on Instagram, the interviewer, Allison P Davis, isn’t slavishly flattering.
The point where she describes Meghan’s ‘suggestion’ that she might transcribe the ‘guttural’ moaning noises she is making is laugh-out-loud comedy.
Davis is also astonished at Meghan and Harry’s decision to accept a free stay in a Hollywood mansion from actor and film-maker Tyler Perry, a man they had never met, before deciding to buy a £10million Montecito mansion they hadn’t even seen inside.
She also acknowledges the duchess’s shrewd efforts to turn her apparent ‘hardship’ as a working royal ‘into content’. Ouch. But she fails to pull her up on some of her more, shall we say, surprising claims.
But there is an undertone of cool menace in the Duchess of Sussex’s latest extraordinary interview with American lifestyle magazine The Cut
Meghan is perfectly entitled to hold whatever view she wishes about the UK media but perhaps it would be better to base that view on facts.
She suggests that she could never have done the school run in the UK because the British media would have ‘40’ photographers stationed in a media pen at the gate daily. Strict regulation in the UK about reporting around children – any children, even royal ones – that the media willingly subscribe to makes that simply impossible in this day and age.
And the proof is in the pudding. Both William and Kate have dropped off and collected their children from school since Prince George, now nine, started nursery when he was two – and not a single photograph has ever appeared in the British press.
The irony of her saying that, while inviting a hand-picked journalist to invade her son’s privacy and join her on the school run is just, well… I have no words. One close friend once told me that, historically at least, William shares many of his brother’s sentiments about the media when it comes to the historical treatment of his mother and the worst excesses of the paparazzi.
The language may be strangulated but her message is crystal clear: the Royal Family – her in-laws – had better watch their backs
The striking difference between the two men, however, is that William has come to accept that 25 years has passed, the media landscape has changed, and there is huge public goodwill for, and interest in, his young family.
And as long as the children’s day-to-day lives are ‘ring-fenced’ (which they absolutely are), he and his wife are happy to share their own images with the public.
‘But that’s the difference between working for two adults as opposed to a couple of stroppy teenagers,’ one who has had experience of working with both couples tells me.
At one point in the interview Meghan refers to people ‘calling my children the N-word’. It’s not 100 per cent clear who she was referring to but if it was the media it was abhorrent and untrue.
The constant references to the couple’s children – and their interaction with the journalist interviewing Meghan – is remarkable given the Sussexes’ repeated demands for privacy. That said, it’s up to the Sussexes how much they share publically of their family.
She makes the not-so-subtle impression that her treatment by the British establishment – which she feels was different to any other member of the Royal Family in history – was because of race
When those demands are clearly and repeatedly watered down in pursuit of the almighty dollar, it’s unbelievably hypocritical. What’s so clear about this interview – and the stylish photoshoot that accompanies it – is that it’s exactly what Meghan thought she would be able to do when she joined the royal family.
It’s what she grew up with, aspired to and had started to get a tiny taste of when she met Harry. There’s nothing wrong about that whatsoever.
But this glossy, access-all-areas, thrusting a basket of home-grown fruit and vegetables (and a jar of ‘Lili’ jam) into the arms of your interviewer-style of publicity is not what our tweeds in the country and Tupperware boxes in the pantry royal family is about. Instead of accepting that, she – with Harry as a more than willing co-conspirator – decided to take the nuclear option.
For the time being Buckingham Palace have decided to take the line of least resistance – a dignified silence – even in the face of Harry’s repeated digs at his family (including a sarky reference to his family not being able to live or work together, as well as a slightly garbled reference by Meghan to what may or may not be his ‘lost’ relationship with his father).
But Meghan – and Harry – might do well to remember, as they fire their latest salvo, that their perpetually maligned relatives across the pond may be prepared to take only so much.
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