We are approaching half-time. Next Wednesday, to be precise, will be the midpoint of the year-long trial the Queen agreed to with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex ahead of their departure for a new ‘independent’ life in North America in the spring.
The clock runs until March 31, 2021, after which both parties will “review” the situation.
The review clause was entirely at the request of the Queen. It was a worried Grandma’s way of giving the couple a break – time to think again in case there were any aspects of royal life they wished to resume. After all, as Harry and Meghan said after their negotiations: “The Sussexes have made it clear that whatever they do will continue to uphold Her Majesty’s values.
Based on yesterday’s bizarre and preachy intervention in American politics, I don’t think we need to wait until March to see where things go. If anyone still clings to the idea that the Sussexes, especially Prince Harry, could be torn between the old world and the new, then just check out their joint video address to this year’s nominees for the Time 100 list of the most influential people on the planet.
Next Wednesday, to be precise, will be the midpoint of the year-long trial the Queen agreed to with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex ahead of their departure for a new ‘independent’ life in North America in the spring.
Because here is Prince Harry awkwardly urging Americans to use their vote while his wife makes it clear how they should vote it. If it is about “defending Her Majesty’s values”, we should not be too surprised if, next spring, Her Majesty decides that she no longer wishes to uphold them.
Much of this video – filmed in the couple’s backyard in California – is West Coast Standard Awards celebrity flim-flam; serious pieties bordering on parody. “Tonight is a reminder of how important it is to look out for each other, care for each other and inspire each other,” said the Duke. “We are extremely proud to join you at this historic time.
The California-born Duchess is of course an old hand in this area. “As we work to reinvent the world around us,” she said, “let us challenge ourselves to build communities of compassion”. I can’t argue with this. Likewise, it’s hard to argue with their serious warnings about the dangers of social media.
The clock runs until March 31, 2021, after which both parties will “review” the situation. The review clause was entirely at the request of the Queen
However, it is when it all becomes a homily on the state of American politics that the alarm bells ring. Given her unequivocal, pre-royal criticism of Donald Trump, we know where exactly Meghan came from, of course. But it is the Duke’s intervention that is truly amazing: “As November approaches, it is vital that we reject hate speech, disinformation and negativity online.
Regardless of the arrogance of a foreign non-voter lecturing American citizens about their own election, timing does not matter. We are in a global crisis. American policy has not been so toxic since the birth of Prince Harry, a few weeks before election day, Harry decides to get started.
Perhaps he has forgotten how it happened here when President Obama entered the Brexit debate in 2016. Obama was a politician. Harry, however, is only who he is because his family remains firmly above politics.
Yes, the Prince of Wales has spoken at length and at length on contentious issues, including the future of the planet. Yes, even the Queen (privately) urged people to ‘think through’ ahead of the Scottish referendum in 2014. But both have always been scrupulous in avoiding party politics and acting on the advice of the elected government.
Who advises Harry and Meghan? The answer, it seems, is no one – or certainly no one on this side of the Atlantic. Yesterday, as the couple broadcast lofty glimpses of a garden bench in California, the rest of the Royal Family were doing the same things – the Duchess of Cornwall visiting community projects on Deeside, the Countess of Wessex doing a quarter in a charity shop. , the Cambridges chairing charity meetings online, the Queen having her weekly audience with the Prime Minister …
The Sussexes say they want to build “compassionate communities”. The rest of the family have been doing this for years. They do it by not taking sides. If the Sussexes can’t or won’t agree to this, it could be a fairly short review process next March.