Harry and Meghan really need to stop complaining so much about their lot
PUBLISHED: 17:53 24 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:57 24 October 2019
James Marston understands why Harry and Meghan have grievances but says they are playing a dangerous game with their recent complaints...
I'm a big fan of the Royal family - The Queen, obviously, because of her lifelong and unstinting dedication to her country and to us. I'm a big fan of Camilla too, not least because she's never complained and has shown grace and dignity throughout.
I know that for some of you praising Camilla in this way might be a controversial view to take.
As are, perhaps my views on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the moment.
I don't know about you but I am somewhat sceptical of her recent emotional outburst, his blanket blaming of the media for his mother's death - wasn't it a drunk driver? - and their attempt to play the public into sympathising with them.
Not that I don't think they need some private life - I do, and there are means and ways they manage this - but what I fear is by talking to some parts of the media and attacking others they are playing a dangerous game.
Dangerous because giving emotional and deeply personal interviews to Tom Bradby might be an obvious thing to do for them, he is their journalist of choice it seems, but it also directly feeding the media they are currently at war with.
I can't help thinking that Meghan talking about some of the most private aspects of their lives to a journalist is just the same as a tabloid, or any other newspaper, writing about the most private aspects of their lives - the result is the same and simply justifies tabloid reporting. How can they complain when, in the next breath, they attempt to manipulate public opinion through the media themselves?
The Daily Mail, of course, gets a great deal of negative publicity as it is, yet it remains one of the best selling newspapers in the UK and reflects as much as it forms public opinion.
The truth is that people, all of us, want to read about Harry and Meghan, their public and private lives. Indeed, if we ignored the Royal family, they would quickly find themselves irrelevant and unnecessary. But monarchy - and I speak as a monarchist - the concept of a royal family at all, is an illusion, a spell under which, at the moment, we willingly fall.
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Even more annoyingly, the royal tour of South Africa - the job Meghan and Harry have signed up to - was completely overshadowed by their legal attack on tabloid newspapers.
In this way, they risked scuppering their professional work, which had been organised and paid for by the Foreign Office - us.
The life Harry and Meghan have chosen is one where duty comes first and self second. Part of that duty is to share some of their lives with us. After all, their wedding was televised, it was essentially a private event that they agreed to make public.
I say 'chosen' on purpose, simply because they could renounce their titles and succession rights with comparative ease and fade into obscurity. They don't have to be in the public eye at all.
That would be said but I can't help thinking that might be a sensible option, if indeed, they carry on complaining about media intrusion when in the next breath they intrude on their own privacy by giving television interviews
The Queen, who keeps any complaints she might have well away from the public sphere, knows this is the essential rule of monarchy.
For Meghan to complain that as a new mother she hasn't had the support she thinks she should have had, is folly - it automatically leads to comparisons with the poor women of our country who have newborns and rely on a foodbank to keep a family together. Meghan has just had £2million spent on her house, funded, in a roundabout way, by you and me.
She might find motherhood difficult but it must be much easier for her than some.
I'm not keen to attack the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex and their wives, and I get the fact that even their lives haven't all been plain sailing.
However the more they complain about their lot, the more likely it is that eventually someone will suggest somewhere that their behaviour exposes a sense of entitlement which leads eventually to the observation that if they don't like it or want to be part of a Royal family, perhaps we can do without them.
That is the last thing I want to see happen.
Courting public sympathy, complaining, offering themselves to the bar of public opinion, is not the way for a member of the British Royal family to behave - because to do so breaks the spell.