THE FIRST THING THAT STOOD OUT WAS THAT HARRY SPOKE NORMAL ENGLISH, COMPLETE WITH MODERN SLANG THE ENGLISH HACKS HAD A FIELD DAY WITH HER BY LYING THEIR TINY HEADS OFF WITH IMPUNITY IN A CRYPTO-RACIST WAY
The British Royal Family’s scandals seemingly slowed to a crawl a couple of years ago: no more adulterous princesses fornicating (when pregnant with a royal child) with toe-sucking American billionaires, no more heirs to the throne wishing to be magically transformed into boxes of Tampax, no more princes lying through their regal teeth on TV interviews before finally paying a king’s ransom to a woman they had denied abusing when she was underage.
Here in Catalonia, coverage of the British royals tends to be fairly scarce, unless there’s a death in the family or another sexual scandal rears its enticing head (it got to the stage where I even forgot some of their names). Nevertheless, I did binge watch the six-part Netflix series about Harry and Meghan Markle, curious to see why it had upset the entire royal institution far more than any final exit or furtive rumpy-pumpy.
The first thing that stood out was that Harry spoke normal English, complete with modern slang, instead of the horsey, marble-crunching idiolect employed by most of the aristocracy. But the real surprise was that Harry and Meghans’ popularity became so immense at one point, they were making the other royals look like walk-on parts. On top of which, the fact that Meghan was a woman of colour - the same colour, indeed, as the vast majority of the citizens of the Commonwealth - meant that her presence in the royal family might have helped revitalise this dwindling consortium.
But then (most of) the British tabloids put the boot in, apparently with the consent of the various royal PR offices: Harry was accused of having been a drug addict and drunkard, and Ms Markle of coming from a criminal background, along with various other fabricated demeanours. Even more seriously, private and compromising letters to her estranged father were intercepted and published. In short, the English hacks had a field day with her by lying their tiny heads off with impunity in a crypto-racist way that drove her to the point of seriously considering suicide. The putrefying cherry on the top of this unappetising cake came towards the end of last month when an alcohol-faced man called Jeremy Clarkson wrote an article in The Sun (the tabloid par excellence) saying that he hated Ms Markle ’on a cellular level’ and wanted to see her paraded naked through the streets of every town in Britain while people threw ’lumps of excrement at her’. (For those Catalan readers lucky enough to have never heard of Mr Clarkson, he is a TV journalist who had a programme about cars from which he was sacked for making homophobic and racist comments and joking about murdered prostitutes).
In a nutshell, anyone who seriously wishes to alter the traditional image of the British Royal Family - and Ms Markle and her husband did just that - will get it in the neck from the right-wing media while the royal institution itself turns a wilfully blind eye. To those who say that none of this matters, it might be pointed out that one of the reasons why Britain is still such a socially stratified country is because at the pinnacle of the class-conscious pyramid into which its population seems to be permanently crammed, sits the Royal Family, together with their kith and kin. As long as they retain their stolid, age-old, ceremonial facade, they help the rest of Britain to stay in thrall to its fatuous class prejudices. No wonder Harry and Meghan moved to California.