Friday, January 20, 2023

Royal Wrangle

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Here at JRW, part of our mission statement is to avoid politics and controversy. Part of it’s because we want you to enjoy our books, no matter which way your wind blows. A bigger part is that we know rank division is all over the internet, and when you come here for a morning read, cup of tea or coffee in hand, you’d like something different. Something peaceful.



Well, friends, I’m sorry, but I have to tear down that sheltered space. There is an issue so important, so all-encompassing in the public square, that we have no choice but to weigh in.


What do we think about Harry and Meghan?

 

 

Now, I have neither read the book, seen the Netflix documentary, or watched the Oprah interview, which makes me just as qualified to comment as everyone else on social media. And of course, as an American with absolutely no connection to the UK, its politics, or its royal family, I obviously have a duty to develop very strong feelings about l’affaire Sussex.  My verdict? They were done wrong. How do I come to this conclusion?
  1. They are both extremely attractive people.

  2. Poor Harry! When my teen’s father died, she was in therapy for two years. What did the Windsor boys get? A good trot through the highlands and an extra serving of crumpets for tea.

  3. I love the modern, joyful diversity of “Londinistan,” but considering its the same country that voted for Brexit and, you know, conquered large swaths of the world populated by people of color, I don’t find it too far a stretch to think there might be a teensy-weeny bit of racism still lingering.

  4. As someone who majored in 17th century English history, I love the idea of a shadowy cabal of courtiers pulling strings. If it was a good enough policy position for the Parliamentarians, it’s good enough for me.


My sister Reds, where do you stand on this crucial debate? 

 

 

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I have tried not to think about this–and I have tried way too often not to think about it.

 

 It was the Nazi uniform that got me, and the idea that the rest of them gleefully thought  this was a terrific idea is upsetting.  As for the other, I am shocked shocked that people who accept that they RULE over everyone else by DIVINE RIGHT and that it makes total sense to them might lead to the fact that they live under a somewhat altered view of  reality.

 

I would have given Meghan my entire tube of  lip gloss without having a snit over it, and you’d think, in all that talk about royal manners and protocol,  someone mighta taught them to have compassion and be real people, but have we EVER seen that from that group?

 

It’s a snake pit, and I feel..perplexed…that Meghan did not seem to have a clue about what she was getting into.  (What do we think about that?) She says–she didn’t know she was supposed to curtsy? Hey, even I know that.  I’ve seen movies. 

 

 

LUCY BURDETTE: Everything I know comes either from THE CROWN or Helen Mirren’s spectacular performance in THE AUDIENCE. So I guess I’m as qualified as the next guy. Truth is, I certainly won’t buy or read the book. And I agree with Hank, Meghan had to have known what she was getting into. Diana was younger and quite naive so I suppose I’m more sympathetic to her… 


JENN McKINLAY: Full disclosure, this is not my first response to the question. My original was scathing enough that Julia reached out to see if I was all right (LOL) and I realized I may have been a tad harsh. So, I will leave it at this. I have not had much interest in the royals since Diana and I think she was interesting to me because I was in grade school when her wedding to Charles took place and the media tried to convince us it was a fairy tale and boy did life pound the sparkle out of that. After that debacle…meh. I have no fascination for monarchies or billionaires or anyone who seems to have been born with a fast pass. You want to impress me? Do something amazing and not as a virtue signal but something truly extraordinary then I might care.

 


HALLIE EPHRON: I wish you all could have read Jenn’s first response, because it’s what I’d like to have said but lack the spitfire and spunk she’s got and sheer pizzazz with words. Yeah, I really don’t give a flying … anything, either. (I’m not even interested in watching THE CROWN.) But the book apparently is raking in the $$$. Seriously big time. Good news for authors at Penguin Random House - a *BIG* book like that floats a lot of boats. 

 


DEBORAH CROMBIE: For all my Anglophilia, I’ve never been much of a royal follower, I’ve always been more interested in ordinary people. I’ve never even watched The Crown, partly because I find the idea of making up stories about people who are still around more than a little distasteful. I admired the Queen, and I shudder to think what would happen to the British tourist industry if the monarchy disappeared. As for H&M, it seems to me that if the whole idea of moving to the US was to get away from the tabloid media and live a normal-ish life with their kids, airing all the dirty laundry for megabucks seems a wee bit hypocritical. But yay for Penguin Random House, as Hallie says! 

 

 

RHYS BOWEN: Don’t get me started on Harry and Meghan! Claiming they had to step away because they wanted privacy then doing everything they can to hog the limelight! I don’t blame him. He’s an emotionally wounded little boy, never allowed to grieve for his mother. Diana was partly responsible for the man he has become, of course. Getting no love from her husband she smothered her two sons with obsessive, possessive love. I haven’t read Harry’s book (and won’t) but the excerpts I’ve seen sound like any second child–everyone favored William. Lament of every child who follows a successful older sibling.


As for Meghan: she knew exactly what she was getting into! She wanted the fame and the money that went with being royal but wasn’t willing to pay the price for it. It’s like joining a famous football team and then not wanting to play by the same rules as the other players. (Notice she still likes to  be called Duchess of Sussex!)

 

As for the royal family: I had enormous respect for the queen. She never put a foot wrong in all those years. Princess Anne has been stalwart. Charles, in his own damaged way, has tried hard. Think of that childhood at a sadistic school for such a sensitive little boy! And don’t forget the millions of tourist dollars they bring in for Britain.  A final thought: at least they are raised for the job and on the whole do it with remarkable dedication. If you look at American presidents how many scandals have we had in my lifetime? How many were in the pocket of a particular industry or cause. The royals, at least, are impartial figureheads and that’s what you want for a head of state.  End of rant.

 

 

JULIA: All right, dear readers, time for you to weigh in on this vital issue! Pro? Anti? What the heck? 


124 comments:

  1. I haven’t seen “The Crown” nor any of the interviews [other than what shows up on the evening news] nor read the book [and don’t plan to] but I think it’s sad that there’s so much divisiveness in the family. I’m sure it’s difficult having every little word/action dissected by a rather derisive press, but you’d think the family would circle the wagons as it were, stand together, and support each other . . . .

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    1. I always thought the family must be the only people in the world who could understand each other completely, and that would knit them tighter together!

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  2. I have a hodge-podge of reactions. I grew up loving British novels, British movies, British poets, so I had my own version of Anglophilia. And I had sympathy for Diana, because who wants to be responsible for delivering an heir and a spare while your husband merrily continues his affair? But I think the era of monarcy really should be over. The whole thing of "entitlement", having so many mansions while there are homeless people and ever higher taxes for the not-royal. I know Queen Elizabeth did an admirable job during her reighn. On the other hand, my husband read that she owned most of UK's seabed - 12 nautical miles from the shore. And the upkeep for all those mansions comes out of the pockets of those who are struggling to make ends meet. As for Megan and Harry, at first I thought "good for them," when they left England for the U.S. as if eschewing all that royalty stuff - until the guest appearances and The Book. To me it seems they need the money they became accustomed to when they were royals in the UK. And no, I won't buy or read the book.

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    1. Elizabeth, perhaps the monarchy could become more like the Scandinavian type of monarchy?

      Diana

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    2. Elizabeth, I didn't know that about the seabed - good heavens! Talk about the ultimate in wealth accumulation - if you get to keep everything your family has owned since the 11th century...

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  3. Oh, Jenn, please publish your original response! I've always had a fascination with the royals without digging at all into their nasty sides (Nazi uniform? I must have missed that), which the Crown certainly shows. After Malice one year, I spent the night at Sherry Harris's and we watched William and Kate's wedding, which Sherry's husband had recorded for us that morning (he cooked dinner while we watched). I also watched H&M's and the Queen's funeral.

    I'll agree with everyone else who says, if H&M wanted privacy, publishing a big whining scandal sheet ain't the way to do it. But hey, it costs a lot to live in Montecito. And now they're probably repairing a flooded basement, too. I won't be contributing to the fund by buying the book.

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    1. Harry wore a Nazi uniform to a costume party, when he was 20. And Meghan still married him, which is a bit weird.

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    2. Please publish Jenn’s original response or tell us where we can go read it if we choose to do so. Censorship is of course your prerogative but not in the spirit of this publication, Those reading here do not have delicate sensibilities and should be offered the chance to make their own choice about reading Jenn’d original response, There is one author response which shows her deep prejudice, which should have been censored to avoid her embarrassment!

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    3. Jenn’s, sorry about the mistake. Typing too fast!

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    4. Oh, right - I thought it might have been recent. Thanks!

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    5. Edith, agreed about the privacy issue.

      As I said in my comment below, I think the Oprah interview was a bad idea. And I am sure that the health care costs in America was very expensive. I read that the most expensive maternity hospital in England is STILL LESS EXPENSIVE than having a baby in America thanks to NHS.

      And I would like to read what Jenn wrote.

      Diana

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    6. It wasn't anything bad, I promise, and Jenn was the one who withdrew it. It was just much more curt and less light-hearted than our usual Jenn, which made me wonder how things were going for her at home. Lord knows, I have my bad days and surly moments!

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    7. Julia, we all have our bad days. So I totally understand that. Diana

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  4. Julia, except that I would miss Russ and Claire and all ever so much, you could turn to political/social commentary and bring a good feeling and a touch of light to all the darkness and meanness of the news. You and the Maine Millennial? A book of essays? Thank you. Elisabeth

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    1. This is such a good idea! We've begged Julia to pull her essays together in the past, but how brilliant to add the MM!

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    2. I second this, though ONLY if Julia continues writing Russ and Claire books!

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    3. Count me in - but Russ and Claire must stay

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    4. Julia, I thought your commentary was tactful. Diana

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    5. Count me in, too, as long as we don't have to give up Clare and Russ . . . .

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    6. Thank you, everyone. I will definitely talk to the Maine Millennial about it - as soon as I get back to a book-a-year schedule, LoL!

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    7. ((Julia)) Elisabeth

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  5. Replies
    1. Judy, that was one of my kids' replies when I posed the question to them! :-D

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  6. I’ve been a royal follower since forever, collected pictures of Charles and Anne when I was in grade school, dreamt of Prince Philip leaving the Queen once he caught sight of me as an adoring adolescent, all that and a bag of chips was I

    Don’t get me started on Margaret Rose! Her wedding to the Jones boy was a highlight of my life at the time

    And I’ve watched every royal wedding since. And every single episode of The Queen as well as Victoria Not to mention one coronation and all the funerals. When the Queen died I watched that entire event for days., texting with my Scottish friend the whole time.

    Harry and Meghan? Aside from living the pictures of their red headed cherubs, frankly I don’t give a damn. I won’t read the book but yay for a trickle down effect for Penguin authors!

    And then there’s Andrew. What a prick.

    ‘Nuff said

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    1. An excellent summary, Ann, right down to the last two sentences!

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  7. Apparently the ghost writer for Harry's book did a good job. Is Meghan's tell-all up next? It's great that a book with a world-wide release is doing so well, though I dread the copycat books by every royal in Europe that will be next.

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    1. I suspect those royals still on the family rolls won't be quite so forthcoming, Margaret, but do hang on for the inevitable reality series about M and H and all their friends!

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  8. For all those devoted non-Crown watchers, it's really well done and full of drama and excellent actors. You don't need to be a royal lover to enjoy it!

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    1. So agree!

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    2. I haven't gotten to the last series yet, but I've loved what I've seen so far.

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    3. It’s worth watching if only for the great women playing the Queen. These are some of the finest actors that England has produced, all with Shakespearean training.

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    4. Lucy, while the actors are excellent I’m sorry to say that th producers missed the memo πŸ“ on giving Deaf actors the opportunity. IMHO, I think they could have asked Stephanie Beacham who is deaf in real life to play Princess Alice instead of a HEARING actress. The first actress in the first seasons was deaf though the second actress was HEARING πŸ™„. Diana

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  9. I love everything English and that includes the Royals. But honestly, after Harry did his 60 Minute interview and exposed the Royal family as cold, and backstabbing I've cooled on the Royal Family. I still love the "regular" Brits, tea time, writers, London, the Cotswolds, everything! As we look at the Royal history since 1066, the Harry/Megan vs the current Royals is mere fluff compared to Richard III and Henry VIII, Bloody Mary, Elizabeth I's reigns to name the most notable.

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    1. Misspelled Meghan (whoops!). I would also love to read Jenn's rant. Jenn?

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    2. Very true, Anon - at least Harry wasn't scheming to kill his older brother!

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  10. I'm in the won't-read and haven't-watched-and-won't-watch camp. And also in the feel-bad-for-Harry camp; as Rhys says, the loss of his mum marked him, second born and thus "spare", for life. You will also find me in the I-don't-believe-Megan-didn't-know camp; of course she knew.

    I admired the Queen for her bearing and her service, but the times are changing and institutions must evolve -- and sometimes this means shutting down the firm and taking up knitting.

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    1. Amanda, a Royal Family Knitting Book would be an international bestseller. They always have such timeless, quality sweaters - especially the children!

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    2. Julia, I ordered the knitting book from Norway.

      Actually a wonderful bookstagram friend in Norway ordered the book for me and shipped it to me because Norwegian shops cannot ship books to the USA ? from what I understand,

      Princess Martha-Louise of Norway and her daughters are models in the knitting book from Norway. They are wearing knitted jumpers and hats in the photos.

      Diana

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    3. Julia, a bookstagram friend in Norway graciously bought a knitting book for me and sent it to my address in the USA in exchange for a book that I ordered for her from Hatchards in England. The knitting book is in the Norwegian language. And there are photos of Princess Martha Louise and her daughters wearing the knits in the 🧢 book πŸ₯°. Diana

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    4. Amanda, I love the idea of taking up knitting 🧢. Diana

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  11. As I said, above, I do agree with Lucy that The Crown is fun to watch. It’s annoying though, and disturbing, how much of it is made up apparently. Or, — more than apparently, actually made up. I think one of the reasons we watch those things is to get a little education in an entertaining way, and when it’s wrong, it skews our entire vision of what happened. Which is unfair to all involved. What do you all think?

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    1. Point taken, Hank, I enjoyed The Crown a lot more when it dealt with events outside of or vague to my memories. Once they arrived at events I recalled, their seams frayed.

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    2. I agree with Kait - I think it's a lot easier to appear as if the camera is a fly in the room during events that happened sixty or seventy years ago. When you get into the viewers' living memory, maybe not so much. (The costuming from the 80s is dead on, though, and I love revisiting it.)

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    3. Did anyone ever watch the Royal family documentary in 1969?

      Diana

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  12. From Celia: well I was born a royalist. I have a vague memory of coming back to England from Trinidad aged 7 and being taken by my great aunt and Gran to see the Queens wedding dress on public display. This was four years after the wedding. But for me a little like one’s birthright= religion+Brit=monarchist until one starts to really analyze what is under the cover. After all who doesn’t love photos of something beautiful and they do clean up rather well. Thoughts go to me in gold coach. Oh, really hard on the bum, so I’ll pass. Realizing I am going way off topic so focus Celia. Yes I have watched the Crown and part of M&H, but NO to Oprah, his interviews etc. I picked up early that Morgan was trying to tell about the institution not necessarily the people was very interesting at the start but. I Think they went off topic to gossip just to keep us watching. First I agree with all the Reds comments but am probably most closely aligned with Rhys. That said my Brit side says don’t air dirty laundry publicly and my US side says what a shame he didn’t have a good therapist early on. Like Julia my subject is history so I do consider how all of this will be presented in fifty years but that is for another blog I think.

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    1. I wish I was going to be around in 50 years to see if the monarchy was still there, Celia! Although if there's one thing history has taught me, it's that the English Kings and Queens are incredibly persistent...

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    2. Oops, should have added Scottish in there as well. Can't forget old James VI/I.

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    3. Celia, it's so much fun when you go off topic!

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    4. Celia, my Scottish ancestors never recovered from Culloden. In 1996, I already knew my father’s feelings about the English and the Scottish. His mother was born in Scotland. Though I do not recall him mentioning culloden. I learned about culloden recently.

      However, in 1996 when I was taking a tour of the Scottish countryside with a deaf tour group, I started bawling for no reason. I could not figure out why. I looked out the window and saw Culloden though I did not know the history πŸ™„. The tour guide was talking about Culloden and I could not see the signing because I was crying 😭. I may have mentioned that I think I felt the spirits ? When we had a post about Lucy’s mystery set in Scotland a while ago.

      Diana

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    5. From Celia: very late in checking back, but it’s been a bit of a day! Diana I hear you about your reaction at Culloden. I strongly believe that some of us can feel spirits and other invisible stuff, I wish I had a better word for it. But I do believe you felt your ancestors. It was a horrible battle and the English did not behave well. So many Scots were transported to the USA as indentured servants which was one step from slavery.
      Debs - you are lovely, but Julia has worked hard with me to improve my writing. Plus one finger on my phone gets tiring and I have to remember what comment means, not a term paper.

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  13. Growing up, I was the only Anglophile at home. I remember watching Charles & Diana's fairy tale wedding in awe and was sad when their marriage fell apart. Devastated when Diana died & watched her funeral. I watched both weddings of William/Kate and Harry/Meghan. I was a great admirer of Queen Elizabeth II for her duty & service. I watched the 70th Platinum Jubilee and then her funeral last year. And yes, I dashed to catch a glimpse of Prince Charles/Camilla when they came to Ottawa for the Platinum Jubilee & visited the historic Byward Market (5 minutes from my apartment). They were so low key and warm, it was surprising.

    Yes, I do feel bad for how Harry grew up post-Diana but the media frenzy with him & Meghan is of their own making. Haven't watch THE CROWN, and have no interest in reading SPARE.

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    1. Cried when Princess Diana died, Grace. I remember an innocent photographer taking photos of a public garden in ? Australia ? being attacked by bystanders because she had a camera, The Royals were not even in Australia, For a long time, I could not pick up my camera because I felt shellshocked by what the paparazzi did! These paparazzi should be thrown in jail and stay in jail for the rest of their lives. They practically chased that car, causing them to crash! The sole survivor was the bodyguard who was wearing a seatbelt.

      Diana

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    2. I got up at the crack of dawn to watch Charles and Diana's wedding as well Grace, and it did seem like a real-life fairytale - although even then I remember thinking how young she was - she and I were born in the same week, and I certainly didn't feel anywhere old enough to get married when I was 19!

      At least the family and the culture had changed enough to allow them to get divorced...

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  14. Mixed feelings here about the royals. My dad was from Yorkshire, where they haven't forgiven the Tudors for taking down and smearing Richard III. Dad was part of the WWII generation, for which George VI and his family were a shining example of resistance to the Nazis (except of course David and Wallis). So, I've always been a somewhat lukewarm royalist. Monarchy is bad in theory, but I basically liked the Queen. I loved Diana, even though I thought the wedding was over the top. I cried when she was killed. I'm only in Season 4 of The Crown and the episode about Diana's bulimia and loneliness before her wedding really disturbed me. Are the royals really that cruel, or is some of it just for the creation of drama? I think the truth is in the middle.

    The Meghan/Harry thing is just too complicated.I really loved Bishop Michael Curry's sermon at their wedding. I'm not going to watch the Netflix series or read Spare, although my sister sent me a clip of Harry's interview with Stephen Colbert, and it was hilarious.

    PS Julia, I apologize for using the term "MAGA wackadoodle" on the blog yesterday. I probably violated the rules.

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    1. No need to apologize, Gillian. And as a fellow Richard III fan, have you seen the recent movie THE LOST KING? It's not streaming for free, but you can rent it on Amazon and a few other places. I'm eager to watch it, because I was glued to the screen/ newspapers when his remains were recovered, verified and buried.

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    2. Since reading Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time, I've been a Richard III fan. I wonder how many people were similarly influenced by Tey's book. Thanks for the heads-up on The Lost King, Julia.

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    3. I have not yet seen The Lost King, but it's definitely on my list. I loved Tey's The Daughter of Time which my mom encouraged us to read...and Sharon K. Penman's The Sunne in Splendour is a favorite in our family.

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    4. Kathy Reel, The Daughter of Time came to mind to me too. It was my first real intro to Richard IIIJanuary 20, 2023 at 5:26 PM

      Kathy, The Daughter of Time is a favorite of mine too

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    5. Gillian, I can't believe I still haven't read The Sunne in Splendour. I've had it on my list for years.

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  15. Well, I haven't read the book nor will I. I didn't watch their interview. I did watch "The Crown" but more for the actresses involved - come on, Imelda Staunton? I had great respect for Queen Elizabeth. I think Charles is going to do the best he can.

    But did they really "(move) to the US ... to get away from the tabloid media and live a normal-ish life with their kids..."? Um, did Meghan NOT have any interaction with American paparazzi, who are at least as brutal with celebrities as the UK press is with the royals?

    And she totally knew what she was getting in to. How can you not? Was she living under a rock?

    It reminds me of an episode of "The Crown," which may or may not be accurate, where Prince Philip tells Diana, "You haven't married into a family. It's a system." And that's exactly right. If you want to play the game, you have to pay the fee.

    And as the eldest child in a family, yes, Harry's complaint is the woe of every second child. "Everbody liks XXXX better."

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    1. Great questions, Liz! I remember asking a friend why she did not like her baby brother. She said she felt that the baby was more important than she was. I felt said for her because I grew up as an only child. I would have LOVED to have a baby sibling, though I probably would have been a tad too much, LOL. Wanting to take the baby everywhere with me. LOL. Teaching the baby sign language. Not wanting to share the baby with anyone. LOL

      Diana

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    2. It's interesting that some people marry into the institution and become a rock-solid part of it - Prince Phillip, Camilla and the new Princess of Wales comes to mind. Then others are practically wrecked on the shoals. It makes me think it may be less about the "system" and more about the personalities of those inside.

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    3. A friend once explained to me why she did Not like her baby sibling. She felt that the baby was more important than she was. NOT true. It is hard for young children to see that. However, I would have LOVED to have a baby sibling since most of the people in my family were elderly when I was born. Only relative in my age group was one cousin and now she is gone (cancer).

      Diana

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    4. Liz, I don't believe Meghan was clueless about what she was getting into either. I think she decided she just didn't like it.

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    5. Julia - and the personalities of those getting in maybe?

      Kathy, I totally agree.

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  16. I read somewhere Harry has a 3-book deal -- no idea if that's true or what else he'd have to say. I didn't read and won't read the book, didn't watch Netflix, but did watch the Oprah interview where I (wrongly or rightly) determined that Meghan is a much better actress than anyone gives her credit for and that Harry is so scarred by his mother's death that he caves every time she plays "that card."

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    1. I'm probably not the only one here who's seen children through the death of a parent, and it's incredibly traumatizing, even when the kids are older than 15 and 12. There was no replacement for the sort of warm love and support they got from their mother, and no attempt at therapy or even a regular talk with a thoughtful, caring adult. It doesn't surprise me in the least the event left Harry with permanent damage.

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    2. Julia, I made it to my birthday this year! Just realized that I am now older than a close family member who died just before the pandemic. She had type 4 cancer. Her children were 19 and 15 years old. Her husband is now a single parent while trying to maintain his career during the pandemic.

      Very grateful that I am still here. Last summer I thought I would NOT make it to my birthday this year after that bad fall. Still have soft tissue damage on my legs, though they are Almost gone and almost no pain now.

      Diana

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  17. Rolling up sleeves, ready to wade in.

    It's probably past time for the fantasy of "rights conferred by God" to royalty, whatever that means these days. I watched "The Crown" up to the point of Diana's cruel treatment, and that was it. I'd been watching it for the history of it, and to see the progression of Elizabeth II's life through actresses, which was fascinating, but I got super depressed about the idea of one-sided marriage largely to produce heirs. It was so obvious, both in the series and in real life, that Philip was indifferent to the Queen.

    Those God-given powers are nothing more than might equally right, and has always been so. Lots of blood was shed to put various rulers on thrones, all for the power over others and over real estate--including enormous land masses. Having just been in once-colonial Kenya, I saw the vestiges of that forced obeisance in so many ways. (My daughter has some fascinating takes on and examples of this.) It's all artificial, but the chutzpah it must take to keep convincing oneself that it isn't has to take a toll, I guess.

    I did see some of Harry's interview with Anderson Cooper--his voice is so much deeper than I expected! But it came off pretty whiney to me. No, I will not read the book, although I read yesterday it had by then sold nearly 700,000 copies.

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    1. Sorry, I meant to type "might EQUALLING right".

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    2. Karen, it's fascinating to consider just how long the institution of monarchy has held sway as a societal construct. The first kings we know of appeared around 3100 BCE - five thousand years ago! That's a long, long time for one sort of political institution to last.

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  18. Apparently they have never once said they left the UK because they wanted "privacy". That idea was created by the tabloid media and it has been used repeatedly to belittle them and their current endeavors ... which kind of proves their point.

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    1. I believe they framed it as controlling their own story, Cathy, which they've certainly done - although I'm not sure the effects are all they might have hoped for. It must be impossibly hard, wanted to keep the family but kick the institution.

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  19. The comments by the Reds were hilarious! Thanks for a morning laugh. I am in the "never cared much" camp. I admired Elizabeth for her dedication to her dogs and horses, and I do think she was a remarkable figurehead during World War II, but that's about it. As for Diana, sorry but I never got the appeal and was baffled when there was such an outpouring of sorrow from American women I knew who seemed like otherwise sensible people. Wouldn't even think of reading the book. I have too many other books to read.

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    1. Okay, Terry, you've convinced me - the next blog I do on the royals will be all about the dogs. Who doesn't love cute corgis?

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    2. Julia, I love cute corgis too. Diana

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  20. My thoughts are jumping around all over the place, but here goes:
    I liked and admired Meghan until the whininess began. I do believe the stories about racism in the Royal family, but I also think she should have been prepared for that. I’m not going to read the book. I watched the first two seasons of The Crown but I don’t intend to continue watching. I saw excerpts of the Oprah interview and kept getting the impression that Meghan was acting. I don’t know what to think of Harry. Some of the things he did in the past are disturbing. Is he
    really no longer that person? And William? When I heard Harry’s report of being physically assaulted by William (and as far as I know, William hasn’t denied it) my first thought was “does William also have a history of violence with his wife and children?”

    So, no, I don’t admire the Royal family and I don’t intend to read or watch anything about them. I prefer Rhys’ fiction about the extended Royal family!

    DebRo

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    1. DebRo, I have a hard time believing that William was physically violent as an adult. I was reminded of the tabloid stories about William as a child.

      There was this story about William, as a child, telling another child in class that he will put them in the Tower of London and behead them when he becomes King of England. Thinking that is the kind of thing that children say without really understanding the significance of what they said, right?

      Great questions and they make us think.

      Diana

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    2. DebRo, I think we can all agree Rhys's fictional royals are much more fun and charming than the real ones!

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    3. Agreed that Rhys' fictional royals are much more fun!

      Diana

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  21. I think this loops back to your Davos post for me, Julia. The rules simply aren't the same for me and thee (thee meaning the "what's a weekend" folks). Wealthy, beautiful people simply do not live the same lives as the rest of us and, frankly, it's time to sharpen the guillotine. Yes, I said what I said.

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    1. Jenn, the quote "what's a weekend" is from Downton Abbey. I get what you mean about the Davos post.

      Personally I know some wealthy people who are very humble. A friend's father owns a small chain of restaurants. When I met the family, they had an older American car. It was Not new. And they live in an ordinary house, not a mansion.

      Yes, there are some wealthy people who like to flaunt their wealth and I STEER CLEAR of these people. I have gotten Facebook requests from these people and I always decline because I do not know them. I had a very bad experience with someone who flaunted their wealth (they STOLE MY COLLEGE FUND!). IF they were really wealthy, then WHY would they want my college fund? So I always stay away from people who flaunt their wealth. A friend once told me that people ask her about her wealth and I NEVER KNEW she was wealthy even if she always leased fancy cars. I just did not notice. I know that she worked very hard. She worked on repairing the properties that she owns. She wore nice clothes. ALL I knew about her was that she married a man from a different race and had children with him AND that she was ALWAYS kind to people.

      Never understood why anyone would want to flaunt their wealth when there are so many people living below poverty levels.

      Diana

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    2. Hey, I made the guillotine joke first, Jenn, so you're in the clear...

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    3. LOL. I've been watching the protests in France and wondering...

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  22. Full disclosure - I've watched The Crown so I should be something of an expert :).

    American divorcees and the royal family do not seem to play well together on the stage of history. I have to say when Harry and Meghan decided to step away from the royal family, I thought, Good on them. That is until it became evident that they wanted to use the distance between the UK to California US to lob dirt bombs. I don't care for whiners, and once they made their decision to flee for privacy, they need to stop peeling the skin off the onion. Enough! Enjoy your very lovely family, be at peace, no one can remake the past. And as for Meghan not knowing what she was getting into....that seems extremely naΓ―ve.

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    1. Just ti clear please provide the quote where they said they were leaving for privacy! The tabloids created that story!

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  23. I am really tired of all the whining or whinging if you will. Come on. You want to reconcile with your family? Cut out the interviews, the documentaries, the umpteen million dollar book deals. I haven't read the book, nor will, watched the interviews or movie on Netflix. Don't plan to. And yet I can't escape the Harry and Meghan drama.

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    1. Yes, this, Pat! He keeps saying he wants to be reconciled, but apparently he's never read How to Win Friends and Influence Enemies. Everything he does and says seems to make things worse for them.

      Sometimes the hardest thing to do, but the best thing to do, is nothing at all.

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    2. Well, one thing that's been made clear about all the royals is that they're not, shall we say, the most emotionally intelligent neighbors on the block.

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  24. Warning: This is going to be very long! Just my thoughts here.

    Wow! So many different perspectives on this topic. I would like to read what Jenn wrote because I cannot imagine Jenn saying anything mean about anyone. Always so funny. Oh well.

    Disappointed in THE CROWN for several reasons. I think it is more like a fictionalized history than historical facts. NEVER mentioned that Princess Alice of Battenberg (Princess Andrew of Greece) was Deaf even when the Deaf actress in the first two seasons played the royal princess. The Deaf actress is the Deaf coroner on CHELSEA. Though the behind the scenes book about THE CROWN did briefly mention the Princess' deafness. And oh dear, the second actress to play Princess Alice with Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip is NOT DEAF!!! I do not know about Britain but if this was an American production, there would be a HUGE OUTCRY among the American Deaf community about their selection of a HEARING actress portraying a Deaf character. Of anyone saw that ? WONDER? movie with Julianne Moore, even though they had a Deaf actress Millicent Simmonds as the young Rose, there were significant protest about JM playing the older Rose because JM is NOT Deaf. Stephanie Beacham, an British actress who is Deaf in real life, could have played Princess Alice.

    Several thoughts about Harry and Meghan:

    IF I was Meghan's mother, I would have been more than happy to move to England so that Meghan would have family living in England. Just my thoughts.

    First, I love that beautiful couple. However, I DO NOT AGREE with some of their behavior. The book, SPARE, was a bad idea. Years from now, when Archie and Lili read the book, how will they feel? Always thinking about the young children in this. I was reminded of Marion Crawford writing THE LITTLE PRINCESSES and the Royal Family felt betrayed.

    Second, thinking about "racism". Recalling the sad remarks about the trolls and haters threatening Meghan, I do NOT recall anything before the Royal Wedding in 2018. I was reminded of Rhys Bowen's Lady Georgie and that line "Not our kind"? or was it "Not of our class" (meaning social class). And I also am thinking about how the British tabloids? press? paparazzi ? treated Meghan.
    The quote is in reference to how Meghan was treated. I also remember they were cruel to Catherine the Princess of Wales. And I keep on thinking about that line from Jacqueline Winspear's novel LEAVING EVERYTHING MOST LOVED.

    THE QUOTE

    "But the thing is, in all my experience as an artist, I have found that there are people who want to destroy beauty. Is it because it is beyond them? Is it because beauty represents something they cannot have, or is not inside them? I have seen children destroy flowers growing alongside the canal."

    Third, I noticed that After Harry and Meghan left the Royal Family, everyone else had MORE work to do! Other members had to take over as Patrons. I am sure that many organizations INVITED Meghan and Harry and got other members of the Royal Family instead.

    part One from Diana

    Diana

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  25. part two


    Fourth, Believe it or not, I think Meghan was a good influence on the Royal Family. For example, I noticed other members of the Royal Family hugging each other in photos. Or did they do this Before Meghan? I think that Harry and Meghan could have found a way to stay with the Royal Family. When William and Catherine were first married, I remember that they lived in Wales while William was still a Search and Rescue pilot? Could Harry and Meghan have lived in Scotland or Ireland or Wales?

    Fifth, I am sorry to say that I think Harry may be right about Angela Kelly. All I know about AK was that she was the Queen's dresser and that she grew up in Liverpool. I was excited when I saw the book that Angela Kelly wrote, which was actually about dressing the Queen. To my disappointment, the photos included photos of a certain politician that I DISLIKE and NO photos of another politician and his wife who visited William and Catherine at KP. And I like the other politician.

    Sixth point: I had a conversation with an American friend about Harry and Meghan. She had an interesting perspective. She thought the marriage was a bad idea because Meghan was an American and I was thinking about that. I remembered the Royal Wedding where the clergyman from America sounded like a Bible thumper to me. I was reminded of why I prefer to attend church in England. Sorry to say that I Never really felt comfortable with the Puritan foundations of American religion. And Meghan was an ACTRESS. I remember that the characters in the Agatha Christie mysteries never approved of people in the theater profession.

    Question: Is it part of British culture to disapprove of the acting profession?

    Final point: I think it was a BAD idea to have that Oprah interview. And I was sad to read that William and Catherine were made to feel unwelcome during their overseas visit to ? the Bahamas ? Jamaica? I do like Catherine, William, Harry and Meghan. I REFUSE to take sides. I really feel sorrow for Archie and Lili because I wonder if the children will ever get a chance to know their grandfather King Charles and their cousins George, Charlotte and Louis. Will the children remember Aunt Catherine and Uncle William? Meghan has half siblings and as far as I know she is not in contact with them nor is she in contact with her father. The only person in Meghan's family is her mother. Did anyone notice that Meghan's mother was the ONLY person from her family at the Royal wedding? No Aunts or Uncles or cousins at the wedding. Cannot help but wonder why.

    Living in America and I have not visited England since 2006, I DID NOT know about the romance between Harry and Meghan until their engagement announcement in ? November 2017 ? Or maybe I was not paying attention.

    On another note, when I was a teenager, I had a big crush on Prince Edward and I remember reading everything about the RF. I grew up watching British sitcoms on public television. When I lived in England while I was at Oxford, I wore British clothes. I remember someone telling me that they thought I was British because I did not act or look like an American. What would my life be like if I married Prince Edward who is now the Earl of Wessex? I am sure that I would have conversations with my father in law Prince Philip in Sign Language since his mother Princess Alice was Deaf. Very different life, I am sure, I NEVER was an actress, though. Now, I am thinking today is the Countess of Wessex's birthday. I am very happy that Sophie and Edward found each other. I thought it was interesting that Sophie and I share a birthday month.

    Several years ago, I sent Christmas cards to different members of the Royal Family. I got a lovely letter from the office of Anne, the Princess Royal. I got a beautiful photo of Catherine, William and their children. I got a beautiful photo of Meghan and Harry.

    No worries if you, dear reader, do not agree with my thoughts. I want everyone to be happy.

    Diana

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    1. Diana, I think we all love your thoughtful, considered perspectives, and your particular background gives us all valuable insight!

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    2. Julia, thank you 😊 Diana xoxo

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  26. I'm so late jumping in - I didn't realize we were going to have SIX INCHES of snow - Alexa betrayed my trust in her weather reports! And I had to shovel my damn car out instead of waiting for the plow guy to make a vet appointment. I'm going to the top of the comments now and joining the conversation!

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    1. Julia, I hope that you are staying warm! I remember living on the East Coast during the Winters and wearing many layers of clothes. I walked to work every day and that was the only part of town that got snowplows because many people worked and lived on Capitol Hill (Washington DC).

      Diana

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  27. I read somewhere that Meghan was shocked by the racism she experienced in the UK, because this had never happened to her in the US. This insight seems to reveal either her naivety or acting ability, not sure which, but am leaning towards acting. There are a zillion photos of Meghan available from her days as an actress, and only a toad living deep in a forest could not have understood the relationship between the press and celebrities and the royal family--especially after Diana, so no, can't believe she had no idea it would be so hard.

    I feel a tad sorry for Harry, but he's a grown man now, with children, and if he wants to be the best father and man he can be, then he should be getting therapy for his issues, not writing books and doing multiple interviews. Of course, all of those activities are keeping the limelight on the couple and raking in the big bucks so they can maintain their fairytale existence. I feel the sorriest for their children.

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  28. These tell all books are nothing new. Harry’s parents both published books and gave interviews during their disastrous marriage. The Royal Family is a dysfunctional family and has been for the last thousand years. It is time for them to step down. Let Elizabeth be the last. Teri

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  29. I think it's very interesting that people feel so strongly about this. Families are complicated even without tragedy. Brothers (siblings!) fight and harbor resentments. What happened to the boys was awful and they will always carry scars, but they are different personalities and obviously process things in different ways. I hope they can both move on.

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    1. Debs, exactly! I got an advanced eGallery copy of your new mystery and I’m chuffed to read it. And I remember King Charles when he was prince of wales addressing the knifing crimes in Britain.

      Diana

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  32. I don't follow the royals, though you can't miss this controversy. (And I'm no fan of papararzzi.) But European royalty and scandal have become standard revenue streams. It's hard to think of an extended period that lacked scandal.

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    1. Not.a fan of the paparazzi either. Wonder how they would like it if someone was chasing them? Maybe a dog chasing their cars. LOL

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  33. I haven't posted but a few comments on FB on this matter because there are some friends who have really strong feelings that don't jive with mine, and I don't want to lose any friends over Harry and Meghan. But, I will now go forth into that controversial territory. I'm of the mind that whether or not Harry or Meghan actually said the words they wanted to escape the UK because they wanted privacy, they implied it with everything else they did say. From talking about the relentless scrutiny of the press there and not being able to be their authentic selves, they appeared to want out of the limelight. Well, an interview with Oprah isn't the way to being out of the limelight; it is the limelight itself. I haven't watched the Netflix documentary or read Spare, but I have watched some interviews Harry has given in explaining/promoting his book.

    I do have sympathy for Harry that he lost his mother at such a tender age and that he lived the life of the "spare." I wish he could have gotten the love and affection a child needs after such a loss and that he could have been treated as an equal child and not an extra. But, there were some compensations that go with suffering these burdens when you have money or your family has money. I am more apt to have more compassion for those children who lose a parent or parents and are thrown into foster care with only a garbage bag of skimpy belongings. They aren't privy to a weekend in Switzerland skiing to assuage their pain or three more-than-square meals a day. I know I sound harsh, and even the rich suffer pain and anguish. I also think that some suffering is done sitting on a tufted pillow and some is done sitting on a hard wood-splintered bench. Does the pillow make a difference? Maybe not, but maybe so. It does seem that the less fortunate get on with it more than writing a book on how tough they had it. And, blaming his Nazi uniform costume on Will and Kate? Yeah, don't take responsibility for your actions. Blame it on your brother, who after all was the "favorite" and threw you on a dog bowl. And, Kate, well, let's throw her under the bus, too, because, well, well, she hurt my feelings at some point, too, by sticking by her husband and not me.

    It just seems so petty and childish to be winging on at his age. He and Meghan have found a way to deal with their intense suffering at the hands of the Royal Family. They will milk it for all it's worth, and it's worth quite a bit. They claim that the British press misrepresented and attacked Meghan, and I do think there's truth to that, but then they go and use footage of the press hounding them when it's not even them who are being hounded in the film footage. Watching how the Netflix series was a misrepresentation itself makes me inclined not to trust the Prince and Princess of Sussex in their motivations. I saw something today, but didn't click on it, that said "High society friends dropping the Prince and Princess of Sussex as friends because they fear private conversations will become public." I don't know if it was a sarcastic poke or the truth, but it does have relevance to the reconciliation that Harry says he wants. How can his "family" trust him again? If they let him back into the bosom of the family, will he just gather more material for another book? Hard to trust someone again when they've shown how very publicly they will go to make money off of the family problems. And, if Meghan comes out with a book, too, well, they can kiss their sweet patootie goodbye as ever being welcomed again.

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    1. Kathy, you certainly didn't lose this friend with your comments. I loved the "slight" snark in the tone. Not to mention the truth of it.

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    2. I think I was too harsh about Harry losing a parent and being comforted by material things. I'm sure there was no luxury he wouldn't have traded for his mother in a heartbeat. You don't have to be poor for it to be devastating.

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    3. Kathy, I think you brought up good points. I really feel for Harry AND William, losing their mother at such a young age. I do not think you were too harsh. I was reminded of a line from Maisie Dobbs. Someone said to Maisie that they could not understand why someone (suffering from shell shock as a result of serving in the War) would have problems because that person grew up with everything. That person said "We just got on with it". and Maisie explained that some people just cannot get on with it. There are some people who need more help.

      Always a joy to read your comments!

      Diana

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  34. I have a different viewpoint. I'll probably regret posting this, but here goes ...

    I didn't watch "The Crown" or the Netflix series or the Oprah interview, but I bought and read Harry's book to learn more about his accomplishments.

    For example, he created The Invictus Games, a paralympics for military veterans. His time in the military, which allowed him to bond more with his father, and where Harry trained to fly Apache helicopters in war zones. He would've been happier as career military but he was yanked out because ... spare.

    I do remember the Hitler costume, but what I found most alarming while reading the book is that all these young royals only a couple of generations away from WWII and who had been given fabulous private school educations had no idea a Hitler costume would be, not only in poor taste, but a colossally bad idea.

    I'm probably as naive as Meghan because, after watching all those British dramas with multiracial casts--Dr. Who, Torchwood, Luther, Being Human, and the updated Poldark--I thought folks across the pond were doing a little better than we are here. Enter Meghan ... and not so much.

    As I read the book, I realized I was learning a lot about what it's like to live in the public eye. To have a face that sells papers and attracts eyeballs. And is the focus of deals struck or not struck with Fleet Street. Sold out--or were they? ;)--by family and advisers? Fascinating Machievellian stuff indeed.

    I actually recommend the book, but check it out at your local library later this year when the furor has faded. That said, keep in mind, you'll have to get past some of his flights of fancy (not involving helicopters) and his dude-bro musings. ;)

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    1. Rhonda, well said! I noticed the British dramas with multiracial casts too. I chose to remember the good things that Harry did like the Invictus Games for wounded military veterans. I never understood the Nazi costume story. For some reason, I thought Harry was making fun of the Nazis? Unless I’m mistaken? We all do stupid things when we are young and regret later.

      Diana

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    2. Also I stopped watching THE CROWN. I think I explained some of the reasons WHY I stopped in my part one or part two comments above.

      Diana

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    3. Re: the Hitler costume, I remember thinking back in the day it might have been a sendup like that old Monty Python skit where "The Hilters" moved into a village and the friendly neighbors didn't recognize the Third Reich in its uniform.

      Then again, considering Harry, Will, and Kate went with the Nazi costume, maybe that cluelessness the villagers showed in the skit wasn't that far off the real-life mark. No telling. #shrug

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  35. Even though I would never want the US to have a monarch, I like other countries'. I felt sorry for Diana but also for Charles who wasn't allowed to marry his true love Camilla at first. He was pressured to marry and have kids because next in line was Andrew (very scary). I also like Charles because he is a gardener. As seen in The Crown and many books, the royal family has never been warm and fuzzy. I think that William and his family and Edward and his family are maybe the closest to that.

    I think that the press and royal establishment was not nice to Meghan but right now she and Harry come across as whiny. I started to watch the Netflix show but it annoyed me so I stopped.

    I kind of feel sorry for them all but also wonder why anyone expects different. English history shows the all the kings and queens had it rough at times. Having power, money, castles, etc. does not guarantee happiness. I wish them all well.

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    1. Sally, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I feel sorry for everyone in this.

      When people are hurting, it can be a challenge to see the good things.

      Diana

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  36. I’m very late to this and certainly no expert on the Royals but I don’t care for all of the airing of the family’s dirty laundry in public. It just makes H&M seem whiny and jealous.

    I used to like Harry and he always seemed so close to his brother and Kate. This is just my own impression but I suspect that Meghan is very jealous of Kate.

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    1. Do not care for airing of the family's dirty laundry either.

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  37. Thinking about the Reds' comments. One comment stayed with me. "Wanting to join a football club and NOT playing by the same rules." I quite agree. When I travelled with a tour group to Europe, we visited a Catholic Church in Italy. In Italy, their culture is that women cover their heads with a shawl. While I may or may not agree with that rule, All of the women in our group put scarves over our heads because it is a way of showing respect.

    Catherine the new Princess of Wales had ten ? years to learn the rules. So did Sophie the Countess of Wessex. Another big difference is that both women are close to their parents and siblings who live in England.

    Surprised that Meghan would not follow the rules. She went to an Ivy League University in America and I am sure that they had rules that students have to follow.

    This morning I saw something on social media and it resonated with me. Not quite the same thing though I think it can also apply to being a feminist or whatever.

    "Being intelligent is Not an excuse for being unkind". I remember meeting different women who are famous for being feminists. Gloria Steinem was very gracious and kind when I met her. I have been fortunate that I have met so many intelligent people who are also Kind.

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