I've watched the Meghan and Harry interview: what the hell are we paying for?
As I watched Meghan and Harry’s interview with Oprah, I couldn't help but wonder: what the hell are we paying for?
To say that Meghan and Harry's interview was hotly anticipated by the British establishment would be an understatement. Speculation about what exactly the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were going to say in their hour and a half long interview with Oprah was subject to borderline obsession in the weeks and days until its release.
Across every tabloid newspaper we saw Meghan’s face plastered across their front cover - with pages and pages of analysis over what was going to be said, what the palace thought, and what it means for the monarchy. Some even said 'End This Now, Harry! For the love of the Queen and Prince Philip, war of words must stop."
Hysteria over the matter hit a fever-pitch, and what it meant for the monarchy clearly haunted Buckingham Palace and the British tabloids so much that they launched a form of guerrilla warfare - dredging up bullying allegations and earrings from the past. And, having watched the interview early on Monday morning, it is clear why: the entire thing is utterly damning.
There is no real direct attack on any Royal Family members. Other than clarifying some things, such as the allegations that Meghan bullied Kate being the other way around, the interview was more an attack on the institution than individuals - and Meghan even says that Kate is a good person. Harry expressed that he feels sorry for his dad and his brother - who he described as “trapped”, as he was. And Harry speaks of the symbiotic relationship the Palace has with the tabloids - and says the Royal Family are terrified of them.
Meghan shares the fact that she was suicidal at times. But, despite her psychological distress while she was at the Palace, the establishment refused to allow her to seek help. She says she once told Harry she didn’t think she’d be safe if she was left alone while she was pregnant due to the thoughts she was having. This is particularly disturbing given the Royal Family claims to care about mental health.
If the whole thing sounds very Diana, it's because the parallels are eerily similar. And, as with Diana, the way in which the Royal Family respond to the interview will be key when it comes to public opinion. With journalists, celebrities, and political commentators across the pond overwhelmingly furious with how Meghan and Harry have been treated, and Meghan's former colleagues coming out fiercely in her defence, the entire saga is turning into a PR nightmare for the Royal Family.
And then comes the racism. Oprah mentions the racially motivated attacks on Meghan in the media, such as journalists comparing Archie to a monkey, and tabloids suggesting Meghan was almost 'Straight Out of Compton'. The couple share there were members of the family asking how dark Archie would be when he was born. This prompts Oprah's jaw to quite literally drop. And then it is revealed that Harry and Meghan were told that Archie, inexplicably, was not going to receive any titles - nor be a prince.
So, is it any surprise Harry grabbed his wife and child and ran? Harry even suggests Diana knew this day was likely to come, and shares he had to use the money she left him to survive. For all the criticism Harry and Meghan receive for their Netflix and Spotify deals, they make it clear that these deals are helping pay for their security detail - and that, when they initially left they relied on Tyler Perry (yes, that’s right, Tyler Perry) to provide them with protection until they found a house. In some ways, it almost felt that the pair had fled a cult - taking refuge at a friend's house. And, at times, talking about their ordeal quite nervously - as if scared of reprisals, which we've already begun to see with the attacks in the tabloids last week.
So, when the credits started to roll, I sat there shocked by what I had watched. And I also couldn't help but think: what the hell are we paying for?
Why are our taxes going to fund such an archaic, anachronistic, and amoral institution? Why are you and I paying for a dysfunctional, chaotic, and colonial endeavour? Why are we paying for an institution that is so toxic that the only Black family member felt the need to flee across the Atlantic to get away from it? At least Meghan and Harry are now self-sufficient - and earn their keep. Unlike the Royal Family, who are born into immense privilege - while our nurses get a one per cent pay rise, and poverty in the UK skyrockets.
I won't hide it - I've always been a republican; I don't think in the 21st century we should be paying hundreds of millions of pounds a year to people just because of who they were born. And all the interview has done has made it clearer how ridiculous it is to have an unelected head of state and an obscenely expensive monarchy - which appears to be full of immensely unhappy people anyway. Enough is enough - it's time to abolish the monarchy.
The interview, Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special, airs in the UK on 8 March at 9pm.