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Meghan and Harry: A tiresome saga at best

Bikram Vohra (Between the Lines)
Filed on January 21, 2020 | Last updated on January 21, 2020 at 02.40 pm

Meghan knew what she was getting into. She, too, has enjoyed feeding off the public trough.

The first couple of days after the news broke, curiosity was compelling enough to devour every morsel on Meghan and Harry leaping off the royal bandwagon. Streaks of racism and the monstrous meanness of the tabloid press in the UK and its 'everything is fair game' policies added a bit of spice to the empathy.
 
After seeing three seasons of The Crown one does have an appreciation of how tough it is to be on guard 24/7 and not have a moment to yourself, every move scrutinised, every chance comment 'commented' upon. Maybe you are a canary in a golden cage soaked in luxury but still as the Duke of Edinburgh was paraphrased in one of those slews of royal-themed movies, a clown in a costume.
 
That be so, it is a fact that the British royals even now evoke strong feelings for and against the monarchy but distilled into a fascination with their goings on. In the great cosmic sense Harry and Megan are not even blips on anyone's radar...or should not be. Yet, millions of words, thousands of audio-visual hours, and scores of high-profile comments and criticism have been exhausted on the couple's decision.
 
Obviously, not since Edward VIII abdicated the throne and elected to marry a twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson has there been a dramatic parting such as this. For those who cannot remember so far back the case of the sad and tragic Princess Diana is more current in memory. But while Diana may have reached the edge and stared down into the abyss she sucked it up and hung in there, even though the marriage was on the rocks, with the shadow of Camilla Parker ensuring no come back.While Diana found recourse in outside-the -palace friendships and a sort of endearing sufferance against the suffocating confines of her cages made mildly tolerable by her diving deep into good works in Africa and other places.
 
The present sensation has far less staying power. The initial sympathy from those who understand the cruel sting of racism based on colour is balanced by those who believe Meghan is well-insulated by her privileges to let slur pass her by without bruising. A comment like 'straight out of Compton' from the 2015 hip hop movie of that name which went from being a musical album to meaning someone who 'should be black but isn't' might be hurtful but thousands of people with coloured skins endure much worse. At least Meghan can cry copiously to her maids-in-waiting.
 
Not that it is forgivable to be ethnic in one's insults but when flung like a clod of mud at you it can be endured. Nothing so dramatic has occurred for the coupe to stalk off in a huff. Prince Harry has spent 35 years living off the exchequer in unimaginable comfort and luxury. For that exclusive lifestyle comes at a price, one the 90-plus Queen of England calls duty.
 
She has done it for 67 years and done it rather well, despite her stony and often expressionless demeanour. It can't have been easy and to place her and the ageing Duke into a corner because you feel bullied isn't the sterner stuff a royal should harness when under the pump.
 
Meghan knew what she was getting into. She, too, has enjoyed feeding off the public trough. That moment of decision to marry into the royal household was all spangles and sparkle and starry-eyed romance. Now, it is claustrophobic. Her father has harshly accused her of embarrassing the royal family. Harshly, because Prince Harry is equally responsible for reneging on the commitments expected of him.
 
In light of all this the patience and stamina for the ongoing saga is severely limited and drains away swiftly. It has diminishing traction even in a world conditioned to respond with spiking fascination for the British royals. Thing is, it is rather like being a soldier in the armed forces. You cannot just walk away.
 
There are dozens of news items on their options in the media today. And I switched off. Suddenly realised I do not care, it just is not important. Nor do I really want to know chapter and verse of their progress into the grand future. They have chosen a path, well then, just go, stop milking it.
 
At least Edward VIII and Princess Diana showed mettle. This is a petulant sulk.

- bikram@khaleejtimes.com  



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