Saturday, 6 March 2021

Thoughts on a Tumultuous Week Ahead of Oprah Appearance

I was moderating comments the other day and paused for a moment whilst reading a thoughtful remark from a reader. "This is not what you signed up for when you took up royal blogging." To say it hits the nail on the head would be quite an understatement. As an avid royalist and blogger, I had so enjoyed following Harry's journey -- how he was crafting his own legacy supporting veterans, including the foundation of Invictus. When Harry met Meghan and it became obvious this was a serious relationship, it was a tremendously exciting time.


Yet, here we are over three years later, spectators to a situation so toxic it has been dubbed 'War of the Waleses 2.0'. I know for me this entire situation is an unsolved puzzle with key pieces missing from the narrative we're hearing in the UK. I want to shine a light on a handful of pieces in this post because, like for so many of you, there is a plethora of valid questions which I need answered.

In a pre-emptive strike ahead of the Sussexes' interview with Oprah, the Times sensationally led with a story claiming Meghan had bullied several aides during her time at Kensington Palace. A spokesperson for the Sussexes responded, "Let’s just call this what it is -- a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation. We are disappointed to see this defamatory portrayal of the Duchess of Sussex given credibility by a media outlet."

They say timing is everything and it is undeniable the timing of this is suspicious to say the least. It's only reasonable to ask why this story is coming to light now. Why not in 2018 after it allegedly happened? Now, I'm not for a moment suggesting there were not tensions, nor am I suggesting anyone involved is a figure of perfection, but the timing of this story, combined with what can only be described as a rather low blow about a pair of earrings and a barb about Meghan's views on UN Women undeniably has the smell of throwing the kitchen sink at it before the interview airs.


'The mention of Meghan’s earrings has nothing to do with her alleged behavior toward her aides, or really anything to do with Mohammed bin Salman; at the time she wore them, her press team simply said they were “borrowed.” Nor does anyone seem to bring up the earrings to suggest that the royal family should be more transparent about the gifts they receive from the Saudi royal family or other accused violators of human rights. It is, like so many of the supposedly damning stories that leaked out of the palace while Meghan lived there, just a detail arranged to make her look bad.'

As for the UN, Meghan served as  UN Women's advocate for political participation and leadership before she met Harry. During the tour, when she allegedly strutted off in a huff over their participation, she in fact went to meet several UN representatives and leaders. I should note before continuing that Meghan's work with UN Women is highlighted on Archewell's website right now.


Was the situation inside Kensington Palace toxic? Absolutely and without reservation, yes. While the relationship between Harry and William disintegrated and leaks became the order of the day, there is simply no doubting a distinct air of unpleasantness and mistrust filled the Palace. As an observer of this situation since the beginning, it's clearly a hugely complex situation; there have been salient points omitted time and time again.

The Times revealed details of a private email Jason Knauf sent to William's then private secretary Simon Case outlining his concerns about the Duchess' behaviour, noting she "undermining the confidence" of staff", "was able to bully two PAs out of the royal household" and "seemed intent on always having someone in her sights". However neither member of staff involved made a complaint personally and when they learned of the email they asked for the matter to be rescinded.

In a piece for the Daily Mail, royal reporter Rebecca English revealed, "One person sobbed down the phone to me after a particularly harrowing day."

The above is an incredible insight. A Kensington Palace employee was on such warm terms with a Daily Mail reporter they personally called to discuss details about the principals they were working for. Could you imagine a situation where staff working for the Queen, Charles or William were doing so? It's a recipe for a disastrous environment.

A point of interest from this Harper's Bazaar article:

'One of those employees, personal assistant Melissa Toubati, left Kensington Palace in October 2018 after reportedly being “driven to tears,” according to British tabloid reports at the time. An aide anonymously defended the abrupt departure, quickly giving a glowing account of her tenure to the Daily Mail. However, it later emerged in court documents during Meghan’s privacy case against The Mail on Sunday that Toubati had, in fact, been dismissed from her role by the couple due to misconduct (the details of which are known to this author but cannot be repeated for legal reasons). In the Sussex biography, Finding Freedom, sources revealed that it was Knauf’s longtime friendship with Toubati that had led the Sussexes to believe that certain staff, including their own press secretary, were “more interested in protecting one of their own than Meghan."'

A glimpse into just how desperate the situation had become arrived when Private Eye reported royal correspondent Chris Ship was investigating stories the Sun paid the partner of a senior Kensington Palace staffer for information on the Sussexes. The report notes Ship was being assisted in this endeavour by former Sun employee Emily Andrews. It followed an exclusive report from Byline Investigates, citing whistleblower information and a legal "letter before action" from Harry. Byline added the intriguing detail that “the payments appear to have been identified by way of an internal News UK accounting code". The staffer involved denied the allegations when approach by Byline Investigates. Will we hear more on this? It will largely depend on whether or not Harry is still pursuing legal action. The full piece can be read here. The original Byline Investigates report is here.

Additionally, it was revealed during Meghan's High Court case against the Mail on Sunday, "a senior member of the royal household" was meeting with the newspaper's editor.

Let's pause for a moment and consider Meghan's case against the Mail on Sunday. I suspect amidst this avalanche of stories and exclusives, it was missed that before the Times story broke, Lord Justice Warby denied an appeal to the newspaper and it was ruled 90% of Meghan's legal costs should be paid (in the region of £1.5 million). It was also decided the paper must publish a front-page statement about Meghan's victory in her copyright claim.  When Meghan was granted the summary judgement, a surprising story emerged in the Sunday Times revealing palace aides were "shocked" "the palace four" wouldn't have the opportunity to give evidence. There was a definite sense of disappointment in the article and equally a feeling we were on the cusp of another very serious round of leaks. That assumption was correct, and three weeks later bullying allegations were made via the Times.

The above are merely a few examples of events which contributed to what I'm sure was a very tense and unhappy situation at KP.

We also have to consider cultural differences here. There's been quite a bit of chatter about Meghan sending emails to staffers very early in the morning. As we adapt to working from home, how many of us have been receiving and sending emails in the late hours? The weekend? And yes, "early in the morning". I was chatting to a fellow royal watcher the other day who worked for an American company, rising to a very senior position, and the pace she described was relentlessly hectic. So, certainly, it's easy to see how a culture clash came about. Yesterday, Camilla Tominey wrote, "Meghan's supporters say staff members 'who preferred a more genteel pace' could not keep up with the Duchess's 'American work ethic'."

But to suggest, the "culture clash" was all the fault of the American duchess would be hugely disingenuous because we have ample proof to the contrary. Tatler observed Kensington Palace staff had taken to calling her "ME-Gain". The Telegraph revealed Palace staff had taken to calling Harry "the hostage".  One source for Valentine Low's story presented this view, saying, "The mistake they made was thinking she wanted to be happy. She wanted to be rejected because she was obsessed with that narrative from day one." Quite a shocking statement to make and a shocking assumption -- a shocking accusation. Were some in the royal household harbouring those thoughts from the beginning? Even one of Meghan's most vocal critics, Janet Street-Porter CBE, conceded, "Meghan might have been the newbie at the Palace but she was entitled to loyalty from her team - and as this week's Bullygate scandal reveals, that's hard to come by. She's thousands of miles away on the other side of the Atlantic, but former staff still seem to need to belittle her anonymously." The journalist and broadcaster also added, "Dubbing her a bully smacks of nastiness, not to mention that classic Upper Class British attribute (for examples look no further than Boris Johnson) ... casual racism."

Omid Scobie recently told Glamour he once asked a senior palace aide why, no matter what she did, everyone seems to dislike Meghan. The response he received? "If she had just sat down and listened instead of trying to be so bloody opinionated all the time, we wouldn’t be in this situation." Scobie added, "I think that really sums up the problem here. She is not subservient. She challenged the norms of what a female royal role is - and I’m very aware of the fact that the queen is very much a feminist herself and a woman of power in a very strong role. But I’m talking about the newcomers that marry into the royal family who, for their differences, are often turned into the enemy."

Of course, tales of members of the Royal family treating their staff poorly can be found by the dozen online, if you are so inclined. A former royal aide told Camilla Tominey, "Bullying is endemic across all the households. The Meghan thing is a disgrace, but it's not in isolation. They cut you out, undermine you, talk down to you. One minute you're in – the next you're persona non grata. Some staff have special protection. I've never witnessed behaviour like it before. I wish I'd never seen behind the curtain."

I recall one incident in particular in 2019, when an altercation between Prince Andrew and a royal aide was considered so serious Prince Charles had to intervene. There were suggestions of a physical altercation, though this was swiftly denied by the Palace. The Countess of Wessex was photographed embroiled in a heated argument with a bodyguard in 2011. Despite the acres of coverage in both cases, Buckingham Palace did not pursue an inquiry into bullying to gauge what "lessons can be learned", as is the case with allegations against Meghan.

Peter Hunt, reacting to the investigation, said, "They have opened an unbelievable can of worms. Are they really going to find her guilty of bullying? Will it be in the form of a #MeToo investigation? It really feels like the anarchists have taken over the institution."

Indeed, aside from royal principals, senior staff have been entangled in similar webs over the years. Back in the late 1990s, a headline-grabbing story appeared about the Queen's dresser, Angela Kelly, when the longtime aide was reportedly involved in a heated physical fight with a young maid at the palace over the affections of a royal pastry chef. It was reported "royal security officers had to pull the pair apart, as they grappled on the floor of the servants' entrance to the palace". At the time, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said, "We do not comment on internal staffing matters."

At this juncture, it's important to raise the topic of race. There tends to be a screeching backlash to even mentioning this, so what I'll say is, it is time to listen to the voices of women of colour and their experiences before making up your mind as to the role this played in Meghan's experience in the UK. In a powerful piece for the Guardianthe inimitable Afua Hirsch wrote:
'Racism is a lucrative business. When it comes to Meghan Markle, the media’s strategy is transparent. Tabloids pillory her with a range of mostly ludicrous allegations – her baby bump is too prominent, her avocados are not “woke”, her earrings are drenched in blood – and then networks double up with manufactured debates in which anti-racist commentators try to push back on those narratives.

It’s difficult to compare these personal experiences to those facing Meghan, because she has become a fixation of the global news media in ways few of us can imagine. She is in this position because of her relationship to the palace – a unique institution that creates global superstars who are not elected, not accountable to the electorate. In her case, she no longer even lives at the taxpayers’ expense.

And yet there is so much the palace could have done to provide Meghan with the same shielding that other senior members of the royal family enjoy. For Prince Andrew, who has faced allegations of involvement in sexual abuse, a palace spin doctor even tried to enlist the help of an online troll to discredit the prince’s accuser.'

Afua cites one deplorable incident in the media during which journalist and commentator Andrew Pierce "offered us an up-to-date example of how, confronted with Meghan -- a black woman he does consider attractive -- commentators reconcile this apparent anomaly by reclassifying her as not black at all". Have a listen to Pierce's words in the video below.

Writing for the Independent, Funmi Olutoye shared her thoughts:

'Once upon a time, I naively thought that Meghan Markle’s entrance into the royal family represented a changing institution and a changing society. How wrong I was.

From the day their relationship was officially announced in late 2016, there has been excessive criticism and abuse directed at them. It has been ferocious, relentless and, frankly, absurd.

The Duchess of Sussex is a woman who fell in love with a man. That’s it. Unfortunately for her, this man happened to be a British prince. For that, she has paid an incredibly high price: attempts to undermine her character, unprovoked criticisms and bizarre anger from royal commentators determined to disrespect her. All this quickly became the norm.'

The experiences of First Lady Michelle Obama focused a global spotlight on the prevalence of racism experienced by female public figures. In 2017, Michelle was asked about breaking glass ceilings as first lady, and responded, "The shards that cut me the deepest were the ones that intended to cut. Women, we endure those cuts in so many ways that we don’t even notice we're cut. We are living with small tiny cuts, and we are bleeding every single day. And we're still getting up." Expressing great sadness, she added how hurtful it was "knowing that after eight years of working really hard for this country, there are still people who won't see me for what I am because of my skin color".

Today writes:

"Michelle Obama has recalled her "exhausting" experience with racism using the example of a simple trip to get ice cream with her daughters during her time in the White House.

"We had just finished taking the girls to a soccer game," Obama said. "We were stopping to get ice cream, and I had told the Secret Service to stand back because we were trying to be normal, trying to go in," Obama said.

"There was a line, and once again, when I'm just a Black woman, I notice that white people don't even see me. They're not even looking at me. So I'm standing there with two little Black girls, another Black female adult, they're in soccer uniforms, and a white woman cuts right in front of us to order. Like she didn't even see us."

This is what the white community doesn't understand about being a person of color in this nation, is that there are daily slights. In our workplaces, where people talk over you, or people don't even see you."

Tomorrow night, Oprah's special with Meghan and Harry will air, and no, they are not getting paid for the interview. After four years of relentless smears, they want to tell their side of the story once and for all. Be mindful though, several commentators have already made up their minds. The following would be rather funny if it wasn't terribly sad. Four well known faces were asked to share their thoughts on the Oprah interview and imply they had already seen it - they hadn't - nonetheless they were happy to go ahead and in most cases offer a critical review of Meghan. Majesty Magazine's editor Ingrid Seward declares, "In the interview, from start to finish Meghan was acting." The Queen's former press secretary, Dickie Arbiter, is jokingly asked about Meghan not taking the Covid-19 vaccine (of course, she never said any such thing), to which he replies, "Selfish." 

As I come to the conclusion of this post, it's just an hour or so before the Sunday papers' headlines will be revealed. I have no doubt, in one final attempt before the interview airs, Meghan will be excoriated. I hope at the least this post piques your curiosity and raises some valid questions. A word which captures the essence of this entire situation - sadness. We have lost two fantastic ambassadors for the UK and the monarchy, a woman who was the subject of daily attacks throughout her first pregnancy, and now history is repeating itself. A relationship between two brothers seems to have been irretrievably damaged, and we will likely never see scenes like this again. I know the vast majority of you will share my disappointment and fervent wish it could all have been very different.

More than anything, I think of all the little girls who finally saw themselves reflected in the monarchy through Meghan. Those who watched her day-by-day rejection in the UK. From criticism for shutting her own car door to "flaunting" her bump, to the tireless portrayal of her as the villain who entered the House of Windsor and wreaked havoc on all in her path. Not only did it eat away at Meghan -- and undoubtedly her mental health -- it sent a heartbreaking message to the girls and young women who watched her story unfold.

In his interview with Glamour, Omid Scobie concluded, "Maybe the problem really isn't a couple speaking their truth in a sit-down interview with Oprah. Maybe the problem is the truth itself, about both the institution the pair once worked for and the treatment from the press that covers it so vociferously. It could have been so different." Scobie added: "I hope people realize this is a couple that tried everything they could to make it work before they stepped away. ather than following the narrative that they just quit because they couldn’t have it their way." Veteran royal correspondent Peter Hunt mused, "The key damaging thing for the institution of British monarchy in the 21st century is that it completely and utterly failed to embrace a bi-racial woman, a woman who opened up the institution to a whole range of people who before weren't opened up to it. They failed there and the other quite extraordinary thing is they haven't quite registered what they have lost."

102 comments:

  1. I bet that was hard to write. I felt it

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    1. Thank you bluhare, you summed up my thoughts perfectly.

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  2. Thanks for that comprehensive summary Charlotte. There's so much that's happened, the waters are so muddied (and I think that's deliberate + the firm benefits from it).
    I've appreciated seeing the ugly side of the royals, if I'm honest.I like honesty, and it seems right that a powerful family business, like the brf, should be exposed for how they really behave behind closed doors. It's disingenuous for them to pretend otherwise, given they claim their position is based on the UK's goodwill. They weild their political and cultural power, and try to hide so much of it away. I'm only sorry it was Meghan who took years worth of hits for this latest exposure to happen.
    I am looking forward to hearing from Harry and Meghan, finally.

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    1. Leafy? Is that really you?

      I agree with wHt you wrote. I do think the veil should come off.

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  3. I just don’t know what to say Charlotte. This “situation” was so unnecessary and the continued abuse and harassment that the Sussex’s, and Meghan in particular, have suffered through even though they moved thousands of miles away just breaks the heart.

    I want to echo bluhare, I can only imagine how difficult this was to write. I felt it too.

    I want to Thank You for continuing to share with us your thoughts and feelings. I hope that some day kinder heads will prevail and that the good work that the Sussex’s do will be applauded instead of derided.

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    1. 100% Lauri. Watching tonight? I'm in the pacific time zone so we will be almost last to get it!

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  4. Denise in Virginia6 March 2021 at 23:48

    Charlotte, it's been such a pleasure getting to know you thru your posts, you're an amazing individual. Of course, so much of what you've reported has been sad, upsetting, infuriating really. Boy, the brf really blew a chance here, a chance to make such a significant change, and certainly a missed opportunity to support a beloved family member. Harry, as well as his wife have so much to offer, they are working daily to make the world better. I don't think I'll ever understand why that made them a threat. Looking forward to tomorrow night's interview, i hope it brings Harry & Meghan peace.

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  5. Heartbreaking. As a mixed race Brit, it makes me realise how hated I am by my own country.

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    1. Oh Grenada - I'm so very sorry. I'm an American and cannot comment as a Brit, but I just want you to know that you bring incredible strength, richness and wisdom to your country.

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    2. These are challenging times, however hold your head high. I often think of the hymn Harry & Meghan had at the end of their wedding, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine”. Dena

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    3. As a fellow Brit, I am truly sorry. Sending you virtual hugs...

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    4. I am so very sorry Grenada!

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  6. Charlotte, Thanks for your heartfelt post. I have so much to say, but too disheartened to say it. What’s clear in the country of my birth is that certain segments of the population aren’t valued. We can dedicate our lives to service, bring compassion & knowledge to get work done, like Meghan, but then hated & not valued because others are too small minded & would rather see people suffer.
    What’s the point of Commonwealth services, anti-bullying & maternal health campaigns if they’re not going to be taken seriously? It’s stomach churning to see an institution that is supposed to be respected sully itself by continuing to work with low standard media organisations that most decent people see as an embarrassment to journalism & the country. I look forward to hearing from Meghan & Harry, they deserve their time.

    Dena

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  7. Thank God for you, Charlotte! I appreciate your informed opinion so much at this time. The way you showed the double standard in regard to Prince Andrew's conduct, the Saudi earrings, and staff bullying especially. And your highlighting the racism involved.

    Yes, this is heartbreaking. I hope Meghan is vindicated and that the press, the Firm, and racism in society will have a day of reckoning.
    -Victoria in Oregon

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  8. My apologies I started a post and then somehow lost it before I hit submit. I was describing my experiences as an American from New York working on a short term assignment in the London branch of our office 5 or so years ago. I had two observations:

    1.) Americans are absolutely more direct especially around work. While I think most professionals strive towards respectful and polite interaction there is absolutely a directness in American work communication style. This is what I want, when I want it, and the quality I expect. I found many of my British counterparts to be so caught up in almost excessive etiquette it was unclear what they wanted. I don’t know if this is what happened in Meghan’s experience with her British staffers but if it is, most Americans do not view this communication style as bullying. In Meghan’s specific case, I agree with you Charlotte it does seem as though there was potentially some more nefarious manipulation at play than a workplace bullying claim or cultural misunderstanding. I also agree that the workplace is moving increasingly to flexible hours. The 9-5 is becoming quite outdated. I receive emails at all hours as my colleagues have different preferences of when they work best. It is never the expectation that I email back as soon as I receive it or that anyone literally work 24 hours. I have a hard time believing that was Meghan’s expectation if this story is to be believed.

    2.) my experience in London taught me that many of my British colleagues have a complete unwillingness to acknowledge race or racism, and if it is spoken about it is in a strict binary: Black people being forced to the back of the bus is racist and bad, anything not that is A-OK or somehow shouldn’t be discussed or isn’t valid. I encountered a complete unwillingness to engage in discussions of micro aggressions, bias, or to listen, really listen to the lived experiences of people, and specifically women, of color. I mostly encountered a panicked changing of the subject or defensiveness whenever such a nuanced discussion came up. I’m sure this isn’t true of all British people but it was striking, striking to the point several of us were relaying it to our colleagues back in the US how awkward it was in this particular office. And I’m sorry but London, and the UK are diverse places. It is the era of Black Lives Matter. We can and should expect better on this front. I would suggest the book White Fragility. So many of the passages spoke exactly to what I experienced in my British office. And turning back to Meghan anyone who has not seen the micro aggressions and bias and sometimes even overt racism in the coverage of her is making a conscious choice not to see it. It’s not subtle in the least. That Andrew Pierce quote is horrifying. Horrifying. I see an attractive woman not a Black woman? I can’t even begin to articulate what a racist and hateful comment that is. Meghan identifies as herself as a bi-racial and Black woman. That’s it. It’s how she sees herself and has existed in the world. What other people see because of the relative lightness or darkness of her skin doesn’t matter. She has LIVED as a woman of color and all the experiences that may imply. Charlotte you are right it is time to listen to these voices. Explaining them away as you highlight in some of the examples you provide in this excellent article is so deeply hateful and destructive.

    I’m just so sorry this happened. I really wanted the best for all involved. I had no problem with Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview I think it would have been a final cap on their royal experience and a launch to their future plans. And I don’t believe anything overly destructive was going to be said. However Harry and Meghan were not the ones who escalated things this week. It was a fairly transparent swing from the BRF (the individual members, the palace, the staffers, I have no idea who calls the shots) and it’s just so sad. It didn’t have to be this way at all.

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    1. Complete agree with you

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    2. Anon 1:00 This is an enormous contribution to the discussion. I remember working in Boston with a woman from New York -- she was very direct and almost rude, but she wasn't rude. It was just what she was used to. I moved to NY from rural Penn during high school and was shocked at how direct people were. They said what they thought. They commented on what they saw. They were not rude; they were very nice, kind people -- just direct. Perhaps it's having to fight your way on the subway everyday that toughens you. :) Sending an email at 5 am is very different from expecting people to come to work 4 hours early! I send emails at any time of the day or night and understand they will be addressed during the recipient's workday.

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    3. Racism in UK vs USA has its own historical significance, and its respective people have different outlooks based on colonialism vs slavery.

      It is an American press secretary Jason Knauf to the then "fab four" (the two dukes and the duchesses) who passed the aids complaint to a former top authority of the” firm”- KP (currently a cabinet minister) by passing BP's personnel/HR office. I am curious to know if the same American communication secretary who was an advisor to the Sussex's', familiar with America’s work culture, and potentially the most understanding of Meghan's situation discussed it with her first. I think he is now CEO of the Cambridge's’ Royal Foundation.

      In general people have their eyes on the ball when it comes to work - place politics, power, money, career, and promotion. Everyone has a goal, and a future to think about. Along the way integrity and reasonable impartial loyalty is not typically the norm. People have a tendency to be more drawn to where their future will be.

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    4. By the way - Thank you for sharing your work/life experience in England. It matters to know
      one's experience of a foreign place when it comes to work and life.

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    5. 100%. When I go back to England I am struck by how indirect the English are.

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    6. Allison a great observation on New Yorkers! I actually think we’re quite kind and the rude New Yorker is a bit of a played up stereotype. However culturally New York moves fast, both physically and mentally if that makes sense, and sometimes basic etiquette is dropped in the name of speed. I once had European friends visiting me and they were horrified at the process of getting on/off a subway. And that people wouldn’t stand back to let people off before pushing on. And I commented I don’t think anyone here really views it as rude because everyone is in agreement thats how it is. People physically move fast and assertively place themselves where they need to be. Same for communication style. Not a lot of lead up the point. But I do believe a deep kindness is sometimes hidden by that. And if you expand to all Americans I do find direct communication tends to be more common here than Europe. I think if this is the case with Meghan it was sadly one of many things stacked against acceptance of her from the get go and where some of this Meghan emailed at all hours Meghan is a pushy bully narrative is coming from.

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    7. I should also add to my original comment on my experience comparing two work cultures I certainly don’t mean to imply the USA is not racist. It absolutely is; and the damage of slavery and segregation reverberates strongly today. However in recent years especially I have noticed a shift in workplace and society discussion a sort of “we’re talking about this whether you want to or not because we have an obligation to be better” and believe me some people here don’t want to talk about it. But my experience in the UK was an absolute brick wall of anyone wanting to engage and in fact an almost panicked defense of why we didn’t need to talk about it.

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    8. Anon 21:46 I love NY! My poor Southern mother could not handle the grocery store lines in Brooklyn and I went with her to help keep her place in line. I later moved to Texas and was SO irritated at how slow the checkout line was with all the useless pleasantries. Checkers asking me how I am, how my day was, etc -- drove me nuts! New Yorkers are practical; all my friends' parents were incredibly kind to me and invited me to join family events, and they were fun! Just say what you mean and get things done. Best comedians come from NY.

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  9. Thanks so much for this, it was a really excellent discussion about all that has occured over the last few years and this week in particular.

    It really feels like things have crescendoed and somehow reached a peak this week -- both in terms of the nearing of the Oprah interview, but also just in terms of the global social media support the Sussexes have received over the last 48 hours.

    I'm wondering what comes after this? Will the British media calm down? Will the RF stop briefing against the Sussexes via anonymous Palace sources? Will the Sussexes be able to do their new philanthropic and professional work in the US without it being overshadowed by royal drama in the UK (e.g. it is not lost on me that the Archewell Foundation's Women's Month activities have been entirely drowned out by the events of this week).

    And then what's next for the RF, as a family, not an institution? Will we ever see Harry and Meghan on the balcony at Trooping again? If William is behind the leaks and smears against the Sussexes, how do the Queen's other grandchildren navigate their relationships with the brothers? Like, would Eugenie ever invite Will and Kate over to Frogmore or do her loyalties lie with the Sussexes? How have loyalties been divided? Will we ever know?

    I agree with some posters above that there is a sadness hanging over the entire saga, because it seems that so much (personally, instituitionally) has been lost. I'm struggling with this sentiment though, if I'm honest: I'm not a royalist/monarchist (or even British!) so I could care less about the life, continuity, and reputation of the BRF. I think Harry and Meghan ultimately settling in the US is a good thing, because they can build their own life and legacy away from the firm. I do, however, feel terrible about the fact that a WOC was run out of the UK and what this means, symbolically, for POC in Britain more generally.

    Anyhow, those are my thoughts for now. Thanks again for your blogpost above.

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    1. I 100% agree with your thoughts here. I was reading some stuff a couple of weeks ago after Charles went to visit PP in the hospital that palace staffers were told to start planning his funeral, and then it turned into "What do we do w/H&M, where do they sit, will they take away from the solomnness", etc. And frankly, if people are so concerned about the media focusing on H&M over a state funeral of PP or even HM, then that is a MUCH bigger problem.

      Additionally, I would be very surprised if Meghan ever returns to the UK again with Harry - not even for funerals because she doesn't want to deal with the media circus. There's been some rumors she wasn't planning on coming back this summer, even though PP is turning 100, etc. Its very sad.

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  10. Thank you Charlotte for your always thoughtful, balanced, sensitive, well written posts. It really is such a shame and it didn’t have to be this way. I can’t imagine the hurt, anger and helplessness the Sussexes must have been feeling all these years.
    I admit it was really fun to see Meghan in this role, introducing a whole new world to the traditions, dressing the part and touching lives .... it’s just a sad reminder that black princesses cannot have the fairy tale happy ending

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  11. Charlotte, I think this is the best piece you have ever written. What sets you apart is your extensive research, balanced reporting and incredible insight. I hope royal aides and commentators who read these sites to gage public opinion read this one and take it to heart.

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  12. ILoveElephants7 March 2021 at 01:42

    Lovely post Charlotte. I agree that something does not fully add up. I will make my judgment on whether Meghan was bullying her staff after an investigation is complete. The timing of this is suspicious and some people might consider a demanding boss a bully. That’s not to say I don’t believe the alleged victims, I believe they might have felt stressed and though she was demanding but I need more information to believe it was bullying. I for one am glad that BP is conducting an investigation into the bullying claims and I hope they conduct a fair and impartial one.

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  13. ILoveElephants7 March 2021 at 01:49

    I just want to add that I think Charlotte is such a great writer and I love reading both this and the Duchess Kate blog. I love the professionalism in your writing. I have so much respect for writers because it takes a certain skill to write such great articles. Are you a writer by profession or is it a hobby?

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    1. She is wonderful isn’t she. Rivals any top tier newspaper in my mind :)

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  14. Such a sad and unnecessary denouement to a situation that held such promise. Such sincere truthtelling from a royal observer whose heart seems broken wide open. And to "Grenada", what sadness lies in your truth as well. Only the truth can set us free, as the saying goes. May we all move on with kindness, love and respect for all.

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  15. Susan in Florida7 March 2021 at 02:32

    Well said, Charlotte ! Thank you for keeping the blog and being so honest. I am sad too. Also , it’s apparently that dear old Dickie hasn’t done his homework on how the vaccine is being distributed in the US.

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  16. I agree with Leafy. It's time we get to see what really goes on behind the illusion of the BRF, and it's not pretty. I'm just sorry it had to be Harry & Meghan that took the brunt of it. The more stories that come out from palace "insiders", the less credible the institution as a whole becomes. What the Palace says about Meghan says more about the Palace than it does Meghan.

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  17. Wow Charlotte! What another thoughtfully written piece however disturbing and deeply sad it is. I so enjoy reading your insights and feel you offer such a balanced and fair picture. I'm very interested to watch the interview tomorrow night. May Harry and Meghan find their peace through all this turmoil bubbling up around them.

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  18. Charlotte, I enjoyed reading what you wrote but had one question - you notes that the employee was so friendly with a DM reporter that they called to complain about their day. Perhaps I miss-understood but when I read Rebecca English’s piece I didn’t get the impression that she clarified the context. As a PR staff myself, I can testify that there are many times when we have legitimate reasons for speaking with the press. For example when they contact us for a statement or to verify information.

    I agree with you that it’s sad that it wasn’t handled properly at the time and as someone who has experienced workplace bullying herself, admit I’m
    Not entirely impartial although I am trying my best to only read reputable journalism and give both sides some benefit of the doubt.

    Not to get too off topic but in my case I also requested my complaint be withdrawn after being informed of the company’s procedure for investigating the matter, in part because I was afraid of retaliation.

    Thanks again and best of luck with the blogs. I always enjoy reading them :)

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  19. This is all incredibly sad. One thing I don't understand is what did the Sussexes want to accomplish with this interview? It certainly doesn't seem like it will bring healing with the family. I also wonder why they have chosen to be interviewed and have it air while she is pregnant. It would certainly increase my anxiety and stress. I am hoping the interview won't be as toxic as all the press surrounding it.

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    1. Because they are at a good place, confident enough to open up certain wounds, had enough of misinformation, enough of lies and conceit which were spread by the Palaces. They want to share their story now. And those who are willing might listen.

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  20. Thank you for writing, Charlotte

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  21. Deeply disturbing and very very sad. It’s easy to sit on the outside and judge, in fact I have a feeling the interview will make things worse (if possible) without really revealing anything. This will sound sacrilegious coming from an American, but I have never liked Oprah, her interviewing style has always been “sound & fury, signifying nothing” not really fury, but the rest fits (apologies for “the Scottish play” reference). In the clips it appears a little lacking in details & heavy on emotion.
    Having said all that H & M have all my sympathy, I do know what it feels like to be tarred with the “difficult” brand & which then creates a toxic work environment. The early morning emails? Did she expect staff to reply at 0530? Well, I hope that this interview will make them feel better, I doubt it will change anyone’s mind.

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  22. I wonder where Meghan’s bridal veil is. The other day, her bridal photo was posted somewhere and the long veil with the 53 Commonwealth countries flowers was flowing behind her bridal dress. Should it be kept in England, or will she be able to have possession of it? It is ironic the couple’s official exit interview is overlapping with Commonwealth Day 2021. The last day of their last physical presence in UK as senior royals was also on Commonwealth Day in early March 2020.

    The royal commentators in that interview came through as professionally unprofessional. It was grossly bad. At least Mr. Dicky Arbiter overall has had the skill to be cautious with his comments and knows when to limit his words including in this video.

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  23. First, Charlotte, you would be an amazing lawyer. Your logic is impeccable and always leaves me thoroughly satisfied and unable to write for awhile, because I have nothing to add. The shots across the pond are continuing -- Piers blasting Patrick, Kamala's niece blasting anyone daring to say something negative about Meghan. There are so many contributions to this mess -- the fact that Meghan was such a high functioning adult was one problem. I think she was a little too popular, too, and detracted from other senior royals. What I KEPT hoping for was some joint visits -- I wanted her and Kate to do a project together or her and Sophie to make a visit together or even join in with some of the interests of Bea and/or Eugenie. These accusations are so designed to brainwash the public, in my view. The one about Harry bellowing that Meghan gets what she wants could be based on staff perhaps continuing to ask Harry about Meghan's requests instead of responding directly to Meghan. I doubt Harry bellowed at the Queen regarding tiaras, or any other matter. It's a bit of joke to talk about the palace HR, because obviously they violated all the rules up to this point. Thank you, Charlotte, for providing a place to relax.

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  24. In one way wondering if the couple used tact patience, and wisdom to manage the chaos around them, would it have ended up like this? In another way, I am convinced there is something only the couple, one of them, or the other only knows. The same knowledge may be known by the top head/s of the BRF. Harry’s decision is not as understandable as Meghan’s. Could he have not been the mediator so he would not cut ties from his family and there by ending up in distancing his own children away from his side of the family? Still there seems to be something much bigger and personal than what is in the surface and what the public and even aids know. To relocate is one thing, to allow a tell all interview is a sign there is something beyond the news and the surface. Meghan did say, "the firm allowed to perpetuate falsehood about us". I can't imagine her mixing with her in laws in the near future. As for Harry, he is their family member, it will be easier for them to blame it on Meghan and take him back into the fold in the future.

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  25. This is so beautifully written. Thank you.

    Lucy in CT

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  26. I don’t really know what to say or start but let me try:

    - do you think the whole race thing and the whole media interest would have been smaller if people had the feeling Meghan would integrate herself more into the royal lifestyle?
    - and following to that - im just thinking - if I marry a man - I automatically marry the family and there lifestyle as well. So if I don’t like what they are doing - why do still marry that guy? I mean it must have been somewhat clear that her life might be different and that she has now rules she must follow? I hope you know what I mean? I don’t know - if I would have been in the situation that I fell in love with Harry but I couldn’t handle all the pressure and stuff I guess I would not have married him...?
    - and I also don’t know how the Interview should help the whole situation...? I know they will say some ugly things in this interview and we’ll i just don’t know what i should think about it (im still a Royal Family Fan)
    - and I‘m still thinking why did they leave GB because of the whole media stuff and paparazzi- and now they life in the us, especially THE town for paparazzi and suddenly there world should be better (especially after the interview) - that’s kind of naiv don’t you think.

    Nevertheless I wish Harry a happy life with Meghan and I really hope they life happily ever after!

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    1. You do not automatically marry a man’s family this is such a destructive way of thinking. Spouses obligations are to each other first and foremost. If extended family is making things difficult a mature and emotionally healthy couple will first try to find a solution but if that can not be done boundaries are absolutely ok. Even with your own family. I don’t know why people are so unwilling to admit that family relationships can be exceedingly difficult even toxic, and everyone is entitled to protect their own emotional health and well being, and it’s even better if you can do that with the unwavering support of a partner. That’s what partnership is, not marrying their family and putting up with abuse. This isn’t even a unique story to the royal family and their married ins, average people have to negotiate these relationships and boundaries all the time especially during marriages when dynamics change. Specifically for Meghan and Harry: of course she knew he was a public figure and there was a role expected and there would be pressure. She didn’t sign up for relentless racist and press abuse and never a word of support from this family that has power to tell the press to back off on that extreme. Harry even seems caught off guard and immensely disappointed by that if you go by their initial engagement interview and what is obviously a trauma and fear he still carries around the press treatment of his mother. So the situation is much more complicated than she knew it would be high pressure so she shouldn’t have married him.

      And please stop with the they left to get away from the media narrative. This is false narrative being pushed by the tabloids. They literally never said that. They will always be public figures, they want to have a public charitable and service role. They want to promote those causes. All of that requires savvy PR and neither of them are dummies about this. What they DID NOT want and would no longer tolerate was being forced to participate in the biased to even abusive royal rota system and having private details (Meghan’s correspondence with family members, details of Archies birth) published in public papers. There’s no equivalent to a royal rota system in the USA and they will be able to be much more in charge of their own PR. So no they’re not naive in the slightest.

      Delete
    2. Victim blaming at its best!

      Delete
    3. - to answer your question. Racism is not about integrating oneself. I wish it was that simple. I can’t counter hate by pretending to be of another race or ethnicity. I dress well, speak well, don’t have a police record, is debt free, pay my bills on time, hold a job that society values and the racism doesn’t go away.

      I can’t make someone see his or her racism if that person thinks it’s simply a matter of integrating oneself. You can be the best that you can be, but if another person sees you as something negative, as a threat, unworthy, and undeserving, then it’s not you that needs changing , but the other person. It’s not that I don’t try. I do. Everyday. I put on a happy face, keep things professional, do my job well, volunteer, take in extra work, be a good, helpful neighbor. But for some people, that’s not good enough.

      In fact, by doing all the right things, some people are even more angry with me because I’m supposed to be that low class person, the taker and not the giver, the threat not the nice. My children have faced similar attitudes growing up and at their school. Instead of getting positive reinforcement, they are faced with comments like the only reason why you are in this advance class is because of your race (and sex), the woke culture, and the teachers go easy on you, etc. In reality, my children have been accused by some of the teachers in the past for plagiarism, of cheating and that we did their work for them. They had to prove with extensive documentation that this is their own work and had to get other teachers to back up their ability.

      That’s the real world we live in. It’s not just racism, but this unkindness to new faces. I see this at work. It’s as if some institutions have a hazing culture. The hazing is worse if you are looked upon as “not one of us”. There’s less forgiveness, harsher punishment, greater expectations and in some case, sabotage of the new people. In my profession, we call it “eating the young”. I have worked very hard to do away with this attitude and behavior with my team. We are productive and have very little turnover.

      Wishing someone happiness is a wonderful sentiment, but in the real world, happiness takes action and nurturing.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous @ 20:09,

      I'm sorry that racism is so prevalent. Your experience sounds like that of Michelle Obama described above. She could not have been more perfect as First Lady, and still...

      I am so sorry.

      R

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  27. I have some experience in the issue of leaking etc and I think Charlotte's point that a Daily Mail reporter had someone in the palace she was so close to that she was crying down the line is an excellent point. Leaking like this is so often done by relatively junior people for all kinds of reasons. In most of them though, the leaker thinks they are the good guy.

    But what I find most sad about this is that throughout, the rest of the fsmily has been passive with no apparent attempt to put a stop to it. This has led to even more leaking and exaggerated stories as a) theres no fear of being punished and b) there is, I suspect, a belief that the royal famiy are happy with the leaking. And it's hard to say that's not the case.

    After the way William was betrayed (I thought) by the Times a year ago, it is sort of incredible to me that he would allow this. Which sadly tells me that he was not betrayed but rather has been actively involved. And I find it desperately desperately sad that all of this leads to this level of attack on a woman and her husband. For the royal family to put a stop to it would have been relatively easy. But they clearly didnt want to.

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  28. Jennifer from Sweden7 March 2021 at 09:32

    To me it is enough to know that she is Black to know that had she ever been ”difficult” in any way she wouldn’t have gotten Suits. A Black woman can’t behave like Katherine Heigl and expect to work.

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  29. All of this makes me sad. I've been a regular reader of yours since your Kate blog started in 2011 and like you I was extremely excited to see where Harry and Meghan would go. What I can't believe is the fact that not ONE family member stood up for them when they were going through all of this with the press. Not one. It's just unbelievably sad and a total loss to the royal family. I have to say royal watching recently for me has just put a bad taste in my mouth, and I no longer love to watch the British royal family as I once did. Your blogs have continuously been a go-to for me and I will still read despite all the nonsense going on. Thank you so much for your thoughts on all this <3

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  30. What a beautiful piece of writing. This is journalism. Not the four gossip mongers in that video.
    I wish Meghan and Harry all the very best. I don’t think any of us will ever understand or comprehend the enormity of what they have been through and continue to go through. How could we? It is all so sad that the RF did not publicly support them. I will never ever feel the same way about the monarchy or indeed Brits.

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  31. I cannot imagine all your feelings regarding this very sad situation. I imagine that when you started theses Royal blogs it was with enthusiasm and excitement as you had an interest in both the Royal family and fashion. Times have tested those things, I know I myself hardly even think of commenting on the activity or the clothes anymore. Ever the optimist, could I suggest that that is maybe some positive that has come out of this mess? We are frequently discussing, commenting on perhaps more important issues. I conclude by suggesting to all that the truths in this sad situation are probably somewhere in the middle, and the mistakes are many and have probably been made by both the Royal Family and Institution, and also by Harry and Meghan.

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  32. Thanks you Charlotte
    My heart bleeds.I can't find the words

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    1. I can't, either. This is the worst circus I have ever seen. Sometimes, watching The Crown series, I had a strong feeling, not even the Queen, but the courtiers make the rules there. I have an alike feeling now...

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  33. Charlotte, without intending to be dramatic, just really wanting your opinion, do you think that this could be the beginning of the end of the Monarchy?

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  34. Dear Charlotte - thank you for your hard and dedicated work this week.

    I just watched CNN and the white female anchor interviewed one of these white female british royal experts. I am so angry right now. Which is difficult in a foreign language. We have to go a long way before this talking like disappointed Barbies will come to an end.
    This is serious for us as women and human beings- Meghan and Harry have the right to live a life. It is not their job to entertain people, to distract us from our lives, to drive before us in guilded coaches so that we can dream princess dreams.
    Sitting in such a coach is the f.. hell of a Job- we know since Diana.
    Meghan was prepared and she never mistook royalty for celebrity. But people mistook her. She really wanted to do good things quickly and forcefully.
    She would not use her first year to get her nails done and to walk around London. This was her mistake- not to be reduced to what is expected of women in aristocratic surroundings- raising children and doing charitable stuff for children and sick people. Of course not to much oft it - and always visibly, and impeccably styled. Actually I can not tell what was more shocking, especially for women her being biracial or her messy buns.

    She never disrespected the Queen or Prince Philipp, who has said so many sexist and disrespectful things about her and lots and lots of people. I like him, yet even a sick 99 year old man is accountable and the Queen as long as she is in her office as well. It would be disrespectful not to criticise her and him, meaning you do not take them seriously.
    The Queen is a strong person - she can handle criticism.
    All these women criticising Meghan or just doing copy paste Mainstream media work take a treatment of respect for themselves for granted which they deny Meghan. In most interviews the racial issue is not even mentioned. This is why I still feel triggered by Williams quote of being sick of racism- I know what he said in the sentences following , but there’s a truth to the first part of it. He is sick of it. White people do not want to acknowledge this hurtful truth to its full extent , to really dive into it. We want to leave this dark, imperial and supremacist part of our lives behind us, as quickly as possible. And of course keep all the benefits and treasures from it.
    Oprah is a woman and of colour who understands all of this - I hope she will make the white women see.....

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    1. Thank you Kristina for your insight, especially regarding how difficult it is for a newcomer like Meghan to enter a very white world, not as a server or an aide, but someone more their equal.

      It’s hard to explain to people, but all you have to do is go to an exclusive club or a hotel and see that brown and black faces are embraced as workers, but not always as well treated as customers or members. Some people feel very threatened by seeing such a change. Often time they don’t see themselves as racist because they never had to deal with it on such an intimate level— like welcoming a new family member.

      To compare Meghan’s treatment to other new royal members as if this is something all newcomers are expected to go through shows that bullying is institutionalized and secondly, such comparison works to minimize the blatant racism.

      It’s like people who are racist telling you right off the bat, “I’m not a racist because I have a black best friend or my grandchild is half black.” Yet their actions and deeds reveal that in fact they are racist. The two are not mutually exclusive.

      The work to counter racism has to be an active mutual one. It’s very hard, never ending work. Standing around for photos, shaking hands, exchanging words and hiring a few non-white faces to be seen publicly aren’t going to cut it. That’s more photo-op and sham symbolism and it’s actually harmful because it gives a fake out and allows racism to continue unchecked. Tackling racism (and sexism) means taking risk. It has to be risky because causes that matter always do. It’s why fighting for one’s rights is described as a “fight” to begin with.

      I feel the British royal family didn’t fight that good fight. The primary fight for the royal family is for its survival and relevance in a modern world. They have courtiers stepping all over each other trying to gain royal favors. Respect are instantly given, rather than earned. The messes these royals get into are over infidelity, debts, bad judgements like having a close friend who traffic in sex and shenanigans like questionable business dealings, tax avoidance scheme, and fighting against public transparency. The fight here isn’t for much needed institutional reform or behavioral changes, but more about shaping the image of the monarchy.

      A monarchy isn’t a diverse and progressive world, especially one so hung up on traditions like this one is. For all the talk of openness and change, sadly it’s the world that will be doing the changing and moving on. Like it or not for us.
      —royal watcher.



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  35. Bullying allegations should be taken seriously, but the way this was handled just seems a tactic to discredit Meghan. Why? What might she/they say? Why not wait until after the interview and then respond if warranted?

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  36. This post & the last were very illuminating - both from dear Charlotte & this community. I'm excited for the interview and doubt it'll be at all as sensational as the BRF staff think it to be. The Daily Mail, Sun, etc. can say what they will - I, like many of you, am happy that M&H got out of "the sunken place" and appear much happier - I hope that stays for them. The conversations in the comments off this blog have been uplifting and poignant, re: race, feminism, fairness. I'm grateful for this blog as a space of reason in the midst of silliness. Thank you Charlotte & folks here. -op

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  37. I think the bandaid will come off, but I don't see any healing really taking place. I hope so, but I don't know. At least we know they're like all families,and behind all the glitz and glamour and amazing dresses,they deal with family grudges and disagreements and rifts that may not be able to be healed. Good article, Charlotte. I love all your posts.

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  38. Thank you for posting this Charlotte.
    Now Andrew Pierce is a blatant racist I long knew it glad it is finally out in the media in this way. Note how he thinks Meghan is more attractive than Oprah who is darker skinned. This is the long held view on colorism by white supremacists.

    Secondly that video you posted where royal commentators including Vicky for CNN show systemic racism and hatred and bias towards her. I hope CNN will fire Victoria Arbiter and other news agencies will never use these hacks again. It is so nice to see them caught red-handed. I wonder how Piers will explain this one on Good Morning Britain? Bet it doesn't even get air time.

    Yes Michelle Obama and her husband the President suffered horrendous racism overt and subtle we all saw it everyday and they both handled themselves with grace. No white president ever had to endure what Obama did.

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    1. What the Obamas endured was so terrible. And they are both greatly admired and he had all the power and protection as the literal most powerful person on earth. But an excellent example of how even that won’t stop the racism. He’s a bit stoic when he describes it, and I think some comes from his very non traditional childhood and family life, but Michelle is quite eloquent and emotional when describing the impact.

      I’m flabbergasted at these British reporters. Are they so beholden to clicks and headlines and money and controversy that they don’t even hear themselves? The lack of integrity is really difficult to see.

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  39. Anon 13:37, the Monarchy has undergone significant turmoil and issues over the centuries and still it remains. As important as some people think H&M's problems are, they are not that significant to the bigger picture. To end the monarchy would take an act of parliament, a referendum, a vote. Currently the majority of people in the UK want to have a King or Queen. The monarch is head of the armed forces, the head of the Church of England, the head of the Commonwealth. The work of the Commonwealth involves trade agreements, security, financial aid and protection of the citizens. All that won't be given the heave ho, just because H&M have chosen their path and are blazing new territory.

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    1. Much of the work of the monarchy is symbolic. Outside the U.K., that’s especially so. I once worked as a liaison with a Commonwealth project and I can tell you there’s no real meat. The Commonwealth reps don’t negotiate trade treaties, international aid and security matters. That’s actually up to the government ministries and the professional diplomatic corp. UK international aid program is separate from the Commonwealth administration.

      I can understand your confusion Emma G. The royal press covers these royal state visits as if they are of great international importance, but it’s not where the real work is happening. The Commonwealth main office has a very small budget and staff.

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  40. This is a really beautifully and thoughtfully written piece, and I thank you for it, Charlotte. I'm so sad as to how she was treated and I think that truly, the family expected her to give up her voice and her projects to make the world better and just, be a lady who lunched and went to a few charity things. When it was clear that she wasn't that person, they did everything they could to run her out of the UK and away.

    Harry has been so insanely popular and I think part of the other problem was that they expected him to marry a respectable British, white woman and instead he married an American, bi-racial, independent woman. Her only crime was marrying him and taking him away. I'm also beyond appalled how they were treated, and how not one person tried to defend them and shut this down. As we've seen time and time again, if the RF wants to shut down the press and a scandal, they can do it very quickly.

    I also don't think that this is going to be the airing of the dirty laundry that the palace is terrified of - but that also begs the question - what are they so afraid of that H&M might say in this interview? I really hope that this gives them peace and the british press leave them be (doubtful) but really, if they're so offended by her presence, remember what our parents all told us - just ignore them. The fact that they can't let it go after a year of Meghan not being a working royal and even living in the UK is really telling.

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    1. I’ve said on comments before Prince Harry is one of my most admired public figures. The arc of his life has been such a story. From a childhood tragedy to some youthful indiscretions (some quite serious) to a completely unexpected adult life path including choice in marriage. His growth and integrity really impress me. And I do not believe he will hurt the Queen or the monarchy. Yes he choices to step back was surprising and controversial, but he’s consistently described his love and respect for the Queen and what she stands for. I do believe he drew a line in the sand for his own mental health and the protection of his wife and young family. He is entitled to do that Prince or not, and I for one think it is remarkable a public figure in a role such as his has made the choices he has.

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  41. Aside from the news of a specific person being suspected as a leak which I hadn’t heard details of before...I think the aides have completely exposed themselves as being the party in the wrong with some of this. Before the wedding they were calling Harry ‘the hostage’. They just disclosed that they had a derogatory name for their boss based on their collective dislike and lack of respect for his choice of wife. And based on timing it’s before tiara gate, it’s before hissing in Fiji and before any staff were reduced to tears....so that leaves us with it’s because she sent emails at 5 am.... if this is what upset the aides then they aren’t suitable for their jobs...

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    1. This. The more serious accusations seem to be pretty easily disproven or questioned as far as credibility. If the 5 am emails is all that is left I’m just left wondering if working for the royal family is that fragile of a job.

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  42. Any one who feels that they were bullied deserves to be heard. Meghan does not deserve to be accused in such a public manner. If complaints were filed and not followed up, that is the fault of management, not Meghan.

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  43. Thankyou so much for this post, there has been so much noise over the last week and it's finally nice to be able to hear clearly. I love the monarchy, and much like in 1997 I think it will weather just fine- I think the interview has been looked into too much by media, and 'experts' and will be nothing about the family but more the running. With sites like this and your other on Kate, I feel much more able to carry on my love of the monarchy. I was very close to giving up my fan-girling due to the hateful comments on social media and in the papers. Thankyou for all your writing on both duchesses, it has really helped having these communities online to read the positive and shut out the negative.

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  44. Anon 22:34, yes, much of the work of the monarchy is symbolic. I was replying to someone who asked if this episode with H&M would bring the monarchy down. It is not that simple; disposing of the monarchy would be way bigger than Brexit, or any other change to the governance of the UK. I wasn't saying that the Commonwealth reps, run the countries. You explained it better that it is the governments the diplomatic corp. But the fact remains that H&M are not so important as to topple the centuries old monarchy...as some are suggesting.

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    1. Emma, The fact also remains that H&M could have been the Renaissance of the UK monarchy. If the UK monarchy wants to remain stock in Medieval times and refuse to modernize like other European royals, I agree that's their perogative. However, now that Meghan is no longer a working royal, young people of color in the Commonwealth countries (and the UK) have lost an admired role model that looked like them. That important connection is now gone.

      It is so sad the RF could not see her as an asset and refused to help her especially when she disclosed she needed to go somewhere to be treated for her mental health. As a Counselor I am appalled and completely shocked to say the least, that Meghan was not taken straight to an emergency room especially when her in laws have advocated for mental health issues!

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  45. I watched the very well produced Commonwealth Service earlier this evening. If I had to describe it in a one word, it would be DIVERSITY. Caucasians were in the minority and we saw an abundance of participants of all skin colours, from a vast array of nations and many religions. From the aboriginal people of New Zealand, to the Queen and everyone in between, it was a rainbow of cultures. I so hope this shows people that the Crown and the citizens of the UK are not all racists, not all intolerant. Yes, sadly racism exists many walks of life, but for a glorious hour, people of the Commonwealth came together to celebrate and prove that we have far more in common, than we have in our differences.

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    1. Emma G. I love your idealism and enthusiasm. The show is a well choreographed production with the necessary black and brown faces given what happened.

      The queen wanted the Commonwealth head to be Charles, while there were many nations that wanted a non British royal. A great deal of pressure from the palace was exerted on member nations to vote for Charles and that’s how a white Prince got to be head of the Commonwealth. There’s no mandate in the charter that a BRF has to be the head.

      Seriously, this set up is so messed up. It’s not authentic. It refuses to address real issues like unequal treatment of immigrants from Commonwealth nations and human rights problems. The charter is full of unfulfilled words.

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  46. I can't wait till they announce the gender of the baby, which they will after Harry joins.

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  47. Thank you, Charlotte. I know this must have been difficult.
    I know who I blame, as I listen to the interview this evening. How awful for Harry to see his mother’s experience repeating for his wife.
    -Karen in Virginia who can’t login on Google anymore.

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  48. Well said once again, Charlotte. It could have been so great. With Harry and Meghan on board the future of the monarchy seemed bright. Especially with Meghan now more ppl cared. It really is so sad.

    Bullying is a serious subject but as long as Prince Andrew isn’t investigated I don’t even care what they come up with. It just doesn’t seem genuine. They don’t care about the results of the investigation, they just care that it is against Meghan.

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  49. It is going to be a girl! My prediction was correct.

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  50. Meghan and Harry are having a girl, the gender was said in the interview.

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  51. Just as I predicted, there were no bombshells in this interview. A couple of new items were revealed..the gender of their child, and the fact that they married 3 days before their royal wedding. It's kinda like one of those Geraldo Rivera shows where he leads up to something huge that isn't there. I quit watching after 90 minutes..maybe I missed something in the end. Meghan and Harry are an ok couple.

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    1. Well Meghan was suicidal and received no help. A situation in any other context is generally viewed as a health emergency? And the family openly speculated on the color of Archie’s skin and what that would mean. I rather think these are significant things to share, but I guess if you weren’t entertained?

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  52. Denise in Virginia8 March 2021 at 03:45

    i don't know anyone who is British, could someone who is please explain how the 'firm' could just make the decision that Archie would not be a Prince?? i thought it was based on the child being a biological child of a Royal, how could they just change the rules?? you only have to read jane austen to know how critical it was to have a male heir, Archie is a male heir, i don't understand...

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  53. I watched it the interview and cried.

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  54. Friends, especially the women of color who read and post here, I want to say I am sorry. I was incredibly harsh toward Meghan with how she left last year. As a white woman I was blinded to the extent racism played in turning the world against her. And due to my own codependency I did not see what was really going on. People do not leave abusive situations perfectly. By holding her to that standard I was participating in a culture that blames the victim rather than holds the perpetrators/those in power to a higher standard. I realized this and posted it on my personal social media before the interview, but now having watched I feel even more remorse for my behavior and more compassion and respect for H&M than I could have imagined and more amazement at how hard they tried to do everything in their power to survive and find a way forward. Thank you to all who were gracious to me last year when I did not deserve it and I hope to continue to learn and grow. Charlotte, thank you for your work and the impact it is having on so many.

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    1. What a lovely comment. You deserve all the praise in the world for this reflection. It is a rare thing for people to really examine their past thoughts. How Harry and Meghan left was shocking and disappointing and people were angry. I think those are valid feelings many of us had at the time. A lot of the behind closed doors story we’ll never know. But as Meghan and Harry have now explicitly said it was due to relentless attacks and no defense from the institution, in fact sometimes even from within the institution. Add racism to that and honestly I think they had do. Something awful would have happened had they stayed.

      I admire them for choosing this option and saying no to abuse. Even after trying to make it work. I truly hope with time and space everyone involved will see that this is better and a new model of royal family relationships can begin to grow.

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    2. Anna, I am sure if Meghan read this, she would say thank YOU for your heartfelt feelings. As do I and I'm sure others here.

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  55. So brave of your to write this Charlotte. Wow. You said it all much better than anyone could. Bravo!

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  56. ILoveElephants8 March 2021 at 07:01

    A girl, yay!!🎀

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  57. Wonderful post, Charlotte, thank you. Although Meghan has shown incredible courage in choosing to tell her story, so, too, have you, and it's deeply appreciated. My heart goes out -again- to Meghan for what she experienced and likely will continue to experience as the object of the British tabloids. The climate of racism is truly poisonous and encompassing. What a colossal missed opportunity for the British royal family to fail to protect Meghan from the tabloids and even to allow falsehoods to stand uncorrected. She is a true shining star who would have continued to bring honor to the royal family. First Diana, now Meghan, it breaks my heart.

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  58. I am a white woman but I understand and feel very well the uneasiness of the Sussexes regarding the evocation of the color of the skin.
    And, I think the terrible and big of the hierarchy of this royal family which calls itself a great fighter of racial differences and others, is not to have typed the point on the text since the declarations of Jo Marney, at the appearance of this photo where we see this little monkey associated with the image of Archie after his birth, to show that no insult would be tolerated. Suddenly it still puts a big doubts about a family that defines itself as a soldier of anti-racism ... This is a first, the entry of a person of black origin into this family and they should have materialized their fight with it and this would only contribute to strongly and beautifully reinforce the popularity of this institution.
    What a disaster !We have at least one good news in all this filth: the birth of a beautiful little Sussex, wow!
    Let bonheur et l'excitation de Harry,je peux le palper 😅. Félicitations.

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  59. Anonymous 9.58. The head of the Commonwealth, similar to being the Monarch, is a symbolic position. The organisation’s diversity is represented by and through the position of secretary-general, which provides the real leadership on a world stage. Shridath Ramphal of Guyana, the longest serving Commonwealth secretary-general (1975-1990), championed the Commonwealth as a family of nations that fostered a common humanity. The international aspiration of the Commonwealth was, in his words, “the supremacy of community over otherness … the negation of dominion and racism”. Ramphal embraced a vision of the Commonwealth as represented values based on equality and anti-racism.

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    1. The whole thing is symbolic. Which is why a more powerful symbolism that upholds the words within the charter, is to have a non British royal head the Commonwealth. The charter BTW has gone under revision since the 1990.

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  60. The role of the Secretary General is the public administrative head - of a small staff and budget.

    The head of the Commonwealth is the Queen. She has been its head since becoming queen. That title has now been passed to Prince Charles.

    This is a very important distinction.

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  61. I'm Asian I moved to different country which is now my home I love the duchess of Sussex voicing out her true self she experienced a lot of issues about her race and her nationality I don't think they are racist in the family look like in. My own opinion I shared feeling for her being better at the same time their are two ways tango we did know what the whole story we must set things straight for them to know the real reason of these chapters

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  62. Can you connect the start of the negative press to the timing of her assistant leaving? You have to make a lot of assumptions, but the assistant "quit" (now saying she was fired) in Nov 2018 roughly six months after the wedding and while Meghan was pregnant. The email about bullying was sent at that time, and then stories of Kate crying emerged soon after the assistant's departure. Now M is claiming the assistant was fired for misconduct.

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    1. You know the time for investigating this would have been right then. The investigation includes the tabloid lies and the many palace leaks. Who leaked and why?

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