How are the mighty fallen!
This time a year ago, Prince Harry had the world at his feet. He was a handsome prince with a beautiful wife and a healthy male heir on the way, plenty of money, a free, five-bedroomed ‘cottage’ in a piece of England’s finest real estate, a dashing war record from two tours in Afghanistan, bags of honorary titles — including Captain General of the Royal Marines — all the cachet of being a senior player in the world’s grandest Royal Family but little of the responsibility (his big brother William is heir to the throne, so the pressure is off there), with plenty of spare time for frequent private jet jaunts round the world to hang out with celebrity chums like Sir Elton John.
Now, he’s a nobody. Or at best, an ex-Someone. Sure he gets to keep his aristocratic courtesy-title the Duke of Sussex, but he no longer retains the rank of royal prince or the honorific ‘His Royal Highness’; he has to pay back the £2.4 million that the UK taxpayer spent doing up his ‘cottage’; he has lost the role of Captain General — and all his other honorary military titles; he’ll no longer be paid to represent the Royal Family at official events; he’s now possibly even less famous than his wife, who wasn’t exactly A-list to begin with being only the ex-supporting-star from a fading TV show in its seventh series…
Where did it all go so wrong for the poor lad?
Simple. Ex-Prince Harry is perhaps the most tragic living example of Get Woke, Go Broke.
Before he met Meghan Markle, he was one of the lads; a polo-playing, cigarette-smoking, hard-drinking action man with a string of hot girlfriends, a twinkle in his eye that made him probably the Queen’s favourite grandchild, and a common touch which made him the people’s favourite young royal.
But no sooner had he fallen under Meghan’s spell, he became a husk of his former self — riddled with anxiety about everything from the state of the planet to his own mental health, excruciatingly politically correct, replacing polo and shooting and fox hunting with wife-endorsed yoga sessions, reduced to prostituting his royal status — and being caught on camera — begging the CEO of Disney to give his wife some voiceover work.
Under the malign influence of Hollywood princess Meghan, Harry got woke and now he’s broke. Why did he not see all this coming?
The answer is, of course, that when a man is under the glamour of a Circe-like enchantress he becomes immune to reason.
His big brother William, with whom he had the closest of relationships, did try to explain — urging him to live with Meghan for a few months before committing to matrimony — but his warnings fell on deaf ears.
What Harry should have realised is that the Royal Family is, perhaps above all else, ruthlessly geared towards its own survival.
There have been Kings and Queens of England dating back at least to King Egbert 1,200 years ago. A royal line does not last that long without a certain degree of brutal expediency.
We saw this in 1936 with the enforced abdication of Edward VIII — another royal who imagined he could mix business with pleasure only to be cast into outer darkness when he refused to ditch his unsuitable partner, another blowsy American, Wallis Simpson.
We saw it again only a few weeks ago when the Queen booted her favourite child, Prince Andrew, out of the Royal firm because of his involvement in the Epstein scandal.
Now we’ve seen it again with the Queen’s totally uncompromising treatment of Prince Harry. Being favourite grandchild clearly doesn’t get you any special favours where this implacable monarch is concerned. The severance package she has imposed on Harry and Meghan is the hardest of hard Megxits. As ever, the Queen has put her sense of duty to the nation above all — no matter how much personal hurt it may have caused her to impose such Carthaginian terms on her beloved Harry (and her rather less beloved granddaughter-in-law Meghan).
But the Queen was, of course, absolutely right to do what she has done.
Harry and Meghan were fast becoming an embarrassing liability. Meghan, especially, was trying to pull the Royal brand in a direction that it could never have possibly survived. There was even talk, at one point, of Royal-branded ‘wellness clinics.’
Often you hear it said that the Royal Family needs to move with the times in order to make itself more relevant to the modern world. But a) the people saying this are almost always the kind of people who don’t believe in the Royal Family and would much rather it collapsed and b) sorry, but what the Royal Family didn’t need in 2020 — and won’t even need in 2120 either — are the kind of progressive influencers who, given half the chance, would probably have ended up trying to flog candles with the Royal crest called This Is What My Princess Vagina Smells Like.
It’s all terribly bad luck on Harry who, sooner or later, will probably end up coming back to Britain, lost and rudderless, with his tail between his legs and the most expensive divorce bill money can buy.
But Britain and the Royal Family are well rid of Princess Yoko, that’s for sure. Canada is welcome to her. Hollywood is welcome to her.
And the Royal Family lives to fight another day.
James Delingpole is the host of the Delingpod podcast