Tuesday 10 January 2023

"It costs a lot of money to look this cheap."

So said singer Dolly Parton, but this morning I'm thinking about the Duke of Sussex, aka Prince Harry, aka Harold, whose book officially comes out today. Because it was released early in Spain and the British media hired translators, Harold's fellow anglophones have already had days to assimilate its grubby revelations. 

Not having spoken to my neighbours or overheard conversations at the supermarket about it yet, I cannot tell you firsthand what they are thinking. What I am thinking, however, is that Harold inherited millions from his mother, so selling his dignity to Netflix and Penguin Random House for millions more, taking revenge on his father, brother, and sister-in-law thereby, is money for jam. 

The jam, in this case, is supposedly round-the-clock security, which Harold is said to now very much need, thanks for his publishing his estimate of the number of Afghan soldiers he had personally killed from the air. However, I very much suspect that it is also being able to keep his wife in the manner to which she feels she should become accustomed: that of billionaire celebrities. 

I am not sure if I am envious of the (current) Duchess of Sussex, aka Princess Harold. On the one hand, although she first tried for a family at around the same age I did, she managed to have two pretty red-haired babies. On the other hand, she is now deeply despised by approximately 67 million people, some of whom have no compunction in booing her in public. Then again, she has access to millions of dollars. However, it seems unlikely she would be happy living on less. 

I must admit that I too would find it difficult seeking joy as an extreme minimalist, owning nothing but the contents of small knapsack. Nevertheless, I have worked out how much I need to live a happy life independent of employers and how long it will take us to earn it and how we can do it without throwing my husband's family under the bus. Granted, nobody would pay us a penny to do so (Dundee Despair: The McLean Story), so the temptation is less. 

If you don't live in the UK, you probably are unaware of how saturated with Royal Family news is the British media. I don't know long it has been this way, but it has been unrelenting since Harold and Maude Princess Harold ran off to Canada. (It now seems amusing that we believed the Harolds were going to stay in Canada, white ewe lamb* of the British Empire Commonwealth, and that we were shocked when they bought a multi-million dollar mansion in Princess Harold's native California instead.) I spend so much virtual time with the Royal Family that I have dreams about them, and I believe this is a very common phenomenon in the British Isles. 

Although there are many unpleasant things I have to dwell on at work (like who said what about the Traditional Latin Mass where), at least I don't have to read or write officially about Harold and Haroldine. However, I check social media for breaking news, so I cannot escape them entirely. And it occurs to me that I, too, could get eyeballs on screen by writing about what their autobiographical industry means for traditional family values. And I would derive some pleasure by pointing out that a family is not just grandmother-man-woman-baby, but also the mothers and fathers of the man and woman, and their brothers and sisters and uncles and aunts and grandfathers and other grandmother and nephews and nieces. In fact, a family is a tribe, big or little, and if you're Scottish, there's a tartan to celebrate yours and a clan chief into the bargain. 

Of course, even conservatives are beguiled by the romance of standing by your spouse against his/her/your wicked family's inability to alleviate their mental health issues and creating a little fortress for  your spouse and children against the whole world (or at least your in-laws)--although I daresay that this is much more of a New World thing. Personally, I love the romance of the extended family to the extent that I include even my married brother's in-laws in my prayers. Indeed, I even ordered my tartan sash directly from my husband's Clan Chief's shop. 

Little wonder, then, that I back the vast and sprawling Team Windsor and not the tiny Team Sussex in my trivial Twitter moments. Incidentally, the image is of the now Prince of Wales (William) knocking the current Duke of Sussex ("Harold") into a dog bowl, a stupid and trifling altercation that the latter saw fit to include in his memoirs to the great amusement of many. In fact, the revelation looks like the honour of the Prince and Princess of Wales was satisfied in advance. No need for pistols at dawn. 

*Lest I meet the fate of Father Rosica, I should mention that this conceit comes from an old Canadian civics textbook of my mother or grandmother, and I believe the black sheep was South Africa. (Could you look for the title, dear Aged P?)

UPDATE: Just saw the latest "revelations." Americans and Canadians, don't try to hug British people on your first introduction to them. Really, just don't. They have their own culture. They have their own ideas about personal space. They have their own ideas about who gets to touch their body with their body when. This goes not only for the Prince of Wales but for everybody.


  1. I believe that HM our late Queen permitted certain people to hug her without objecting to it, but only if they were of the working classes or other persons whose less formal habits were well-known to her.

    The Duchess of Sussex really ought to have checked this out. However, her failure could more properly be attributed to her husband. Why on earth did he not warn her, knowing her as he (I presume) already did? Many of her missteps seem to be largely his fault, because he's a, well, what word could one use for it?