Mary could well be right on of these aspects, but Harry definitely does not have any cattle farmer characteristics whatsoever; hard-working, practical, down-to-earth men as a rule. You might as well say, if only Harry was a different person altogether.
People say and assert all sorts of things about themselves, I want more privacy, I just want to live quietly in peace, I want to save the world, etc etc, but that is just blather when your actions create the opposite of what you said. Perhaps Jung’s the Shadow is to blame, or perhaps it’s just the communication age we are living through where far too much attention is given to words, what is said or written, and not enough to what is actually done.
As for what Harry can do, I don’t know, but despite what he says he likes attention, he seems to enjoy celebrity status and the lifestyle that goes with it, a cattle farmer he is not.
I don’t know Claire, he spent 10 years in the army, that’s got to be a pretty hard-working, practical, down-to-earth place.
By his birthright he was hardly a normal soldier!
The army was his “substitute Mummy”. there to tell him what to do and how to think.
It saved him having to try to think for himself. When he tried such thinking, he had to resort to drugs and mushrooms.
I’m glad he took mushrooms – to be honest I think all newly elected MPs should be required to take them before assuming office.
The less you know about something, the more certain you are in your impressions. I served for 20+ years in a different army to your fantasy one: I was rarely told ‘what to do’, but was usually told what needed to be done – then left to my own devices to figure out the ‘How’.
I always thought for myself – and so did my soldiers.
I suggest you sign up for a few years as after initial training you will have to think for yourself all the time – and often with huge responsibilities.
I upticked you.
There’s a lot of competing claims about his time in the army, and at the very least was certainly given so many allowances beyond ordinary soldiers, such as being able to waltz off base for “urgent business” when mandatory drug tests were being conducted.
We’ll probably never have proof that he was mostly sat around being guarded whilst ordinary soldiers did the majority of the work, but considering how easily aggrieved he is about the pettiest of things, there’s every reason to think that he’d have thrown a fit over being expected to follow anything close to the standard work routine in the forces.
I agree Tom, but where Harry is concerned there seems to be a disconnect between his soldier persona and the Harry we are presented with now. It’s a mystery.
There’s a lot of rumours suggesting he was a fairly useless soldier.
By heaven, methinks it were an easy leap,
To pluck bright honour from the pale-faced moon,
Or dive into the bottom of the deep,
Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,
And pluck up drowned honour by the locks.
(Hotspur, Act 1 Scene 3)
Well, I suppose he could take up cattle farming but also start reading Unherd, to maintain some balance.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist it.
Harry’s not his own man – behind the curtain is his enabler wife, Meghan and his woke psychiatrist..
& an actress who knows how to play the media and her husband!
Mary forgets where Harold is situated, in California, where Meghan and everyone else is steeped in their own realities.
There is a Ca. state representative trying to make it a crime for any non-white to be criticized, because this would support white privilege.
Meghan knows that this belief system is where her toast is buttered. Crazy rises to the top and everyone applauds. Harold would be praised and receive his treats, by fitting into all of this nonsense.
Another great article from Mary. Poor Harry. Some people are well-suited to our paradoxically hyper-social yet hyper-individualistic world of social media and endlessly multiplied yet superficial connections and some, alas, are not. At this point, it’s obvious to anyone paying attention that the spare prince is being used, just as Mary suggests, as a cash cow for paparazzi, book publishers, tabloids, gossip mongers, etc., a bone to be chewed and gnawed until all the marrow has been sucked out and then, when the value is gone and nobody is biting, unceremoniously discarded and forgotten. Rich and privileged though he may be, I still feel sorry for the man. He seems woefully unsuited to the role he was expected to fill, at least as it currently exists. As someone who has found the modern world mostly intolerable since I was old enough to understand what was going on in it, I can sympathize with Harry. I, however, was fortunate to be born an unimportant nobody from lower middle class stock rather than a British royal. Thus, my relative lack of success, my sometimes antisocial tendencies, and my inclination towards privacy had little potential to impact anyone or anything of national, regional, or even local importance. However, I can well imagine the disaster my combination of stubborn willfulness and lack of ambition would have inflicted on some old money family had I been inadvertently switched at birth and subjected to the level of expectation that comes with such status. Some are all the richer for their poverty, and vice versa. If he’s reading this, Harry should take up Mary’s suggestion and trade that mountain of royal wealth for a modest hillock somewhere far from any major media market and at least two hours drive from the nearest international airport.
Nice response. Happiness is most easily found (for me at least) in not having to meet other people’s expectations.
I fear that this feeble individual has swapped one of set of discomforting expectations for another.
Thank you for this. It made my day.
Etcetera meaning his wife, who orchestrated all this from the start.
There can’t be much doubt about this. She has led every public conversation he’s had since they met, and encouraged him in every way to emote powerfully in the best tradition of US therapy-speak.
Poor Harry. He found his surrogate mother in Meghan, ready to hear him, hold him and to help him ‘speak his truth’. But being a royal wasn’t the glamorous affair she had hoped it would be. Most Brits know that it’s always been a hard slog of dutifully opening factories & digging holes for significant trees in outlying counties, as well as enduring the permanent lens of the paps, especially when they’re not ‘on duty’. It was never a round of parties & hanging out with celebrities. I can’t help thinking that surely Harry must have warned her of what to expect? Maybe she thought she could change things from within.
In any case, I hope for his sake that she’s in this for the long term. He would be utterly lost if she left him.
“I can’t help thinking that surely Harry must have warned her of what to expect? Maybe she thought she could change things from within.
In any case, I hope for his sake that she’s in this for the long term. He would be utterly lost if she left him.”
He did, she did, she isn’t, she will, he will.
He is already utterly lost and will continue to be so for as long as he is tied to her. If and when she leaves him he will have no choice but to try to rediscover who he is, if it’s not too late.
if you read tom bowers book you will find her motivation. the RF bent over backwards to prepare her and grant her concessions that Catherine wasn’t offered. She’s an utter fraud who hid her family from her husband because she was ashamed of them and couldn’t let her story be contradicted; remember in the engagement interview…’we are the family she never had’. her sister was maligned at the time for her criticism of meghan but has been shown to be right.
She is definately pulling the strings, but he cannot see that he is being used.
I’d say his wife is, at the very least, not helping his situation. She strikes me as a thoroughly modern woman, filled with woke liberal dogma that runs contrary to the principles of royalty and traditional nobility in general. Notions of doing one’s duty, honorable behavior, adherence to tradition, deference to one’s elders, reverence of history, and so forth run altogether contrary to modern wokeism, and this is the true source, I suspect, of much of the friction between Meghan and the royal family. That said, Harry married her for a reason, perhaps as part of his rebellion against expectation. She is doubtless driving much of the conflict these days, but Harry surely allows it and seems to support his wife over his family in most things, which, if he weren’t a royal, would probably make him pretty sympathetic and generate very little controversy. There are plenty of people who marry against the wishes of their family, and, at least in America, the default position is that one should support one’s spouse against familial criticism. It’s a particularly bad sign if a guy doesn’t back his lady against his parents/siblings. Royals have different rules though, and Harry surely resents it. He isn’t the first. I’m reminded of the situation with Edward VIII and Wallace Simpson. It was easier to shuffle a problematic royal into anonymity in the age before smartphones and Facebook.
Imagine how fabulously rich some people could become if they could convince him to upset people who would kill him.
He could buy a ranch in NZ or somewhere if they’d have him but I don’t think he or his wife want that.
I think they like being in the Oprah circle in America ‘making a difference’ as they see it. All that hogwash.
Great post, Steve, I think you are my spiritual brother. Wealth and fame, whether inherited or earned, are not worth the candle.
“ Thus, my relative lack of success, my sometimes antisocial tendencies, and my inclination towards privacy had little potential to impact anyone or anything of national, regional, or even local importance.”
Thank you. I loved this line. I think we can all see a little bit of ourselves in that. Success is relative. You currently have 107 upvotes!
Outstanding. This is the sort of subject that Mary Harrington does uniquely well. She comes up with such original and definitive phrases like “painfully needy oversharing” and “strip-mining public affection”. And she’s read this wretched book so we don’t have to !
Quite correct to turn the spotlight back on ourselves and our participation in creating this “tawdry era”.
But I still have no sympathy for the Sussexes and their appalling behaviour and hypocrisy.
Apparently, Harry didn’t kill 25 Taliban. He captured them and then spent hours whinging and moaning about his life – and the captives shot themselves.
Wonderful, gave me a smile.
Fell off my bar stool
But he hadn’t met Megan at that point.
Which is why he actually did something instead of just whinged…
He’s just a bit thick, innit?
No. Hes a lot thick!
I have have always had sympathy for Harry and William – but particularly Harry. I think he could have retired to the Shetland Islands to raise sheep and train the local militia or something – but he decided to marry an actress from the US. I just think she is a terrible match for Harry – which is not to say she is a bad person at all. I feel like they will continue to strive for celebrity while their appeal fades. The reality is that he has cut himself off from the one career he could have had – the military – and other than that he doesn’t appear to have any marketable skills.
I love the idea of the Shetland Island having a militia. Harry could fly over these hardy, kilted warriors, making machine-gun noises over the PA system fitted to his helicopter.
Harry didn’t decide to marry Meghan – it was the other way round and probably, IMHO, in a cold and calculating manner.
She seems like a terrible person actually. Perhaps average for a C list Hollywood actress.
A comparison with Camilla is instructive.
She emerged from Diana’s death, almost universally seen as the Wicked Witch of the West. She did not complain, she did not run away. She kept her head down and just got on with it. It took her twenty years of hard graft and a _lot_ of knocks, but she’s turned it around. She’s now queen, and most people are happy about that.
It’s not just his dimness (none of the family is particularly bright), nor is it a fractured childhood and adolescence (Prince Philip had it much worse). it comes down to character. As in, lack of.
Prince Philip would have been appalled.
Harry should be stripped of the Sussex title and re-dubbed Knave of Hearts.
Or, given his propensity for seeking revenge, maybe he should be demoted from the dukedom to become ‘The Count of Montecito’ – though that might be a typo
Maybe a downgrade to the Duke of Scunthorpe?
annoyingly there already is a Duke of Kent and Earl of Surrey, Marquess of Hertford, heow abeout Le Marquis de Bourgeois?
Ay up, I’m from Sunny Scunny; please don’t hurt my sensitive feelings.
For what it’s worth (nothing) I think Harry has been suffering for years from PTSD. He has had plenty of trauma. His public over sharing is symptomatic, fanned by modern social media platforms and celebrity culture.
Seeing as I was far from first on this and now can’t edit, I shall revise to the Scout of Cun’thorpe.
Or a combination: The Count of Scunthorpe!
I would like to think Parliament (who has the sole authority) would vote to scrap the titles – but could we stand yet another docuseries and book about that?
A very perceptive and sympathetic analysis of Harry. My sense is it might be a bit too sympathetic but, as always, I admire the author’s insight and writing.
Mary Harrington wrote that “Reading it left me bemused at how the people around this clearly unhappy man could have encouraged him – or at least not stopped him – over-sharing to quite such a degree”
Here’s a little tidbit I received in my daily email from The Spectator that at least partly answers that question, imo: “Prince Harry’s memoir, Spare, was published today. It has become the fastest-selling non-fiction book ever, recording 400,000 sales, according to its publisher.”
I read that paragraph (“Reading it left me bemused…”) to my wife and she said, “Why? Because they’re making all kinds of money off him.”
Harry doesn’t seem to realise that those currently interviewing him, inviting him to do comedy sketches, etc, aren’t laughing with him, they are laughing at him.
He’s also not got the analytic or social skills to realise that he’s provided an entire book’s worth of reasons for his suddenly silent wife to use to limit his access to his children in the event of a divorce, and might even lead to him being forced out of America when (and I do think it is a when not an if) they split.
What judge is going to think a man who constantly takes drugs, suffers from severe paranoia and seems to struggle to grasp reality at points is someone suitable to be unsupervised around children? How many would dismiss Megan if she decided to claim he had violent rages and was a danger to her and their children after he has already laid such strong foundations for doubting his mental stability?
It is frightening to know……you are right. When…and not if…..she dumps him like a wet rag…..she will gut him like a fish. Charles will have to foot the bill and Harry will be the next royal disgrace looking after a mob of corgis.
When I thinks about the amount of genuine family abuse that takes place day in and day out in not so privileged circles…..actually….domestic abuse also takes place in posh families……I have to muster all the empathy I can find to feel sorry for Harry.
i actually find none.
As per the classic advice to journalists – follow the money. I am reminded of the first week of January 2000. I had been working in Detroit modifying software for the heavily predicted Y2K disaster. On the table outside our local Borders’ bookshop there was a huge pile of books being remaindered for 15 cents or so. All were full of detailed advice for surviving the electronic meltdown. Is “Spare” going to be similarly remaindered in a few weeks?
We can hope.
Surely that should have read as ‘fiction’.No accounting for the general public,should think the charity shops etc will be overloaded with copies soon.
His mother was a silly cow and then he married one. He is a cash cow and I doubt the current bovine would relish farming cattle somewhere remote forever illuminated by the telescopic sights of the Taleban.
I agree that Harry now cuts a sad figure. He seems to think that the therapeutic gain, for him, of telling “his truth” justifies whatever pain he is now inflicting on others. But true growth will come only when he learns to look critically at his mother – without loving her any the less – and realizes that he is himself deeply flawed. Only then can there be forgiveness and reconciliation. Unfortunately, his wife and therapist have encouraged him to do something which makes such a breakthrough all but impossible and dooms him to a life of being perpetually on the defensive, which is indeed very sad.
“A pity beyond all telling is hid at the heart of love.”
The Epicureans had a motto: “Live unknown” λάθε βιώσας
So Mary Harrington’s counsel that Harry, formerly known as Prince, should retreat from overly public life is sound. But celebrity, even with added victimhood, is addictive…. and when you are wed to a professional celebrity almost impossible to pull off without separation.
“Vivre heureux, c’est vivre caché”
Pour vivre heureux…..vivons cachés
Who will rid us of this meddlesome Prince?
So much ink about a traitor to the Crown
Traitor to Crown and Country
Several UK bookshops are deliberately and hilariously showing copies of his pot boiler on special display next to copies of tomes such as “Traitors in English history” and suchlike.
Haven’t we heard enough about Harry?
Surely there a more important things to rant about?
Yes. But the article also encourages us to look at our own collusion in creating this monstrosity. If we had ignored the Sussexes, perhaps we might be left in peace (though I doubt it). But too many people seem interested and there is simply too much media space in need of filling.
So feel free to move the ranting on to all the “camp followers” who fan the flames of this media circus !
Far too many people have far too much time on their hands.
Quite. Including us commenting here of course !
Yes, and my excuse is I am in the Waiting For Death Cohort (WFDC) which carries with it certain privileges.
It all started on a shoot morning in Norfolk a few years back: Harry came down to shoot breakfast in his dressing gown: When his host said ” Better get up and get changed” Harry announced that ‘ she’ would not let him go out shooting”…. I heard about it that evening as I was staying with the uncle of the host in question….
Well he isn’t the first man to have his hunting/ car racing / gun owning habits nixed by a new wife.
You forgot to mention some other accessories
I think you meant, ‘She’, as in She Who Must Be Obeyed.
If “she” was that sensitive about the rights of pheasants and rabbits etc, I wonder how she feels about him mowing down non-white people by the score (if his exploits are to be believed).
Of course, albeit this balanced, and nicely-written, article is very far from a rant – and if Harry’s dirty linen is the beginning of the end for the monarchy as currently constituted, then there may be wider constitutional ramifications.
It is a nice break from griping about medical treatment of trans kids.
Agreed, but we NEED more on such other subjects as:-
The wretched Greeks are about to pinch the Elgin Marbles.
Corruption in the EU is endemic (Greeks involved….again!).
What’s going on in Israel, is Netanyahu about to ‘nuke’ Iran, and what if anything are Palestinians up to.
Also some news from ‘down under’ would be interesting, particularly after their simply dreadful Covid performance!
An insightful piece by Mary, although the absence of any mention of Me-again means it is missing a dimension.
I find it telling that there was only one member of M’s family at their wedding and she seems now to have similarly separated H from his family. This will not end well.
Furthermore, Harold seems unable to grasp that, had he been born John Doe from Nowheresville, Minnesota, no-one would be interested in his life story, least of all Netflix. The institution he rails against is funding his Beverly Hills lifestyle.
I recall getting a lot of stick from the types that went along with Blairs “Princess of Hearts” because we had young kids under 11 at the time and thought it very wrong and also weird that Di was off clubbing and hanging around with the likes of Al Fayed, George Michael and Elton John with young kids at home. Harry clearly shares some of her issues – none too bright and easily led, plus he needs to learn “Drugs Are Bad” OK? Didn’t do Reg Dwight or Georgios Panayiotis(?) any good and i have heard the same about his mum through the West Heath alumni gossip mill.
I’ve really had enough of the Ginger Whinger; can we now stop?
This is the most perceptive piece I’ve read on the matter. Incisive and interesting writing from Mary as always.
Harry reads like a suicide, cutting his ties to everything that bound him to the living, before casting himself off into the ether. A desperately unhappy man.
‘(shall we say) below-average analytic capacity’
So, like his mum, thick as mince.
This subject is unavoidable if you connect yourself in any way to media.
I switched on my smart TV in NZ to watch Yellowstone about a family that raises cattle in Montana and want to be left alone to do so and to my horror the preview channel came on and I am listening to Harry and the strange case of the beard.
In a microsecond it was obvious he has been schooled, whether he knows it or not, to mine exactly the same narrative as his mother. To offer the most unimportant issue imaginable as a dreadful example of bullying and subjugation. Anyone who has been in the forces will know, it was a very simple point – the beard that is.
He is not Diana. Her concerns about Camilla were entirely right.
Megan has therefore come along and tried to provide a narrative that matches that level of trauma for her husband. That she is Bi-Racial. To be honest when my late mother showed me photographs of Megan I assumed she was Latin possibly of Spanish heritage and thought nothing of it.
This Strawmanning of her heritage is so obviously contrived and if it wasn’t, would they not take all the loot and buy a farm in Montana and live happily ever after? Oddly enough much of the Royal Family are able to achieve that in Rural Gloucestershire because they genuinely want privacy when they are not cutting tape and digging holes. Mary is right but how this has worked is Megan has lit the flame under Harry of ‘double binding’ so he operates just as his mother did. If you were in Cirencester in the 90s Diana would look around to make sure she was being seen, Catherine has never played that game. I am channeling my mother on this but I believe Catherine has come in for criticism, criticism which feels entirely contrived given how she has behaved for decades now.
I sometimes wonder if Harry’s aim is to outdo uncle Andrew in jaw-droppingly inept TV interviews.
interesting take, however you completely leave out the dominating wife/mother who’s brought out his worst instincts and is manipulating them to her own ends. at the beginning of megxit he had wanted them to go to africa but anyone could see meghan would have none of that; had he married chelsy davey he might have had peace and contentment but his wife is an agent of destruction. also, his father who was obviously wracked with guilt and spoiled him rotten and still; even after all this, has invited them to the coronation. i too worry that he will not be able to cope if the marriage breaks down.
Quite. “Harry told Stephen Colbert: “The way that I look at it now, I was obsessed. I was specifically looking for stories about my wife so that I could educate myself on the opinions that were happening, and things that were being said, so that I could try to fix it.
“Now, for me, I have weaned myself off that, because I was slightly addicted to it. And now I have a digital diet. And as much I worry about what I put in my mouth, I worry about what I put through my eyes as well.
“And my life is so much better for it.”
(Express). And why on earth is the media obsessed with the trivialities? It did look like that (=H modifying his story according to what the responses are even before the ‘escape’), everything to glorify her. Why all this furore? The glee of ‘even them’ (Royals)!? And his whining about structure and diaries and restrictions – even a most modest schoolteacher has her schedule to keep and expectations on how to behave or where to go and with whom to party.
It is an interesting take. But, since when is harry the self appointed therapist for every member of his family, as he profers up diagnosis and advice but doesn’t take his own medicine.What qualifies him to give this advice and comment – being a complete psychotic? He still expects the benefits of the job that he no longer wants, I thought he quit, yet here he is knee deep in its citicism. Leave give up the title and go away and do a real bit of work mate, that will make a man of you. I don’t feel sorry for the man, he EXPECTS and DEMANDS all the attention while whining about how it treats him. He went to the US to leave it didn’t he?? Yet ever since day 1 has done nothing else but deliberately TALK to his torturers and share intimate details of his life and that of his Family (in his opinion though). He’s got a very bad case of Stockholm syndrome. And a mighty bad attitude.
A pity, having lost his mother at a tender age, the Spare was not fostered out to the Princess Royal. I suspect his life might have been more satisfying and direct with her resolutely dutiful existence before him. Self-rusticatiion, a custom sanctified by antiquity, might still save him, and couldn’t harm the sprogs. But I doubt the Mrs. would be on board.
Excellent piece as ever from Mary Harrington.
“The cumulative impression is of someone who put his own personality into storage, and bought a replacement one in IKEA.”
An amusing analogy. I’d wager, though that if Harry had had better psychological help to manage his emotions and the trauma of the harrowing death of his mother, as well as to subsequently grow a stronger and more resilient sense of self – even liking himself a little more – he might have developed that personality. Sadly he has entered into a Faustian pact with the modern social media and hyper- individualism whereby he has taken ownership of a flat-pack bargain basement one.
Mary’s final comment though caused an unpleasant and unwelcome thought to come to mind: the death of a tortured soul by his own hand. No more welcome than this; the fate that befell his mother, promulgated by his own fears, vulnerabilities and lack of self- awareness.
I blame the father whoever he is
well actually both their fathers spoiled them rotten. she treated her own father abominably don’t forget. harry doesn’t look like hewitt he looks exactly like a ginger Charles at that age.
Brilliant article and nuances teased out and captured so well by Mary. I really don’t think I can stomach reading this, even though the ghostwriter JR Boehringer is masterful. I have read Open and Shoe Dog. Not this one.
A brilliant piece
One interesting new fact I learnt from this was that Harry had been offered a “job” as the Governor General of Bermuda.
I can tolerate the royal family. But I don’t see we have to put up with this sort of nonsense in the twenty first century. If this is a real job, it needs to be advertised and open to competition and not handed out to some random who may or may not be suited to such a role (with the suitability never to be tested or better alternatives considered).
The royal family are going to have to stop indulging in this sort of stuff if they expect to survive the twenty first century.
Some advice for Harry from an old East Ender, “ Don’t be a **** all your life – have a day off !
I just see an easily manipulated person being manipulated by a manipulative person.
Meghan has created her own truth, ie a bunch of lies, about how Britain is a racist place, full of racists as an excuse to get her golden goose off to America to start laying golden eggs for her right at the moment when the Crown fictional series has deepened American interest in the British royal family.
She doesn’t car about Britain or what Brits who actually welcomed her to the country with very open arms think.
Everything is calibrated to feeding the American TV and Print market as it is where the big money is.
She’s just a new age Rupert Murdoch, and he’s as dim as a 10 watt lightbulb.
I would say, having witnessed the sheer brutality of upper class blood sports many times (the Beaufort fox hunt, close to the royal family), that maybe Harry’s experience of being trained to shoot a stag then having his face pushed into its slit stomach (a blooding), reveals how his particular background mitigates against emotional cohesion and stunts empathy. He relates this incident in the book without any shade of recognition of the horror that many people reading the account will feel. As a young man he also accompanied the ‘terrier men’ of the hunt, they are the men who commit the most brutal acts on foxes to facilitate the chase. Being in the army and killing people would follow on, as is tradition with our upper classes who send their male offspring to public schools that distort their personalities and atrophy their emotions. He does not seem naturally equipped to really break out of his background and maybe cannot connote his pain other than in an apparently self indulgent narrative ghosted by others.
So you are a hunt sabouteur ?
Do you protest against Halal and Kosher slaughter ?
I guess not.
In fact I support organisations that do.
We need to stop obsessing about this guy and his wife. Unherd has had three articles on him in the last three days – a couple too many in my opinion. There are more important things going on in the world.
Sorry about removing my own comment. It was a reference to Peter Cook’s Greta Garbo sketch – on reflection it was’nt appropriate. Maybe Harry is more unhappy than a publicity hound. His book is sad but he, and his brother of course, have suffered.
Well, not so sure about the ‘of course’. For me, the “If Spare is at all accurate, …” stood out of the article. After all, it’s Harry’s ‘truth’ – his interpretation of what happened, up to declaring what other people must have felt (in his view, and of course explanations on why M is blameless). Who saw red mist and who came for a battle. The rest is the ‘twisted words’ of his (mostly by British media). It’s stunning how many people have felt the need to publicly protest – even the tailor to the little girls’ dresses (and even there, we get to know from him that actually all the dresses needed to be fitted, not only Kate’s daughter’s one!). And of course he meant well by mentioning the kill count, which has been twisted again and therefore caused harm to him&Co. He really seems to see people, all people, as chess pawns to be mentioned carelessly without any thought of the consequenses. For if not him, then someone of the team must have been aware of it.
Edited to add after the original remark being removed: “the not so sure about the ‘of course’.” was about everyone of course feeling sorry for H.
Having been at the receiving end of ‘a truth’ by a person, nowhere near the league of princes, though, the pattern of the behaviour is baffling: a start with a distorted interpretation followed by more and more words modified to ‘prove’ the person is, was and will be right and noble and above others in every respect. Who cares that the facts of real life differ from the modified ones. Is there a ‘label’ to the pattern? – probably.
Narcissism I think, a self absorbtion so profound they cannot see beyond it, often as a result of an inherited tendency + trauma in childhood. I’m not an expert but I’m guessing that minus the trauma what you get is simply a rather more selfish person than usual.
Could be. In our case the person was a sociopath – but of course most people who knew that are polite and won’t say anything before the person filters in your circle/group/workspace – after all, a man could change, at least theoretically? and who would risk being accused of libel? Especially as they are extremely impressive until they don’t get what they want. So, only afterwards you hear – he was like that before, and more than once.
Can’t say anything about the motives of the Prince, of course, without my ‘lived experience’ of the circumstances.
Mary’s essay is timely for me. In recent days,Harry’s relentless, unstoppable confessions, with their craving for understanding on his own terms, have strongly reminded me of Princess Diana, his mother, when she was on the French Riviera with Dodi Fayed, courting the media and trying to escape the paparazzi at the same time. This brought home to me the possibility/likelihood that Harry has now come to the same emotional place and that he is therefore in danger. I felt Diana had a death wish in her days on the French Riviera. I hope someone is keeping Harry safe. His conduct shows his difficulty in doing that for himself.
I was relieved to see that you did manage to express compassion for Harry, delicate soul that he is.
Harry’s great grandfather, George VI, was also a spare. But his fateful placement in the scheme of things landed him in close partnership with Churchill during the most perilous period of English history.
It is likely that Harry’s odd-man-out position in the royal pecking order will afford him, eventually, a quite unique mantle in the future of our planet.
I could see Harry calming down in a few years, maturing, making peace with his lot in the world, which is, when you get right down to it, not a bad way for a young man to enter into civilization. I could see Harry accepting the mantle of responsibility for boosting actual progress in the realm of environmental protection and green conservation.
Harry’s military experience will lend credibility to his youthfully-budding leadership.
From a firm foothold in Lesotho or some similar outback, Harry could change the world, if he is willing to put his mind to it.
But you have to admit that the tragic dismissal of Diana–and her tragic end–is no small scourge for a young man to endure before getting his feet planted firmly on the ground.
If Shakespeare were alive today, he would write a play about Harry. On the other hand, Harry may have already written it. Spare may just need some dramatic stratford-on-Avon-type tweaking to render his unique dilemma as metamorphosed into a classic of English literature and drama!
Out, damned spot! came the cry from a Paris tunnel. Alas, poor Windsors, we knew them well. . . too well.
Man, that was painfull to read – first it is about Harry, and that is a subject I find repulsive the way it has sucked the information out of the ‘News’ by filling it with him and his wife in a world where almost no one knows what is going on because this dross has taken over.
But then pages of Cod-Psycology about a celebrity – I mean, if you want to write clumsy and obvious bits psychoanalyzing it is just going to be silly. Batting a few low hanging fruit around – it is pretty bad. But I read it grimly as it was Mary having written it, and she can have some good bits to read – but this? No.
You didn’t think this is a good bit?
“As our daily lives grow ever more atomised, we depend more and more on synthetic gossip about celebrities we don’t really know to fill the gaps in our personal “village””
Quite so. And here we all are, still, looking “through a glass, darkly”. Interpret as you will but don’t just run away Jesting Pilate when asked “What is Truth?”. When we lose the village, maybe (and speaking as an atheist) it wouldn’t do any harm to touch base with the Corinthians 13 (and in KJB, charity is love), or whatever is similar in your own creed. All so very, very sad, for everyone.
Perhaps, perhaps not. I suspect the cosey villages of yesteryear were hotbeds of gossip, up to and including burning the witches. Repressed frustrated romantics read the Bronte sisters fictions, those safe and bored in their townhouses read Dickens etc.
I think you’ve made an important point there about sucking out the information of the news, but then the newspapers know how to give people what they want – stories, drama, escapism, anything to distract us from the grim reality – strikes, 999 call handlers now, war, cost of living crisis, the bl**dy weather, etc. I know I do.
Given the regret you’ve previously expressed here about your life choices, I think this recounting of Harry’s disastrous errors could provide some relative cheer to you!
Indeed. I often think that some commentators use Unherd as a kind of public personal therapy, and sometimes with awful results.
I notice that one of the more frequent commentators (questioners…) hasn’t reappeared since his meltdown at the weekend. Hope he’s alright.
I think it’s ok to share personal experiences that are relevant to the topic or thread – and sometimes insight from someone with a different perspective can change your view, so it is a kind of therapy I suppose.
I like this forum because I have complete disagreements with people on one topic, then find I totally agree with the same person on another topic. But it requires one to not link discussions, and since I have a rubbish memory that suits me fine!
The trouble started when the late queen allowed Charles to divorce but retain his position as heir to the throne.
He should have been told that adultery and divorce were incompatible with being monarch, whose job it is to uphold traditional Christian moral values as an example to his subjects, not to follow the degraded morals of modernity.
He should have been made to choose between duty to his wife, children, church and country or personal “fulfilment” with his lover.
The adultery and divorce led to Diana’s death and the disintegration of his younger son’s mind.
The Church of England only came into being because of divorce, with Henry VIII wanting to swap Catherine of Aragon for Anne Boleyn
True but Henry VIII is hardly a good role model. Far better to stick to the 7th Commandment.
The older I get, the more horrified I become at the damage parents’ divorces do to children, both when they are young and when they try to form marriages of their own.
It would be helpful if the Royals gave an example of duty outweighing personal gratification. God knows there are enough people pushing meaningless sex, easy divorce and “self-love”.
You can’t be serious. No less damage is done when parents do not divorce ‘for the sake of the children’.
I wish you were right but that doesn’t seem to be the case to me. I’ve never met a kid whose parents have divorced who wasn’t traumatised. I suspect the rise in anxiety and depression among young people is down to the rise in divorce.
Sure, people and kids are different. Maybe it’s about how you feel about life, or how the popular view is. If it’s “things happen and it could always be worse, so keep your head up and move on” vs “let’s expose every woe befallen on me” – there are always some who are sincere and some who try to get the ‘limelight’. My remark was also based on a couple of people I know.
I think there are many other reasons alongside that. Gaming, lack of outdoor exercise and social media being amongst them.
Yes I agree but having a secure family life is surely extremely important. Ideally you have parents who limit the gaming and social media and increase the outdoor exercise.
There’s not a simple solution to raising children in this messed up world. Divorce may seem like a cause, but its probably just another symptom. How do you instill a morality of duty over a vague sense of personal fulfillment in your children when you don’t have it yourself, much as you wish you did?
Yes it’s a challenge, often it’s easier to put on TV after a hard day at work. But you have to try or it’s unfair to the kids.
You are making a standard correlation/’common sense’ error. It’s not the divorce that’s the problem – it’s the warring conflict, the dysfunctional relationships. Divorces can be amicable, and lo-and-behold, where this is the case the kids are ok, even relieved (you try living in an emotinoal war zone, you’ll want out asap). Lasting marriages can be tumultuous, toxic – and, surprise surprise, this wrecks everyone’s life. I have met many that exemplify this (it’s part of my job) – and much research bears this out.
I hope you are right Dominic but I know a number of couples who had “amicable” divorces who have haunted and distressed children. I also know people who grew up with constant parental bickering and arguing (including me) that we’re extremely happy that their parents didn’t split up.
Easy divorce is a new phenomena and I don’t think we have yet come to terms with the devastation it has wreaked.
Getting married, having kids and then deserting them for a lover seems like pretty poor behaviour to me. But of course that might be a “common sense error”.
Anecdotally, all stories are possible, and do happen. Perennial bickering is ok, can even be healthy (where it’s honest, a bit of humour etc). Similarly, beware still waters – they can half-hide (confusing, disturbing the psyche) a world of psycho-drama. As long as tensions are acknowledged, reliably and reasonably resolved, and conflicts settled, things’ll be ok; and vice versa. Divorce or no divorce. A divorce may be amicable, but the children not attended to, or over-attended to (guilt, spoiling with presents etc). Divorce or no divorce, relationships and parenting are endlessly complicated.
I agree with you absolutely about deserting children for a lover – but such people will do so anyway, with or without a strong institution of marriage – precisely because they find it ‘easy’ (their relationships are shallow, transactional). The hard part of divorce is nine parts psychological, one part legal.
Don’t most divorces stem from disagreements about money/assets, rather than infidelities?
In any case yes divorce is a disaster.
unless violence is involved i disagree. simply being polite to each other without involving the children in private problems would be putting their welfare above everything else. once they are up and out then they can proceed to their own happiness. after all, it was their decision to marry in the first place. making a good choice would have been wise and in most cases is pretty easily attained with time and withholding sex until they were proven worthy. back in the day the family would be consulted on whether someone was compatible. self fulfillment can wait for a few years until small humans are reared to responsible stable adults.
Yes, the bar should be high for divorce. You have missed a few points though – chronic psychological conflict & tension can be as damaging as violence; adult kids are usually very distressed at the thought that their parents lived a lie… ‘for them’; whilst kids at many ages are surprisingly flexible and adaptible, adults often underestimate this; whilst we can all agree that kids care is paramount, part of that care is showing them, carefully certain realities – adults matter too, they are not the be-all and end-all, and they have strength. Messages that are not well expressed these days, which has lead to a huge increase in MH problems, fragility. See for example, ‘The coddling of the the American Mind’ by Jonathan Haidt.
what you and many others seem to miss is that it is only for a finite time that they have to be nice to one another. and no one is saying abuse of any form should be tolerated; but that is not the reason in a majority of divorce cases anyway. ‘growing apart’ or ‘irreconcilable differences’ is the most cited excuse and pardon me but while grown offspring might be upset for awhile they will remember that they didn’t have to be shuttled between two households or be reared by strangers or be pushed to the back of the line by new babies-and they will be busy getting on with the adventure of their own lives built on a base of stability and love. so on balance, imo, getting a little pissy about falseness vs. emotional damage done by not having a stable childhood is an easy decision.
Are you sure about this? Surely a contributing factor is the way in which many boomers brought up their children with an exaggerated sense of self entitlement? I don’t think this is simple. That said, being fatherless is very damaging.
Sure, there are many causes but family breakdown is near the top of the list.
You talk of family breakdown as if it is something that can be avoided by not divorcing!
unless violence is involved i disagree. simply being polite to each other without involving the children in private problems would be putting their welfare above everything else. once they are up and out then they can proceed to their own happiness. after all, it was their decision to marry in the first place. making a good choice would have been wise and in most cases is pretty easily attained with time and withholding sex until they were proven worthy. back in the day the family would be consulted on whether someone was compatible.
I disagree with your views on moral standards and adultery, it’s the human condition that makes it inevitable – but I do agree that divorce when there are kids involved under 15 should be the very very very last resort. From what I’ve seen the damage to the kids is huge, and lifelong. Just live with the fact that one of you was unfaithful, and keep it together in as civil a manner as possible for the kids – they don’t care if you’re unhappy about your relationship, they want family and stability above all. But too many seem to want a ‘perfect’ and ‘happy’ relationship, regardless of the kids feelings.
You’re right about children not really caring if their parents are happy or not, provided it doesn’t tip over into violence (physical or verbal). I knew a couple who split up maritally, but continued to live together as house mates until the children were older, at which point they divorced. All the children ever knew was that mummy and daddy no longer shared the same bedroom.
And what about the children of an unhappy marriage? Hardly a healthy environment. I agree divorce can be hard on the kids but so are the playground and the class system. It can be a crappy world for many. I doubt Harry gets much sympathy from the inner city sink estates.
I suspect kids do better with married but unhappy parents than divorced but happy parents. It can be a crappy world (just look at that UnHerd article on El Salvador for evidence) but broken homes don’t help anyone.
To suggest that broken homes “don’t help anyone” is quite simply false, and implies a view of the marital home which doesn’t accord with reality. An example: where the father is abusive, in a physical way. Are you seriously suggesting the mother shouldn’t take steps to remove herself and her children from such an environment?
No I agree with you, there are many times when divorce is the only option – violence, sex abuse, mental torture, adultery etc
The first three behaviours, yes, I agree, but I’m not so sure about adultery. Not because I favour it or think it’s all right morally, but in some complicated marriages, providing it is discreet, it might not matter that much. Sex is one thing, love is another.
To start divorce proceedings when a marriage has been going through a difficult patch and one spouse, usually the husband, has a trivial, sex based affair seems a waste to me. But our society encourages outrage in wives now : throw him out, find a new one, start afresh etc, self fulfillment being so very important these days.
that isn’t the normal standard for most divorces nowadays; it’s boredom or unrealistic expectations.
home should be a refuge and a bulwark against the world. think about it. parents divorce; mom or dad gets remarried pops out a few more children; the original kids get put to the back of the line and have to shuttle between homes never feeling that they have a stable shelter. the step parent may but likely may not care about the originals to the extent they do their own. how many boyfriends/girlfriends are being sent to jail for killing/abusing their partners children? and the other parent is powerless to stop it. conversely, the step parent may be a great person but is not allowed to discipline the originals because they aren’t his/hers or the original children start acting up because they want to sow discord in the new relationship. i mean the intricacies and landmines are myriad. western society wasn’t perfect but it was successful because it knew what worked.
The Church of England only came into being because of divorce, with Henry VIII wanting to swap Catherine of Aragon for Anne Boleyn.
Not really. The Church of England has existed since the presence of Christianity in England, predating by a few centuries the arrival in Canterbury of Augustine on his mission from the Pope in 597.
Henry VIII did not create the Church of England. Rather, he re-liberated it from the authority of Rome.
By way of analogy: did Brexit create a new country that had never existed before? No, it resulted in the UK returning to the condition of sovereignty that had been surrendered under Edward Heath.
Your point is valid – though I’d say that a better comparison would be SSRs pre and post USSR. Was Ukraine the same country in 1960 as it was in 2010, after it had shed the dominance of Moscow? Was the Church of England the same after it shed the dominance of the Vatican?
Yes, if you cannot divorce, just organise to have her head chopped off.
Annulment. Admittedly, not by the Pope, but he set up his own Church and got an annulment, not a divorce. The same is true for the other two.
Hardly surprising as KoA was “soiled goods “ as we used to say.
Except that that has never been the practice of the royal family ! They are no more moral and decent than the rest of us (and possibly less so).
Elizabeth II was very moral and decent. As was her father.
Victoria knew that the Royal Family’s role, if it is anything, is to be the ideal family for us lower orders to imitate. Humans are programmed to imitate celebrities. I’d rather have some that projected duty and self sacrifice as opposed to woke, Californian self-regard.
Her father arguably was not. He was knocking around with a married woman before he got married.
I really hope I’m not programmed to imitate celebrities. I’m trying not to …
Adultery is incompatible with being a monarch?! I nearly spit out my coffee. It wasn’t the adultery that created the problems for Edward or later Charles – it was the Disney like desire for “authentic” marriages to the women they truly loved. There was simply no place for such naivety in the old world of duty and self sacrifice. But everyone understood that adultery was tolerated so long as it was discreet. If we go back to that very unromantic world – we need to accept that it is built on hypocrisy (of the noble lie variety) and abandon this childlike desire to find true love and live “authentically”. I’m not sure any of us is actually ready for that, nostalgic as we may be for certain parts of it.
“abandon this childlike desire to find true love and live “authentically”. “
I don’t think we need to abandon it, just to agree that once you have a wife and kids your duty is to them, not yourself. It might be unfashionable but it saves lots of grief.
Mary Harrington’s IQ snobbery is kind of obnoxious
On reading I did repeatedly think – when is this article going to end? Yet the Author opted to repeat and repeat her thesis paragraph after paragraph to the point where I was wondering whether some projection going on here?
More broadly the ‘voyeurism’ runs deep. Think this is 3rd or 4th article on our Haz in only a couple of weeks, and daresay a few I never got to see before about his wife. It sells copy as we can see from number of comments already. And isn’t that the point about the whole Monarchy nonsense. A wonderful distraction strategy for our delectation, and apparently already the fastest non-fiction seller of the year. Who is the addict in this relationship?
More specifically, obvious the need/desire for a sizeable income behind much of Haz’s actions. And of course if you chop off security cover for a Royal who served 10yrs, who was offering to do some work but without being exposed so much to UK tabloid frenzy, you are going to force him to maximise his income another way. Surprising how they still find the security cover funding for his Uncle who no longer works and involved in a sex abuse case. The inconsistency v stark.
(Haz will have known all about the history behind Governor of Bermuda suggestion and reacted just the way one would expect. Good on him for telling them to stick it.)
Without the Palace forcing a D notice on the Press, which is constitutionally impossible, how could Harry ( and Meghan) have been given more work to do in exchange for no coverage? Your post ignores the fact that Meghan intended to monetise her experiences from the start. And then, to refuse the Bermuda post, why?, Wouldnt that have given Harry the opportunity to se4ve?
‘No coverage’? Don’t think that was point made AB. Exposure to less coverage by not residing f/t in UK was the point they made.
I don’t know Meghan so can’t say whether this was always about money from her side. I always take with a ‘pinch of salt’ what one reads as usually a distortion to some degree to sell copy. Your ‘theory’ is held by quite a view people though, but quite alot of confirmatory bias in that wished belief too perhaps as justifies some of the reaction. Maybe we’ll see over the years what really drove her.
Re: Bermuda – Edward VIII got moved there during WW2 to get him out of the way as deemed a nazi-sympathiser. Therefore the offer was loaded with history – i.e trouble-makers and the semi-disgraced get put there. So there was alot of virtual signalling in the offer. And of course it was also to silence.
Haz is a troubled person, and the whole lot of them as a family dysfunctional, reflecting the nonsense that is hereditary Monarchy in C21st. Difficult to feel that sorry for them given the wealth, but alot of po-facedness too in how commentariat views H&M. For instance I note you don’t mention Andrew’s on-going cover and privileges. Any reason?
I think the problem is that Harry wanted security in Los Angeles not Windsor
But that wasn’t the argument against it conveyed by the Palace. It was that they weren’t working Royals. Had they conveyed that then may have made more sense. Trouble is they didn’t. And thus the inconsistency with Andrew remains stark and unanswered.
Every journalist has an OPINION on Harry but none on the British psyche.
We are all flawed rich or poor. But no one does better “blame throwing” as the British public. Looking for some to blame?, why look inwards towards oneself, but that would be too painful.
I see no wrong in Harry using whatever resources he has to make money. After all, he has lived for the newspapers, he can earn from it, why should he live in exile?
If one must blame, look to Elisabeth & Charles. Sins of Harry’s father & grandmother are visited upon him.