This is the question all Montecitans are asking: “Now that Her Majesty the Queen has transcended from highness to higher-up and her eldest son and heir has become King Charles III, what will become of Montecito residents Harry and Meghan?”
Well, we apologize because we are sworn to always write the truth, and the paragraph above is not true. That’s because, as far as we can tell — and we hang out at Montecito’s gossipy watering holes more than we should — nobody ever talks about Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Occasionally, we receive a text or email from someone asking about the couple. But it is invariably from someone far away, say in Washington D.C. or Philadelphia or even Tasmania. And it’s always the same pair of questions:
’“What do people in Montecito say about Harry and Meghan?”
Answer: Nothing. No one ever mentions them.
And: “Do you ever see Harry and Meghan around town?”
Answer: No. We’ve heard they occasionally visit a bar-and-grill in the lower village, and it has also been reported by media that they occasionally dine at the Stonehouse Restaurant in San Ysidro Ranch. Beyond that, we wouldn’t even know they are here.
But now, with Queen Elizabeth II’s transition to a higher plane, we have a question of our own: With QEII no longer around, what is in store for Harry and Megs?
For a preliminary answer, let us turn to the new king and analyze the carefully chosen words (scribed, no doubt, by Buckingham Palace bureaucrats) in the first address he delivered to his subjects in Great Britain and the Commonwealth of Nations and to everyone else around the globe.
After announcing that he was handing out new titles to his heir, William (the new Prince of Wales and new owner of the very valuable Duchy of Lancaster) and Edward (the new Duke of Edinburgh), the new king mentioned Harry and Meghan, in passing, without even using their existing titles. He did not say “Prince” Harry and “Princess” Meghan or even the “Duke of Duchess of Sussex.” It was just plain “Harry” and “Meghan”—and all they got from him was an expression “of my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas” (far from the rigors of the royal duties they found so imprisoning).
Meghan, it appears, caused quite a stir on the morning of Sept. 8 when the queen’s physicians announced that they were “concerned for Her Majesty’s health,” which, of course, was polite palace code for pronouncing that she was on her deathbed.
Soon thereafter, Harry and Meghan announced they were on their way to the Queen’s bedside at Balmoral Castle in Scotland as other immediate family members scrambled to board a jet at the Royal Air Force Northolt base for their solemn flight to Aberdeen.
When the Buckingham Palace bureaucrats saw Meghan’s message, shockwaves reverberated throughout the royal palace. Incredulous, they quickly nixed any notion of Meghan joining in for a private family farewell. (The new king himself delivered that message to Harry.) Consequently, Harry traveled alone, trailing in a jet far behind his brother William and Uncles Andrew and Edward and Aunt Sophie (a close confidante of the Queen).
We can only deduce that Harry had not been invited to join the larger party on their plane but was left behind to find his own way north. (Some say, as heirs to the throne, William and Harry cannot travel on the same aircraft, lest it crash. But events — William’s three children and Harry’s departure from royal life — supersedes such a policy.)
And alone, indeed, is probably what Harry felt upon his arrival at Balmoral, where his presence likely chilled an already intense gathering.
Back to Meghan and why she was thwarted in her plan to impose on very personal, very private family moments: Due to her indiscretions about the royal family in interviews and on podcasts, she simply could not be trusted to witness and keep confidential the details of family members grieving the death of their beloved matriarch, the queen.
“NO PLACE FOR HER”
Until members of the royal family have an opportunity to read Harry’s upcoming memoir, they cannot know how much of their family dynamic and inner workings of royalty will willfully be exposed by Harry to an eager and voyeuristic audience throughout the world.
The contents of that book will quite likely determine whether Harry’s presence will ever again be tolerated among family members.
Her Majesty was a genius at keeping the family together, even during times of great turbulence. Add to that, she was said to have had a certain fondness for her grandson Harry, who apparently made her laugh.
But now she is gone, and you can be certain that the Buckingham Palace bureaucrats have already strategized how best to move forward into a post-Elizabethan era that, to their thinking, would exclude Harry and Meghan from family affairs due to them showing bad form by airing their woke-like grievances in public for what could easily be interpreted as financial gain.
Some speculate that the defiant couple will divorce at some point, and Harry will seek forgiveness and reconciliation with his original family.
A former senior British intelligence officer bluntly told The Investigator: “There is no way back for Harry until he divorces her. Charles is super-sensitive that the Crown is on the cusp. After all the sentimentality about the queen has faded, he knows people will question the cost, the entitlement, snobbery, the hangers-on — and in particular all the ghastly people at the edges. Meghan is one of those. No place for her.”
An American who has lived most of his life in London and is connected to movers and shakers on both sides of the Atlantic, had this to say to The Investigator: “In his excellent speech, King Charles III made it pointedly clear that those two have made their bed over there and they’re not getting back in. As for the book, how can you stick a knife into a mourning family now admired by all?
“Then there was the masterstroke of William including Harry and Meghan in a walkabout. A friend who was there told me they got booed. As you’ve always written, the Palace hands are masters at this stuff.”
It is reasonable to believe that Harry, in his tome, will not besmirch the name of his much-adored grandmother, the late queen. But if he insults his father, the new king, the curtain — already significantly lowered — will likely close completely.
And if Harry takes jabs at Queen Consort Camilla, the stepmother he reportedly loathes, his father will most certainly feel insulted enough to take umbrage and pull the curtain strings himself — thereby killing any hope of reconciliation beyond Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral Monday at Westminster Abbey.
A ROYAL BREACH OF TRUST
Royal beat reporter Richard Kay wrote in Britain’s Daily Mail: “Publication of Harry’s book is crucial. The issue of trust is truly at the heart of the breakdown. A book that discusses any intimate family secrets will be a deal-breaker in reconciling.”
This is echoed by U.K. Sunday Mirror Political Editor Nigel Nelson, who told The Investigator, “There is still anger about Harry’s tell-all memoirs due out before Christmas and Meghan slagging off at the Royal Family. Both the king and William think it important to put up a united front during the period of mourning. The expectation is that hostilities will resume once the queen is laid to rest.”
Queen Elizabeth II was Harry’s closest ally and perhaps his main protector within the family. And now she is gone. Same for Uncle Andrew (of Jeffrey Epstein infamy), who was said to be the apple of his mother’s eye. Well, that apple has fallen and rotting, the tree is felled — and Prince Andrew is not far behind Harry in the sense of having no one to protect him from Buckingham Palace wrath after seriously tarnishing the royal brand. The return to public life he is said to imagine for himself may well be rooted in self-delusion.
Already it is apparent that Prince Harry’s aunt, Princess Anne, who takes duty and discretion most seriously and is known, like her late father, to be bloody minded and frosty, has iced out Harry. It is understandably difficult for her, after many decades of service as the hardest working royal, to put up with her nephew’s whines and gripes — and that goes double for Meghan.
Add Uncle Edward and Aunt Sophie to that camp, along with brother William, who was so infuriated by Harry’s indiscretions that the heir and the spare (no longer) have barely spoken to one another over the past two years. Only Uncle Andrew, a fellow outcast due to his alleged sexual deviancy, can muster any empathy for Harry and thus is believed, along with his daughters, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, to be the only royals still on speaking terms with their nephew and cousin.
So it was no surprise that Harry arrived at his grandmother’s beloved Balmoral Castle late and departed early, even before his relatives sat down to breakfast. Apparently, he never even saw his father or brother while there. By the time he arrived, they’d already departed to Birkhall, the new king’s own residence on the estate, for their own evening meal, leaving him with aunts and uncles who, quite likely, did not know what to say in front of him — the very definition of an awkward situation.
Those within the family still willing to speak with Harry will not say anything of substance to him for the simple reason that they cannot trust he would not repeat (with or without proper context) their words to Meghan, who seems not to know the meaning of boundaries nor have any qualms about publicly broadcasting whatever she might learn as she strives to promote herself along with her political and cultural agenda.
We turned to a former senior U.K. Foreign Office official for a summation, and he graciously delivered, telling The Investigator:
“The death of the queen has served to put the whole Harry/Megan issue into proper perspective. Yes, Megan’s narcissistic and somewhat spiteful ramblings caused much hurt and annoyance (presumably as intended), and it was disappointing to see Harry influenced into maligning his own family (with whom he previously seemed to enjoy excellent relations). But there was a sense of deja vu and ‘who cares anyway’ over (Meghan’s comments in) the latest ‘Cut’ interview.
“Their trip to the U.K. looked like a lame attempt at a (pseudo) royal tour, and no one was particularly interested. Now, with the courtesies generously extended to them by a grieving royal family, the ball is very much in their court. Do they graciously respond and stop moaning, or continue the grudge/victim act?
“My own feeling is that it will be too hard for them to step away from the destructive narrative they’ve created, especially since they are surrounded by PR/media sharks.”
And, finally, our cyberspace war correspondent reports: “The chatter is about the queen’s will” (as in Her Majesty’s last will and testament). Our correspondent cites this post from “Marklenews1” (said to be a “reputable news source confident in their sourcing”) titled “Concern Over the Queen’s Estate”:
“L.A. sources close to Meghan say she will go to the court of public opinion if Archie and Lilibet (her children) don’t get their titles and a sizable portion of the queen’s estate. ‘She is serious about going nuclear on this,’ said a person in the know.”
We cannot know for certain if this rather ugly comment truly emanates from Harry and Meghan’s camp. According to a royal expert, Archie and Lillibet will be appointed prince and princess, but, to the reported fury of Harry and Megs, will NOT be granted HRH (His or Her Royal Highness) status.
We do know this: Oprah Winfrey, the Montecito-based talk show host who sleazily exploited the couple’s ill will yet now pompously proclaims the queen’s death to be “an opportunity for peacemaking,” cannot — with all the king’s horses and all the king’s men — put Humpty Dumpty together again.
Three Sundays ago we reported in this column the so-called “suicide,” at his Washington D.C. condo, of Dan Kaplun Rapoport, a Latvian by birth who settled with his parents as an 11-year-old in the USA then spent decades in Moscow and later, Kyiv, mid-2010s.
Mr. Rapoport, we speculated, had become just another murder victim of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin for criticizing both his brutal regime and his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, from which Mr. Putin’s forces are now retreating due to poor judgment by military bigwigs and a poorly maintained armory due to rampant corruption within the senior ranks.
If true, this would mean the Kremlin’s warmonger has extended his reach and is now willing to order hits beyond Europe, and onto U.S. territory. In fact, there was another suspicious Russian death in Washington D.C. seven years ago, that of Mikhail Leysin, one-time media czar to Mr. Putin who, after a boozy binge, was found dead in his room at The Dupont Circle Hotel.
Three days earlier, Mr. Leysin had been dropped off and checked into the Four Seasons Hotel by a “friend” (name redacted in police report) driving a Mercury Sable with Virginia tags. He also had a lot of cash on him — as if maybe he had been recruited by the CIA or FBI.
Cause of death: Blunt force trauma.
There was little news in Washington about Mr. Leysin’s death — and the D.C. press corps has also been reluctant to investigate the circumstances of Mr. Rapoport’s suspicious “suicide.” As Politico noted: “Rapoport’s death has been the subject of major coverage overseas, but is oddly off the radar in Washington, where there has been little major media attention.”
So, if Washington D.C. won’t do it, we will. And, in that spirit, we have been snooping around to glean some context about Mr. Rapoport, who was only 54, to better determine if his death was truly a suicide — or murder. And, if the latter, who (beyond Mr. Putin) might have harbored a motive to see him gone.
We located an American businessman who resided in Moscow for many years and had been one of Mr. Rapoport’s business partners in the mid-1990s. He told us: “I am very skeptical that Dan jumped for several reasons. Statistically in the U.S., only 2% of all successful suicides are due to jumping, and most of all suicides occur between midnight and 4 a.m. Dan supposedly ‘jumped’ late afternoon of Aug. 14/
“ Dan was always hyper-sensitive about his style and would get manicures and wear designer everything. As a boy who grew up dirt poor and as an outsider to the U.S., he wanted everyone to know he succeeded in a big way. Would a guy like that kill himself wearing orange flip flops?”
The American businessman wishes to remain anonymous so we shall refer to him as “Mr. X.” He witnessed Mr. Rapoport during the Latvian’s ups and downs. Dan lost a fortune, more than once, Mr. X pointed out, having lived through several financial crises. But instead of harming himself, he bounced back every time and remade another fortune.
Said Mr. X: “If Dan were to kill himself, I’d expect him at least to have used a weapon. He had that type of macho personality and a flare for the dramatic, the flash. Dan is not the type of guy who goes gently into the night or even early evening.
“In fact, he had a pistol in Kyiv. He’d take it out to bars, although he was a teetotaler and spin the gun around on the bar.
“He also really loved and adored his two sons, and I can’t believe he wouldn’t have taken out a huge amount of insurance for them in case of his death, much less for his new wife and young daughter.
“When I last saw Dan, in Kyiv in 2021, he was a tad depressed. Several financial investments he’d made in Ukraine did not pan out. At dinner he told me how much he, and I quote, ‘regret moving to Kyiv, the Ukrainians were all corrupt.’ That was an ironic comment from a guy who was once a partner in one of the sleaziest Russian brokerages. Dan once owned the most popular high-end night club in Moscow, called Soho Rooms, and cruised around Moscow in a $600,000 Maybach stretch limo with driver. He knew corruption from all angles — and played it like a maestro.”
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Mr. Rapoport endeavored to raise funds to buy helmets for Ukrainians.
“Knowing Dan,” Mr. X told The Investigator, “I’d be very surprised if he didn’t get involved in the huge foreign aid windfall that was suddenly raining down upon Ukraine. Dan truly hated Putin, and he really loved money. The huge foreign aid gold rush was perfect because it would help him fulfill his twin goals: Indirectly hurting Putin and directly helping himself regain the lifestyle in which he had long been accustomed and from which he recently became estranged.
“Washington D.C. is where much of the Ukrainian aid originates and is organized. I know that Dan would have had sufficient connections in both Washington and Kyiv to play this aid game to its full advantage.”
Which, of course, raises more questions rather than providing an answer.
“Perhaps Dan slipped in his orange flip flops,” Mr. X posed. “But I’d put money on him being pushed. He was simply not the type of guy who would have jumped. Dan was sometimes down, but he was never out.”
Eriks Jekabsons, former interior minister of Latvia, told The Investigator: “It was definitely not an accident or a suicide.” Mr. Jekabsons points to Mr. Putin as the culprit. “Mr. Rapoport was very active organizing resistance against Puttler,” he said, likening the Russian dictator to Adolf Hitler.
AND JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE TO GO INTO THE WATER
Another Russian energy executive lastThe Investigator: weekend fell victim to a mysterious death, this time in a “boating accident.”
Ivan Perchorin, the 39-year-old head of Vladimir Putin’s Far East and Arctic Development Cooperation, is reported to have “fallen” into the Sea of Japan, near Vladivostok, from a speeding vessel.
His body was found washed up on shore two days later.
And now this: The editor-in-chief of Pravda, the Russian state newspaper, died of “suffocation” though nothing was suffocating him. Vladimir Sungorkin was on a business trip inside Russia three days ago when he inexplicably lost consciousness and “suffocated.”
As one pundit put it, “Putin fixes his problems by eliminating them.”
Mr. Putin, himself, fell victim to an assassination attempt last week when the limousine in which he was riding came under attack. This was apparently an inside job as several presidential bodyguards have been held responsible.
Which means Russia is trying to fix its Putin problem by eliminating him.
If all else fails, perhaps macho actor and Polonium Putin pal Steven Seagal can be called upon to perform an aikido reverse neck choke.
Robert Eringer is a longtime Montecito author with vast experience in investigative journalism. He welcomes questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org