My British mother-in-law, Marjorie, flushed the toilet every time Prime Minister Harold Wilson came on the “tele.” It was a seriously symbolic gesture about the way she viewed socialism coming to power in the U.K. Marjorie’s “flush” has become part of family lore.
Her son, Richard, whom I married in 1972, couldn’t wait to become an American after 10 years of U.S. residency. Together we watched Montecito resident Oprah Winfrey’s recent interview of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. During the special, we lost count of the frequent ads that cost $350,000 for 30 seconds to cover the $7 million to $9 million CBS paid Oprah.
Richard would have flushed the toilet at the Montecito royal couple’s embrace of American cancel culture, claiming to be victims of a cold-hearted royal family, if he thought it would send a message to our family members who think the Duchess got a bad rap from the British press. But the family knows we are royalists. So why ruffle anti-royal and family feathers?
The fact is we both think the Queen is the cat’s pajamas and that Prince Phillip is an admirable example of how to be a supportive spouse and grandfather, especially in the case of Harry and William.
Oprah’s smooth questioning of the couple did not fool us for a minute into thinking that the two-hour pity fest was nothing less than a clumsy, classless merchandising of a couple who prefer Hollywood royalty to British royalty and an effort to enrich Montecito’s most famous progressive.
As an old-school American married to an old school Brit for nearly 50 years, I recognize how American Harry has become.
Richard used to say to others, if they questioned why he had to throw out his hush puppies and thin ties, “I’m under new management.” It was meant as a compliment to me.
Prince Harry has been under new management ever since he took the fateful walk down St. George’s aisle to meet Meghan Markle at the altar, wearing a tiara that she didn’t want to wear.
“What Meghan wants, Meghan gets,” said the bridegroom-to-be shortly before the wedding. The Americanization of Harry had begun.
Last June, following the supposed murder of George Floyd, Oprah Winfrey publically declared that racism was systemic in America, supporting 2,000 Black Lives Matter and Antifa activists who assembled in downtown Santa Barbara to protest police brutality.
I wonder if people caught Oprah’s oleaginous, “Do you mean you were silent or silenced?” into Meghan’s tearful claim that she considered suicide because she hadn’t gone out of Frogmore Cottage but two times in four months.
Piers Morgan, who had more to lose by walking off the ITV’s morning show, called the interview a “trashathon, one bombshell after another.” Mr. Morgan has not wasted a moment trashing Meghan since Harry announced his engagement to the American activist/actress with an agenda. He said he “didn’t believe anything that came out of her mouth” during the interview. Meghan and Harry have asked ITV to be investigated by OFCOM, the powerful British fact-checking agency, to look into possible liability of Morgan’s rant.
How American is that?
Quentin Letts, the British author of “50 People Who Buggered Up Britain” that The Spectator called “an angry book beautifully written,” wrote about Harry March 8 in the London Times: “We found he has started saying ‘like’ and has the beginnings of an American accent.
“Maybe Charles simply didn’t recognize him with that valley girl uplift. Harry has certainly drunk deeply of West Coast Kool-Aid,” opined Mr. Letts.
By far the most entertaining British commentary was from the controversial, 70-year-old Lady Colin Campbell, author of “Meghan and Harry,” who stayed up to get a head start on what turned out to be a deliciously sarcastic, two-hour diatribe streaming on YouTube.
The aristocrat, known for her quirky cackle and biting commentary on anything that smells (in the case of the Sussexes “stinks”) of anti-royalist bias, treated us to what she found a “vulgar, classless manipulation” by Meghan of a “dumb” and harried Harry. The “poor prince didn’t have a chance.”
Calla Jones Corner
The author lives in Montecito.