• I Read Tom Bower’s take-down of Meghan Markle so You Don’t Have To

    Never Go Against The Palace. No one Wins. Not once. Ever.

    ust how badly has Meghan Markle blotted her copy book? Welp, her approval rating in the country of which she is a Duchess, is 9%.  That is the worst I’ve seen, and I spent years as a royal reporter, so in spite of myself, I keep track.

    How much do her in-laws like her?  Well, their birthday wishes this week accompanied the photo of her frozen smile while being booed by the crowd as she left St Paul’s during the Platinum celebration. After which she and Harry refused to go to the next engagement, leaving a roomful of grandees bereft, and sulked their way back to Windsor to their cottage under Heathrow’s flight path. After which they were disinvited to everything. No one visited them except hairdressers and stylists. They left early. Harry was photographed looking grumpy. Way to fit in, guys

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    This is not a happy man.

    Bowers book is filled with similar incidents during which the Duchess feels she is not being given the right level of adoration, throws a wobbly and goes Joan Crawford on whoever is within reach. There were a lot of people willing to talk to Bower about the feelings she elicited from her inferiors, and we are all, it turns out, her inferiors. Apparently on tour, every night, she and Harry sat in bed and went through their negative comments and plotted revenge.

    Shades of Hillary Clinton.

    I read all their damned biographies, because I had to, and Bower’s is no different in that each of these hapless individuals, born or married into extreme privilege,  at some juncture, turn into egomaniacal monsters laying waste to everything around them, have a revelation or 12 and figure out how to manage unearned glory and build a happy life. Most come through – Diana didn’t – she lived and died by the press, who killed her. She should have moved to the country and put on 20 pounds like the estimable Viscountess Wessex, who is an absolute Pillar of Virtue, the Queen’s Right Hand. And who is, while attractive, no pinup, no “star” like Meghan.  Andrew may not, his sexuality inflamed by women on the hunt, his massive ego and little brain, turned him into a pedo. He didn’t have an epiphany, he’s so tone deaf he still thinks he’s viable.

    Charles finally figured out that working 16 hour days would save his ridiculous self and he has built a charitable empire of serious note. It is impressive what he has been able to do, given his massive sense of entitlement. Tight-lipped William married the most well-balanced woman in Christendom, and has picked up the reins of the Firm, modelling himself on his grandfather. William will reign with a fist of steel. And he will bring the institution through. His son George looks like a man of reason already.

    But Meghan. She thought she deserved it. How is that even possible? I can tell you that if I was engaged to Prince Harry, I’d be the best behaved fiancee in history, and I am not a well-behaved individual. I’d be so intimidated, I would anxiously conform. I would display frugality and modesty. Out of sheer terror. I would not be demanding tiaras. I would not be shooting off emails at 5 am. And I was used to the Royal Family, I went to parties where they were in attendance, private ones, my grandmother had been presented at court in the 1920’s, my handsome urbane father was chosen repeatedly to have tea with Queen Mary, representing the Canadian Army. They still intimidate the crap out of me.

    Her behaviour gobsmacked me. Then, on top of that, the preaching! The admonishing, the exhorting, the assumption that she knows more than the English about their own culture. That before she came along, the British did nothing about racism, despite inviting every single race to come and live in their country, despite pouring money into the Commonwealth, despite founding basic health and educational institutions throughout one-third of the world. Where slavery was abolished two hundred years prior. A place where broken people of color from all over the world, clamour to live. She seemed oblivious to the constant insults she delivered to a nation which frankly, has been a flickering beacon of freedom – no caveats here, look at the others – in a sea of darkness that has lasted from time immemorial. And when the English protested, she and Harry shrieked racism.

    Then add the extraordinary consumption of couture, millions of pounds spent at Givenchy, jet setting while preaching about climate change, millions of pounds spent on the new house, the contravention of every single convention, demonstrating zero respect, every horrifying detail piled on top of each other, any criticism coupled with shrieks of racism. Then the counter accusations of bullying and crying duchesses, movie stars attending the wedding who had never met Meghan or Harry, her exclusion of her father, her attacking of her father, the wheelchair bound sister.

    It was sociopathic.

    And then, there was the baby shower held at the poshest hotel in New York, in a penthouse costing $100,000 a night. The attendees were not Meghan’s friends, they were acting colleagues, stylists and promoters. Each and every one of the attendees made out like bandits as a result of their association that day with the Royal Family. The three day “shower” cost $500,000, most of it funded by Serena Williams.

    Journalists and photographers, briefed by the organisers, were crammed behind specially erected crash-barriers outside the hotel. Celine Khavarani, a publicist, would use the event to promote her clients’ fashions; Jess Mulroney hoped to capitalise on her friendship to get an enhanced TV contract; and Serena Williams, who funded the party, would re-advertise her brand citing Meghan’s name.

    Darcy Miller, the party planner, had prepared a vast excess of food, including four macaroon towers from Ladurée, a Parisian bakery offering the ‘elegance that Marie Antoinette would approve of’, designer biscuits, cakes, mini-meringue pies on gold-rimmed plates, and an enormous display of flowers. LESS THAN TWO HOURS LATER, the guests departed. Each guest had been promised the home delivery of an ‘Away’ suitcase. Certain she would be photographed again, Amal Clooney stepped into her car in front of the hotel. Meghan left the hotel wearing a baseball hat and clothes promoted by Celine Khavarani. The following day, Misha Nonoo appeared on NBC’s Today programme to discuss her friend Meghan’s passion for her fashion designs.

    Meghan’s make-up artist Daniel Martin posted pictures of the food, rattles and bibs – and his salon’s address. Abigail Spencer promoted her new show called Rectify. Janina Gavankar blessed the publicity generated by the baby shower to be cast in a new acting role. Gayle King, after appearing on CBS to plug her intimacy with Meghan during the shower party, successfully lobbied for a new lucrative contract.

    Then the dramatic flight into not one but three multi-roomed palaces on the West Coast. The big contracts with media companies, based their mental illness caused by the Royal Family. Then the Oprah interview, the threat of suicide. The big one: racism.

    They have screwed up so badly all their money is being sucked out by big time PR firms and crisis managers. Their legal fees must be in the millions annually.

    I don’t think there is a way back from this. I think she’s done. I don’t think the British will take them back, and they have nothing to sell but her beauty which will fade and his family. Who, cordially, loathe them. Who won’t meet with them or talk to them in case they’re being recorded.

    Here’s the lesson I learned from seven years around the Royals, for some time with a social secretary hired to get me into their circles. Their lives are ones of paralyzing boredom. They spend their days in dreary grey towns meeting doughty charity men and women who do the nuts and bolts work in their towns which are often in extreme distress. They listen to ten thousand sob stories. They are asked for money every minute of every day.  The best of them perform five hundred engagements a year, six hundred. Mandatory balls and receptions, hundreds a year, two or three a day. Looking forward, Meghan had forty years of engagements with decidedly unglamorous people praising her. Most of them would be white. All of them would gush. None of them would know Steven Spielberg.

    Meghan is the kind of charity woman who travels with her own team of stylists and photographers. Who smiles and hugs then disappears for a photo shoot with little black children, ideally ones who look starved. Ain’t no fame to be made in a mining town in south Yorkshire, on a sheep farm in Cheshire, or endless dinners with foreigners who have no idea who you are and just want a trade deal and a hospital.

    The world is moving toward the common man and woman. The good. The virtuous. The ordinary. The unglamorous. The anti-Vanity Fair. Meghan is yesterday’s expertly-styled, expensively-dressed preaching and admonishing empowered woman. And we are all, thoroughly sick of each and every one of them.

  • Five Clicks Up From Trailer Trash

    An English journalist, Victoria Mather, called Meghan Markle five clicks up from trailer trash yesterday, and again sang the song that she had disrespected the Queen. I personally think almost all of this hate is based in the sheer gorgeousness of the woman, and the disjunction between the British people (and Victoria Mather), most of whom are strikingly homely, the descendants of whom have populated trailer parks all over the world.

    In fact, 99.9% of us are five clicks from trailer trash, and those among us who’ve climbed out should be damned proud. Climbing out of the trailer park takes discipline, furiously hard work and opportunity, which, frankly is better found in the US, Canada and Australia than in the hidebound, very expensive British economy wherein toffs have dug themselves so deeply into the lifeblood of that economy that they grift off every single transaction. Compare prices in England to the US. $1.50 = $1.00. That’s 50% that the British aristocracy and other clever buggers take for themselves. The Queen, financially speaking, has no leg to stand on.

    The British media lost themselves, Meghan Markle, through the most vicious envy in print that I have ever read. Yeah, some of it was fabulous fun, but taking it? I was mentioned in a British tabloid once with regard to my sex life and it took six months to stop shuddering, it’s brutal and humiliating.

    Luckily MM will continue to entertain us with her intoxicating mix of beauty, silliness, vulnerability, (preposterously) identifying herself with the marginal, and courage. I don’t blame her for taking up residence in the furthest flung islet in the Commonwealth with the strongest privacy laws, surrounded by Canadians who are far too shy to do more than say ‘hey’, duck their heads and scurry away to their entirely safe and comfortable lives.

  • No HRH but a Leap of Faith

    I wish them both well. Most people I know would like to see them permanently humiliated, but it is the nature of every generation to flout convention, try something new, and just maybe, succeed.

    Here’s the reason, the only reason they gave, in Prince Harry’s voice today

    “But the media is a powerful force.”

    Harry mentioned once finding his wife sitting on the end of the bed, weeping over some cruelty or another. Little wonder he was re-experiencing his mother’s life. The couple was hounded, their privacy invaded, the criticism brutal. If Harry was used to it, Meagan was not. And why should she be? The necessary hardening leaves one slightly less than human. And from there, you lose a piece of your soul.

    So what if they are young and beautiful and very rich and very connected. Let them live it out.

    Now they can retreat when they need to, pull up the drawbridge, give access only to those they trust. And maybe they will create something wonderful. Enough with the malice people.

  • Tatler tells – One Year of Meghanomania

    An old bf (a brief brief time it was too) published a piece about Meghan Markle in Tatler this week. Tatler is the top society mag in the world and one of the oldest magazines still in existence. David’s piece (read it here: https://www.tatler.com/article/meghan-markle-mania) pretty much has to be seen as definitive for now. “One Year of Meghanomania” is a masterful thrash round the nodes of royal gossip, which manages to demonstrate in all its awful grandeur just how the toffs are handling the incursion of Hollywood into their extremely special, special safe place.

    Answer? Not Well. Not well at all. I do not think that, in the English-speaking world, there is any bunch of people more sharp-tongued and cruel than the British aristocracy. Their sense of entitlement is so hard-wired, they aren’t even aware it exists. Basically if they are after you, you are the fox and they are thundering across the field on two thousand pound highly trained animals. And they have guns.

    I do not think that, in the English-speaking world, there is any bunch of people more sharp-tongued and cruel than the British aristocracy. Their sense of entitlement is so hard-wired, they aren’t even aware it exists. Basically, if they are after you, you are the fox and they are thundering across the field on two thousand pound highly trained animals. And they have guns.

    Here’s the critical set up: “Was the tiara at the centre of that tantrum already promised to Princess Eugenie for her wedding, as some believe? (Harry and Meghan, don’t forget, queue-barged their way into the first Windsor wedding of 2018.) And did the Queen veto Meghan’s plans for a sleeveless wedding dress? The rumours may be false, but not as false as the speculation Meghan was pregnant on her wedding day – ‘that’s why the dress was so baggy,’ one young woman assured me – and certainly not as false as the rumour that theirs is an IVF baby.

    Here’s what is happening to her because of the jealousy: “But it’s rumours like that, and the drip, drip, drip of stories about aides leaving Meghan’s employ and servants being upset by her manner, that are making their lives such a misery. The Prince of Wales’ enthusiasm for his daughter-in-law is being ignored, as is Meghan’s role as the catalyst for a new warmth between Harry and his father. People who’ve lunched with her have loved her; she’s beautiful; she’s clever; she’s made Harry happy. What’s not to like?”

    Have the toffs brought her down yet? Not yet, but they’re having an effect.

    But are they happy as a couple? Harry’s circle has narrowed, and Meghan has shown how stung she’s been by letting her friends defend her in People magazine. George Clooney has stood up for her, invoking what happened to Diana, Princess of Wales as a warning. And it’s tough when her make-up chum, Daniel Martin, posts a picture of the tea she had laid out for him – avocado on toast, chocolates – and the line, ‘Thank you Meghan for being the consummate hostess this weekend and still being the #avocadotoastwhisperer’, and posh noses sniff; it’s just not on, they say – what sort of person is she having around? Meghan wants a doula; cue mockery. Even though Britain has ten times more interracial relationships than the rest of Europe, according to a study quoted by Afua Hirsch, author of Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging, some of the antipathy must be racist, as it was of the biracial President Obama. Which is hard to stomach. Some of it is anti-American, in the mocking Gwyneth Paltrow dynamic-5am-email sense. Some of it is captured in the Daily Express headline ‘Loving… but dominating’. Some of it reflects sadness at the passing of the Jack the Lad Harry, the roguish Harry, the roistering Harry, in favour of a more sober, duller version.”

    My advice? Avoid toffs at all costs.

  • In which I forgive Prince Charles because of his Highgrove garden


    Charles, the future sovereign of the English-speaking peoples, turned 70 yesterday.  He sails into this stature trailing an almost unimaginable privilege and wealth, well-deserved mockery from every segment of the polite and impolite worlds, and a spectacularly dead wife, for which most hold him responsible.

    Over the past weeks, we have been blessed with a tsunami of PR, a masterfully conceived and executed campaign to burnish his image including a trip to colorful Ghana and two flattering biographies, these biographies, moreover excerpted in newspapers with massive world-wide circulation.  Google has uploaded a detailed google-eye view of his gardens at Highgrove and official residence, Clarence House.  There have been television profiles and documentaries, multiple photo sessions with and without grandchildren, wife and fetching daughters-in-law and a host of print extolments from every still-reputable publication. If you are a Royalist these days, you are rolling in clover.

    I tend towards the republican view of the Royal Family and particularly of Charles who seemed to me to be a thorough-going putz.  This view is influenced by a ridiculous encounter, where I was forced by my employer to attend a private lunch and polo match to be capped by a formal introduction to the great man. I dutifully climbed into a designer suit and went off to a Palladian mansion with an attached polo field, ate, and flattered my way through the assembled aristocrats.

    Charles did not want to meet me, as it turned out.  He wanted to insult me.  After the match he roared up to our viewing tent, my guide pushed me into the scrim and through a preposterous fifteen minutes, I was shoved towards him, and he abruptly turned his back to me. Like, over and over and over again.  Shove, angle, the Royal back.  Shove, angle, the Royal back.  If I hadn’t been in shock, I would have been in stitches.

    Sometime after I realized he was deliberately insulting me because our sister publication, People, sold another million copies every time they put Diana on the cover.  So they did so.  A lot.  And he was truly incandescent with envy.  Charles had called me down to the Palace a few months prior and offered me, through his licentious PR Dickie Arbiter, an exclusive, if he could have the cover of TimeTime was unimpressed by this offer.  He was a snore to the brainiacs at Rockefeller Center. Never mind that I could have an exclusive with Diana for Life Magazine, the holy grail of 90’s journalism if they gave him a profile in Time.  Nope. Nope. Nope.

    So he decided to insult me the only way he could.  After which he roared off in his Aston Martin, top down, feeling fine.

    Understandably he earned me as an enemy.  Further, an enemy who thought he was ridiculous.  The silly elitism of his stance on Global Warming cemented my view.  I pitied his agonies over his dead wife, his unpopularity, his commitment to “the Rottweiler”, nevertheless, I thought he was an arrogant, ridiculously privileged putz without an ounce of intellectual rigor.

    Until I saw the gardens at Highgrove and was instantly seduced. There is nothing man-made more beautiful on earth than the Highgrove gardens. It is a visual representation of the English soul. I don’t care if he had endless money to build them, it was his vision, and he has created an astonishing tour of the most developed aesthetic I have seen and I include all known cultures, the hanging gardens of Babylon being unchronicled.  The English have persisted as a dominant race because they methodically integrate every beautiful and useful creation of other cultures.  Illustrated, most recently, by the Windsors’ adoption of a half-black Hollywood starlet and possible yacht girl and elevating her to Duchess.

    Other elites exclude.  The English ravish.

    The Highgrove garden may be the final argument for the monarchy and more for Charles’s future Kingship. As curator more than ruler, Charles is an example of a leader who has gone through the fires of hell, repented his sins, and recreated the garden.

    The Windsors represent.  Long live.