Suzanne Breen: Harry blew a hornet’s nest with The Firm

MOST of the British tabloids want us to hate Harry. The anti-prince propaganda that has poured out of their pages over the past week proves the truth of so much of what he writes in his book, Spare.

We are faced with what whistleblowers who uncover rich and powerful institutions usually face – attacks on their character and credibility and accusations that they are doing it for selfish, dirty reasons.

And so newspapers, which have made millions from their clickbait crap about his life, are furious that he should profit from telling his own story.

We’ve seen questions raised about his mental health, and minor errors in his memoir have been leveled to portray him as a liar.

His disclosure that he had killed 25 Taliban in Afghanistan was shamefully twisted into claims that he was boasting about his kill count.

Far from glorifying the conflict, Harry wrote: “Afghanistan was a war of mistakes, a war or enormous collateral damage – thousands of innocents were killed and maimed and that always haunts us.”

The false narrative created could easily endanger him and his family. The prince has become public enemy number one for lifting the curtain on an opaque and exclusive institution at the heart of the state.

This is not royal life, as the establishment screenwriters want us to believe. Harry has uncovered the toxicity, envy, machinations and – most importantly – ruthlessness at the heart of The Firm.

With only a few months away from the coronation of King Charles, a counter-offensive was imperative.

The claims that Camilla shared stories about others in order to develop a positive, personal relationship with the press and redeem herself so she could become queen come at an extremely inopportune time. Camilla has already faced criticism for inviting Sun columnist Jeremy Clarkson to a private Christmas dinner just days before publishing his hateful tirade against Meghan Markle.

Clarkson wrote that he “dreamed of the day when she would have to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowd cried out ‘Shame!’ calls. and throw clods of feces at them”.

Another of Meghan’s most scathing critics, Piers Morgan, was also among Camilla’s guests.

Harry emerges from the book as someone genuinely trying to be a better version of himself. At times he comes across as spoiled, self-pitying and petty, but there is also soul-searching and self-mockery.

The hyper-alertness is admittedly irritating. The prince is introduced on the first page as “husband, father, humanist, military veteran, advocate of mental well-being and environmentalist”.

Given the poverty and deprivation many families endure, it’s infuriating when he compares William and Kate’s Kensington Palace apartment to his and Meghan’s home, which is outfitted with Ikea lamps and a cheap sofa. Even the life of a royal B-lister is still one of immense privilege.

But that didn’t ease the pain of losing his mother. Harry’s life is completely determined by Diana’s death. He’s still the 12-year-old boy walking the streets of London behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people and watched by millions.

Physical affection is effectively forbidden. Harry longs to hug family members, including his late Grandma the Queen. “I had never done this before and could not imagine any circumstance under which such an act could be sanctioned,” he writes.

At the core of this book are the rigid, inflexible rules of royalty that ruin lives. These ridiculous rules forced Charles and Diana into a loveless marriage.

Camilla Shand would never have been a suitable bride because, unlike Diana, who was the daughter of an earl, she had no title. And then there was their relationship history: She wasn’t a virgin.

Lord Mountbatten advised Charles: ‘In a case like yours the man should sow his wild oats and have as many affairs as possible before he settles down. But I think for a woman he should choose a suitable, attractive and cute character girl before she meets someone else to fall in love with.”

And so a 32-year-old is married to the teenage bride he’d only met 13 times before their engagement.

And 30 years later, the couple’s eldest son, William, had no choice about what he wore on his wedding day – the Queen forced an Irish Guards uniform on him against his will.

“Africa is my thing, you can’t have it,” Harry claims his brother told him in an argument about royal activities as if they owned the continent.

Harry remains a supporter of the monarchy, but almost everything he divulges in his memoir – whether intentionally or unknowingly – is a reason to end it.

From the Faustian pact the House of Windsor made with the tabloids to its members’ repugnant rivalry over money, official commitments and media coverage, everything is merciless.

Harry is the “reserve” he hates because the whole edifice is built on hierarchy, primogeniture and inequality.

The monarchy is inherently undemocratic and unaccountable.

Those like the whistleblowing Prince who claim it can be turned into something progressive couldn’t be more wrong.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sunday-life/comment/harrys-poked-a-hornets-nest-by-taking-on-the-firm-42286835.html Suzanne Breen: Harry blew a hornet’s nest with The Firm

Linh

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