might have described the Duchess of Sussex as ‘awful’ the other day on
el feis, but this does not mean that I regard her as solely responsible for the simmering feud which currently divides the Royal
Family. Blame for that can be far more widely shared.
That was her thing and she was clearly dead set on doing her thing, unless carefully directed to do otherwise, and so in a sense, she is one of the least responsible for what transpired, even though first she trod all over her own family before focusing on her husband’s.
Does anyone really think her personal agenda included a lifetime of dedicated service to Britain? Even Harry must have understood early on that she was highly unlikely to put the interests of the institution above her own and that he might have to be wary about trusting her with some of its secrets. What he described as her ‘successful career’ was at that stage just a well-defined tendency.
The individuals that social climbers rub up the wrong way tend not to be those at the pinnacle, but dug in a bit further down at a level the arriviste must traverse.
Harry has been unable or unwilling to understand the full dynamic here. In the version of events that makes the most sense to him, the UK media moved on effortlessly from hounding his mother to death to shamelessly bigoted attacks on his wife.
But My Truth is not necessarily the Truth, at least not all of it, and the Sussexes' counter-attacks on the media represent not just a threat to the Monarchy, but also some of the press freedoms that we all need to be careful with, even when abhorring some of the opinions we encounter. And we have an ancient right to practice irreverence that we can never allow to be swept aside by bullies and dogmatists.
Yet journalists have undoubtedly been mixed up with the impellent forces here. This was always going to become a sort of death spiral: Harry and Meghan would start to act more like self-aggrandizing celebrities rather than Royals and sections of the media would duly push back to the limits of the legal. Someone had to break out of the chain; a behavioural or attitudinal shift was required. Appearing to censure or punish the Sussexes seems only to wind up the mechanism.