‘Speaking her truth’ has been one of Meghan Markle’s USPs – and what an absolute disaster it’s been, leading inevitably to the low point she has now reached this week, after she apologised to the Court of Appeal for ‘forgetting’ information about the Finding Freedom biography. For there are not different truths for different people; there is one true version of events.
The Windsor’s motto ‘Never complain, never explain’ was thought to have been introduced by the Queen Mother in 1936. A few years before she said, when it was suggested that the princesses Elizabeth and Margaret should be evacuated to a safer place like many British children of the time, that ‘the children won’t leave without me. I won’t leave without the King – and the King will never leave.’ This was probably one of the most outstanding examples of duty on the part of a ruling family ever witnessed, and one which has been practised to the nth degree by the Queen. This is one of the reasons why even blood-thirsty republicans such as myself admire her. She has carried out her work without complaint for 70 of her 95 years, understanding that massive privilege negates the right to complain. The never explaining bit is more problematic and can make her seem remote. But imagine if she did step in, sleeves rolled up like the late Barbara Windsor in EastEnders, to defend one of her ghastly sons: ‘My boy nevver touched ‘er – ‘e’s a good boy, ‘e is!’ It would be hilarious – but very unQueenly.
Meghan Markle, on the other hand, was raised in California, a place where letting it all out is presumed to be healthy. At first I found Meghan refreshing; it was lovely to see a woman marrying into such a staid family declaring herself a feminist, and indeed more than 70 female MPs wrote an open letter castigating the media for its misogynistic treatment of this multi-cultural breath of fresh air. When the Duchess won her case against Associated Newspapers, which publishes the Mail on Sunday, many fair-minded people believed that justice had been done.
How naive this seems now. Though the Duchess had been assumed to have quit her acting career in order to spend more time with her merchandise (Lilibet Diana Ltd becoming a beloved younger sister to Archewell Inc) perhaps she was actually performing her most convincing role yet; that of a loving daughter unwillingly estranged from her darling dad, distraught when the clammy claws of the press got their hands on private correspondence.
But now her former communications secretary, Jason Knauf, has thrillingly blabbed that the letter the duchess wrote to her father appeared to have been stage-managed for public performance, having texted him ‘Obviously everything I have drafted is with the understanding that it could be leaked, so I have been meticulous in my word choice.’ And then of course her poor addled dad hit back; it’s like when the Beatles broke up and John and Paul kept recording bitchy songs about each other rather than sit down in a room and have it out.
When Diana: Her True Story was published, we knew right away that the princess had whispered directly into Andrew Morton’s ear; you could hear her troubled yet brave voice clearly. Similarly, the sickly fan-fawn Finding Freedom, though ostensibly written independently by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, carried the see-how-I-suffer stamp of the Duchess’s expensively-shod foot all over it.
And now, despite her denial of any involvement with the book, the Duchess has had her memory jogged after Mr Knauf testified that the book was discussed ‘on a routine basis’ by the Duchess. Some particularly sickening messages from Markle to Knauf on calling her father ‘daddy’: ‘Given I’ve only ever called him daddy it may make sense… and in the unfortunate event that it leaked it would pull at the heartstrings’. And: I ‘toiled over every detail which could be manipulated… and if he leaks it then that’s on his conscious (sic) but at least the world will know the truth. Words I could never voice publicly.’ She also appears to have briefed the authors on her relationship with her half-siblings, including that her half-sister Samantha had lost custody of all three of her children by different fathers, which Samantha disputes. Let’s hear it for sisterhood!
The Duchess has provided several excuses for denying any contact with Scobie and Durand during the Associated Newspapers case. But I think it more likely that she is habitually ‘perpetuating falsehoods’ as she so ickily accused the Royal Family of doing during the Oprah interview, without even knowing she’s doing it. When she claimed that she and Prince Harry had had a private wedding before the nasty big common one that supposedly cost us plebs £30 million, was she telling the truth? When she said she had never had any interest in the British Royal Family, was she being honest? Her close childhood friend Ninaki Priddy has said, ‘The Royal Family was something she found fascinating. She had Diana: Her True Story on her bookshelf. I wasn’t shocked or even surprised to hear about Prince Harry. I know she used to love The Princess Diaries — films about a commoner who becomes part of a Royal Family. She was very taken with that idea.’
Markle has used, albeit amateurishly, many people on her rise to – well, what? The Sussex cred is rapidly falling in celebrity circles; the Royal Family are reportedly disgusted by the Netflix deal which will take the dollar from the company which made The Crown.
Dishonourably, Markle has used the very real evils of racism and misogyny to conceal her true mission – ceaseless promotion of herself to a level of sainthood, or at least Oprah-hood. But the curtain has been pulled aside and, as with the Wizard of Oz, we see the C-list actress, growing old in a profession obsessed with youth, manipulating a damaged and dim young man for her own ends. In short, what I memorably named ‘The Grabdication.’
The Telegraph writes: ‘Her admission that she misled the court in a sworn statement also raises the issue of whether she committed perjury though legal experts suggest her actions have not crossed the threshold for what is a criminal offence that carries a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment’ – giving the possibility of being detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure an entirely new spin. Either way, recollections will be unlikely to vary when Meghan Markle goes down in history.
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Julie Burchill’s book ‘Welcome To The Woke Trials: How #Identity Killed Progressive Politics’ is published by Academica Press.