The institutional rigging of the U.K. received a thrashing in international public opinion after Oprah’s Harry and Meghan CBS interview that aired on March 7, 2021, with wider international distribution on later dates. The interview was a ratings boon for the television network with 17.1 million U.S. viewers, 11.3 million in the U.K., and the U.S. encore that netted an additional 3.1 million. Overall, global views topped 50 million.
The great behemoth of a monarchy wobbled on Humpty Dumpty’s wall. The arrogance of an institution and its enablers continue on faith that the monarchy and its reputation are impervious to all scandals and condemnation.
After all, the House of Windsor has racked up so many infractions that the tally should rattle its subjects’ sensibilities. But alas, it’s a weird relationship of indulging the messy royals’ bad behavior, unethical missteps, and whispered illegal conducts because of divine right to rule, tourism dollars, and more manufactured nonsense to justify their existence.
But Oprah stepped into the ring with the finesse and talent that built her reputation as a talk show host and celebrity interviewer to lift the posy off the teapot and show the rusted, dented royal carcass.
For those of us who don’t wear rose-colored glasses, we knew the monarchy had its trashy ways. We knew the staff and courtiers moved like vipers in a pit. We knew the tabloids exist in the seven circles of hell. But the details and confirmation were a gift from Harry and Meghan’s personal experiences with mention of receipts, if necessary.
By the next day, the monarchy was left a$$-out scrambling to ease the sting of criticism and condemnation, to look like they had a soul, to soothe the rumblings of their dwindling empire/commonwealth.
With a buffoon like Boris and his much-criticized race report, a right-wing tabloid smear campaign, the enabling coon brigade of black and brown Brits, and the rollout of the cardboard stiffs—the royals, the PR machine operated at manic levels to bump out the dents, rotate the bald tires, and spray a fresh layer of perfume to cover their bullsh*t.
One area that the institution is most comfortable propping up is the go-to strategy of reinforcing the White Woman Virtue and the White Man Virility in the personages of Kate and William. Before going any further, here are a few must-read books to understand the insidious mindset underscoring this topic: Ruby Hamad’s White Tears/Brown Scar: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color, Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu’s This Is Why I Resist, Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins Of Our Discontent.
Without rehashing the litany of prejudicial and racial biases leveled against Meghan to elevate Kate’s existence, the overused dig against Meghan is her career as an actress. As such, to them, she can’t be trusted or believed because her actions and words are all an act.
That’s rich, considering the reality of the British king and queen-making machinations. William, from a young age, was taken aside for his lessons to be king. We know Kate was given and probably still given lessons to transform into queen material.
Public showings of this couple are staged like trained circus donkeys showing up to entertain the audience. There is no such thing as a casual walkabout, not even to a supermarket or a bike ride in the countryside. Public displays of affection are restrained or manipulated for the public.
First, we have Kate who has transformed into an emotionally repressed, vacuous woman hoisted onto a pedestal and curated as the white princess trope for little girls to aspire to be and for traditionalists to pine for in their new queen. And Kate has mastered bestowing her appreciative gaze or her indulgent smile with the appropriate touch of a colonizer’s benevolence.
While her plastic smile can light up magazine covers, it’s Kate’s tears that can galvanize an adoring nation, recruit ready defenders, and stir passions to condemn the cause of those precious tears. It’s Kate’s tears that are monetized and weaponized to keep her on that pedestal. Because at all costs, her flawed character must be protected.
When the story leaked that “Meghan made Kate cry”, the tabloids went into a frenzy to vilify Meghan. The public, already fed on a diet of salacious articles, foamed at the mouth over their precious white woman weeping; their future queen terrorized by Meghan.
Tabloids wrung every penny from those manufactured tears. Advertisers on their platforms got their rewards. With the help of royal reporters who broke the false news and helped to spread the lies, Kate as the victim was given life. The damsel in distress was given comfort and the benefit of any doubt.
And when Meghan revealed that she was the one who was made to cry by Kate, the defenders of white woman virtue stepped up. In their eyes, Meghan should not have corrected this fallacy in public, if at all. Meghan should not disabuse people of their manipulated opinions of her. As British comedian Gina Yashere says, “White women tears are weapons coming from their faces.”
Meanwhile, Black tears are not to be shed, if deemed discomforting to white folk. Case in point, Sharon Osbourne’s: “Don’t you cry, because if anyone should be crying, it should be me” when addressing her colleague, Sheryl Underwood, during a heated discussion about racism.
Osbourne inferred that she is to be protected, defended, uplifted as her fragility and ego earned a rebuke when confronted with her warped views.
To further shellack that image of white genteel femininity, Kate “dropped in” on the vigil for a woman who was kidnapped and murdered by an off-duty cop. By the way, let me know in the comments if Kate ever showed up for a vigil or met with families for any of the British black and women of color who are missing or killed.
When Kate’s mask-less presence was criticized because of the lock-down rules, Met police chief Cressida Dick commented that Kate was working at the vigil. So, given the carefully orchestrated outings of the trained royal circus donkeys, shouldn’t we question the photo op’s careful poses of concern and contemplation? Was the display part of the royal work effort versus a woman-to-woman show of solidarity?
Kate kept silent during the false accusation against Meghan. Even if the courtiers counseled her not to defend or rebut the reporting, Kate and her husband have power and have shown many times to flout the rules of never explaining. So, with Meghan’s case and the case of the vigil, Kate is not BFF material because that’s some devious, rotten-to-the-core personality quirks.
Not a finger to be lifted. All that’s required is for her to be molded into a weird pretzel; at once docile and milking the sting of her tears and an anti-imperialist (Will, watch your back) revolutionary à la Che Guevara.
Lucky her, she’s got the perfect partner-in-crime with William. After the interview, the royal fixers had him popping into a school with a Black headmistress to say his family was not racist. Tabloids featured articles of a prince willing to face his destiny. But the pièce de résistance was the sexiest bald man poll floating through social media as a sign of his white man virility. Puff.
That was the gift that just kept giving as Hollywood heavyweights weighed in on the ludicrous poll results that William, of all people, was the sexiest bald man. Check out the memes if you need a good belly laugh. I mean, it’s not as is the institution and its machine is known for their excellence but, whoever thought anything that will draw attention to William’s looks was a good idea, is perfectly at home in that fold.
And while the U.K. turns a blind eye to Priti Patel’s eyebrows and expense report, serial baby-maker Boris, the fallout of Prince Andrew’s friend—Ghislane Maxwell’s latest charge of sex trafficking a 14-year-old girl, the institutional machine to protect the U.K.’s most lucrative and diversionary asset—the monarchy—will be at full throttle. It must protected by any means necessary. It’s all about the money.