Meghan and Harry are threatening to take legal action over the Queen Rift claims. Photo / Getty Images
The Battle of Agincourt began with a volley of arrows fired by exhausted English forces, while Napoleon’s forces launched the Battle of Waterloo just before lunchtime (rude, right?) With artillery bombardment .
But who needs guns in 2021 when we have people?
This week, after a period of unusual peace and quiet on the royal front, skirmishes resumed with lawyers called in after a new report in the US weekly, which resuscitated the face-to-face between Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Buckingham Palace over allegations of royal racism.
On August 31, which will also mark the 24th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the updated edition of the staunchly pro-Sussex biography Finding Freedom is expected to be released. Thus, Omid Scobie, one of the authors of the title is back on the public relations campaigns.
Audiences got a first glimpse of the new PR misery that may be in store for palace courtiers thanks to this week’s People cover story which features an interview with Scobie.
In the article, he alleges that Harry and Meghan felt Her Majesty did not take “full responsibility” for the racism allegations they raised during their prime-time outpouring.
(In March, the Duchess claimed there had been “conversations about her unborn son’s skin color” and that tabloid press racism had been “a big part” of why they decided to leave the UK. The Queen’s response to the allegations was sparse at 61 words, saying in part: “The issues raised, particularly that of race, are cause for concern. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously. seriously and will be treated by the family in private. “)
Scobie and co-author Carolyn Durand, per People, write in the new edition of Freedom: “The Queen’s Comment” Memories May Vary “” Has Not gone unnoticed “by the couple, who a close source says , was “not surprised” that full ownership was not taken. “
They quote “a friend of Meghan’s” saying: “Months later and little responsibility has been taken. How can you go forward with this?”
Do you hear that sound? It is the bandage torn from the still raw wound that are the allegations of racism that Meghan has already brought to the palace.
To be clear here, it’s not the Sussexes themselves who are reopening this particular Pandora’s Box.
Last year, when the book was first published, the couple denied having contributed to it. As part of Meghan’s privacy lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday, the Duchess’s lawyers have listed a series of “incorrect” details in Freedom.
However, also during the same case, it appeared that on one occasion she had transmitted information, via an intermediary, to the authors “to avoid any further misrepresentation”.
Yesterday, the lawyers acting for Harry and Meghan returned to action (these two certainly maintain their legal team in billable hours, don’t they?) Keeping the couple away from Scobie’s new claims and threatening legal action if any media suggested they had “re-started a rift” with the Queen.
As a source told The Daily Beast overnight, “They created this problem themselves. By talking to Scobie, they made him their unofficial spokesperson, so people are embracing it.”
Beyond all of this, what is clear is that this People story, and the upcoming global campaign to move copies of Freedom, will see the Sussexes’ damaging claims about their palace treatment resurrected in the press. and brought back to the fore.
And that, in turn, will only serve to remind the world how inept and deeply inadequate Buckingham Palace’s response to the charge of racism has been and continues to be.
The Queen has claimed Meghan’s claims will be dealt with “in private”, but is that enough for a ruler who presides over a Commonwealth, the majority of whose population is made up of people of color?
While it was revealed earlier this year that Buckingham Palace is considering hiring a diversity czar, no announcement has been made on the matter. In June, the annual sovereign grants report revealed for the first time that only 8.5% of royal staff are from ethnic minorities, a source saying “we can do better”.
Does it cut English mustard? Far, far from it.
A poll carried out weeks after Oprah’s interview found that nearly 43% of non-white Britons believed the royal family was racist, compared with just 27% who thought they were not. The same poll of ethnic minority voters found that on whether the UK should retain the monarchy, the “yes” only crossed the line with 43% versus 40% in the “camp” no”.
The Royal Family have a lot of ground to cover on this issue, on the grounds that they have so far not taken any public action to try to catch up with it.
This People story, and any other new piece released to attempt to tempt the masses of book buyers, will only reinforce how much the monarchy is on the high seas right now when it comes to tackling issues. of race raised by the Duke and Duchess.
Give the courtiers a toe sucking scandal or a suggestion of some kind of murky financial scam or a Windsor just got caught without his pants on in Vegas and that’s okay. Get out the pro-forma press release Gerald, there’s a good guy.
But when it comes to facing Harry and Meghan’s very serious allegations head-on, the palace has unequivocally failed.
The only HRH to come out directly and respond directly to Harry and Meghan’s claims was Prince William who firmly told the press days after the interview saying the royal family was “not at all racist”.
But, sorry, the occasional stingy denial is just a sorry excuse for an institution that needs to do better if it is to still be in the business of the throne into the next century.
Here is at least one good thing that Scobie has alleged, telling people that we are now in happy territory forever, and that the Duke and Duchess are staying away from “part of the toxicity.”
“They seem to exist in a different place, and that place is a lot healthier,” Scobie said. “Meghan said it was not enough to survive – we are now in the chapter of prosperity.”
Same thing, one could say, for their lawyers too …
• Daniela Elser is a royal expert and writer with over 15 years of experience working with a number of major Australian media titles.