As the Duke of Sussex shrewdly observes, albeit without an ounce of self-awareness: ‘It’s amazing what people would do when offered a huge amount of money — £50,000 or £100,000 to hand over photographs, to create a story’.
Though we don’t know quite how much the Sussexes have pocketed for handing over their own photos and stories for this lavish self-portrait, it is certainly very much more than that.
And it is, indeed, amazing that they have been so willing to belittle the royal world, without which Netflix would not be remotely interested in their story. So it is perhaps just as well that Her Late Majesty did not have to endure their withering assessment of one of her greatest achievements — the Commonwealth of nations.
‘Britain calculated that it needed to grant these countries independence in a way that protected its commercial and capitalist interest. So it created this privileged club called the Commonwealth,’ declares the writer, Afua Hirsch, as she explores institutional racism in the UK.
It is perhaps just as well that Her Late Majesty did not have to endure Harry and Meghan’s withering assessment of one of her greatest achievements
‘The Commonwealth is still described as a club of friends who share common values. I find that language really problematic,’ Hirsch continues. ‘I sometimes call the Commonwealth ‘Empire 2.0′ because that is what it is.’
The series also draws a direct link between the modern monarchy, via the Commonwealth and the Empire, back to the slave trade, pointing out that Elizabeth I was an early investor in the trans-Atlantic slave trade (which indeed she was).
That racist attitudes persist at the Palace to this day is illustrated by the fact that Princess Michael of Kent wore a ‘blackamoor’ brooch to a Christmas reception which Meghan also attended in 2017.
Commending Prince Harry for acknowledging his own ‘unconscious bias’, Ms Hirsch says: ‘I always perceived Prince Harry as just another senior royal who’s a little bit racist, very ignorant… but I have seen that he has really embraced the education that is required for someone like him to transform themselves into an anti-racist.’
So there we have it in the space of just a few minutes: the royals are closet racists (except for Harry) and the Commonwealth is a fig-leaf covering up a monstrous past for commercial gain. That, at least, is the conclusion which will now be drawn by millions of Netflix viewers.
Just before the couple’s wedding, Her Majesty appointed Harry as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador
The Sussexes may not have said so themselves. But since their production company, Archewell Productions, has its name splashed across the credits at the start of what they insist on calling ‘our story’, they clearly endorse this version of events.
It’s hard to know where to begin. The Commonwealth was not created to prop up the ‘capitalist interests’ of Britain but to ease the transformation from colonial administration to independence. Back then, many in Whitehall argued that the Commonwealth was a drain on resources. Many member states, in turn, were furious at the impact on their own economic interests when Britain joined the European Common Market.
The Queen was the first monarch in British history to come to the throne in the expectation that she would reduce Britain’s footprint, hand over power and do so with goodwill and a handshake. That she was so successful is explained by the fact that, on her watch, Commonwealth membership went from eight to 56. It really is a ‘club’ in that anyone is free to leave whenever they want, except they don’t.
And if it is ‘Empire 2.0’ then what on earth was going on last month when I attended an event to welcome the newest member state, Gabon? It has never been British. President Macron is certainly not happy that a member of the Paris-based ‘Francophonie’ has now jumped ship and will soon be speaking English.
Just this week, delegates from all over the world have been at Mansion House in the City of London for the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council’s latest trade and investment summit on ‘sustainable energy, food security and resilience’.
Harry and Meghan with Meghan’s dog Guy the beagle who is recovering after breaking two of his legs
Wearing her heart on her T-shirt: Matching smiles and beanies for the couple so in love. Pure romance: An intimate snap as Harry goes down on one knee to ask Meghan to marry him
Yet, at no point in this TV series — thus far, at least — have the couple mentioned how the late Queen and the Commonwealth worked so hard to give them both a global platform. Just before their wedding, Her Majesty appointed Harry as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.
She not only went on to make him President of her Queen’s Commonwealth Trust but appointed Meghan its Vice-President. What’s more, Meghan was also made patron of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
Yet now the Sussexes want to paint all that as some sort of imperial throwback, as they jet from one glitzy gala to another preaching homilies about their ‘sacrifices’.
Meanwhile, far from sunny California, the Head of the Commonwealth was to be found visiting a cafe for refugees in North London yesterday. From there, the King moved on to the Ethiopian Christian Fellowship Church for an Advent service for ‘diverse Christian communities’.
Who, I wonder, has the firmer grasp on the problems facing the real world?
Post source: Daily mail