Meghan Markle does not get the British. These are a people who kept their chins up through the Blitz, getting on with it even as the Luftwaffe’s bombs and rockets came raining down on them. They built an air force from scratch to go up against some of the best-engineered warplanes at the time as America dithered about sending their boys to some “foreign war”. They refused to be victims.
This clash of cultures came on exhibit in that explosive interview with America’s Queen of Talk. If there was anybody who was doing their job in this media circus, it was Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey remains the master of the set-up. This interview certainly was one such excellent set-up. The carefully-crafted body language she exhibited and her loaded questions — which, to be fair, she called out as such in that segment about skin colour (America’s favourite topic) — greased the conversation towards its eventual engineered conclusion about the British crown. Oprah basically delivered what Americans wanted to hear. This is why she gets paid the big bucks.
What did America want to hear? Easy. They wanted validation that all this was really all about race. Americans assume that “The Black Thing” is as acute in the United Kingdom as it is in the United States. It clearly isn’t. Not to say all is peachy in the UK but it abolished slavery in 1833 across the Commonwealth — earlier and relatively peacefully before the Americans did. In America, on the other hand, it did not happen until 1865 — after hundreds of thousands died in a bloody civil war. Notwithstanding that, a deep divide persists between the former warring southern Confederate and northern Union states to this day. The deep scars of this war remain and continue to polarise American society. Just observing accents alone, it is easy to see that black people in the US keep their community fabric tight compared to their UK counterparts whose accents are relatively indistinguishable to those of non-minorities.
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It is from within this context of their colonies that Prince Harry and the Duchess whip up a self-serving media frenzy with Oprah gleefully coming into the loop to play into that easy space to which she owes her stellar talk show career. Victimhood and redemption are the bread-and-butter of American showbiz after all and there is easy money to be made in that space.
The fact is, the British monarchy has been around for hundreds of years and it was the face of UK society in those hard times when grit was of the essence and that stoicism that characterises the British in the face of adversity kept them going. Meghan Markle was being blitzed by the British media. Unfortunately for her, she did not have that same grit to keep her chin up and get on with it. She became an American looking for a story of victimhood within an institution that led its subjects in a resolve to refuse to be victims at a time when bombs and threats from Nazi Germany aimed to convince the British people that they were such.
So, yes, Oprah did her job. The world is entertained. Are Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle doing theirs? The jury is still out but considering that this is the Court of Public Opinion we are talking about, there will be no judge to issue a final ruling on the matter. But that’s the goal, right? To keep the debate — and the chatter — going forever. The only people laughing all the way to the bank amidst all this will be Big Corporate Media who are in the enviable position of being both the protagonists and the antagonists in this hit show.
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