Bryony Gordon: Prince Harry was brave to attend the Chubbly & his marriage is fine

Prince Harry does have a handful of allies in the British media, Bryony Gordon among them. Gordon is one of the few journalists to be invited to Montecito to interview Harry, which she did as part of Harry’s Spare promotion back in January. She has repeatedly pointed out the healthy choices Harry has made to protect his wife, children and his sanity. Gordon wrote a really smart piece about Harry’s appearance at Westminster Abbey for his father’s coronation, and why Harry is so extraordinarily brave. It’s true. Some highlights:

Harry’s arrival at the Abbey: It takes strength to walk through Westminster Abbey balancing a five-pound crown made of solid gold on your head – but it takes a particularly special kind of fortitude to make that journey in just a simple black morning suit, knowing that most of the 2,000-strong congregation are watching your every move and waiting to see you stumble. All eyes were on the Duke of Sussex as he arrived for his father’s Coronation, but if the 38-year-old was feeling the pressure, he was damned if he was going to show it.

The seating arrangement: There was another impediment to staring at the Duke, given that he had been placed three rows back, next to Jack Brooksbank, the husband of Princess Eugenie, and Princess Alexandra, a cousin of Elizabeth II who hasn’t had a royal engagement in more than a decade. “He isn’t a working member of the royal family,” came the refrain, again and again, from officials at Buckingham Palace, as they explained this punitive seating plan. A working royal he may not be, but Prince Harry will always be the King’s youngest son, his ‘darling boy’. It seemed petty, then, to welcome the Duke as if he were a distant relative, especially when you consider his crime: standing up for his wife when he felt nobody else would.

The Sussexes’ marriage: Much has been made of the Duchess of Sussex’s decision to stay at home in Montecito, with one tabloid recently running a front-page splash shaming her for doing so. The narrative of the lone Duke has not been helped by images of him walking solo down the nave of the abbey, flanked by his cousins and their husbands. But the truth is that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s marriage is as strong as ever, with Harry determined to do everything in his power to protect the mother of his children from the dreadful pain she felt back in 2019, when she said that endless negative press attention left her feeling suicidal.

Meghan’s low profile: Sadly, the media narrative has changed little since then, with recent headlines suggesting that the Duchess’s current quietness is because she is busy behind the scenes trying to launch her own brand. The truth is a little less exciting than that: the only thing that Meghan is trying to do right now is protect her mental health, by keeping a low profile. Is it any surprise, then, that the Duchess chose not to throw herself into the lion’s den of the Coronation? That, on the day of her son’s fourth birthday, she felt a better use of her time would be to stay in the safe haven of her California home, where she could concentrate fully on Archie and Lilibet, and the lovely life they have created away from prying eyes? And yet despite her physical absence, Prince Harry went into Westminster Abbey with the full support of his wife behind him.

Charles the dogsh-t father: As ever, Beatrice and Eugenie were there to support their beloved cousin. There had been talk of Prince Harry perhaps making the family lunch, an invitation extended by the King as an apparent “olive branch”. But that peace offering was surely only ever about optics, with the team at Buckingham Palace knowing full well the Duke’s priority was getting back to the US to see his son so he could wish him a happy birthday in person.

[From The Telegraph]

As I watched BBC News just after the Abbey service, the British commentators tried and failed to make it sound like only Americans cared about Harry’s attendance at the coronation, like there hadn’t been months of front-page speculation, tantrums and lies in the British media. While I also think that Charles got “his day” and all eyes were on him (for better or for worse), it’s also true that every media outlet was obsessively focused on Harry’s comings and goings. And yes, I find Harry’s appearance “brave” and courageous too – that man was walking into the lion’s den. He watched his wicked stepmother stagger around in the crown his mother was supposed to wear. He dealt with it all and he left.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.

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