JAN MOIR: When WILL the Sussexes realise they can’t have it both ways?
JAN MOIR: When WILL the Sussexes realise they can’t have it both ways?
High up on that glittering glacier of royal privilege, hidden from view in their opulent snow palace (with many of its super-chill features paid for by the public purse, of course) the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have slipped another block of ice into their rampart of wintry privacy.
Tomorrow, their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, will be christened by the Archie-bishop of Canterbury during a small ceremony in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle.
There will be no television cameras or Press photographers allowed to film the arrivals, contrary to common royal practice.
Having godparents who are sworn to secrecy and must never reveal their godparentage to the world is only the start of The Secret Life Of Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor (Aged 1 And ¾ Months)
Even more preposterously, the names of Archie’s godparents will become a kind of state secret, because Prince Harry and Meghan never — repeat never — want their identities to be released. Pretentious? Nous?
Most folk couldn’t name the godparents of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children if their lives depended on it, so why all the fuss?
Over and over, I hear people saying that Harry and Meghan simply cannot have it both ways; that it’s wrong of them to enjoy all the perks and privileges of royal life without paying their dues and doing their duty to the public
Yet, for reasons known only to themselves, the control-freakery of the Sussexes has turned this happy event into a hush-hush affair, with secrecy levels raised to critical and bad feeling being provoked on all sides.
When are this pair of dim bulbs going to turn up the wattage and finally understand that there is a difference — a huge one — between celebrity and royalty?
That the grand affectations of a global superstar couple such as Jay Z and Beyonce, or even George and Amal Clooney, do not apply when you are senior royals anchored in the dull old United Kingdom, funded by Duchy of Cornwall coffers and, in due course, the Sovereign Grant.
Or that you’ve entered into a tacit pact with the British public, who expect you to share important family milestones as royalty has done since Victorian times.
One has to wonder what psychodrama is being played out behind the walls of Frogmore Cottage, where Prince Harry appears to have become hard-grained by perceived threat under a blizzard of imaginary grievances.
It is only a small christening, yet he prickles like a man who believes the public are trying to steal something from him.
One has to wonder what psychodrama is being played out behind the walls of Frogmore Cottage, where Prince Harry appears to have become hard-grained by perceived threat under a blizzard of imaginary grievances [File photo]
One official photographer will be present, to release a few pre-approved snaps. If the published images to date of the royal baby are anything to go by, we can expect sub-Hallmark card images of his feet, his hand, or perhaps his sweet little face pixelated under a tot-sized baseball cap. In sepia.
No wonder people are getting fed up of this charade and of Harry and Meghan themselves, who have squandered so much public goodwill in the two short years they’ve been together.
I was there on that happy day in 2017 when Meghan Markle performed her first official duties during a visit to Nottingham. The crowds cheered as she walked down the cobbled streets by Harry’s side, basking in the genuine affection.
Huddled against the cold of an English winter and with a megawatt smile that lit up the hearts of royal fans, it was a special moment. The future of the Royal Family seemed rosy and optimistic in the capable hands of this charming modern couple.
That the grand affectations of a global superstar couple such as Jay Z and Beyonce, or even George and Amal Clooney (above), do not apply when you are senior royals anchored in the dull old United Kingdom, funded by Duchy of Cornwall coffers and, in due course, the Sovereign Grant
How hollow that all seems now, following months of petulance, privacy demands and the couple presenting themselves to the world as the victims, not the victors, of life’s lottery. For these and other reasons, much of that warm national benevolence has evaporated.
Now, we are becoming familiar with the ongoing sourness of this Hollywood-style stand-off between the Sussexes’ understandable need for privacy and the bizarre extremes of their attempts to keep everyone at bay.
The Duchess knows how that world works.
No longer the ingenue actress trying to win an audience and bask in their approval, she is now centre stage in the consummate role of her career, her crowning achievement.
Yet there have been times, particularly around the birth of their son, when the Sussexes were behaving as though they were members of a witness protection programme, rather than the House of Windsor.
It is embarrassing. It is also insulting to a public who are deemed good enough to pay for their refurbishments at Frogmore, but not good enough to know who are godparents to the Queen’s great-grandson who is seventh in line to the throne.
And, if they sincerely wanted something low-key and no-frills befitting a private citizen, why draft in the A of C to officiate? After all, he is only the second most senior figure in the Church of England, after the Queen.
Over and over, I hear people saying that Harry and Meghan simply cannot have it both ways; that it’s wrong of them to enjoy all the perks and privileges of royal life without paying their dues and doing their duty to the public.
Yet they seem determined to do exactly that.
Having godparents who are sworn to secrecy and must never reveal their godparentage to the world is only the start of The Secret Life Of Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor (Aged 1 And ¾ Months).
Where is it all going from here? Nowhere good.
Min, the style revolutionary no one could hold a candle to
So sad to hear about Min Hogg (pictured), who has died at the age of 80. What I remember most were her very particular strictures about candles. Coloured ones were out and only cream — never white — were acceptable
So sad to hear about Min Hogg (pictured), who has died at the age of 80.
The former editor of The World Of Interiors magazine was one of my all-time favourite interviewees.
So obsessed with interior decor and how rooms should look, she would book into hotels and spend hours rearranging the furniture.
When she was burgled one Christmas in her Knightsbridge home, her neighbours dismissed the banging and crashing at 2am, reasoning it was just Min hanging pictures in the dead of night again.
Her magazine was regarded as the last word in design snobbery, while she was seen as an arch-elitist. Yet that wasn’t really true.
Min revolutionised interior magazines, breaking with the tradition of showing only lavishly furnished grand houses owned by posh people.
She believed that a cottage or an attic could be just as noteworthy and that ordinary people could make rooms even more beautiful than professional decorators.
She had her rules: themed Christmas trees were ‘utter poison’; furry cushions made her ‘puke’; and she had a particular hatred for slubbed silk. ‘Awful. Hideous.’
She also hated coffee tables, wooden floors with white walls, feng shui, designer kitchen items and the kind of objets d’art she dismissed as ‘knicky-knacky-noos’.
What I remember most were her very particular strictures about candles. Coloured ones were out and only cream — never white — were acceptable.
You must never, she ordered, leave the wick white on new ones after you put them in the candle-holders. ‘A solecism,’ she tutted. They had to be blackened immediately, by lighting them and then blowing them out.
Our interview took place nearly 20 years ago. Yet, craven snob that I am, I still follow her candle rules. Min, I will be lighting one for you tonight.
Don’t look back in anger, for your mum’s sake
The ‘war’ between ridiculous brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher (pictured) stumbles on into what seems like its second decade.
The rockers fell out when their band Oasis split and hostile relations have been the order of the day ever since.
The reason for their original disharmony has been lost in lager fumes and the mists of time. Yet on and on they argue, insulting each other across social media and dragging their families into their aggressive slipstream.
If they had a shred of decency, they might stop and think of their poor mother, Peggy. It must break her heart to see her two grown boys acting like this.
And, if they had a shred of sense, they would realise that, one day, when it is too late, they are going to regret their years of isolation and hostility.
If they had a shred of decency, they might stop and think of their poor mother, Peggy. It must break her heart to see her two grown boys acting like this
Good nannies are in such demand they are asking employers for six-figure salaries, wardrobe allowances and a nice car.
Plus they don’t want to do menial tasks, so don’t even ask about emptying the dishwasher.
Why should they get their hands dirty? Norland Nannies, for example, have cooking, child-rearing and housekeeping skills that are the envy of the world.
They are also trained in counter-terrorism techniques, know how to make a perfect bed and understand the quiet joy of something eggy on a tray for supper.
How I would love a Norland Nanny! Not for the children I forgot to have. . . but for myself.
Bad manners aren’t my cup of tea
American soccer star Alex Morgan celebrated her winning goal against the Lionesses this week by miming taking a sip of tea (pictured below).
It was supposed to be mocking the British, but shall we all agree it wasn’t a very good or witty joke?
I just thought she was a bit of a priss who was signalling to trainers that she wanted some water.
All in all, it has been quite a week for public displays of bad manners. We Brits cannot really complain about Miss Morgan’s rudeness after the appalling scenes in Brussels.
In the European Parliament, all the recently elected members of the Brexit Party turned their backs while the European anthem was played.
Meanwhile, the Lib Dems turned up wearing ‘B******s to Brexit’ T-shirts.
Has there been a more cringeworthy moment in our national history?
I know we all have our differences, but I have never felt so ashamed of my country and the pathetic, juvenile behaviour of those who represent us.
This is not who we are. Even as the country staggers, stuck in the convulsions of its 19th nervous breakdown since the EU referendum three long years ago, we are still better than this. Please.
American soccer star Alex Morgan celebrated her winning goal against the Lionesses this week by miming taking a sip of tea (pictured). It was supposed to be mocking the British, but shall we all agree it wasn’t a very good or witty joke?
How lovely that the Beckhams are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary. There was a time when few would have guessed the couple would last so long.
However, marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. So hats off to David and Victoria (pictured) who have endured when cynics said they would fail.
They have stayed the course, weathered the ups and downs and, since the invention of Twitter and Instagram, shared so much of it with us all.
Their relentless cataloguing of family life suggests a vested interest in doing so, but I can never get enough of their adventures.
Yet what a telling phrase in daughter Harper’s homemade book, which she gave to her parents as a gift. The seven-year-old mentioned the family’s ‘circle of trust’.
I guess it is mandatory, with so many millions at stake. The question is, where can I buy one?
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