Lee Cohen

Not all Americans are on Team Meghan

Not all Americans are on Team Meghan
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The press is awash with reports of the disgust and distaste of the American public towards the UK, in particular towards the Royal Family, with Americans apparently uncritically accepting the Duchess of Sussex’s ‘truth’. The UK press may have smelled a rat in what was portrayed at the Sussexes’ Montecito estate in the Oprah soft-soap spectacle; yet it seems overly inclined to take at face value reports of outrage and condemnation in the US. Rest assured, British cousins, this is not the whole story.

At present, the big guns of the US media are in the hands of people pushing a certain agenda. In the environment this creates, Meghan Markle must be believed, regardless of the obvious gaps in her account, because that serves the agenda. The ready acceptance of any public assertion by a woman of color of course works only if the subject is on message. When it comes to an American woman of colour who happens to be on the right, or a certain British Home Secretary, automatic benefit of the doubt doesn’t apply, because they are the ‘wrong sort’ who have sold out.

The British reader may have an interest in what the American person in the street actually thinks about the Oprah interview. I’m sorry to say that the information gap – how the UK is perceived and reported (and, in the case of the Royal Family, portrayed in fictionalised history like The Crown) – will lead plenty of Americans to take Meghan and Harry’s claims at face value. This is not, I’m glad to say, universally the case.

Taken at her word, the Duchess of Sussex remains ignorant of much regarding her husband’s country and the family into which she married. According to her interview, it appears she did less preparation for her life as a royal than she must have expended for any of her acting roles. But this supposed lack of knowledge must be claimed in order to present the conclusion that only racism deprived her child of the security protection and title that she saw as her son’s due as a great-grandchild of the Queen.

This is an obviously false narrative. Regarding the title, exception is made only for the children of the future king, in the unusual circumstance of the reigning monarch having great-grandchildren (a circumstance unforeseen when George V limited princely titles to the grandchildren of the monarch). It takes little research to know this, and it’s hardly credible that this was not explained to her. Similarly, the security provisions for the Sussexes were entirely consistent with all other working royals of comparable place in the succession.

A US audience can be forgiven for not having the background to be able to identify these obvious untruths. Even so, some have picked up that, even in the interview, Megan’s account was not wholly consistent with Harry’s.

Media over-simplification tends to neglect the Americans motivated to pursue a deeper understanding of the UK and its institutions, by awareness that our origins and national freedoms spring from the history and values shared with Britain. This cohort is impervious to demands to cancel history and culture, and is broadly in opposition to the proxy war being waged by media and academia against British and US institutions and values. Like our British opposite numbers, we do spot the inconsistencies in the narrative pushed by the Sussex duo.

Of course, we’re not helped by Biden jumping on the bandwagon, instantly praising Markle’s ‘courage’. But you must understand that he’s now – perhaps literally – captive to the wing of his party that pushes an institutional racism agenda, not least as cover for its manifest and long-term failure to make lives better in the inner cities (almost all in forever-Democrat political hands). And he’s President in large part by dint of a media that pushes the everything-is-about-race message.

I have been consistently reminding my countrymen who cheer the recent shameful exploits of the Sussexes and call for an end to the monarchy, that in this context the only opinions that count are of those in the Queen’s realms, amongst whom we are not. That said, it does not serve the Western World – still reliant largely on the Anglosphere for defence of its freedom – for Americans to have a less-positive view of our staunchest ally. In damaging the UK brand, the Sussexes have damaged the West.

In contrast to the bulk of current British press reports, it should be understood that many of us on this side of the Atlantic are very much not behind any part of Meghan’s intrusion into Harry’s performance of Hamlet. On the contrary, we view this latter-day Lady Macbeth, not only to be entirely in the wrong production but also on the wrong stage, at least when she was a supposed working royal.

An early danger signal about Meghan’s failure to understand the obligations of being a royal was her expressed personal views of President Trump – compounded subsequently by her intervention in the 2020 election. Compare and contrast this refusal to play her diplomatic part with the record of Her Majesty: whenever the national interest (as determined by the serving Government of the day) has required it, the Queen has unflinchingly provided a welcome to all manner of dictators, strong men and even Irish terrorists sharing responsibility for the death of her family members. Having been on the receiving end of Meghan’s disrespect, it’s somehow fitting to end with Mr Trump’s verdict: ‘I'm not a fan of hers, and I would say this …. I wish a lot of luck to Harry, because he's going to need it’. I daresay!


Written byLee Cohen

Lee Cohen, a senior fellow of the Bow Group and the Danube Institute, was adviser on Great Britain to the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee and founded the Congressional United Kingdom Caucus.

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