Harry and meghan

Is Nigel Farage really a grifter?

That Coutts dossier on Nigel Farage said in passing: ‘He is considered by many to be a disingenuous grifter.’ I didn’t quite know what grifter here meant. According to the Telegraph, a podcast host at Spotify called the Duke and Duchess of Sussex ‘grifters’. That does not limit the semantic field. It feels to me like a synonym for chancer, which in an 1889 dictionary of slang was defined as ‘one who attempts anything and is incompetent’.  Stephen Frears’s film The Grifters (1990), not to be recommended to anyone of a nervous disposition, deals with fixing racecourse odds, running confidence tricks, and even faking one’s own death. Get the Grift

Poll: public want a ‘modest’ coronation

Strikes. Inflation. Political instability. It’s been a pretty miserable few months in Britain – but some in government are hoping that the coronation in May changes all that. The bunting will be out and the flags on display, to celebrate our septuagenarian monarch (finally) getting his hands on the Imperial State Crown. But with the royals involved in the odd rumpus or two, which members of King Charles’ family will be there in attendance? There’s much speculation about whether the dilettante Duke and Duchess of Sussex will take time out of their busy media schedules to mark the happy day. And while many royalists are angry at the couple’s near

Five times Harry invaded other people’s privacy

‘It never needed to be this way,’ sighs Prince Harry in the trailer for his forthcoming ITV interview: ‘the leaking and the planting… I want a family not an institution.’ The Duke has long-despised the meddling machinations of Fleet Street’s finest, telling Andrew Marr in 2016 that: Everyone has a right to privacy. Sadly that line between public and private life is almost non-existent any more. We will continue to do our best to ensure that there is the line… Everyone has a right to their privacy, and a lot of the members of the public get it, but sadly in some areas there is this incessant need to find out every

Will anyone watch a Harry and Meghan Netflix docuseries?

Picture the convivial scene. You have been invited into the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s palatial £11 million mansion in Montecito, California as an honoured guest. Once you have removed your shoes, been frisked for weapons or recording devices and been offered a kombucha smoothie, you are ushered into the inner sanctum of the world’s most talked-about satellite branch of the royal family. What would you expect to find? A dartboard with Prince Charles’s face on it? Endless piles of obscure genealogical books that explain why Prince Harry is, in fact, the rightful heir to the throne? Or endless expensive, studiedly tasteful rooms that lack any heart and soul whatsoever?

Harry and Meghan’s balcony ban is a mistake

Once again, a moment that should be a unifying and celebratory for the Windsors has attracted division and discord. It has been reported today that Harry and Meghan will not appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. All of this controversy for a fleeting appearance on what someone described on social media as ‘an outdoor patio on the second floor of an old building’. It’s the world’s most famous outdoor patio, utilised first by Queen Victoria in 1851 to mark the opening of the Great Exhibition. Since then, the Buckingham Palace balcony has been a focal point and climax of significant national celebrations and commemorations.

Why Meghan Markle’s Netflix show was cancelled

In their post-royal careers, Harry and Meghan have learned two lessons in quick succession: firstly, that membership of the royal family opens the door to media deals less well-connected celebrities could only dream about. Secondly, they have learned that even royal fame will not, ultimately, help one of the biggest media organisations in the world sell a product that the public finds unappealing. No doubt Meghan thinks mightily of the concept of Pearl, her proposed animated Netflix series in which a 12-year-old girl is inspired by great women in history. But it seems potential viewers are rather less enamoured. Netflix has cancelled the series before it was even made. Considering

The ten most-read Steerpikes of 2021

Farewell then 2021 – what a year it’s been. Twelve months of Covid craziness brought with it ample opportunities to lampoon the great and the not-so-good in British public life, from narcissistic royals to inept Europhiles.  Below is a round-up of Steerpike’s most read articles from 2021, covering some of the year’s biggest moments such as the vaccine procurement wars and the death of Prince Philip to lighter episodes like Prince Harry’s thoughts on freedom of speech.  But while the dilettante Duke and Duchess of Sussex took both bronze and silver medals, gold could only go to the Guardian for its attempted self-immolation over how to cover transgender issues. Mr S

It’s Harry, not Meghan, who’s the real problem

Who or what drove Harry and Meghan to leave the royal bosom for the land of slebs on the other side of the Atlantic? That’s one of the central questions of a new two-part documentary, The Princes and the Press, that aired on the BBC last night. The obvious suspect is the dreaded British media — barging, intrusive, xenophobic — riddled with prejudice, we’re told, against a mixed-race American in the monarchy. But the jostling between royal households seems equally responsible. After the early days of Hazza and Megz, a clear jealousy from some of William and Kate’s people began to seep into the media. The younger brother and his

Harry and Meghan are wrong about Covid vaccine patents

Pharmaceutical companies might think it a bit rich being asked to waive the patents on their Covid vaccines by Harry and Meghan, a couple who have rejected the concept of public service in an attempt to monetise their royal status. But let’s overlook the charge of hypocrisy and ask whether there really is any substance to Harry and Meghan’s charge that ‘ultra-wealthy’ pharmaceutical companies are holding up the vaccination of the developing world by refusing to surrender their intellectual property. It is certainly not true in the case of AstraZeneca, which has made its vaccine available at cost price. Not only that, it has licensed production to the Serum Institute

Is Harry and Meghan’s Time profile a parody?

Of course the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are named in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2021. And of course their listing, which makes the publication’s front cover, is accompanied by a lavish citation and photos of the pair put together by Hollywood A-list stylists. Did we really expect anything less? Time truly has it all. First there are the photos. The couple are groomed beyond the imagining of mere mortals, their clothes carefully co-ordinated. They are artistically positioned in order to comprise both a beautiful image and a political statement. Yes, indeed! These are no ordinary celebrity snaps. They are Harry and Meghan’s meaningful portraits. The cover shot

Harry and Meghan’s glib Afghan statement

Finally, some news to cheer us all up on this grim, relentless August. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been rendered ‘speechless’ by the news from Afghanistan and Haiti. No doubt, there’ll be no more Oprah interviews or birthday messages. And there’ll be no more lectures from Harry on the importance of imagining how it feels to be a raindrop or from Meghan on the importance of people asking her if she is okay. At least, that’s what we should assume, right? Surely being left ‘speechless’ is a sign that you are about to shut up? Unless, of course, you are Harry and Meghan. In their world, being ‘speechless’

Prince Harry’s new job is hardly ‘public service’

At the tender age of 36, Prince Harry has got his first job since leaving the royal family. Congratulations to him. As most teenagers will know it is both a liberating and formative experience. Paper boy, shopfloor dogsbody, chief impact officer – the roles can be unglamorous, but they’re almost always worth it. Harry’s big post-Megxit break into the world of work is everything we could have expected. He will be working as something called a ‘chief impact officer’ at a Silicon Valley firm called BetterUp, which offers professional-development and mental-health coaching to businesses and their employees. Going by BetterUp’s website, it seems to peddle therapeutic burble to firms with

William has revealed the princes’ pain

The institution waited two days before responding to the Oprah interview with a statement that acknowledged the allegations around race were concerning, but it omitted any condemnation of racism. In just twelve seconds this morning, Prince William tackled the central charge head on.  The brothers are riven, in their trenches and communicating via chat show hosts and off the record briefings to newspapers TV doorstepping — shouting a question at someone without prior agreement while armed with a camera and microphone — can be a fruitless task. Doing it when the target is a royal is a soulless endeavour. This morning, at a school in east London, fortune favoured the

Can Harry and Meghan back up their incendiary allegations?

Well! On the bright side, Oprah Winfrey got her money’s worth. Also on the bright side, Prince Harry is sixth in line to the throne so bear in mind folks last night’s interview by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex does not, really, matter in the great scheme of things. On the final bright note, Meghan makes Wallis Simpson, the last American divorcee to marry into the Royal Family, look relatively good. And that’s about the limit of the positive aspects of last night’s self-revelations, of which I should say I’ve heard only extracts. They tell us a great deal about Meghan’s perspective but not an awful lot in the

The royal family is in a perilous position

Whatever you think of the Sussex saga, it’s clear that Buckingham Palace are waking up to more uncomfortable reading this morning. The coverage of the allegations made by the Sussexes is not going to die down anytime soon and the public is now poised to see how the Palace reacts. While the Duke and Duchess of Sussex did everything in their power to twist the knife during their two-hour tell-all with Oprah, the royal family’s well-intentioned actions last week may have worsened their predicament. It’s easy for the press to pooh-pooh Meghan Markle’s Little Mermaid metaphors but there can be no denying that the Sussexes have inflicted serious reputational damage

Nick Tyrone

Labour has stumbled into the royal culture war

Given Starmer’s aim of getting red wall voters back on side, Labour should not have touched the Harry and Meghan debate with a bargepole. It is a massively loaded cultural issue that can only hurt them. And yet it seems they couldn’t help themselves. Kate Green, the shadow education secretary, has said in a television interview that Meghan’s claims of racism should be ‘fully investigated’ by the Palace. This is exactly the kind of move that leaves only confustion when trying to work out about what Starmer is trying to accomplish. I feel like I’m the only person who lives in Great Britain who doesn’t really care that much either way

Can Boris sustain his royal silence?

Boris Johnson is clearly determined to avoid being dragged into this Harry and Meghan story. At his press conference this afternoon, he said that he has the ‘highest admiration for the Queen’ but emphasised that he wouldn’t be commenting on the story. One can understand why Boris Johnson doesn’t want to get involved in this intra-family row; it is hard to see how Keir Starmer’s opining on the matter is going to help him politically.  But Johnson’s line might prove difficult to hold. The racism charge against the royal family is incendiary. It is worth noting that Oprah Winfrey has said that Harry has told her that neither the Queen nor


Fact check: did Harry and Meghan have a secret wedding?

Oh dear. Not content with having claimed that baby Archie was denied his rightful title, last night’s interview with the Sussexes saw them boast of having conducted a secret marriage with the Archbishop of Canterbury three days before the public ceremony in May 2018. Meghan told Oprah: ‘You know, three days before our wedding, we got married. No one knows that. We called the Archbishop and we just said “Look this thing, this spectacle is for the world but we want our union between us”.’  She added that they exchanged personal vows during a backyard ceremony in the grounds of Kensington Palace – ‘just the two of us’. Prince Harry meanwhile


Minister’s Sussex snub

What does No. 10 think about Harry and Meghan’s Palace intrigue? Perhaps we can glean some insight from the comments of environment minister and close friend of Boris and Carrie.  Zac (now Lord) Goldsmith is the first minister to publicly criticise the spurned royal couple, tweeting that ‘Harry is blowing up his family’. The Duchess of Sussex also comes in for criticism — with Goldsmith writing ‘What Meghan wants, Meghan gets’. Mr S wonders who ever else could that sentiment apply to? Update: A message of support from Truss?


Fact check: why isn’t Archie a prince?

Viewers watching Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah last night were treated to a host of bombshells on everything from the couple’s secret marriage to the gender of their new baby. Allegations levelled by the pair include claims that a member of the royal family made racist comments about Archie’s skin colour and that the firm stopped Meghan from getting help for her mental health. One claim that can be rebutted however is the issue of why Harry and Meghan’s son Archie does not have the title of prince like Prince George or Princess Charlotte. In her interview, Oprah Winfrey asked Meghan if her son was denied the title of