It was Prince Harry’s condemned face that said it all.
As his excited wife Meghan Markle exclaimed ‘I have an idea!’ and loudly demanded a sharpie marker pen, poor Harry looked like a man on Death Row being told his execution date had finally arrived: momentarily stunned but resigned to his fate and the sickening realisation there was nothing he could do about it.
After all, as he barked at Palace officials in the tempestuous build-up to their wedding last year: ‘What Meghan wants, MEGHAN GETS!’
The Duchess of Sussex doesn’t just wear the pants in this marriage, she wears the suit, tie and marching boots of Harry’s old army uniform too.
Prince Harry’s condemned face that said it all. Pregnant Meghan, 37, wanted and got a marker to write messages onto bananas being bagged up for sex workers
So when she hollered for her sharpie, her husband knew he’d just have to fake grin and bear whatever was coming next.
What did come next was almost beyond parody.
The couple had travelled to the city of Bristol in the West of England, to visit a small charity, One25, that helps 150 or so street sex workers by running services from a fully-equipped truck offering food, first aid, warm clothing, condoms, safety alarms and a place to talk.
It is perfectly laudable to shine a much-needed light on the plight of these poor women, who night after night go out late into the most violent area of a crime-ridden city, touting their bodies for sex.
It is a hard, dangerous life for which they often have to endure abuse, serious injury and disease.
Many of the women are drug addicts, and sell themselves both to feed their addiction and to meet the financial demands of vicious male pimps who often beat them into submission.
So I have no problem in Meghan and Harry using their huge fame to promote the work One25 does to help these women.
But I do have a big problem with how Meghan decided to manifest that help.
‘I have an idea!’ she cried.
And it turned out the idea involved bananas that were being given in small food parcels later to the sex workers.
‘The other day,’ she said, ‘I saw this project a woman had started in the States, a school lunchtime program, where on each of the bananas, she wrote an affirmation or something, to make the kids feel….like… really empowered.’
As Meghan said this, she theatrically ruffled her hair, tenderly felt her pregnancy bump, and raised her hands up like Mother Teresa. ’I thought it was the most incredible idea,’ she sighed, benevolently, ‘this small gesture.’
Then she took a sharpie, and ordered startled Harry to leave her to it, with the words: ‘I’m in charge of the banana messaging!’
(This was a fairly superfluous sentence since it’s become painfully obvious she’s in charge of EVERYTHING in this relationship.)
As the cameras craned in, Meghan studiously wrote immaculate ink messages – she was once a professional calligrapher – of supposed ‘empowerment’ on the bananas.
She ordered startled Harry to leave her to it, with the words: ‘I’m in charge of the banana messaging!’ Meghan then studiously wrote these ink messages of supposed ‘empowerment’
The messages included: ‘You are strong’, ‘You are special’, ‘You are brave’, and ‘You are loved’
These included: ‘You are strong’, ‘You are special’, ‘You are brave’’, and ‘You are loved.’
I could barely believe what I was watching.
Meghan Markle is not a stupid woman.
So why did no part of her considerable brain realise that this gesture was, ironically, a massive banana skin to trip on?
Giving schoolchildren an ‘empowering’ banana with their lunch is one thing.
Giving prostitutes an ‘empowering’ banana after they’ve spent the night subjecting their bodies to often vile, sexually depraved men, is quite another.
There is no escaping the fact that bananas have long been the subject of ribald humour for their phallic shape.
Meghan knows they’re phallic. She used them as sexual props before, posting this photo to her old – now deleted – Instagram account of two bananas spooning each other. ‘Sleep tight’ was her accompanying message, which was later assumed to be a reference to secret lover Harry
(Meghan’s even used them as sexual props before, posting a photo to her old – now deleted – Instagram account of two bananas spooning each other, with human eyes, mouths and hands drawn on to portray lovers. ‘Sleep tight’ was her accompanying message, which was later assumed to be a reference to her then secret lover, Harry.)
Therefore, to sign them with the words ‘YOU ARE LOVED’ and present them to women who sell loveless sex to men was guaranteed not to empower them but to subject them to widespread mockery – which is exactly what happened as social media erupted with memes and cruel jokes.
And what were they supposed to do with these signed bananas, exactly?
Feel a moment of Meghan’s wondrously regal empowerment, then eat them and try to sell the skins on Ebay?
Or perhaps keep them as a souvenir for a few days until they mould, blacken and stink?
There are many things two members of the most privileged family in Britain could have done to help the lives of impoverished, desperate sex workers.
Scrawling cheesy, cliché-ridden messages of LA-speak ‘empowerment’ on a banana is about the least useful.
As one of the sex workers due to receive a signed banana told The Sun newspaper: ‘People out here struggle to eat and sleep and she gifts us some words on a piece of fruit? She has the means to help us more than that. It’s offensive.’
I doubt any of this crossed Meghan Markle’s mind as she was whisked back to Kensington Palace in her luxury chauffeur-diven limousine.
She will have seen all the fawning media coverage her bananas attracted, and like all good actresses, congratulated herself on a splendidly successful performance.
She will have seen the fawning media coverage her bananas attracted and congratulated herself on a splendidly successful performance. But as so often with Meghan it was all about her, and not really about the sex workers
But as so often with Meghan, sadly, it was all about her, and not really about the sex workers.
And by putting herself first, in a deliberate, carefully planned effort to grab headlines for her caring, sharing nature, all she has actually achieved is make 150 sex workers the unfortunate butt of a million lame jokes about ‘empowered bananas’.
The saddest part of all this is that the old, pre-royal Meghan Markle was an outspoken campaigner for women’s rights who would have been very politically vociferous about the need to change laws and regulations to improve the health and safety of sex workers like this.
But Meghan’s once strident feminist tongue has been voluntarily silenced by her decision to marry her Prince – so she is now reduced to writing patronising, meaningless, scorn-inducing guff on bananas for them instead.
As for poor Prince Harry, he’s been losing his hair at such a rapid rate since marrying Meghan that experts fear he will soon be as bald as his older brother Prince William.
One reason for this may be down to the number of times he scratches his head in bemusement every time his ‘woke’ wife announces: ‘I have an idea!’