I recently heard a great, impeccably sourced story about Prince Harry.
It involved him in his bachelor days several years ago, stumbling drunk into a West London club full of footballers and celebrities, partying like a madman, including jokily snogging one of the famous men, then suddenly realising a picture of his Grandmother was on the wall.
So he roared with laugher, took the Queen’s picture down to avoid her having to witness his antics, and then carried on partying like a madman.
It evoked memories of that wild night in Las Vegas when Harry was snapped playing naked billiards with a bunch of random equally de-clothed strangers.
Partying with Kanye West: Before meeting Meghan Markle, Prince Harry was known to be fond of a raucous party
Those days, I think it’s fair to assume, are now gone for the Prince.
Since meeting his American actress wife Meghan Markle, he seems to have renounced his devilishly playful side and morphed into a squeaky-clean, teetotal, kale munching fitness freak.
He also appears to be suffering from a severe infection of ‘wokeness’.
This is the dreadful politically correct disease prevalent among young millennials which turns them into preposterously worthy, do-gooding, virtue-signalling fun-slayers intent on lecturing the rest of us on how to save the world and how we should lead our lives.
Harry’s illness manifested itself in spectacularly public fashion last week when he spoke to thousands of equally woke young people at an event in London organised by the charity WE.
‘Woke’ new image: Harry and Meghan stand side-by-side as he gave WE charity speech to an audience of young people last week
This is an organisation that boasts it exists to ‘do good’ and ‘offers young people the tools and the inspiration to take social action, empower others and transform lives – including their own.’
I watched Harry’s speech with first mild curiosity, then slight irritation, and by the time he’d finished mounting horror.
It was, and I don’t think I exaggerate here, bordering on the most utterly ridiculous address by any royal in modern history.
He started by showering unctuous praise on his shrieking audience, telling them that ‘to be amongst all of you progressive, motivated, open minded change-makers is what gives me hope for the future.’
But then he said something that snapped my eyelids back.
‘You are the most engaged generation in history!’ he cried. ‘You care about values, about doing the right thing, and championing the causes that will shape the future!
This crowd of howling youngsters is more ‘engaged’ than the generation of Britons who fought to defend their country in World War II?
They care more about values and ‘doing the right thing’ than the millions who sacrificed their lives so this generation could enjoy the freedom and democracy the victory over Hitler’s Nazis brought us?
Harry wasn’t finished there with the reflected insults on past generations.
‘You don’t judge someone based on how they look,’ he bellowed, ‘where they’re from or how they identify!’
Right, so by inference, previous generations were just a bigoted bunch of racists then? Charming.
Then he moved to his favourite subject, mental health.
‘Mental health is about consciousness!’ he claimed, whatever that means. ‘To be happy is to be mindful, mindful of your feelings, mindful of your surroundings, and mindful of the 7.7 billion other humans that inhabit this planet.’
Ah yes, the planet.
‘Climate change is a humanitarian issue,’ he declared, ‘ not a political one. And we’ve been far too slow in waking up to the issues and acting on the damaging impact our ways of living are having on the world. We now have the facts, the science, the technology and the ability to save not just our planet but ourselves! Every forest, every river, every ocean, every coastline, every insect, every wild animal, every blade of grass, every ray of sun and every rain drop is crucial to our survival.’
It was at this point, I realised Harry hadn’t written a word of this guff. Can you honestly imagine him coming up with such absurdly hyperbolic, insubstantial rhetoric?
This guy was a British Army officer, for God’s sake!
The clue that it might be someone else’s literary handiwork came with his next line: ‘As my wife often reminds me with one of her favourite quotes by Martin Luther King Jr. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”’
I doubt Meghan needed much reminding to put that quote into this speech, given she almost certainly wrote it herself.
Meghan Markle was fond of ‘woke’ inspirational quotes on her old social media accounts
For his/her finale, Harry pulled out the kind of big motivational guns that coincidentally used to dominate Meghan’s old social media platforms:
‘You know that if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. So let that be your true north, let that be your call to action. Be Braver, be stronger, be kind to each other, be kind to yourselves, exceed expectations, eliminate plastics, conserve water, protect wildlife, keep empathy alive, be honest, change your thoughts and change the world, dare to be the greatest generation of all time! I am with you, we are with you!’
When did Harry become the Dalai Lama?
The only bit of the speech I think Harry DID write was the bitter attack on the media, which he loathes, for ‘distorting the truth and trying to manipulate the power of positive thinking.’
How ironic that he should be pre-empting this very column, which I’m sure he will view as distorting the truth about the power of his positive thinking.
Doubtless he will be scornful that I’m not buying into his ‘save the world’ bullsh*t.
But the reason I don’t buy into it is because I don’t think Harry practices what he preaches.
He bangs on about protecting wildlife but has himself been a notorious trophy-hunter – posing gleefully for photos with animals he has killed.
He demands we conserve water but lives in vast palaces that guzzle enough water on a weekly basis to sustain whole African villages for a year.
He wants to ‘keep empathy alive’ but that doesn’t seem to extend to people like his broken-hearted father-in-law Thomas Markle, who’s been left to swing in the wind of media scrutiny, and been ghosted by his daughter, without Harry even bothering to meet him.
As for the Prince’s rally-cry to save the planet, how does that sit with the revelation that just two days before his speech, Harry got a $10,000 helicopter ride to Birmingham from London, when a train could have got him there in just over an hour?
Or with the fact his wife borrowed George Clooney’s private jet to speed across the Atlantic after her ludicrously extravagant $500,000 baby shower?
The British royals have survived the downfall of so many of their European counterparts because the reigning Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has maintained a consistently dignified air of calming authority for more than six decades.
She’s barely put a regal foot wrong in that entire time, and has remained hugely popular, because she has never tried to lecture people, not least because she perfectly understands that she lives a life of opulent wealth and luxury unimaginable to almost everyone else.
Harry became beloved of the British public because all our hearts broke watching him walk behind his mother Diana’s coffin, and because we loved his cheeky, brave, maverick, party-loving swagger.
By letting his wife change him in such a dramatic and unsettlingly PC-crazed way, he’s doing himself no favours at all.
If the Queen’s photo adorned any of the walls of that WE event, I fear Her Majesty herself would have taken it down – to spare herself the embarrassment of having to listen to any more of her grandson’s new age gobbledegook.
Take the fake halo off, Harry – it doesn’t suit you.