Just when the Royal Family must have thought they were cruising into the beginning of a peaceful and joyous festive season, hark the imperilled angels sing.
Two years after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex first opened up to Oprah Winfrey about ‘concerns’ some members of the Royal Family had over what colour baby Archie’s skin might be, the royal racist row has flared up again — in spectacular fashion.
After the names of the two royals in question were ‘accidentally’ leaked in Dutch copies of Omid Scobie’s new royal book Endgame, both Piers Morgan on his TalkTV show and the New York Post went one step further and actually named the personages involved. I don’t blame them.
The identities of the mystery royals have been all over social media and the internet for days. The situation was becoming ridiculous. Millions could find out who they were at the click of a keyboard button — and once they did, what then? And then what?
Of course, some will think that King Charles and Catherine, Princess of Wales — formerly known as X and Y — only got what was coming. Yet surely most of us will sympathise with the plight of these two hapless senior royals.
Two years after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex first opened up to Oprah Winfrey about ‘concerns’ some members of the Royal Family had over what colour baby Archie’s skin might be, the royal racist row has flared up again — in spectacular fashion
After the names of the two royals in question were ‘accidentally’ leaked in Dutch copies of Omid Scobie’s new royal book Endgame, both Piers Morgan on his TalkTV show and the New York Post went one step further and actually named the personages involved
Their no doubt well-meaning enquiries as to the shade of baby Archie’s skin or the colour of his lovely hair, or whatever it was they said, have been weaponised into an international incident, first by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex themselves and now by faithful scribe Mr Scobie.
The author denies that the leaking of the names was deliberate or part of a giant publicity stunt but offers no explanation as to how the remarkable error happened.
‘I’m as frustrated as anyone else,’ he said, during an interview with This Morning (ITV) on Thursday. ‘But I wouldn’t say I am upset.’
Surely no one needs reminding that the Sussexes first aired the racism allegations to Oprah in 2021, as part of the victim narrative that characterised their showy splashdown in the U.S.
Yes, we were informed at length of the Sussexes’ hurt and the jumbo umbrage they took, but were never given the context in which the words were said.
Truly, it is hard to believe that the comments did not come from a place of love and were never intended to hurt, patronise nor cause division. And if Charles and Kate are guilty of a deadly gaucherie, then so are Harry and Meghan for enthusiastically embracing the most poisonous interpretation possible of the words; the implication that a baby who was not white was not welcome.
As if Harry’s own father and sister-in-law would ever think such a thing. It beggars belief.
Yet Harry and Meghan were so genuinely distressed over this private matter that they brought it to the world’s attention, along with a deep dive into the unconscious bias the Duchess felt she suffered as a not-very-merry Windsor wife.
The author denies that the leaking of the names was deliberate or part of a giant publicity stunt but offers no explanation as to how the remarkable error happened
But within months, both Harry and Meghan had recovered enough to accept a big American award for fighting racial injustice and institutionalised racism — and with it the inference that all these imprecations had been suffered within the royal establishment.
I was there in the New York ballroom the night they gleefully skipped on stage to accept the Ripple Of Hope award from the Kennedy family, a trophy that burnished their own humanitarian credentials while perma-tainting the Royals back home with allegations of intolerance and bigotry, smears which have stuck like mud to this day.
The Sussexes didn’t care then, and they don’t care now.
We know a ripple of hope can turn into a wave of change,’ they said back then, and how true that has turned out to be. All this is tricky territory to negotiate — and to even gingerly comment upon — if you are not a person of colour. If you are white, you are not supposed to have an opinion on sensitive matters of race relations, and if you do, it is the wrong one.
Before naming King Charles and the Princess of Wales, Piers Morgan stated he didn’t believe there was ‘any racial intent at all’ behind their words. For this, Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, the provocative commentator and a sometime guest on Morgan’s show, called him a ‘white privileged dog whistling fragile manbaby’. And this is only day one.
You would have to be far less cynical than me not to believe that the names of Charles and Kate were always going to come out, that there was indeed a steely determination that the names would come out and that it was only a matter of time before they did. And now that everyone knows — but for days also didn’t know — we are deep into the realms of a very black comedy indeed. Only I can’t say that in case someone gets offended, so let’s just settle with royal farce instead.
This year’s I’m A Celeb is a real jungle bungle!
Both Grace Dent and Jamie Lynn Spears have left ITV’s I’m A Celebrity reality series on medical grounds. It’s a pity — they were two of the more interesting contestants in the jungle.
Both women looked sickly and wan as the days progressed, but not so ill that they couldn’t manage to stay for the minimum period that guaranteed their maximum fee. I don’t blame them. The rain, the critters, Nella, Nigel, the possibility that you are going to have to drink a glass of pureed rat guts at any moment?
It is becoming a trial to watch it; heaven knows what it must be like actually living it. Perhaps the show’s producers are going to have to rethink the rules. Perhaps smart women will always slip away quietly when the going is good.
Or perhaps they should have thought twice about entering the show in the first place.
Both Grace Dent and Jamie Lynn Spears have left ITV’s I’m A Celebrity reality series on medical grounds. It’s a pity — they were two of the more interesting contestants in the jungle
The popular chain Wilko has gone bust — and anyone watching the performance of Lisa Wilkinson speaking to MPs on the Business and Trade Committee could only conclude she brought further shame on the house of pet foods, spanners and knick-knacks.
The granddaughter of the company’s founder, Lisa at times gave the impression that she didn’t care much about the plight of her workers, only the inconvenience to herself. When asked if she was sorry, she snipped: ‘You can have the word sorry, of course I am sorry.’
Considering that Wilko collapsed with the loss of more than 12,000 jobs, £625 million in debt and a £50 million pension-pot deficit, one might have hoped she would have shown a little more humility.
In the decade before the firm’s closure, the company paid out £77 million in dividends to shareholders. However, during the hearing, Miss Wilkinson said one of the main causes of the company’s insolvency was the Liz Truss mini budget of 2022. Shameless.
Oh no, posh pots are going out of style
According to reports, popular luxury brands such as Aga, Le Creuset and Farrow & Ball have all suffered from a drop in sales, which means that something marketeers call ‘the middle-class kitchen’ is going out of fashion. No! This is terrible news.
For years I have dreamed of just such a middle-class kitchen; of stirring something delicious in a Le Creuset Cast Iron Shallow Casserole (£249) on my cream-coloured five-oven Aga (£16,000) in a sunny kitchen featuring walls painted with, Farrow & Ball’s Arsenic — a paint colour, not a poison, although you might feel a bit noxious at the price (£75 per tin).
That’s right, I am a walking cliché. And now because of trends, I’m going to be an unfashionable cliché at that. It’s enough to make me sob into my Emma Bridgewater tea towel.
Do you want to hear my favourite statistics of the week? Read on. Forty per cent of civil servants are considering quitting because they’ve been told to be in the office three days a week.
The Home Office has no clue as to the whereabouts of 17,000 asylum seekers who have gone Awol in the UK. Students at the University of Warwick have been forced to dine on a fully vegan menu in the campus canteen; vegans are in the minority there but with sheer tofu power, 700 selfish students out of 28,000 forced it through. How much of this is depressing? 100 per cent.
Julia’s knees set to freeze
No snow, but it was absolutely freezing in London on Wednesday night —but that didn’t deter Julia Roberts from turning up to a film premiere in shorts and bare legs.
No snow, but it was absolutely freezing in London on Wednesday night —but that didn’t deter Julia Roberts from turning up to a film premiere in shorts and bare legs
Hats off and gloves on to Julia, 56, who put on a brave face but looked a white shade of blue.
In her new film, she stars as a cynical advertising director. ‘She is suspicious and prickly, which is not in my nature,’ said Julia. Yes, my darling girl, it’s called acting!
Anyway, can it really be 35 years since her big screen debut in Mystic Pizza? I still love Julia and I still love that film, but shiver my timbers, this makes me feel old.