Just when you think Meghan and Harry couldn’t possibly sink to new depths, they go 20,000 fathoms deeper into the sludge.
Just when I think I am done with this couple of do-good dopes, believing myself to be indifferent to any more of their conceits and ghastly, hollowed-out souls, they go and exceed all negative expectations.
This week documents have come to light detailing arrangements for a visit the couple made to a primary school in New York in September 2021.
Staff and the class of seven-year-old pupils involved were asked to sign a release form sent by Archewell that prevented them from making negative statements about the event or the Duke or Duchess of Sussex; posting about it on social media; or attempting to make any money in the future from their involvement. That was Archewell’s job, after all.
Release forms in the film industry are nothing new, but the level of secrecy the Sussexes insisted upon and the gagging clauses they pressed on teachers and pupils alike is staggering.
JAN MOIR: Just when you think Meghan and Harry couldn’t possibly sink to new depths, they go 20,000 fathoms deeper into the sludge (pictured this month at the Invictus Games)
This week documents have come to light detailing arrangements for a visit the couple made to a primary school in New York in September 2021
The head of the CIA could slip into the Kremlin with fewer confidentiality clauses. Roosevelt and Churchill met in secret to bang out the Atlantic Charter with less fuss. Not for the first time the question has to be asked: who do Harry and Meghan think they are? And what is it about the prospect of openness and transparency they fear so terribly?
Back then, Meghan had just published her first children’s book, The Bench. Do you remember it? What a load of old toot. It made Budgie The Little Helicopter, written by the Duchess of York several decades earlier, seem like Proust.
The Bench was 169 words long, inspired by the birth of the Sussexes’ son, Archie, and aimed to celebrate the relationship between a father and a son in rhyming couplets. Although, please, no one mention the relationship between Harry and his father, which has since gone from bad to worse to non-speaks.
Meghan dedicated her book to ‘the man and the boy who make my heart go pump-pump’, which gives you an idea of the level of literacy on display.
You’d think she’d want to keep the whole embarrassing project under wraps, but instead she planned a visit to this carefully chosen inner-city school in Harlem, which has a 91 per cent black and Hispanic student population, 95 per cent of whom qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. It was perfectly underprivileged, in other words.
The Sussexes’ team did insist upon new cushions for the children to sit on during the ‘read aloud’ in the school grounds. For if poverty is regrettable, at least it can be photogenic. Especially when the Sussexes’ Netflix crew was filming every oh-so-casually humanitarian moment for the Harry & Meghan documentary, which was released in December 2022.
For what was this event, except a promotional exercise to plug The Bench? Emails from Archewell to the school detailed the 11 broadcast outlets, 17 photographers and seven reporters who would attend the event, while greasily urging the school to say it was a charity event and not something ‘promotion-ey’.
This is the kind of humdrum event the Royal Family in the UK take part in any day of the week. The difference is they do this as part of charity work or investment in local initiatives and sundry worthy causes for the good of others rather than themselves. Certainly not to punt a crummy book they’ve written while pretending to be royals in exile in a country that is a republic.
For what was this event, except a promotional exercise to plug The Bench?
And don’t quote the Duchess of York and Budgie at me, because at least when she did it, she didn’t strangle the freedoms of the poor urchins corralled into listening to her deathly prose.
Of course, any filming involving children comes with complications, put in place to protect the innocent from being exploited.
I can’t stop thinking about those poor kids in Harlem, believing that someone was taking a genuine interest in them; that this nice lady in the diamonds was coming along to read them a funny story.
Little did they realise they were merely unpaid extras in an ongoing production called St Harry & St Meghan: The Crusader Years. And made to sit on a nice clean cushion to boot.
It is no secret that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have gone to desperate lengths to protect the privacy of their own children. Since Archie and Lilibet were born, all the public has seen are pixelated baby faces, a foot here, the back of a head there. It all seems rather ridiculous, but if that is what they want, then fine.
However, when it comes to respecting the privacy of other children, or honouring their rights as fellow citizens of the world who are free to express their own opinions, a very different set of rules applies. Typical.
Don’t bring politics into ITV Ripper drama
The Long Shadow is a new ITV drama about the Yorkshire Ripper case, for once focusing on the victims instead of the madman who killed them.
It is beautifully acted, scripted and produced — but is it my imagination or is Margaret Thatcher being blamed for these terrible murders?
In the first episode, much is made of the economic situation that faced the UK in the 1970s. The tacit suggestion seems to be that it was cruel Tory economic policies that forced these women on to the streets.
Emily Jackson (played by Katherine Kelly, pictured) was Sutcliffe’s second victim
Emily Jackson (played by Katherine Kelly, pictured) was Sutcliffe’s second victim, shown here as a hard-up mum who became a prostitute to buy Christmas presents for her kids.
Yes, Emily was an innocent woman who met a terrible death, but let’s not turn this into a Tory-bashing fairy tale. The person to blame for Emily’s death — and all the other murders — was Peter Sutcliffe. No one else.
The horror of the machete attack near a London bus stop is absolutely chilling — but this is what happens when young men feel free to roam the streets of the capital armed with knives and machetes.
They do so with impunity because they know they are not going to get stopped and searched. The London Mayor is against stop and search, no surprises there. Yet while it wouldn’t solve everything, it might make some troublemakers think twice about leaving home with a knife.
The police need more powers to keep the streets safe. Especially when they are dealing with youths who don’t seem to understand the consequences of their actions.
Terrifying drug epidemic: Braverman must stop
Suella Braverman shrugs and says it is ‘inevitable’ that fentanyl will soon flood the UK’s drug market.
Talk about giving up before the going gets tough. Surely the Home Secretary should be doing everything, everything, everything in her power to stop the horror of fentanyl from reaching these shores. For every narcotic we have seen before — spice, heroin, crack, opium, ketamine — is a picnic compared with the devastating effects of this dead-end drug.
At the moment, Braverman is on a U.S. trip to see first-hand evidence of the country’s horrendous opioid crisis. I hope it shocks her to the core because opioids are wrecking America. Last year, almost 110,000 people died — a record — most of them youths. I saw such people staggering around Los Angeles when I was last there, zombies living on the streets, their lives ruined, their deaths soon and inevitable.
San Francisco, once the most beautiful of all American cities, has been ravaged, with the downtown area almost a no-go zone. The streets of Philadelphia are ground zero for the opioid crisis, where new and even worse strains of the drug are emerging.
The latest horror is something called Tranq Dope — a mix of fentanyl and a veterinary drug called xylazine, which is used as a sedative for cows and horses. It is sold on the streets for just a few dollars and is popular because it maximises the opioid hit — at a terrible cost. It literally rots people’s skin, causing raw wounds which, if untreated, lead to the need for amputation.
The Government can’t stop people coming to Britain illegally; now they can’t stop these terrifying drugs coming in illegally. We are not a sovereign state any more, we are a pathetic free-for-all. How did this happen?
Mick Jagger hints that he might bequeath his $500 million fortune to charity instead of leaving it to his eight children by four different women.
But his children have already won the golden lottery ticket of life, living the kind of gilded existence that only nepo babies know. Let’s put it this way, none of them is doing a shift in a factory.
Karis, 52, is a Netflix executive producer; Jade, 51, is a jewellery designer; Elizabeth, 39, is a model; James, 38, is an actor; Georgia, 31, is also a model; Gabriel, 25, ‘has a website’; Lucas, 24, travels and ‘likes fashion’ while Deveraux ‘likes petting sheep’, but that is OK because he is only six years old. Anyway, none of them is going to starve, so save your tears, dears.
Mick Jagger hints that he might bequeath his $500 million fortune to charity instead of leaving it to his eight children by four different women
Taylor can write the words to this love story
Taylor Swift once wrote a song called Fifteen, urging teenage girls not to sweat the small stuff.
‘In your life you’ll do things greater than dating the boy on the football team,’ she sang, in her young but oh-so-wise way.
Yet all these years later, here she is, dating the boy on the football team — and it is just too fabulous.
Travis Kelce (below) is an all-American hero who plays for the Kansas City Chiefs, and when Taylor attended one of his matches this week it was such big news in the U.S. that it made the national evening bulletins.
Travis Kelce (right) is an all-American hero who plays for the Kansas City Chiefs, and when Taylor attended one of his matches this week it was such big news in the U.S. that it made the national evening bulletins
Travis is a tight end, which doesn’t mean he is not going to pay for Taylor’s dinner, but is his playing position.
When he drove off after the game against the Chicago Bears — in which he scored a touchdown — with Taylor sitting next to him in the front seat of his purple convertible, it was so perfect that it seemed like a hit song already.
‘Hey, shout out to Taylor for showing up,’ Travis said on his podcast after their date.
‘That was pretty ballsy. I sure as hell enjoyed the weekend.’ Oh dear. He doesn’t sound like the kind of man who can turn a moment into a monumental chorus. But thank goodness we all know a woman who can.
Have you tried to get a doctor’s appointment recently? It is a desperate task, when you almost have to prove you are at death’s door before you can secure a face-to-face with your GP.
So it is rather galling to hear that two-thirds of GPs are opting to work part time. Do you know why they are working reduced hours, even during this health crisis?
Because they can afford to, that is why.