Watching Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey last week, you would think Britain and the Royal Family were there to serve her. From the newspapers not reporting on her the way she wanted, to the taxpayer refusing to subsidise her after flouncing out, to the Queen’s unwillingness to change the system of royal titles just to suit her ego: Meghan did not get what she wanted was the message.
The problem for Meghan is that far from existing to serve its own, these days members of the Royal Family are expected to serve the British people. Even though she apparently did not research it, that was the deal she signed up to.
Take Prince Philip. Like Meghan, he also was an outsider – in his case, born in Greece and of largely German descent – Britain not being his original home. Yet nevertheless, since marrying the Queen in 1947 and retiring in 2017, he dedicated the best part of his life to serving Britain. In all his years of service, despite literally thousands and thousands of engagements (most of which would have been extremely dull), as well as the end of his much-loved naval career, evidence of any complaining, let alone in a televised interview, is extremely hard to find. He did it because he realised service was more important than simply attending to himself.
Similarly, with Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge. Again, like Meghan she too married into the Royal Family as an outsider. Like Meghan, she too has been subject to systematic media scrutiny and abuse, including being dubbed ‘waity Katie’ and worse being subjected to photographers taking intimate pictures of her whilst on a private holiday. Yet, despite this unacceptable behaviour, she has also stuck with the Royal Family, subsuming her own personal interests in favour of public service.
Conversely, unlike Philip and Kate, it seems as if Meghan instead thought joining the Royal Family could merely be used as a vehicle to advance her public profile and woke world view. A commitment to public service – at the expense of constantly having everything as she wanted – was clearly not part of the plan.
Now in hindsight, as a product of the vapid bubble of California, a land where a shallow obsession with oneself is king (or princess in Meghan’s case), maybe it was always a tall order to expect Meghan to believe in old fashioned concepts such as public service and not complaining. It was also clearly naïve to have assumed she would have at least researched and tried to understand the Royal Family before marrying into it, rather than moving in and immediately trying to rearrange things as desired.
Perhaps the only consolation from this sorry saga is that it has revealed a reassuring truth about Britain today. Despite much of our modern discourse seeming to revolve around a narcissistic valoration of one’s own interests, identity and ‘truth’ – at the expense of remembering the worthiness of serving a greater good – Meghan’s behaviour has not been rewarded; the polling on that is clear.
Instead, dated though they may be, the ancient values of loyalty, responsibility, and service, still seem to command the most respect and admiration amongst the British people. Thank God for that.