FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & PUBLISHER
Athe Royal Family is in crisis mode. The 99-yearold Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, has been hospitalized for more than three weeks, and Buckingham Palace is dealing with the fallout of the thronerattling interview Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, gave to Oprah Winfrey. The accusations – racism, callousness in the face of suicidal feelings, the Firm’s collusion with the tabloid press to falsely portray the Duchess in a negative light, the revelations that the heirs to the crown live in fear of said press and are trapped in the institution they represent – and the resulting Sturm und Drang across the pond and back is Shakespearean. And here, as the Bard wrote, the past is prologue.
The Oprah sit-down hearkened back to how Diana, Princess of Wales, held the monarchy to account. She covertly told Andrew Morton for his 1992 book, Diana, Her True Story, how her self-harming was repeatedly ignored. In 1995, without the knowledge of her press aides, Diana recorded the Panorama interview with Martin Bashir that accused the palace’s “grey men” of undermining her and said Charles was not fit to be king.
After their divorce, Diana dreamt of moving to California, where her second son, his wife and her grandson now intend to build a new fairy tale in their image. That the Sussexes are expecting a daughter was one of the few feel-good moments of their interview – that and the love and respect both Meghan and Harry demonstrated toward the Queen.
In 1997, Diana’s own flawed fairy tale was cut short on that tragic summer night in Paris and, in the wake, the crown almost lost its bearings until the Queen righted the ship. As the fallout from the Sussexes’ interview roils on, the Royal Family has started to respond. With their motto of “never explain, never complain,” this in itself shows the seriousness of the matter. In a short statement, the Queen, while saying she was “saddened” and that they remain loved, gently disagreed with Harry and Meghan’s “recollections,” while Prince William stated, “We’re very much not a racist family.”
The interview, however, has reinvigorated the cause of republicanism. Even before it, a survey conducted by Vancouver– based Research Co. found that 45 per cent of Canadians surveyed said they would prefer an elected head of state, the highest level in the last 12 years. Despite this, 70 per cent hold a “favourable view” of Her Majesty – a sign that a lifetime of duty and service does count for something.
Duty and service are also the two words I would use to describe Zoomer’s longtime managing editor, Arlene Stacey, who has always worked above and beyond her “job description.” After a long and distinguished career in publishing, Arlene has opted to embark on a well-deserved retirement. While we’ve enjoyed her knowledgeable writing on food, wine and travel, Arlene’s behind-the-scenes work has been instrumental in keeping the trains running on time, and her institutional knowledge and skills in a variety of areas have been key to our success.
I will regret not having her wise counsel, indefatigable work ethic and excellent editorial acumen enriching our masthead. But I’m not the only one. She will be greatly missed at the ZoomerPlex, and the often overheard phrase in the office of “Arlene will know the answer” will now be a fond memory indeed.