It would be even worse if they DIDN’T come — but let’s hope they are made to sit behind a pillar!
RARElY can the acronym ‘RSVP’ have been attached to an invitation with greater dread. And the news that Harry and Meghan are both expected to attend King Charles III’s coronation on Saturday May 6 will be greeted with mixed feelings the length and breadth of the country.
Their admirers will be pleased that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been able to fit this event into their fashionable Californian schedule.
And while many of the king’s subjects will share my own distaste for the way they have behaved since quitting the Royal Family, most people in Britain will be keeping their fingers crossed and hoping that this dire pair will not spoil a day of national rejoicing.
There’s no doubt that many will have been hoping that they would stay put in America. After all, the couple have spent the last three years rubbishing not only Harry’s nearest and dearest but the very idea of Royalty.
They have claimed that the Press – which in fact greeted their union with rapture, and made Meghan into a heroine – has been consistently sneering at them.
And in a terrible mixture of crowing self-advertisement and cringing victimhood, they have attacked Britain and its royal heritage.
While claiming to love the late Queen, Meghan mocked the formal ceremonial of the court with a caricatured imitation of a curtsey during a televised interview for the nauseating Netflix series that they modestly entitled Harry And Meghan.
Even the Duke, who is to family loyalty what lord Haw-Haw was to patriotism, could not avoid looking a picture of discomfort as his wife performed an exaggeratedly sweeping bow in a bid to make the monarchy look ridiculous.
At the same time, however, in a display of the grossest hypocrisy, they have used their royal status to boost their incomes and their profiles.
They know perfectly well that no one in California would look twice at a third-rate television actress and a junior- ranking ex- army officer unless they were touched by the stardust of royalty.
It is solely because Harry is the son of Diana and the grandson of Elizabeth II that his wife was asked on to the Oprah Winfrey show, a platform he then shared to malign the traditions of Britain and the family who tried to support him.
Yes, Harry and Meghan will likely be booed in the streets as they approach Westminster Abbey on Coronation Day. Their very presence will threaten to upstage the King himself.
Television directors and newspaper editors would not be human if they did not see the massive potential offered by the couple’s presence at such a global blockbuster of an event.
What is Meghan wearing and how is she using it to send a signal back to her fanbase in the US? Will they be keeping themselves aloof, or will they manage to exchange a few words with William and Kate?
How will the other royals receive them? Who will have to sit next to Meghan? ( My bet is on the Earl of Wessex, poor chap. Or maybe Alan Titchmarsh.)
All these completely trivial questions will flit in and out of our minds as we turn on the TV and prepare for a day of spellbinding royal pageantry.
Yet, of course, they had to be invited, and it would be even worse if they did NOT attend. Had they not been offered an olive branch, Oprah Winfrey & Co would have seen it as the ultimate insult by the Royal Family.
It would be proof that the British Establishment was anti-American, snobbish and racist – the only possible reasons, in Prince Harry’s universe, for anyone finding his egomaniac wife a pain in the neck.
Besides, if they had not been invited, or if they had chosen not to come, we would have been presented with the nightmare possibility that Harry would be hired by some American television network to provide a running commentary on his father’s big day. His mixture of stupidity, malice and self- obsession would have come splurging out, dishing yet more dirt on his family and on the institution of the Monarchy.
The option of their non-attendance, therefore, would have been far, far worse, than the embarrassment cause by them actually turning up.
Of course, assuming they do arrive in May, there will be concerns they will try to upstage the other royals, and will be especially determined to outshine William and Kate.
In time-honoured fashion, they will probably arrange to attend some charity event to advertise how much they care for some section of the community supposedly neglected by the other royals. Or they will be seen hobnobbing with some particularly hot A-listers.
Nauseating as this will be, everyone will have to just grin and bear it.
There remains, however, a number of unanswered questions. It seems overwhelmingly likely that their agreement to attend the ceremony has been negotiated by some third party – whether this was the Archbishop of Canterbury, who knows? No doubt some sort of ‘deal’ has been struck. Can it be mere coincidence that, while Meghan cannot call herself Her Royal Highness, ‘Buckingham Palace’ this week let it be known that it will be permissible to talk of ‘Prince’ Archie and ‘Princess’ lilibet Diana.
Is this a signal that negotiations have indeed been going on behind the scenes? If so, it leads to another line of questioning.
Who the blazes do they think they are? And how can they have the barefaced cheek to be ‘negotiating’, and holding the King of England over a barrel?
And how can anyone take them seriously, when they have spent the last three years rubbishing not only Harry’s family but all the trappings and flummery of monarchy, while desperately wanting to hang on to titles and privileges?
It emerged this week that the little Princess had been recently baptised at Harry and Meghan’s home in Montecito, California, by the Bishop of los Angeles, the Rt Rev John H Taylor, a former chief of staff to President Nixon.
But even this joyful news could not be disseminated without
‘They use royal status to boost their income’
‘Everyone will have to grin and bear it’
‘Just for once, this day is not about you’
being accompanied by the obligatory victim narrative. The King and the rest of the family had been asked to attend this momentous event, we were told, but for some reason best known to themselves were unable to attend.
Although there will be many people in this country who will be pleased to see them when they show up at the Abbey, the British people will hope, in the name of common decency, that Harry and Meghan try to behave themselves.
The Coronation is an occasion when the vast majority of the population will be rejoicing. It is not because we are members of the King’s fan club. The coronation isn’t primarily about Charles III or about his personality. It is about our country, and the continuity of British history.
Surely this is the time to stop the royal trouble-making, resist the urge to pick quarrels, and instead build some bridges and behave with a bit of humility and good humour.
That said, while we are allowing ourselves some optimism, let’s hope that some clever person at Westminster Abbey finds a couple of seats for them which are behind a pillar, out of reach of the television cameras.
Just for once, Harry and Meghan, this day is not about YOU, but about something rather bigger.