March 01, 2008 | Graham

You’ve got to feel sorry for Harry

I always thought that one of the best arguments for a republic was that the monarchy is cruel to monarchs, or at least their families. Common law forbids slavery, but if you’re born a Windsor, short of abdicating, you’re tied to a particular job for the rest of your life. It’s one thing to live your life in a gilded cage by choice – and look how punishing that can be for the celebrities that unlatch the door and waddle inside – but another to be born into one.
So I feel sorry for Prince Harry.
All he wants to do is be a soldier and “normal” and he can’t, with the added humiliation that anyone who looks at him knows that he’s not even a Windsor, so genetically this isn’t even really his cage. Which is something that he must know too. No wonder he parties hard when he’s at home.
I’m all in favour of freedom of speech, but, No thanks New Idea. There’s liberty and there’s licence. Leave the poor sod alone.

Posted by Graham at 2:39 pm | Comments (6) |
Filed under: Society


  1. Graham – I’m actually inclined to believe New Idea when they say they didn’t really know that there was an embargo on the news. If they really thought that they’d scooped it, I imagine they could have worked up a bigger fuss by just placing an international call. If you want to find a culprit, I think you should look Drudge’s way.
    Anyhow, with the media the way that it is now – globally networked – it’s folly to expect a gent’s agreement to hold back overseas media outlets from a story. Once it’s broken in one place, it’s broken everywhere – I’m surprised the blackout held for as long as it did…
    And like it or not – he’s 3rd in line to be our head of state. I can feel some human sympathy for him (though his behaviour activates my dormant class animus), but given our constitution, there will always be a legitimate public interest argument for reporting on what the royals get up to. I agree that we don’t need to know every time he gets drunk, but his deployment to a theatre of war has real implications, constitutionally, for Britons, Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians etc.
    I can empathise with him wanting to do something useful with his life, but fighting wars might not be it. There’s a much bigger range of “normal” for him to explore.

    Comment by Jason — March 1, 2008 @ 6:06 pm

  2. It’s totally unbelievable that New Idea did not know there was an embargo on Prince Harry’s presence on the battlefield.
    The magazine would not be still in circulation if its editor and legal staff were that dumb.
    They, and the German and US publications have stuffed up the career of a young bloke who wanted to have a life like other people.
    Shame on them!

    Comment by Leigh — March 2, 2008 @ 11:50 am

  3. But Leigh, the point is that he isn’t like other people, except in the sense that like the rest of us, he can’t always get what he wants.
    The media have a right and a responsibility to report on anything that is in the public interest. For as long as we are a constitutional monarchy, the fate of those high in the line of succession to the throne is a matter of public interest.
    Once you could get the media to collude in capers like hiding the extent of FDR’s polio throughout the war; now it’s much more difficult. Is that such a bad thing? Even if it is, it’s unrealistic to expect it to change.
    It seems that he was brave and competent in the field, but the way in which the story leaked out actually shows that his presence always constituted an additional risk for his colleagues. His uncles have found ways to contribute that aren’t so dangerous – why can’t he?

    Comment by Jason — March 2, 2008 @ 12:39 pm

  4. Jason, I don’t think that the public has a right to know everything, nor the media a duty to report everything. It’s hard to see what the benefit to the public is in knowing that Prince Harry was in Afghanistan.

    Comment by Graham Young — March 2, 2008 @ 1:34 pm

  5. What I’ve been trying to point out in earlier posts, Graham, is that as long as our head of state is a Windsor, anything a Windsor in the line of succession does is a matter of state, and therefore a matter of public interest.
    And it’s a bit rich for him, or anyone, to argue that he’s entitled to get on with a career in private when there were “embedded”, invited outlets invited along to get dibs on a juicy yarn. If you didn’t know better, you might wonder whether it’s actually a PR play to get the public to picture Harry in a different kind of uniform than the dress-up nazi clobber he’s famous for. Harry’s brief presence there doesn’t hurt the British or Australian governments either, in that it tends to background questions about how this war is being prosecuted.
    It raises other legitimate concerns about cosy relationships being concluded between the press, the MoD and the royals. Aren’t there clear conflicts of interest in all of this for the media who agreed to shut the story down?

    Comment by Jason — March 3, 2008 @ 2:57 pm

  6. “anyone who looks at him knows that he’s not even a Windsor, so genetically this isn’t even really his cage”
    Graham, are you suggesting that Prince Charles isn’t his father?

    Comment by CJ Morgan — March 4, 2008 @ 2:54 pm

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