Peter Hunt: The Windsors missed a trick by excluding the Sussexes on the balcony

I remember covering Robert Lacey’s interviews when he promoted Battle of Brothers, both the original publication, then the “re-release” with new Keen-narrative chapters. Lacey was and is sly, and he left enough breadcrumbs to assure readers that he actually knows what’s going on here. He even indicated that he had to remove sections of the book which were “too critical” of Prince William. Anyway, I’ve been thinking about Lacey’s 2021 interviews, when he repeatedly made the point that ultimately, the royal family not only needs to embrace the Sussexes, but to be SEEN embracing the Sussexes. From Lacey’s 2021 Daily Beast interview:

“It is absolutely crucial for the monarchy for the Sussexes all to be there [on the balcony]. If after 70 years, the mixed-race members of the family are not on that balcony it will be a sorry comment on what has become of the monarchy… William cannot preside over a monarchy that excludes the only mixed race members of the family on grounds of sibling dispute…”

[From The Daily Beast via a previous Celebitchy story]

I bring this up because royal commentator and former BBC journalist Peter Hunt is making the same point, now that we know the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will return to the UK for the Jubbly. Hunt points out how stupid it is that Harry and Meghan are being banned from the balcony. Personally, I still believe that Harry was the one who refused and the Palace is just saving face by saying that certain people are banned. But whatever, here are the basics from Hunt’s piece in the Spectator:

Once again, a moment that should be a unifying and celebratory for the Windsors has attracted division and discord. It has been reported today that Harry and Meghan will not appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. All of this controversy for a fleeting appearance on what someone described on social media as ‘an outdoor patio on the second floor of an old building’.

The exclusion of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is in a different league [than Prince Andrew’s exclusion]. They didn’t maintain friendships with a convicted sex offender and a child sex trafficker. The couple, according to the media, have been banned, banished and snubbed. The fact they will be absent has been celebrated widely.

According to this mainstream narrative, they abandoned the institution, dished dirt on Oprah and deserve their ‘punishment’. Their defenders, in the UK, are vanishingly rare. I’m not one of Harry’s friends and his advisors don’t have me on speed dial, not least because I don’t think they have my number.

When I was an active observer of the royals for two decades, Harry was mostly polite, always wary. In interviews, he’s apologised to me for once wearing a Nazi uniform at a fancy dress party; insisted he didn’t view the future Queen Camilla as an ‘evil stepmother’; and said he was receptive to being challenged about the limitations of his mental health campaign. In private, he was taken with my suggestion he should talk about phone hacking. It never came to pass.

Harry is still enmeshed in an unseemly, painful and very public dispute with his family. I’ve written here before about how the family’s response to Megxit was one where mean spiritedness over magnanimity won the day.

They’ve displayed a hint of heartlessness towards their own flesh and blood with the balcony non-appearance. Harry’s still a senior royal; a prince with a strong moral compass, not a given in his line of work; and a former soldier who has served his country.

The Queen will have signed off on the decision. Charles and William will have shaped it. They’ve let personal animus and hurt get in the way. Harry and Meghan could’ve appeared on the balcony. It wouldn’t have collapsed. Their removal from the line up means they will become a distraction during the Jubilee weekend. Their inclusion would have been a Platinum Jubilee peace offering; a move onto higher ground; a denial of victimhood. The royals have missed a trick. Not for the first time.

[From The Spectator]

Yes, I agree… IF we take it at face value that this was the Queen’s call, that she decided who would get to be on the balcony. As I’ve now said dozens of times, I think there was some discussion between the Sussexes and the Queen/Charles about how they would organize this. I can actually see Harry saying “we’re not doing the balcony” before Charles and the Queen even made up their minds, like he took it out of their hands completely. But I also agree that the whole balcony-exclusion debacle presupposes the idea that the royals understand how bad and how racist it looks for the Sussexes to be “excluded.” Do the Windsors understand? Doubtful.

Photos courtesy of Instar, WENN, Backgrid and Avalon Red.

Source: Read Full Article