Hilary Mantel on Duchess Meghan: ‘She was a smiling face in a dull institution’

Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex presents the Celebrating Excellence Award to Nathan Forster, a former soldier of the Army's Parachute Regiment, at the annual Endeavour Fund Awards at Draper’s Hall in London on February 7, 2019. - The Royal Foundation's Endeavour Fund Awards celebrate the achievements of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women who have taken part in sporting and adventure challenges over the last year. Forster suffered serious injuries whilst serving with the Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan. With Flying for Freedom Nathan discovered a passion and aptitude for flying and in only five years, he has gone from having no experience of flying, to flying 737’s for Thomas Cook.

In 2013, Booker Prize-winning historical novelist Hilary Mantel had some stuff to say about the Duchess of Cambridge. Mantel was trying to put Kate in a historical context, comparing her to consorts, queens and princesses past, and Mantel’s thought-provoking comments were as much about the press around Kate and the conversation around “the royal womb” as the comments were about Kate in particular. Mantel’s comments were a really big deal at the time, and even David Cameron (the then prime minister) chimed in. Mantel later said that she was not trying to slam Kate, but merely trying to point out where Kate fit in the historical royal narrative.

Currently, Mantel is promoting her latest novel, The Mirror and the Light, the last book in her trilogy, the first two of which were Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. She chatted with Harper’s Bazaar UK in an exclusive piece which was mostly about the book, but she was also asked about the Duchess of Sussex:

The author also reflects on the complex royal politics of our own era, particularly surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s decision to step back from being ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family. “I’m pleased that it’s the marriage that’s surviving and the connection with the monarchy that has to go, because I think almost all of us would have bet that if she left, she’d have to leave alone,” she says. “I think that Meghan was too good to be true. She was a smiling face in a dull institution, she cheered the nation up no end, or at least men and women of good will. I do think abominable racism has been involved. People who say that’s got nothing to do with it – well, they need to check their privilege!”

[From Harper’s Bazaar UK]

Interesting. Granted, I do not need Mantel to say that racism was involved or that Meghan was a happy, hard-working face of an increasingly racist, colonialist, dull institution. I knew that already. What I will highlight is this: “I’m pleased that it’s the marriage that’s surviving and the connection with the monarchy that has to go, because I think almost all of us would have bet that if she left, she’d have to leave alone.” That’s it in a nutshell, isn’t it? That was the working theory the British press, the British establishment and the royal family used when smearing Meghan: their aim, their goal, was always to do enough to drive her out of the country, to make her leave Harry and the UK entirely. They did not count on Harry choosing her over them. They did not count on the marriage being strong enough to withstand their efforts. And in that, Harry has broken many historical patterns.

The Royal Family attends a Service to commemorate the Armistice on the centenary of the end of WWI

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red and Backgrid.

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106 Responses to “Hilary Mantel on Duchess Meghan: ‘She was a smiling face in a dull institution’”

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  1. Oliphant says:

    Love Mantel, she’s spot on and am eagerly awaiting her book’s release tomorrow 🙂

    • Mel M says:

      Me too, I’m giddy! The wait felt like forever. Now I really want to see a second part to the series with Mark Rylance whom I adore come together.

      • Oliphant says:

        OMG yes!!! I’ve read filming should be going ahead soon so maybe an autumn/Xmas air date in the U.K.? absolutely love Mark Rylance too, I’ve seen him on stage and he’s just magnetic. My husband hates the mention Of thomas Cromwell after me going on and on about the last 2 books and series 😂

      • OriginalRose says:

        Me three, got my on order at Waterstones Trafalgar Square!

      • ArtHistorian says:

        Mantel is a wonderful writer and I’ve eagerly awaited her final book in the Thomas Cromwell trilogy. I, too, hope that the mini-series will return to adapt the final book. I’ve become a big fan of Mark Rylance over the years – he’s such an understated actor, which I feel is a quality that isn’t properly acknowledged. Understated performances requires a lot of craft and, sadly, the subtlety is often overlooked by both audiences and awards.

      • Candikat says:


      • Mel M says:

        Yay! Excellent news! He’s just so good and I’m quite jealous you’ve seen him on stage. I’m wondering though how I’m not going to be upset about Cromwell’s ending. He’s made him someone you are rooting for but was he really like that? I know Henry said he regretted having his executed but, idk there are just so many conflicting theories and opinions around him.

        Anyway yes @arthistorian you are so right about him being so subtle yet so powerful. The very last scene in Wolf Hall where he goes up to Henry and Henry hugs him with this maniacal smile and his face says so much but is blank, ugh. I might have to rewatch this weekend.

    • Snazzy says:

      Me too! I’m not going to read it immediately, I need to re-read the first two books first!

      • Oliphant says:

        I’m With you all- so excited! Must take my Time and not speed through it. Good idea on re-reading the other two first!

    • Great statement and, like Kaiser, I thought the sentence about marriage over monarchy especially relevant. Harry has grown into an absolutely wonderful man in my opinion. Kaiser’s last paragraph was totally spot on about the whole sordid mess.

    • Becks1 says:

      Ooh I should join the re-read club. I liked the first two a lot, each time it takes me a bit to get into the rhythm of the books and her writing style, so rereading may help ease me into the new one faster. Although i’m sad about bc her books make me really like Cromwell, lol.

    • Abena Asantewaa says:

      Her third installment of her trilogy, is going to be a best seller, because in the London bookshop, I work for, many people have put in their preorder. She is a heavyweight with gravitas, so her comment will go a long way.

    • Liz version 700 says:

      Ok I need to look up her books now I have been desperate for new authors. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Belli says:

    She’s a very smart and insightful lady. I loved Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. Her comments about Kate and her role were completely (wilfully?) misinterpreted at the time. I thought she was actually being quite sympathetic towards Kate when she made them.

    Harry and Meghan vowed to forsake all others when they married. It’s part of the ceremony. That’s what marriage is, ultimately. For all the wailing about Harry abandoning his family, when he married Meghan (and now Archie) became his first family, ahead of the royals. He’s stuck by his family, as he promised to on his wedding day.

  3. S808 says:

    “They did not count on Harry choosing her over them.“ idk, standing on the outside looking in, they should’ve. It was obvious from the wedding (to me at least) that he would follow her to the moon. And the fact that, for like the thousandth time, he’s expressed desire to leave in the past. Choosing Meghan and Archie over a situation he’s hated for years should’ve been expected but I guess because these people would drop their loved ones in a hot second to maintain their royal ties, they projected that onto him. That 2016 statement should’ve been clue #1 that he’ll do what he can to protect her and of course now their child.

    • hoopjumper says:

      Strong agree. The obvious adoration these two have for each other has been a bright spot since their wedding. I wasn’t surprised in the least that he made the choice he did; anyone with eyes could have anticipated it.

    • truthSF says:

      You’re right S808! They should’ve, but they didn’t because they always underestimated him!

      It was clear what a protective person he was in how he defended Kate when she was pregnant for the 1st time. And how he defended Camilla when the media went after her when she started dating his father (again).

      He always stepped up for those joining his family when the media went after them. And yet, when the same thing happened to his wife and child (in a far worse way), not ONE of his family member stood up for them…or him!

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      The wedding and their first interview together. He flat out SAID IT. Lol. But yes for me seeing them together at the wedding and seeing how much Harry utterly adores his wife made it perfectly clear that his marriage and his partnership were the most important things to him. And once Archie came along? It was a done deal.

    • Harla says:

      Harry warned everyone several times but no one listened, their loss.

    • Liz version 700 says:

      Agree 100%. Somewhere and from someone he learned to protect his family and his child ABOVE his titles. He learned the right lesson. God knows none of the royals from his dad’s family taught him that lesson, they certainly never protected him. I wager Diana got a few important morals into him before her untimely death, but for the most part he seems to have almost built a conscience from spare parts lying around.

      • Your cousin Vinny says:

        @liz, yes – unfortunately it’s hard enough for the average joe to put their spouse first above their family of origin and I imagine for Harry there was even more at stake. His family of origin comes with more baggage and conditions than most. In making this choice he arguably had to consider the ramifications on his occupation, his income, his identity, his role in history etc. much more so than the average joe.

        But he did it and he did it without dragging his feet, either.

        That‘a a solid backbone for you! He learned an important lesson somewhere along the way. How wonderful to see someone living up to the vows they made.

    • February Pisces says:

      Yep, people have conveniently forgotten all the times Harry said he struggled in the royal family and thought of leaving, well before Meghan. The fact he was happier in Afghanistan in the middle of a war zone, rather than being in a palace, says a lot.

    • morrigan01 says:

      Exactly @S808. I too wasn’t surprised at all when they *both* decided to leave. Hell, I knew them leaving in the first place was coming, that it would be the two of them leaving together was a no brainer to anyone who watches how the two of them are together. Once Archie came along – and became a target as well – that it was a done deal that Harry was out. He always wanted out in the first place. All the attacking and smearing of his wife and child did was give him the final push out.

    • MSS says:

      You are absolutely correct when you say “ These people would drop their loved ones in a hot second to maintain their royal ties“. I’ve actually seen people on Twitter say that they would not walk away from their titles or money for anyone. Besides it boggles my mind when people blame Meghan for this despite Harry saying since the early 2000s that he wished he was normal, but accepted the fact he would never be normal. Harry was very generous in his speech in January when he stated that the public grew to know him quite well. That doesn’t appear to be the case because if it was then this would be coming as no surprise to anyone who ever paid any attention to what Harry’s been saying.

  4. Als Em says:

    Tears came to my eyes, but I’m pregnant.
    Mantel was indeed spot on and I’m just so happy that their marriage survived. Looking forward to seeing them this week. Love wins!

  5. Silas says:

    Kate’s public image is Royal Barbie Doll but we’re not supposed to say it. Especially not as early as 2012. We got to see what happens to a woman who makes her living through her thoughts and words rather than her overbearing wealthy husband’s wishes, when she steps out of line.

    Kate can have something of her own when it comes to childbirth and spending time with her parents. William gets control of everything else.

    Meghan was being bullied and ostracized but again we’re not supposed to say it. We’re supposed to treat them like they’re misguided children and the BRF and the Establishment knows best.

  6. truthSF says:

    “I’m pleased that it’s the marriage that’s surviving and the connection with the monarchy that has to go, because I think almost all of us would have bet that if she left, she’d have to leave alone.”

    This statement is perfect because it shows how much this was Harry’s decision along with his wife! Harry put his foot down against his toxic family and the toxic institution to protect the well being of his wife and child!

    The RRs can try to spin it as Meghan manipulating Harry all they want, but it’s been clear that Harry was the leader and decision maker on how to best protect his loved ones!! It was his family he was going against, he knows how they tick better than anyone!

  7. Vanna says:

    Go Harry and Megs! Shine bright and make the haters back in Britain weep and spew. Cannot wait for them to get going come April. The british press is going to try to rip them apart when they do. Wish them all the support, love & happiness. May the good people persevere.

    • cherriepie84 says:

      Agreed Vanna, but I do wonder if the “haters” are just in Britain? my guess is that they are likely scattered throughout Europe.

      • GuestWho says:

        Their haters appear to be where ever there is right-wing angst and racism. Strange coincidence that. Some of their most vocal haters on Twitter are middle-aged white women who support Drumpf and/or are born again Christians.

      • Vanna says:

        You’re right they are everywhere. I was thinking mostly about the royal family, their subordinates and the british tabloids. Boss fight level, so to say.

      • notasugarhere says:

        A report from last year had most of the hate being down to 20 people using many sockpuppets, 80 percent of whom were in the US.

      • Wishingitwas says:

        @nosugarhere if that’s true then that’s very interesting and maybe points at another issue entirely. The amount of hate and xenophobia that’s been thrown in the direction of the British people as a consequence of this and the prevailing idea that actually the US had nothing but love and support for Meghan. The number of times I’ve read articles along the lines of them British are racist and hate meghan’. No, I’m sure there are some Who feel that way and they’ve made sure their voices are heard but to keep generalising is terribly unfair when this is a royal family and media issue. Nothing to do with the average Brit or British culture. The H&M issue has brought out the worse in many people around the world.

      • Emmitt says:

        I don’t believe the majority of Brits hate or even care about about Meghan; it’s the Daily Wail, Scum, Brexit readers.

        The American haters of Meghan tend to be middle aged white women who all look like some variation of her father’s other daughter.

        I think Harry & Meghan have more supporters than detractors but the squeaky wheel is the one that gets the oil.

    • Not All Brits says:

      Wishing: its just this kind of English brush off that makes people say that country is 70 years behind the US on race. I guess you guys don’t know how you sound because it’s normal for you there, or you know how you sound and are used to getting a pass on this.

  8. CommentingBunny says:

    Really looking forward to the new book! And her comments are spot on. She strikes me as a very insightful and empathetic person (probably why her books are so great!).

  9. Beach Dreams says:

    The RRs were pretty mad about her comments and basically accused her of seeking attention. Funny how they never say the same about those who attack Meghan.

    • Eyfalia says:

      I have the impression that the tabloids are behind the hate trolls on the instagram account of the Sussexes. They hired people to post this hateful stuff.

  10. RoyalBlue says:

    I share your sentiments Hilary.

  11. Becks1 says:

    Her comments were spot on. I love the part about the marriage surviving. That is definitely what is throwing everyone for a loop – they thought they could break Meghan and destroy the marriage, and that’s clearly not what happened.

  12. Gigi La Moore says:

    It all boils down to the other royals not wanting to be overshadowed.

  13. Maevo says:


  14. Mary says:

    “I do not need Mantel to say that racism is involved…” @Kaiser, you may not but there are untold numbers of people out there who do. A lot of people are swallowing the malicious cr*p that Morgan, Wootton, Palmer and others are spreading about Meghan. It is as if they are determined to detail any attempt of the Sussexes to have a happy life and successful charity and turning people against them will further that. More people in the public eye need to stand up for the Sussexes, particularly those like Mantel who are not from the celebrity world.

    • Mary says:


    • Alexandria says:

      As an Asian, I’d appreciate if more white people called it out as racism.

      • Oliphant says:

        Yes to all of this!

      • Becks1 says:

        This was my thought, Mantel is exactly who should be calling out the racism – an older white woman (I mean younger ones should be too, but I get the impression that its a lot of older white women who don’t like Meghan but revere Kate.)

  15. Cosmo says:

    Shes right. Most wont say it but the abuse towards Meghan is because she outshines Kate and Harry outshines Will. Jealousy is strong in that family

    • carmen says:

      Yep. Meghan came on board with a strong work ethic, enthusiasm and a genuine desire to help and that was frowned upon by the powers that be. They don’t like change and they don’t like to relinquish the spotlight to anyone else.

      • Andrea says:

        I still think some of it had to do with America>British mentality. The brits are not lazy, but do not have that go getter take charge attitude that Americans do. When I started working in Canada, I would stay an extra half hour to finish my work whilst other Canadian coworkers would whine about wanting to leave early and sneaking out early. They also started to besmirch me at work because i was out shining them, when I simply had a better work ethic. I wasn’t trying to make others look bad, it simply was how I worked. This dynamic came into play with Will &Kate versus Harry & Meghan.

  16. grumpyterrier says:

    No pic of Hillary in her glorious red cape? Was looking forward to seeing it.

  17. Nic919 says:

    Mantel was right then and remains so now and the RRs are salty about it. She said Kate was basically a cipher for the media to ascribe roles and in 2013 the role was that of breeder. Since Kate rarely speaks the media was able to do what they want. Now she says that there was underlying racism in the coverage that fee want to admit and the RRs try to state that she’s saying this to sell her book. Even if that is true, what the hell do the RRs do all the time. They push twisted narratives to sell their papers.

  18. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Yup. That was the long game for the media and BRF. They were going to make Meghan miserable until she left. But two things complicated that plan. Her getting pregnant and Harry loving his wife more than he cares about being royal.
    I dont know why they were surprised. Harry said it from the start and he meant it. That he and Meghan are a team and the most important thing to both of them is THEIR relationship. They were warned. But hubris and racism will make you do dumb things.

    • Tiffany says:

      “But hubris and racism will make you do dumb things.”

      This needs to be cross stitched and put on all the products.

  19. Eyfalia says:

    And it was not Meghan who made the decision to leave and Harry choosing her over them. It was Harry who decided to leave and he took her out of the toxic atmosphere.

  20. Nina says:

    Harry has broken many historical patterns!
    And Meghan left with their best asset!
    I love this

  21. Honeybeeblues says:

    Given that the majority of this family would need passports just to visit Self Awareness, how could they possibly be aware of who Harry really is? I mean, for crying out loud, I had to look away in embarrassment several times during the marriage ceremony. I felt I was intruding on a very intimate moment between two extraordinarily connected people (I studied non-verbal communication…hence my frequent blushing). HOW in holy hell could that family be so blind on ALL levels? Boggles.

    • Harla says:

      I know that commercial jets fly to Self Awareness all the time, but do private jets?? Asking for a friend 🙂

      • Honeybeeblues says:

        Yes, Harla, however those who can afford those trips, customarily aren’t aware how desperately they need the visit. Not a thriving industry, sadly.

    • Great comment HoneyBeeBlues. I got a good laugh from it and yet I also think it was very spot on. I also found their wedding rewardingly intimate as compared to Charles & Diana and William & Kate. Harry & Meghan’s love really came through to anyone paying attention; of course, we’ve already established that most of the royal family were too busy making faces to have really noticed.

      • Honeybeeblues says:

        Yes JA, they provided plenty of their own embarrassment; and horror. I was horrified. Such lowbrow behavior.

      • lauren says:

        i’m STILL surprised there wasn’t more blow back on the royals’ reactions during the wedding. it was 1. so embarrassing 2. so xenophobic. ewwww they really showed their true colors and the rest of their behavior since has just been supporting the thesis.

      • Abena Asantewaa says:

        A plot was hatched from day one, to ruin the wedding, the whole debacle of Thomas Markle, was ochestrated by The Daily Mail. One day it will all come out. It got worse when she got pregnant, they were not happy, and it was very telling when Camilla Tominey, gleefully revealed, that a senoir royal said,Meghan is a degree wife, and an interloper. Harry has found out so much, that is why he moved to Canada with Meghan, to enjoy his marriage and fortify it, away from the toxicity.

      • Honeybeeblues says:

        Lauren! Totally agree. I was appalled by their behavior on every level, but even more so that they were being watched by the ENTIRE @#^%&*@ world! I figured within a week or so, we would read reports that TQ took them all to task for that egregious, childish, low rent behavior. But…silence. Which takes me to Abena Asantewaa: a year or so ago, I might have considered your comment a “stretch.” In hindsight, you makes a lot of sense. The only thing that makes sense, again, in hindsight.

        Here’s the thing: I moved to London in the middle of my sophomore year of high school (late 70s…punk revolution…just before Diana; left after graduation), and now, 40 years later, I’m back in high school again with these people! This family epitomizes arrested development. An entire family bursting at the seams with mean girls.

      • Chica says:

        Listen, that wedding dragged me out of the DARKEST pit of depression and hopelessness, I’d ever experience up to that point in my adult life. I revisit their wedding often since it’s always brings me such joy to see them an authentic love story in action.

      • Honeybeeblues says:

        Chica, the fact that the genuine joy of others can drag you out of a dark time, strongly suggests to me that you are going to be just fine. You are empathetic and able to find joy in the lives of others even when it’s missing from your own. Darkness is temporary (for most of us), but when it visits us, the ability to embrace joy, even for a moment, is the universe reminding us that this too shall pass. So watch that lovely ceremony ten times of day, if that’s what you need.

      • Lady D says:

        Chica, I’m very glad you found something that works for you. I use a TV show called Just for Laughs. The show pulls harmless and very funny gags on people and when I need to, I force myself to watch it 4-5 times a day. It makes me laugh and laughter is the only thing that helps pull me out of the blackness. It’s a slow process but it works.

  22. Keira says:

    It’s great to see a white (relatively establishment?) person mention the racism. The more the better!

  23. Eleonor says:

    I partially agree.
    But as I said before: Tom&Lorenzo were spot on in their podcast this is all on Harry, he has been done with the Monarchy since the day he had to walk behind his mother coffin under the eyes of the world.
    Meghan was supportive and on his side all the time, but we can’t say we didn’t see this coming.

  24. GuestOne says:

    @snaphappy Harry defended Camilla with comments in an interview that she wasn’t a wicked stepmother figure, him& William love her and the public should feel sorry for her for what she’s endured. When it was announced Kate was pregnant with George he was interviewed when he was in the army and said he hoped the press would give her space& leave her alone to enjoy her pregnancy.

    Shame none of was returned for Harry’s family.

    • Alexandria says:

      I did not know this about Harry. I know Harry is not perfect and he is privileged but gosh…he’s a joy. It’s all in the body language too. Kate always seemed more at ease around Harry and he made her laugh. That was during the Fab 3 times. Shame it ended this way but as long as Harry is happier.

    • Lyn says:

      @GUESTONE yes Harry did all of those things for Camilla and Kate. And yet when he and his family were getting thrashed in the media, not one of them spoke up.

      It’s ok because I’m sure when the inevitable happens and the media turns on them, Harry is not going to say a single word in any of their defense. He’s just going to mind his business like they all do.

  25. boobra says:

    any pic or story i see or read involving Meghan, i’m reminded about the totally disrespectful and cruel way that Princess Diana was treated in up until her death. The latter was literally hounded to her tragic death by relentless paparazzi. It’s 2020 and Harry probably realized that if the situation between his wife and an even more bloodthirsty social media was left unchecked and unchallenged, some further tragedy would most likely occur.
    The trolls who claim the dislike of Meghan is not racist but simply because “she’s disrespectful to Royalty and the British public”…honestly please give it up! you guys are full of crap. some of the comments I’ve read in the tabs create the impression that H & M should be blood bound to reveal every aspect of their life for public scrutiny. What century are these “Royalists/Traditionalists” living in? Everyone deserves to live with respect, dignity and above all a level of privacy, whether “you’re paying their taxes or not”. Sometimes you look at pics of Meghan in the UK, you could just see the sadness and tension reflected therein, her every move scrutinized and criticized, and then be mocked for being black, an actress, American and then have your baby be insulted and called a monkey.
    She looks much happier in more recent pics since their move to Canada.
    I hope they find their spot in the sun and can be happy. i hope to read more positive articles about them. i hope Piers and the rest of his cronies and henchtrolls develop an incurable case of the hot itchy nasties in unmentionable body parts and no amount of scratching brings them any relief.

    • AMM says:

      I was late joining the “fandom” for Harry and Meghan, and keep seeing people say that they were so excited for her to be a part of the monarchy and welcomed her with open arms, etc until she ruined it by being disrespectful. Out of curiosity I went and looked at the DMs early coverage of them and read the comments. They were worse with the racism (before the BM whitewashed the whole racist part and commentors started getting more subtle) and so many people telling Harry to run. Shit was brutal from the start. They never gave her a chance.

      • GuestOne says:

        It was pretty brutal from the start. There were public petitions circulating that Meghan shouldn’t get a title or shouldn’t be allowed to represent the royal family pre wedding because of her previous love scenes and other ‘reasons’. The press was extremely messy – with people like the Prime Minister’s sister having articles full of dog whistling and of course aided by the messy Markles. The day the engagement was announced and the day of the wedding were the only real days I can recall really positive press. Even the day after the wedding the Fail had a warning piece that Meghan should make sure to keep her politics to herself. The Guardian found that her press honeymoon was only 2 months.

        Yes definitely a lot of MAGAs involved in the hate, probably because of Meghan’s previous comments about Trump pre Harry. But seen a lot of nasty comments from US liberals too. It’s not all Americans. I believe the guys who threatened Harry for being a race traitor were from Britain and no doubt part of the Sussexes continued need for security is because of rise of the far right which the intelligence services said is the fastest growing terror threat, and wouldn’t be surprised if the Sussexes were prime targets. Seen a lot of hate from Brexiteers- maybe because Meghan is an immigrant. Leave EU even did a disgusting post on social media about Harry being pussy whipped. Some hate is xenophobia – some Brits look down on Americans and the trashy Markles didn’t help (not that the Windsors are much classier). Some hate has been about her perceived politics which clashes with Britain’s right wing dominated media and a push back against her lauding diversity. I was pretty shocked to see a former conservative MP call her a bitch a few months ago which is pretty unheard of as usually it’s just politicians who are republicans (who tend to be on the left) who have a go at the royal family.

        I agree you cannot generalise as Meghan did have really warm responses from crowds in the UK when she did engagements. But Britain is royal news is filtered through the right wing media so sure a lot of the smear campaign has had an effect.

  26. Lucy says:

    Just a note on Hilary Mantel- she once said that she lay down on the floor in Hampton Court Palace and felt the spirit of Cardinal Wolsey and the ‘weight of history’ on her or something crazy like that.

    • Chica says:

      @ Lucy is that a crazy concept? Well, i get that it is thought of as crazy, but it’s something that real people who have found ways to be still and “tap in” experience all the time. It’s a spiritual connection.

      I was raised Christian, but I do not adhere to the tradition of how it was disseminated to me. However, in my quest to be spiritually grounded, I can tell you, you can connect to other…presence (good and bad) when you come into contact of certain environments. I started to feel this for myself as I started practicing meditation and being more attuned to the environment a couple years ago. However, way before I ever had this experience, I visited Stone Henge while studying abroad, and while i don’t know what it was I felt (good/bad/otherwise) what I felt was energy that is different from the norm.

      I am a skeptic. I question my own thoughts and feelings. But I know what I feel when I come into energies that are present that are not of my own, or someone corporal. Science has not caught up with the measures to prove these things happen to the degree perhaps would make more ppl believers. That doesn’t make them quack pots tho.

      The issue are the charlatans who exploit these things for attention and $. So, what she said is not a knock on her character as far as I can tell. I haven’t read her books, but if the real Cardinal Wolsey was a person…you’d have to ask why he books connect the way they do.

    • Jaded says:

      I’ve visited Hampton Court and let me tell you…the weight of history is palpable. At the end of the day when we were leaving (the last out the door), my friend asked an older woman who worked there and was at the front door saying goodnight to the stragglers…”Have you ever felt the presence of spirits here?” and she said…”Oh yes. Many’s the night I was here working late and felt tickles on my shoulder, heard dogs barking and howling in the hallways upstairs, stuff moved around. I would believe her over any so-called psychic.

    • notasugarhere says:

      Visiting historic battlefields, like the site of the Glencoe Massacre, has done something similar to me. I try hard to avoid them in my historic tourism now.

      • yellowy says:

        Agreed. I visited Gettysburg as a non-American, knowing little about the site or the battle. And it is the eeriest place I have been to. It’s like the very ground has not forgotten the spilled blood. Ghosts walk there.

        Also, I like visiting historical temples, churches and mosques. I can feel the reverence that respective believers have those spaces, and the peacefulness contained within that quiet reflection and prayer have wrought.

  27. notasugarhere says:

    @Kaiser, go check out Coolhaus and their new Queen’s Coffee Ice Cream billboards for #IWD2020.

    • What. . .now? says:

      Those billboards!! amazing! “Ice Cream Fit for a Queen” — Call us, Meghan.” Boom!

  28. L4frimaire says:

    I agree so much with this 100%. I honestly think that the main motive for this step back was to preserve their marriage and their little family. Everyone was too obvious in wanting to push Meghan, and only Meghan, out. Maybe they though Harry would be a jerk and leave her to carry the burden alone, like a lot of Royal men seem to do with their wives. Imagine the effect on both her and Harry, knowing so many people in the Palace and the press were deliberately trying to break your wife in order to break the marriage. There are no guarantees in life to a long lasting marriage, but they felt this was the time to try, without others trying to steer that ship onto the rocks. All that nonsense about fame and money is off base, it’s just trying to justify the disgusting racist behavior that Meghan was subjected to.

  29. FridaKhaloLover says:

    The question of whether a marriage can survive the monarchy is a really insightful one. I look at Catherine and William’s marriage, at least what is observable, and to me it has withered in the spotlight and under the weight of the expectations of the crown the public and the media. I doubt many marriages can survive these things, most struggle even with regular life. William looks like he’s in actual pain recently and Catherine smiles hard to cover it up. I do feel bad for them because their marriage is a constitutional thing not a romantic or idealistic one. Maybe it had friendship and love in the beginning but they have 30 or so more years of this performative, empty royal work

    • Andrea says:

      They look like they don’t even want to be around each other, but are putting on appearances. Kate may want whatever they had back, but Willy has definitely felt the ship has long sailed.

  30. paddingtonjr says:

    I wasn’t familiar with Mantel before, but I will have to read her books! I think she’s entirely correct: the BRF and RR thought they could treat Meghan horribly, she would leave and Harry would be back in line. Apparently, no one was paying to attention to Harry as long he toed the line and made W&K look good. But, for those of us on the outside looking in, it was obvious from the first time Harry called out the press on their treatment of Meghan that he was in this for the long haul. Watching H&M during their engagement interview and wedding, anyone could see that they were in love and in sync. It has been a joy to see that love grow as Meghan became pregnant and Archie was born. I would like to think that the BRF and RR would realize that H&M are the true “til-death” romance, but they all seem to have their narrative and don’t want to veer from it.

    • Becks1 says:

      Her books are really good – they’re about Thomas Cromwell and his relationship with Henry VIII. They’re also a fascinating look at 16th century life. They’re written….I don’t want to say stream of consciousness, but close to it in terms of style. So like I said above there’s a rhythm to them and once you get into it the books are actually quick reads. Wolf Hall is about Cromwell trying to help Henry annul his marriage so he can marry Anne and Bring Up the Bodies is about Anne’s downfall.

    • Lady D says:

      Beautiful comment @paddingtonjr, and I agree completely, but I still don’t like the name Archie.

  31. Chickaletta says:

    I wonder, if Harry had married someone of the exact same circumstances, history and background, but a white woman, how things would have played out……. … how vicious would her treatment have been without the ugly racism so obviously at play?

    • GuestOne says:

      Anyone Harry married would have had a hard time. In 2015 a royal reporter said Harry better hurry up and get a girlfriend otherwise the press would turn on the Cambridges as villains. Royal reporting is straight out of fairytales, there’s goodies and baddies.

      The press were pretty awful to Chelsy especially. But it would never be allowed to get as bad as it was for Meghan. She would have been left alone during her pregnancy& likes of Piers Morgan would never have got away with daily harassment of a fully white royal bride.

    • February Pisces says:

      I think as well half the problem is those trolls online too. I think if he married chelsy they would have been nicer to her because she just isn’t as pretty as Meghan, therefore she’s no threat. Most of the female haters dislike Meghan for being biracial and for being really attractive, they are threatened by her and wish harry had married someone less attractive, so they can feel good about themselves. So I think chelsy would have had a much easier ride overall, but still treated like garbage in comparison to ‘wholesome st Kate’,

  32. lily says:

    I love Mantel’s commentary

  33. Sass says:

    Very like Prince Edward and Wallis Simpson in that he chose the woman he loved over the monarchy. Yes he was selfish and there’s much to say about their poor political choices but nobody learned anything from that. That was not the last time a mistake concerning marriages was made in this family.

    • Emmitt says:

      King Edward was pallin’ around with Nazis. That’s why he had to go, not because of this great love for Wallis Simpson.

  34. Marivic says:

    @Guestone. Thank you for taking time to answer what’s bugging me. So that was how PHarry helped and defended both Camilla and Kate from the rabid press intrusion. Nice guy really. He’s got a kind and loving heart. Too bad there was no reciprocity when it was his turn to be defended and supported.

  35. Lyn says:

    I agree that it’s pretty much Harry driving this change of stepping back. He has lived through this and refuses to do so again.

    I think if it had been up to Meghan they would have stayed, no matter how painful, demoralizing it would have been. She would have endured it as long as she had Harry and Archie, she said so in the South African documentary- “as long as I have my man and my baby I’m fine”. I’m paraphrasing but it was the gist of it. Bc Harry leaving is a huge moment and a decision he had to make himself.

    And he knows what was happening to her privately and said so in his post South African tour statement. That he had watched how she has been impacted by all of it. Only an uncaring husband would stand by and do nothing. Maybe if they stayed he would have lost her in the long run and it wasnt a chance he wanted to take.

    Also, luckily for him all of this dovetails nicely with his years long desire to strike out on his own. Except now he’s doing it with a partner who has his back. Whether they are successful or not is up to them. Even if they aren’t I would wager they would still rather be outside of the royals, living modestly than put up with the nastiness again.

  36. February Pisces says:

    Camilla Tominey now has some BS article saying ‘it’s not racist to question meghans behaviour’ in retaliation to Hilary’s comments. Clearly ma Middleton got on the phone and demanded she write something. It must kill them that a smart, accomplished, intelligent white woman is complimenting Meghan and calling people out on their racism, the same woman who called Kate a plastic princess, shop mannequin with no personality. Ouch.

  37. Nibbi says:

    Finished reading Wolf Hall just a few days ago, funnily enough. Was outstanding.

    Her comments on Kate, back in the day, were spot-on.
    Her comments on Meghan now are also spot-on.

  38. Not All Brits says:

    This isn’t over; it will never be over for the people who are trying to break them up. I think their new plan is to damage them so much that the breaks start flowing into their relationship. Go grey rock, H&M!