Patrick Jephson: Sussexit exposed the ‘deep-rooted complacency’ in the palace


Patrick Jephson was Princess Diana’s private secretary for years, and like so many of Diana’s “favorites,” he has fashioned a career for himself as a royal commentator and columnist. He has a new column in the Mail on Sunday and it’s sort of a review/beatdown of Finding Freedom and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, which… okay. I’m actually surprised that the Mail hasn’t dusted off all of their royal commentators for these kinds of takedowns. What’s interesting about this Jephson piece is that he actually has a half-decent point buried in all of the anti-Sussex sh-t, which is that one of the reasons Harry and Meghan left is because the royal family and the royal apparatus are so complacent. You can read the full piece here. Here are some of the interesting “points” I think Jephson made:

Sussexit shook the complacency: Unwittingly, Meghan may have sent a message to the Windsors that it’s time to break their suicidal habits while they still can. When the Sussex experiment is properly investigated – as it should be, by a conscientious Palace management – then deep-rooted complacency, conceit and confusion will surely all be found among the culprits. Complacency is endemic in the British Royal machine. Not that its dedicated, educated, liberal-minded servants don’t work hard or efficiently – they obviously do – but it has a fatal capacity for moral inertia when one of its big names is in trouble.

Other examples of complacency in action: Think of Prince Andrew, now twisting on rope paid out over years by a Palace elite that failed to take early preventive action. Think of Princess Diana, cast adrift by her husband’s adultery and left to swim or sink by her own efforts. Now think of Team Sussex, a geyser of naive energy that nobody dared curb for fear of getting scalded.

Finding Freedom’s significance: The book’s real significance is what it tells us about the Sussexes’ view of themselves. … If you want to understand how Harry and Meghan perceive the world and their importance to its future, this book is essential reading…. Just reflect, however: any Royal person can commit this sort of self-harming self-exposure, but most do not. If you ever read this book, you’ll understand why. Harry’s mother tried it, and suffered the consequences. Already the Sussexes are denying their complicity, as if anybody would be fooled by the authors’ wide-eyed protestations that they received little direct help. It would be understandable if Harry and Meghan now regretted the book, particularly as they apply for membership of the West Coast elite.

So will Sussexit force the Windsors to change: And here we reach confusion. British Royal neutrality in anything political is legendary, obligatory and rooted in self-interest. The Windsors’ constitutional raison d’etre is as a force of continuity, a focus of national unity hovering high above the cesspit of party politics. Lose that lofty incorruptibility and soon the peasantry will be asking why their taxes go towards keeping this privileged family in such astonishing luxury. And why it is obligatory to regard them as super-enlightened in everything from town planning to elephant migration. It’s a delicate contract, one which the benign mass of the British public are happy to honour. Usually. Until, that is, a disturbingly confident, independent incomer such as Meghan makes us ask what really holds up the magnificent, tottering facade of the monarchy. Granted, she may be labouring under a few delusions about her own importance and might secretly be playing a longer game for American audiences…Yet the wise will also contemplate a bleak Windsor future in which dire Royal finances, a scandal-hit Prince Andrew, a controversial future Queen and a looming change of reign may together conspire to make the Sussexes’ flight to the Golden State look positively prescient.

The shock to the system: But, if we honestly think the Markle interlude has nothing to teach the British and their monarchy, be in no doubt, the last laugh will be on us. Remember the inertia that has so damaged the Crown in the recent past. Think of the bright-eyed, mixed-race commoner who came and saw… and ran away. It’s just possible, if they heed the warning, that Harry and Meghan may be just the shock the Windsors needed.

[From The Daily Mail]

It’s clear that Jephson has zero love for Meghan and that he blames her completely for everything. But I feel like that’s the spoonful of sugar (the sugar of Meghan-hatred) to make the medicine go down, and the medicine is a note to the Windsors and the courtiers: don’t let this sh-t happen again, you screwed this up, and you need to change. Which is true. Finding Freedom works on several different levels, and one of those levels is a damning story of how a duke and duchess were undone by INTERNAL forces within the monarchy.

Centenary celebrations of the Royal Air Force

Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry at the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force, Buckingham Palace, London, UK on Tuesday 10th July 2018

Photos courtesy of WENN, Backgrid, Avalon Red.

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33 Responses to “Patrick Jephson: Sussexit exposed the ‘deep-rooted complacency’ in the palace”

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  1. Chica1971 says:

    Still don’t get the this unrelenting hatred for Meghan.. It get that she made mistakes but this is a freaking crucifixion.

    • Liz version 700 says:

      I know?!?! She has been built up as this demonic force, but when you see her in her life now she seems utterly normal. She and Harry don’t do any of the behaviors they were accused of in Britain. The Instant dislike seems to be purely racism which is a very ugly story. I suppose it makes sense if you think about it. Queen Victoria conquered countries and treated native brown people horribly. Those views seem to still run through that family. I hope Charles never convinces them to go back. Imagine what they would do to Archie.

    • S808 says:

      This intense hatred for her and insistence that this is ALL her fault is insane. I’m surprised it’s coming from someone who had a front row seat to Diana’s smear campaign too.

    • VS says:

      Can you please let me know what mistakes she made? I am really curious

      • molly says:

        The pantyhose, the nails, the hat, and worst of all, SHE SHUT HER OWN CAR DOOR. Can you imagine?? What shame she brought to the monarchy.

    • Lowrider says:

      Meghan did not play her role. She didn’t show deference to the media and establishment so the courtiers spent the better part of two years trying to put her in her place.

      If she had just played her subservient, so grateful to be here role then the media wouldn’t have gone as hard on her.

      She was also up against a several groups who simply did not want their relationship to progress.

      • lanne says:

        Nothing she could have done would have stopped the media, or the palace. They hated her. Her very existence was a threat to their racist way of being. Nothing she could have done or said would have made a difference. If she didn’t work, she would be a “lazy welfare queen.” If she kept her eyes downcast and walked 5 steps behind Harry, she would have been “cosplaying royalty,” “overacting,” or something else I can’t even think of. Had she paraded her baby in front of the Lindo wing, she would have been called out for “trying to act like future future queen, how dare she”. She and Harry keep their birth plan private, “how dare they.” All she could do, amidst these racist fools, is lose.

    • KL says:

      My guess would be sunk cost fallacy + cognitive dissonance.

      In my experience the most unrelenting, vitriolic hatred can result from entering a toxic scenario and saying “this is no good! I’m out!”, especially if it is crystal clear the person leaving is more than capable of doing what the scenario requires, they just also realize they’re worth more than whatever diminishing returns are involved. People get caught up in the emotionality of a situation that demands 110%, they invest their time and their effort and health, and to admit it never should have been asked of them in the first place or that they never noticed how thoroughly they were being exploited, and by people who never deserved their loyalty, can be soul-crushing. It threatens the ego on such a level to have made such a mistake that they fight tooth and nail against self-awareness. Only, SOMEONE in that scenario has to be wrong, so they choose the person that left.

      And the people doing the exploiting? They will literally go out of their way to grind that person under their heel, because they know if it seems like that person made the right choice, the whole jig is up.

      Anyway. I hesitate to make martyrs out of people I only know through headlines. But I think there might be something to the fact that Meghan was a grown woman who had already walked away from one marriage, and who had succeeded in one of the most judgmental industries around where the deck is already stacked against women, but ESPECIALLY women of color. Maybe she was a little love-struck and naive going into that marriage — and I have really no grounds to criticize her there, love routinely makes me stupid. But it seems like all her life experience let her say, “I know my worth, and I’m worth more than this” once the chips were down, and if it’s true kudos to her. If it’s true, I can only imagine how much rage that implicit statement would inspire, given the layers of context.

  2. Becks1 says:

    Yeah, I’ve said a few times that one of the problems with Sussexit (problem for the monarchy) is that it pulls back the curtain a bit. It makes you think about what the royals actually do and how they actually live. So many people on twitter are ranting about how “excessive” the Sussexes new house is – but then shut up when you ask about the other royals. (I had an convo with a friend this weekend where she said she thought the house was a bit ostentatious and didn’t know why they needed so much space, I showed her a picture of Bagshot Park and Gatcombe and she was like….WHAT?!?!? She just had never thought about it before. She now thinks the Sussex house is fine 😉 )

    And that goes along with this:
    “the peasantry will be asking why their taxes go towards keeping this privileged family in such astonishing luxury. And why it is obligatory to regard them as super-enlightened in everything from town planning to elephant migration.”

    That’s why the whole half in/half out thing was untenable – no one else wants to be expected to earn their own money. And they don’t want the public asking why H&M don’t need public funds but so many other royals do. etc.

    • Nic919 says:

      I think that last point is what scares them. There is really no need for any of the royals to get funding, especially outside of the monarch and her immediate family, because only the monarch has a constitutional role to do for the country. All adult children and their descendants should be on their own. Harry will be where Andrew, Anne and Edward are right now, and Harry is showing that there is no need for them. The Queen should have sorted this out years ago, but she even has cousins helping her, so she won’t dare cut off her kids as well.

    • Lizzie says:

      The economic effect of covid 19 could be felt directly by the Windsors. Policiticans may campaign to cut their funding significantly. Or as we say in the US defund them.

  3. Snuffles says:

    If everyone can get past the drama, the bottom line is that Meghan and Harry’s style of working isn’t a good fit for this old fashion organization. And unless said organization decides they need to change, it will NEVER work. It’s a poorly run organization with different divisions (KP, BP and CH) constantly working against each other.

    Meghan “falling in line” wouldn’t have fixed their deep seated issues.

    • Lizzie says:

      If Finding Freedom is true, Meghan did everything she could to fall in line. She worked hard and studied how things were done. She isn’t confrontational and would have found a way to fit in and accomplish her goals.
      Jephson is just pushing the ‘pushy duchess’ narrative.

      • Snuffles says:

        She THOUGHT she was doing everything they wanted but the problem was she did TOO well and started outshining the Cambridge’s and was told to fall back. And she and Harry weren’t having it.

        Also, she refused to play ball when it came to Archie’s birth and christening. It was too late by that but due to the relentless abuse she received while pregnant. Game over.

  4. Priscila says:

    “Think of the bright-eyed, mixed-race commoner who came and saw… and ran away.”

    Well, in this, he is right. He might be hard on implying Meghan she has this super, uper, duper agenda other than, you know, live her life with her husband and child and build on their charitable efforts into a long-lasting legacy, and he is obviously begging the Windosrs to know better, but I appreciate he at least made some uncomfortable questions and did not mind the uncomfortable answers…

    But, place Diana and Meghan´s name in the same breathe s Andrew´s—yikes!

  5. Nic919 says:

    They need to stop lying about being politically neutral. They aren’t. There is a clear Tory faction, especially in William’s household and it’s obvious. And if William can shut down the media over his personal problems, then he has way too much power. And Andrew’s situation isn’t just a scandal. He’s a monstrous criminal and they are protecting him.

    • vertes says:

      Yes, let’s do get back to Andrew. All the FF hoopla makes a great smokescreen for the ongoing support the royals, particularly Ma Windsor, are only too happy to give the family pedophile.

    • S808 says:

      William is literally sharing staff with Boris in the form of Simon Case— his private secretary. They’re not politically neutral and I don’t think they have ever been.

    • TheOriginalMia says:

      I brought this very point up with some posters on another site, who accused Meghan of shilling for the Democratic party in her 19th* interview. I reminded them that the Cambridges hired Tories in their household, so I guess we could conclude William was a Tory/Pro-Brexit support. The hypocrisy.

      • Nic919 says:

        The 19th is about voting rights for women so the people saying that is just a democrat position says a lot about them.

      • MA says:

        The 19th* is nonpartisan but either way who cares at this point? They can’t keep beating up Meghan when she can’t do anything right in their eyes and they’ve LEFT.

    • starryfish29 says:

      The idea that the royals are neutral is laughable on its face, the very existence of the institution is political. They don’t talk about important things because they don’t want to, and most likely just don’t care about them that much. They are just bland rich people who want to keep living bland rich people lives, and if you can fool the plebes into paying for it then all the better.

  6. S808 says:

    How can someone who worked for Diana and had a front row seat to her being torn apart and smeared to all high heaven blame Meghan and Meghan only for EVERYTHING?? I don’t get British commentators at all. Don’t like her or what she represents, fine but you automatically lose credibility to me if you lay everything that happened her feet. It’s not true and it’s not realistic. What the fuck is in the water over there?!

    • ClaireB says:

      I feel like these royal commentators are more like the Faux News hosts who have an agenda to push while pretending to be neutral. If you are not in their bubble and are paying attention, it becomes very obvious and you wonder who could possibly fall for it. But there are people who are not paying attention or who are true believers and thus they can halfway rewrite reality.

    • Lizzie says:

      Diana’s family was old line aristocrats, much more blue blood than the Windsors. He does not see two women who in similar situations, he sees one woman who deserved to be there and one who did not.

    • Penguin says:

      Maybe we read it differently, but I don’t think he blames her for anything per say, only points out that she was incompatible with the British Royal machine and that’s not on her. It’s the organisation itself which is the problem. Her entrance into the Royal family was mismanaged from day one. He is totally right though, a lot of people in Britain are questioning why we are looking to a group of people who, lets face it, are no more inteligent, skilled or educated than any other average individual (maybe even less so) and yet, in addition to being provided for financially by the state, are taking it up on themselves to dictate or preach social issues to the rest of us. Once Harry and Meghan are accused of this it’s only a matter of time before the tide turns for the rest.

  7. Steph says:

    Who is the controversial future Queen? Camilla?

    • Maevo says:

      Yeah I think he meant Camilla. At first I was like oooh is Kate falling from grace?? But yeah it’s gotta be Cams.

  8. Maevo says:

    Omid made a great comment on his podcast last week that if the monarchy were a company/business you’d be asking HR to do an investigation on why so many people (particularly the women) that marry in to the family end up leaving under bad or tragic circumstances.

    • ArtHistorian says:

      It is quite literally bad for your mental health to marry into the BRF – and that really says everything about the family and the institution.

  9. cisne says:

    i think this what I have been saying through all my comments on the excerpts of FF and even before that. That the Royal Family is lazy, cumbersome, wasteful, negligent, and they dont give a fuck about anything except staying a monarchy. They think all they have to do is to continue to produce heirs and they are good. And they can continue to canabalize young women newcomers to that family. They, especially CHARLES, have learnt nothing from Diana’s painful years as part of their organization nor her tragic death. They make no effort to learn actually.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Oh, she was too enthusiastic and too confident and too “naive” (please). Well, she really could not win. God forbid a woman be confident or enthusiastic or naive for a moment, because she’s given no grace, no support. This is such a hateful, demeaning (and self-indulgently extensive) take on someone who was so obviously well-intentioned and so obviously lovable. I’m sure it wasn’t *just* misogynoir but that was a huge part of it. They’re racists and they (literally) built their empire on racism and they can’t deal with losing any shred of power or realizing their white supremacist patriarchal “Royal” family is not the supreme echelon of humanity.

    An old, super shady white man with famously troubled finances who used racist language and who probably raped enslaved young women and is hiding from the FBI, though — let us do everything to shield him, because Andrew represents EXACTLY who they’ve always been. He’s the core of their being. Meghan threatened the Andrews and their sycophants and enablers by existing as a free happy Black woman.