Let me just say: I’ve been on the Royal Gossip Beat for more than a decade, and as we cover these tell-all books – like Robert Lacey’s Battle of Brothers: William and Harry – The Inside Story of a Family in Tumult – more often than not, I remember the “controversies” as they unfolded. And these royal biographers are just perfectly willing to dupe the general public. I mean, I get it, most people aren’t paying close attention because it’s not actually that important AT ALL. But it’s so irritating to me, the way all of these royal commentators and biographers are just grasping at whatever straws they can and completely rewriting the tabloid narratives as they go along.
In May 2019, the Duchess of Sussex gave birth to Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. She had been victimized by a vicious and unhinged smear campaign for the bulk of her pregnancy, and she and Harry clearly wanted to keep much of the birth information private. After all, they were being repeatedly told that they were unimportant, insignificant to the Crown. And everyone the Sussexes came in contact with ended up being gleefully smeared in the tabloids too. So the Sussexes tried to keep a lot of information private, including the names of Archie’s godparents. This, too, caused Prince William to be incandescent with rage.
William had lots of thoughts: William did not think too highly of Harry and Meghan’s ‘prima donna’ manoeuvres to conceal the birth of their son. He and Kate failed to visit the new arrival for a full eight days. By contrast, the Queen, Prince Philip, Charles and Camilla all turned up within hours to coo over the baby — and it seemed strange that, when the Cambridges did finally pitch up more than a week later, they didn’t bring along little George, Charlotte and Louis to welcome their new cousin.
The godparents’ drama: Then came the real crunch: the godparents. An essential component of any Church of England christening process, these adult mentors who will guide the new baby spiritually, morally and often materially through life are considered even more important for members of the Royal Family. Technically, they carry the title of ‘sponsor’. Numbers six and seven in the order of succession may not seem particularly close to inheriting the crown, but who knows what can happen in an age of mass terrorist attacks and global pandemics. Six and seven could well get promoted to three and four — or even higher.
Good lord, they were just mad over nothing: ‘Secret sponsor’ has a dodgy sound to it. And it is an ingredient of Britain’s representative monarchy that the people should have the right to know who is giving moral guidance to their possible future king or queen. Here again, however, precedent, protocol and practice all collided headlong with Harry and Meghan’s firm insistence on their privacy — and that of their new baby. Confirming the palace announcement, the Sussex Royal office made clear that the whole ‘sponsor’ issue was non-negotiable. The godparents’ names would not be revealed.
A constitutional principle, really?? ‘Friends’ of William suggested that the future king, only five places clear of Archie in the order of succession, could not comprehend how such a basic matter of constitutional principle had been misunderstood. How could any new Windsor royal be christened in a meaningful sense without the newcomer’s sponsors being known, if not present? What does such bizarre and paranoid behaviour indicate about the parents involved? One thing we may conclude is that Harry and Meghan had developed an exaggerated idea of their own importance.
Gee, I wonder why the Sussexes thought the world was hostile to them: The months since their marriage had demonstrated that the couple share a common character flaw — they both have a tendency to cascade downwards from their peaks of generous self-confidence into miserable moments of self-pitying victimhood. They see the world as hostile and start behaving in self-destructive ways that make that hostility come to pass.
It was perfectly clear at the time, just as it’s clear now, that the Sussexes didn’t reveal the names of Archie’s godparents because the Daily Mail would have been sifting through the godparents’ trash in a matter of hours once the names were revealed. It’s that simple. The godparents have a right to privacy. Now, do I also think that Harry and Meghan could have “handled” the christening and the “baby reveal” differently? Sure. As with many of the Sussexes’ “controversies,” I think there were some criticisms which could have been made in good faith, criticisms which probably would have fallen on deaf ears, considering H&M were being criticized for breathing and existing then and now.
It’s driving me up the wall that none of these royal commentators/biographers can write or utter the simple sentence: The Cambridges were sick with jealousy about all things involving the Sussexes.
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