Hunt: It was ‘cruelty’ that the Sussexes weren’t allowed to continue working

Peter Hunt is one of the few royal commentators saying real sh-t. I’m sure he gets the palace memos and I’m sure his sources feed him the approved palace talking points, but he makes up his mind for himself and it’s usually pretty good and pretty cutting. For years now, Hunt has said that Prince Harry and Meghan’s exit from Salt Island speaks poorly of the royal institution and its ability to adapt. Hunt has always said that the Windsors should have been more accommodating to the Duchess of Sussex in particular and truly understood her power to represent an increasingly diverse UK and Commonwealth. Hunt also regularly calls out the invisible contract too, and he has been doing a lot of that lately when he tweets about the glowing coverage of the Duchess of Cornwall. Anyway, Hunt has a new interview in the Irish Times and he says some interesting stuff:

On the Queen’s isolation: “She’s a sort of castle-bound monarch, isn’t she? And that was fine during Covid, and she rather skilfully mastered the art of being a sort of Zoom queen. But that is harder to maintain as we come out of Covid and there’s more expectation of people meeting face to face.”

The Windsors’ greatest challenge: “The [royal family’s] greatest challenge is that on one level, it is utterly ridiculous that we’re talking about a 95-year-old and expecting them to start skipping and doing cartwheels down the street. We all know 95-year-olds and we’d expect them to be sitting in a chair with their feet up, watching the racing and drinking a cup of Horlicks. But for them, because abdication is just a no-no, the minute they start to say she is putting her feet up, then the public question will be: who is the head of state? And that’s a whole world one gets the sense they really don’t want to enter into, either counsellors of state temporarily or, indeed, a prince regent more permanently.”

On Prince Andrew giving up his patronages & his HRH: “Irrespective of his guilt or innocence, the core of it is about his catastrophic failures of judgment over many years. And in that context, you then also have to look at whether there was a failure of judgment in those around him, not just within the monarchy but also within successive British governments. The evidence is clearly there that it was questionable whether or not he should have been a trade ambassador for the British government, but no one stopped him, even though they would have had warnings – sort of – in private memos and from various ambassadors.”

On the Sussexes: Hunt believes that the royal family could have done more to accommodate them and that the institution fails to understand what an asset they lost in Markle. “She was able to give a speech in South Africa about being a woman of colour who entered an institution that, to survive and prosper, needs to continue being the head of state in several other realms which are Commonwealth countries, and it failed to do enough to keep her within the institution. I mean, it’s an institution that adjusts and makes things up as it goes along. There’s a flag up, there’s a flag down. They can adjust their history when they need to. They’ve managed to find a mechanism whereby [civilian] Prince Edward can attend the Cenotaph wearing a military uniform. They could have found a mechanism whereby Harry could have carried on. The fact that they didn’t smacks of a level of cruelty.”

On the Queen’s popularity & how her death will send everything into a tailspin: “I think it will be very different because her crucial advantage has been that we don’t know what she thinks. She could go to bed whistling the tune to the Red Flag, although we’re pretty confident she doesn’t. But we don’t actually know, and that’s her great saving grace. Whereas with Charles, we know of all the many and varied issues on which he has strong opinions and that will be a potential challenge for future governments. When you strip away what they are about, the crux of it is this quite challenging concept of being a unifying figure and being a unifying figure in a nation that has become increasingly diverse. On paper, it’s unbelievably challenging. But she has managed to do that. She has managed to become this sort of constant. An icon of steadiness. And she also personally has managed to be untainted by scandal, although there’s plenty of scandal around her. When you take all those factors together, I think that is why it will be a very significant moment when it happens.”

[From The Irish Times]

He’s right about everything, I think? What’s left unsaid is “why?” Why is it so unpalatable to the Queen and her advisors to officially make Prince Charles the Regent? Why did so many people in government and the royal institution turn a blind eye to Prince Andrew’s many well-documented problems? Why were the Sussexes treated with such cruelty and tossed aside like they didn’t matter? Why wasn’t Meghan protected as a much-needed symbol of the Windsors’ and Britain’s inclusivity? I’ve had this thought before, but I’ll ask it again: would the institution’s behavior be any different if the ultimate goal was to weaken and diminish the monarchy into irrelevance? No. It wouldn’t.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid and WENN.

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58 Responses to “Hunt: It was ‘cruelty’ that the Sussexes weren’t allowed to continue working”

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  1. Cj says:

    Lol, imagine if this was all PW long con to avoid becoming king by having the monarchy not exist by his time. Then he could just enjoy the immense wealth and status, and dick about shooting clay pigeons or pheasants and sighing about how much better the country was when “Britain was an empire”

    I would salute his ingenuity

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      He would have to not care about his kids and I think he does. Not enough to protect them from the torment of being a spare or the burdens of being an heir, but in his own tunnel vision way loves them.

      Sabotaging himself taking the throne would only hurt them.

    • jazzbaby1 says:

      He doesn’t have enough brain to pick his nose let alone play a long game like that.

    • Laura says:

      Does William have immense wealth of his own, though?
      If he passed on the throne he would lose all the income that comes with it..
      I guess he has inheritances from Diana and Philip, and will receive something in Queens will.

      • Becks1 says:

        Sandringham and Balmoral are personally owned by the monarch, as well as a lot of other things they don’t like to bring up or talk about, lol (including some of the Cullinan diamonds). I imagine if the monarchy folded someone in the Windsors would get to keep all that, along with the personal fortune of the monarch, but inheritance taxes would be a problem.

        eta thats not a guarantee that William would get all that if the monarchy folded, but I think he’d be fine.

    • Robert Phillips says:

      Do you really think if the British people get angry enough to get rid of the monarchy they are going to let them keep all they pretend to own. I do believe Charles will be the last king. But I also believe they will be run out of the country and be left pennyless. The only thing that may save them is all the stuff they have stashed in the Caymans. But I’m not sure they wouldn’t all fight over that and lose it also. This is not a very bright family.

  2. Chloe says:

    “I mean, it’s an institution that adjusts and makes things up as it goes along“

    “ They can adjust their history when they need to.”

    DING DING DING. Exactly this. The institution could have adjusted to accommodate the sussexes. They just didn’t want to. Funny how they are willing to bend the rules for literally everyone but them.

    • GrnieWnie says:

      Yup, I find this is exactly how British institutions operate. They adjust for whom they want when they want. And they do not for others. I just categorically reject this approach. It’s anti-democratic, which (of course) any class system inherently is.

      • Deering24 says:

        “There are some people they widen the ranks for. She was not one of them.” Dominick Dunne, “The Two Mrs. Grenvilles.” 😡😡

      • TEALIEF says:

        These palace dwelling troglodytes make adjustments all the time so they can remain palace dwelling troglodytes. They changed their whole name from House Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor for personal and political survival. The personal is political, and they knew what they were doing and what they did. If this is what they do to a valued part of their family, the question is: What wouldn’t they do?

  3. ProfPlum says:

    The cruelty was the point.

    • Emma says:

      Cruelty and hubris.

    • Red Weather Tiger says:

      Cruelty, yes, born out of racism.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        Yes, blatant racism and which was on full display. From the racist artwork at the abode of the Lamridges to the brooch that Prince Michaels wife wore. It’s seen and exposed as they all declare that they are very much NOT a racist family!! Such lies!!!

        Kudos to Hunt for telling it like it is, that the public has been watching for the last 5 years, with regards to Meghan, who was supported and deeply loved by Harry.

    • Jais says:

      Exactly this. The cruelty was the point. This is my overarching belief when I think about how the family firm treated the sussexes.

  4. Wiglet Watcher says:

    Damn I think he got it all pretty right.
    The family has been in it for themselves on an individual level. Not long term and never with a selfless/for the greater good act.

    • Rice says:

      That part! I mean, these people have never had a taxpaying, 9-5 job in their lives. So, whenever there’s a rise in anti-monarchy sentiment, they turn on the “charm offensive”, which only comes off as simply offensive, out-of-touch, and lazy. Here come the Sussexes who have shown that the RF can do so much more, especially for those in need. But, just as a racist never likes being called a racist, the RF doesn’t like being called lazy, and they certainly don’t want to do any more than the little they already do. It just boils down to a wealthy family who is selfish, lazy, racist and vampiric (I said what I said). They just don’t care and they will NEVER change.

  5. Amy Bee says:

    The answer is the Royal Family is surrounded by a bunch of incompetent people and yes men who have no idea about PR and the outside world.

  6. Brit says:

    I will never understand how the media and RF fumbled the bag so spectacularly. The media were basically upset because they couldn’t have tea with Meghan and have her phone number and the RF were jealous and threatened over a woman and marriage that could’ve benefited them in the long term. The clownery is very real. Not to mention the hate towards Meghan vs Andrew and the clear palace and media protection he received. Way to show you’re racist and nasty without outright saying it. I’m glad they showed the cruelty they have because it’s only backfired on them.

  7. Jan90067 says:

    It more the fact that this nest of vipers can’t look past their own insecurities and jealousies. They are like infants: gratification must be immediate to be of affect, and NO ONE can be a bigger center of attention than they are (only TQ).

    Even the squabbles between themselves (Anne getting her nose enough out of joint to make her mother issue that stupid “Blood Princess” rule about bowing/curtseying because *she* din’t want to curtsey to Cowmilla (when she didn’t have her Tampon with her). Tampon jealous of his brother’s attention from Mummy (“slimmed down” monarchy my ass: There is NO TALK of “slimming down” the SG, only getting Pedo and his kids off the balcony/payroll. Notice NOT ONCE did Chaz say he’s not going to be taking less taxpayer pounds).

    This bunch would’ve NEVER seen past Meghan’s skin color because they ARE inherently racist and tribal. Just look how the aristo crowd keeps out others, even with money. Oh…they may *take* your money (charities, parties, etc), but as they let Keen know, you’ll *never* BE * one of *them*.

    • Nadine says:

      THIS! It’s all about keeping more of the money for himself (Charles) and his direct heirs. The queen negotiated that the amount of sovereign grant may never be reduced, only increased. No matter the number of “working” royals. It’s infuriating that people assume Charles is trying to be fiscally responsible by slimming down the monarchy. He’s being selfish.

      • Debbie says:

        “The queen negotiated that the amount of sovereign grant may never be reduced, only increased. No matter the number of ‘working’ royals.”

        Sweet Jesus, who was present during THOSE negotiations? Was anyone there representing the taxpayers? Why would any fiscally responsible law maker agree to this?

  8. Cessily says:

    He is interesting to read.. imo Right about a lot. I really do hope PH covers all this in his book.

    • aftershocks says:

      ^^ Harry’s book is a memoir about his personal experiences, and his personal truth. It will NOT be an expose on the inner workings of the royal firm. Harry chafed at being in the firm to begin with. He has plenty of life experiences beyond the gilded cage.

      So, no. Leave the definitive book on the firm to someone like Peter Hunt, or to a solid investigative journalist.

  9. Merricat says:

    When the Sussexes left Britain, we wished the royal family would face their karma soon and publicly, and that is what we’ve seen ever since.

    • Liz version 700 says:

      💯 spot on. The Karma has been immediate and they are almost too stupid to see it. This family looks so so bad

    • BothSidesNow says:

      There hasn’t been the equal karma of what they did to Harry and Meghan. They haven’t suffered at all, to me at least. The only way they will suffer is when TQ passes and there is a mass exodus of CW countries and Chaz is faced with a tightening of taxpayer funds. On top of an independent audit of their finances, which would expose their true wealth, as we all know TQ, as well as the rest of the RF, have money hidden everywhere. Chaz wants a slimmed down monarchy but he doesn’t want their funding to dwindle, in fact he probably will want more money!!!

      • Lemons says:

        It’s going to be interesting to see what happens when TQ passes because some might be cordial with Charles because he is “one of them,” but he is also going to have to live down wanting to be a tampon. But William? He doesn’t seem to have any allies or friends outside the press. No other equal among royals that he regularly collaborates with. No one else with whom he has a sustained partnership (outside of Keen and this is breaking down). I don’t even think those in the government take him seriously. They will definitely start the real trimming of the monarchy as he gets older.

  10. Colby says:

    I think the “why” is both the extreme coddling of a group of people who believe they are ordained by God to rule, and have that mindset reaffirmed every day, mixed with the paranoia that it will all fall away soon. It leads to bad decision making all around because they are less smart and capable, but also much more powerful than they should be.

    • aftershocks says:

      ^^ I agree. Ironically though, had anyone competent been in charge and understood what a significant and substantive asset Meghan is, then the institution might have been able to buy more time and stave off the ‘falling away soon.’

  11. Angelica Schuyler says:

    The bottom line answer to your question of “why” is that they are cruel, arrogant, self-centered people who only care about their own well being – not Britain, not the Commonwealth, not even their own family members. The people at the top only care about the others as much as it benefits them and is a service to them. They do not care to change or adapt as the times change, and they are doomed to cause their own obsolescence….They will destroy the monarchy from within if they continue as they are….

    Get the popcorn…

  12. B says:

    “the fact that they didn’t speaks to a deep level of racism” FIXED IT. They hated Meghan and wanted her out. She’s gone end of story. They only care now because the Royal Brand including the Queen’s Brand (though they won’t admit it) has been seriously damaged and the Sussex Brand is riding high. They want to clout chase and use some of that shine for the Queen and the Royal Brand.

    If the Sussexes had failed in America they would have positioned the Queen and the Institution as being far seeing and astute for “guiding” the unsuitable and difficult Sussexes out.

  13. Becks1 says:

    I like how he pretty much says what so many of us are thinking. He basically calls out the gaslighting, so to speak – like, no, Meghan wasn’t treated like sh!t because she was a bully and she was mean to staff, she was treated like sh!t because she was perceived as a threat and as someone who didn’t “know her place.”

    The “why” is the interesting part – I think at this point there is a power grab going on behind the scenes among the courtiers (think of two dozen angela kellys, all knowing they’re going to have to retire once the queen dies, and trying desperately to preserve their jobs/their roles/their importance) and I think what we see play out in the press between the various royal factions is only the very surface of what is actually going on.

    But that said….its just remarkable to me that in the 21st century, no one at the Firm realized what an asset Harry and Meghan were – that their popularity and charisma were not a threat but could be harnessed to serve the Crown (as they wanted to do.) H&M could have been used to make the other royals look better – WITHOUT making H&M look worse, which was the only way the Windsors knew how to operate. It wasn’t enough that Meghan and Kate were very different people, it had to be that Kate was BETTER than Meghan.

    anyway, general thoughts aside, this is my favorite part of the article:

    “I mean, it’s an institution that adjusts and makes things up as it goes along.”

    They do just make things up and that’s why all the nonsense about “its protocol” or “its just not done” was always just BS. It could be done. Protocol can be changed and adjusted. etc. It was always just a cover for “we don’t like Meghan.”

    • Nic919 says:

      Meghan’s ability to figure out how to do the royal engagements quickly and competently was always going to be an issue especially because Kate is a decade in and still very bad at it. The issue was always there because someone like Sophie managed to sort out doing engagements and giving speeches and solo tours fairly early in but since the media doesn’t really care about her, they were able to pretend it wasn’t obvious from day one that Kate was just bad at the job and that year after year she wasn’t going to improve. (It’s likely also a reason why William seems frustrated with her at engagements because at this point she should be able to give quick speeches and she’s still very bad)

      Meghan was an easier and more obvious point of comparison because they are the same age and despite kate being the more experienced royal, it was Meghan who really shone, with intelligence and motivation to really help others in new ways. So at that point they had to invent new protocol with which to critique Meghan.

      • what's inside says:

        Well done synopsis of the situation with Billy Basher. Charles is known to be extremely jealous of his position and accompanying entitlements and the apple did not fall far from the tree with Billy.

    • Gah says:

      That was my favorite part too.

      Hello “let’s create a brand new religion bc I want a different wife!!” This is the kind of making it up as they go along they are capable of!

      It’s like they think we don’t have brains and educations and memories.

      GD the palace courtiers and the RF and the Rota must be stupid AF- it’s quite sad on some levels but also isn’t it a microcosmic play of the greater trends seething throughout the world?

      Those who deny history, deny reality, deny empathy, deny lived experience on one side and then the others who are brave enough to say enough with all the lies and then publicly enforce boundaries, call out the gaslighting, model healthy communication and empathy and seek to get it codified into legislation and social systems.

      My British husband does not understand my fascination w this process of the fall of the empire but I keep telling him all the threads at play and on display here are emblematic of the bigger picture. (Also I have gone no contact at times w my narc/culty family so I vibe w the Sussex choices.)

    • Eurydice says:

      I totally believe the make things up part, but I don’t know about adjusting. It seems to me they’ve been doing the same things over and over and making up the reasons why it’s Ok for them not to adjust.

    • Harper says:

      I think they knew Meghan was an asset, but they had a William and Kate problem, and in that family, the incandescent heir wins. William was already going rogue against H&M with the Flybe stunt, saying he wanted them to live in Africa, and Kate was leaking that Meghan made Kate cry. William even bullied H into co-signing an “I wasn’t bullied” article. William wouldn’t even sit down to lunch with them at the Sandringham summit. I think at one point, Charles may have thought by giving in to WIlliam, his anger at H&M would eventually settle down, but that was a huge miscalculation. Even a year after Sussexit, William threw out the bullying accusation against Meghan and sent Knauf after her in court and someone is currently holding Harry’s security in the UK hostage as well. The cruelty continues to this day.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        Yes, @ Harper! Bitter Brother is still angry but he is now angrier as his brother, and his SIL, are getting the kudos and the accolades that he desperately has wanted since he was in out of Eaton. The difference is that Harry, and with the marriage to Meghan, they both eclipsed Bitter Brother and Mumbles McMutton in spades. Bitter Brother is only driven by his anger and jealousy, hence the separate tours. CopyKeen hasn’t made any attempts at fulfilling her duties and still has no intention of pulling her weight, ever!

      • aftershocks says:

        ^^ @Harper said:
        “William even bullied H into co-signing an ‘I wasn’t bullied’ article.”

        A statement was released by KP, and the statement was quoted in an article.

        The Sussexes told us in the Oprah interview that Harry never signed off on that statement. So, it was KP and Will who used Harry’s name in the statement, without his permission.

  14. equality says:

    Is the Queen really that “unifying” just because she stands up for NOTHING? She says a few soothing “everything will be okay” lines and everybody forgets they don’t have enough to eat or to pay bills? At least PC has established charities that try to help people even if everybody doesn’t agree with all his ideas; he has at least translated many of his ideas into action instead of just waving, smiling and saying soothing words while people bow down to him.

    • Emma says:

      She’s not, she presided over the dissolution of empire. This guy is just a slightly less racist sycophant than usual.

      • Saucy&Sassy says:

        Emma, I can’t get over how critical he is really being when describing how the Queen has remained a constant all of these years. I would hate someone saying these things about me. That is not flattering at all.

    • Eurydice says:

      It’s kind of like a religion – like praying to a statue. By remaining opaque, the Queen can mean different things to different people and the people can think they’re unified. And her handlers are like the high priests who interpret the religion and perform all the rituals.

      • Dee Kay says:

        @Eurydice this is the insidious part. The Queen “says and does nothing” but SOME people decide things and do them, and those people are altogether invisible from public view or scrutiny. The courtiers, the men in grey suits (as Diana called them), are the true power behind the throne, and it’s terrible that nobody really knows who (most of them) they are or what they believe or what goes into their decision-making. I think that QEII sort of has no idea what happened with Sussexit. (However, this does not absolve Princes Charles or Wiilliam — they knew what was going on and seem to use their toadies rather than the other way around.)

      • Debbie says:

        The queen may very well “say and do NOTHING” but she still manages to “take sides” and communicate her feelings when something is important to her. She gave titles and honors to her pedophilic little boy Andrew, gave him home(s), continued financial support, pays his legal bills, gives him rides to church and horseback rides to show support for him when he is in crisis. She did this and allowed the media to take pictures of their horsey rides, knowing that the pics will be in newspapers to send a message that she still supports her misbehaving son, and that the BM had better be nice to him too. Not to mention she still allows that awful Prince Michael of Kent and his chihuahua of a wife to keep their titles, attend royal events and make money based on their royal connections. The queen doesn’t have to stand on street corners like a carnival barker because, like the Letterblairs in “The Age of Innocence,” she knows how to send a message when she wants. So, I don’t believe that she’s as apolitical or as neutral as everyone claims.

  15. VespaRed says:

    I am so embarrassed by my past love of the royals. I remember waking up to watch Diana’s wedding and watching it live on NBC and being so excited. Kate is a conservative dream wife – a vapid canvas that is nothing but looks. And of course she’s NEVER going to change – why would she when she has to do nothing but look pretty and she has the money to make that happen. ( She needs to stop with the jazz hands and the psycho grins though). I wonder if things will change online now that the Russian bot farms are being closed out on social media.

    • WiththeAmerican says:

      I’m not sure they are. Their bot and troll work used to be farmed out to another country, so when Putin shut down social media to his citizens it wouldn’t impact their work, or rather shouldn’t have – and yet it has.

      I’m wondering if they just can’t pay.

      Or maybe the second country location (determined after their work to interfere in 2016) was changed.

      Sorry for the book, I’m just fascinated by the change on social media since Putins invasion. Though he has plenty of Republicans gaslighting and selling his propaganda on Tv and social.

      But also, as you point out, many of them are being shut down by a few social media companies or at least identified. (Twitter Re RT)

    • Lulu brown says:

      To answer your question VespadRed, A lot has changed since they closed out the Russian bot farms for Kensington Palace. They have had the lowest engagement on the most recent photo. Also, Kate might be a conservative’s dream wife, but she doesn’t have the looks.

  16. Nic919 says:

    Hunt wasn’t always this critical but once he left the BBC he has gotten more trenchant in his commentary. And it’s hilarious to see the other RRs moaning about him saying that he shouldn’t be commenting on a family he doesn’t like. Clearly they don’t understand their actual job because being a commentator is not the same as a court stenographer and being critical is actually part of the job.

  17. Abby says:

    Yeah I like this guy’s take, on all of it!

  18. Jaded says:

    The Queen actually has had personal scandals — as of 1992, because of public pressure, she had to start paying income tax on her billions. She has an ongoing exemption from race and sex discrimination laws. She covered up for Andrew’s many indiscretions and criminal activity. But as per usual, The Firm circles the wagons around her and the press has an agreement to not spill tea. One of these days the tide is going to turn and Pandora’s box will finally be opened.

  19. Justplainme says:

    He’s got the cruelty part right. There was always an option of telling the Sussex’s they cannot be part time royals but we will root for you to succeed in your new life. It’s was the palaces’ choice to be cruel, it was never necessary.

  20. Eurydice says:

    Why? It’s hard to make sense of decisions made by an organization that doesn’t make sense in the first place. The problem is that the monarchy has no reason to exist, yet it does exist. If you strip away all the pomp and titles and tiaras and crap, it comes down to dying animals trying to save themselves.

  21. jferber says:

    He’s absolutely right on everything. What they are most capable of IS great cruelty. And the world doesn’t need any more of that.

  22. KimmyChoo says:

    I first read the article headline as “Hint” and thought, “no $hit, Sherlock!”

  23. Patricia says:

    When QE11 is gone,so are they.Thetes no emotional investment in the rest of her brood.