In context, Brian Cox spoke about ruling families & the Sussexes’ ‘innocence’

What’s the Winston Churchill quote? “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” So it was with that Brian Cox story in the Daily Mail. I strongly suspect that Haute Living New York sent out a promotional email with a few excerpted quotes from their cover interview with Cox, and the Mail decided to create this utterly ridiculous narrative that Cox spent the entire bitching about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. I’ve read a lot of Cox’s interviews in recent years – this dude is a socialist and he hates the monarchy and he wants Scotland to vote for independence. I simply didn’t believe that he would save his biggest criticisms for the Sussexes. And he really didn’t. Within Haute Living’s story, it’s clear that Cox is rambling on about economics, politics, the British monarchy and more and there is a larger context. Some highlights from the interview:

On his Succession patriarch Logan Roy: “Logan’s not that bad. I actually have a lot of sympathy for Logan. [Logan] comes out onto the street and he just sees how run down New York is. There are rats everywhere, and a guy eating his supper out of a tin can. Logan sees that and goes, How did this happen? How did we get to this state? It’s a parallel to his own life: he has these awful, entitled children, but he himself does not have that entitlement; he has empathy that his children do not. He believes that everything he’s done, he’s earned … and he’s not wrong. It’s always said that a cynic is a disillusioned romantic. I think that’s true and also the root of who Logan was as a young man. He sees that life doesn’t operate the way one would like it to, but in a more mercenary way. His children, however, don’t realize that if they don’t work, that if they don’t commit some kind of integrity to what they do, that they can’t succeed, and he can’t do anything about that. It’s just the nature of the beast.”

Pretty much an atheist: “I think one of the most fundamental problems we have as humans is that we let religion get in the way so much of the time. I’m not anymore, but I was born a Catholic. I’m pretty much an atheist now, because I don’t think religion serves anybody. I think God is one of the great illusions we cling to in order to give us sanity, but I actually believe in human beings, that they’re much more interesting.”

Why he loves America: “The reason why I live in America, and why I love it, was that I was very attracted by the notion of egalitarian thinking. This country was built on essentially egalitarian principles. And I feel horrible for the immigrant population that comes here with this notion that America represents freedom, because it’s certainly not as free as it purports to be. We’ve allowed so many things to get in the way of that freedom. For me, one of the tragedies of America — because I do love this country and what it represents — is that it isn’t living up to what it represents. It’s not living up to what those principles were built on because all these other distractions have come in.”

On the British monarchy, this is the full section: “I find that it’s really just so sad that we don’t acknowledge our own humanity enough. We don’t acknowledge what we’ve been through on behalf of a family — a ruling family. And that’s why, when you look at what’s happening with Meghan and Harry [there they are!], you go, ‘Well, Harry, there’s an innocence about.’ And with her, too. But you can’t go into a system where somebody’s already been trained to behave in a certain kind of way and then just expect them to cut themselves off. I mean, she knew what she was getting into, and there’s an ambition there clearly as well — the childhood dreams of marrying Prince Charming and all that sh-t we see as fantasy that could be our lives in our dreams. I’m a Cinderella person, you know.” He shrugs. “In my opinion, we shouldn’t have a monarchy. It’s not viable; it doesn’t make any sense. It’s tradition and all that, they say. I say, ‘F–k it! Move on!’”

[From Haute Living New York]

Now, I’m not saying his full comment in context makes more sense, but it’s nowhere near as harsh or anti-Sussex as the Mail would have people believe. My interpretation of his comment is: Harry was very innocent and so was Meghan; it must be difficult for Harry to cut himself from the regimented royal life and his toxic family; and Meghan’s innocence was that she was wrapped up in a princess fantasy and the dream of what their lives could be. Now, I think he’s wrong that Meghan knew what she was getting into. That’s such a stupid conversation, because it’s such a self-own for British people and the British media, because it’s like they’re mad at Meghan for not understanding that they were going to be awful and racist towards her. They’re like “how dare she not realize that we’re utter trash!”

Anyway, it’s still perfectly clear that Brian Cox wants to abolish the monarchy. I tend to think he was just talking about the Sussexes more as a character study than political actors, but what do I know.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, cover courtesy of Haute Living.

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50 Responses to “In context, Brian Cox spoke about ruling families & the Sussexes’ ‘innocence’”

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  1. ThatsNotOkay says:

    I’m not mad at him. Harry and Meghan were naïve going into this—they have admitted as such. And when it all kept getting worse and blew up, they got out. They were never going to change the system from within or modernize a deeply entrenched system built on white supremacy. But they went in hopeful. Can’t fault people for having hope, so long as they open their eyes once they’re there. And they did.

    • ShazBot says:

      I think an issue is that Harry (and hopefully less so Meghan though I’m not sure) still wants to modernize and be within the monarchy. If his family had an about face and gave him everything he wanted (real relationships and no rota) he’d be there in a heartbeat.
      This is what I struggle with with him. He doesn’t want to bring the system down, he just wants it to work for him.

      • ThatsNotOkay says:

        With you on that.

      • OriginalLaLa says:

        That’s the same issue I have – at his core Harry is a monarchist and wants the system to work for him. But it can’t – the system itself is racist and sexist and elitist.

      • Mel says:

        You are not gonna get Harry to say abolish the monarchy and he shouldn’t. It’s a death sentence’s not wise.
        Plus form Harry’s position he was able to make a difference within the institution and some of Charles endeavors have been successful. Meghan of course but she did it on her own..Everyone else sucks.
        So I can see why he thinks it could work.
        The monarchy will not be abolished anytime soon so i hope in the days, years ahead they really get their feet put to the fire with conversations of racism past and present but also reparations.

      • SusieQ says:

        @Shazbot and @OriginalLaLa, I am right there with you. I’ve said this before, but the monarchy cannot be modernized. It’s designed to be feudal, hierarchical, racist, sexist, and xenophobic.

      • Myra says:

        From his own words, it has sounded like he had always wanted to leave the system. Does he want it to be better? Probably. For him only? I don’t think so. To me, it sounds like he pities his family.

      • Brassy Rebel says:

        Harry is very egalitarian which is why it doesn’t make sense to me that, after all he and Meghan have been through, he still believes in monarchy which is the very definition of anti-egalitarian. And it can’t be made egalitarian since it’s based on being born in a “special”, supposedly superior family.

      • Slush says:

        Honestly I agree here. But in his defense it’s like leaving a cult you were born into- it’s probably pretty engrained in his being.

      • MissMarirose says:

        I think you’re absolutely right and it’s a shame because it seems like he’s still being naive.

      • Lux says:

        Maybe it’s too cruel for Harry to picture his family functioning without any of their royal privileges and accoutrements. He knows that they—the father who can’t move a pen, uncle who can’t close a curtain, sister-in-law who can’t move a facial muscle and brother who just…can’t be moved—will not survive. Maybe he still has compassion for them and believes in his grandma’s oath. I’m sure he’s working through his own contradictions and it’s all a journey in progress. Maybe the message of his family’s cultural significance and importance is just too deeply ingrained in him? Or perhaps the idea of abolishing/upending the entire class system is just too…improbable? I really have no clue.

    • hangonamin says:

      this. so much this. i’ve been struggling to figure out how to describe this conflict of what harry wants until you guys put it this way. he wants to modernize a system that CANNOT be modernized. he wants his family, the monarchy, the aristocracy to accept his biracial wife and champion for equality for people when that literally goes against the entire backbone of the system. if they modernize, they would be obsolete…from the monarch to the aristocracy. because no one in this day and age would say someone’s worth and ability to rule is based on genetics and being born in the right circumstances. unfortunately the ppl in power and with eons of generational wealth (monarchy and the aristocrats) do not want that. so it was wise for harry to move away, but he won’t ever say abolish the monarchy…bc the aristocracy is next and that would be him and his family.

    • maisie says:

      Agree 100%. Realistically, Meghan would have been so stifled under the whole system that she wouldn’t have lasted anyway. Only so long she could have played second fiddle to Kate and her useless listening, when our girl was so much more ambitious and engaged.

  2. equality says:

    “But you can’t go into a system where somebody’s already been trained to behave in a certain kind of way and then just expect them to cut themselves off.” Why not? PH changed his behavior. People can change. The majority of the RF is just not willing to put that kind of work into it. In a real “firm” people change their behaviors to keep a job. The royal-adjacents should be no different.

    • Mary says:

      Agreed. To me, Cox does not come off any better then he did in the initial excerpts printed by the Daily Mail. He paints Meghan as an opportunist, a social climber.

  3. Geegee says:

    I love Brian Cox. He’s so crusty. He brings all his crusty old man character to his interviews. It makes them interesting.

  4. Cel2495 says:

    Yeah, is not what the mail tried to make it out to be. I wish they would have printed all that he said but it would not work with their narrative. The royal family will not change because they think that what makes them important. Abolish the monarchy!

  5. hangonamin says:

    kinda reads slightly better but essentially the same as the excerpted quotes. i get what he’s saying and i kind of agree. Harry didn’t really prepare Meghan, bc he trusted his family too much. he honestly didn’t want to (or perhaps know how to play) the media game of tit for tat his fam relies on. Meghan was too in love to realize what she was walking into, and underestimated how much her biracial background would stir up the hateful utter garbage of the BM. She was even warned by her British friends and she was too optimistic to listen. maybe she thought her career as an actress would help her understand the PR game, but the rules are clearly so different there. now they’re out and trying to move on and I wish them the best.

    • Eurydice says:

      I think Meghan (as well as most of us who don’t really know the RF) assumed the Queen had more power than she did. The Queen approved of the marriage and one would think she could have waved her hand and said, “they’re my family, leave them alone.” But because the RF is so fractured, with competing members briefing the press, the press is what ends up having all the power.

      • sid says:

        I also suspect that Harry looked at how things changed positively for his sister-in-law after she and Willileaks got married, so assumed something similar would happen for Meghan. After the Wails wedding, the media narrative on the sister-in-law changed completely and all the talk of waity katy and other criticisms vanished almost overnight. It was obvious that the palace was now protecting her. Also, QEII made a public point of supporting Sophie after she idiotically allowed herself to get caught up by a fake sheikh and ended up on tape insulting the royal family. Harry had seen how the palace machine had stepped up to protect the other married-ins. So he might have thought the same would happen for Meghan once she was an official spouse.

    • ariel says:

      I agree that Harry was painfully naive about how his family would treat Meghan, and he gave them the benefit of the doubt at every turn, and expected William to not be who- even in the public recognize him to be- an entitled, raging, jealous prick. I mean he acknowledges in the book that William reacted with jealousy to all kinds of good thiings harry wanted for himself- stupid stuff like “ordering” Harry shave his beard b/c William had to shave his beard before his wedding- and saying this “argument” sent on for weeks. Harry was blind.

      I’m with Brian Cox. Abolish the monarchy. The paragraph wasn’t that clear, but he said something about how you can’t expect the people born into the royal system to change. I gotta say i will always be impressed that Harry did the emotional work, the therapy to make the change- without that he would not have Meghan or their kids, and would not have had the gumption to break free.

      Also, i don’t particularly care for succession.

  6. Louise177 says:

    I hate when people say things “they know what they’re getting into”. It’s easy to talk about what the experience will be but the reality ends up being completely different. I’ve taken jobs where I thought it would be one thing and it ended up being the opposite. I think Meghan expected the attention, protocol, etc but not to the extent it was.

  7. Tessa says:

    It really is not the system it was the way harry and Meghan were treated. It was not protocol when Kate was nasty to Meghan and interfered in her wedding.

  8. ❌❌❌Tart ❌❌❌ says:

    Over 50 percent of marriages in the UK and USA end in divorce. The rate of failure is larger for second marriages. Yet those people did not know what they were getting into, but Meghan supposedly knew what the deal was in entering a very small, strange, and unique institution? Yeah right.

    • Emily_C says:

      No they do not. I don’t know where this lie got started, but there is no group of people (except maybe Scientologists and celebrities) for whom even 50% of marriages end in divorce. It is false and always has been false.

      During the time of highest divorce in the U.S., the group of people who got divorced most were women without an outside source of income or higher education who had gotten married under the age of 25. That was 40%. For women with an outside source of income, or higher education, or who had gotten married at 25+, it was 25%. This was during the very highest level of divorce.

      Now, divorce rates are down and falling. Divorce was NEVER as common as this propaganda claims, and now it is far less so. I really wish people would stop believing and spreading this horrible lie.

  9. Marsh says:

    Based on what’s he’s saying I still don’t think he’s actually listened to anything. Meghan has said. Idk
    But I’m glad I didn’t jump to form an opinion on this yesterday. It’s whatever.
    But I do agree the lie travels faster than the truth.
    For Sussex fans especially those reading the daily have to be careful jumping to believe anything they say!
    It’s propaganda and unfortunately it works even for those who are well meaning.
    Positivity doesn’t sell and the British media and royal reporters know that. Be careful what you amplify.

    • Lady D says:

      You can relax, @Marsh, nobody on this site believes a word of the DM.
      (unless it’s the sneaky DM reporter who surfs here)

  10. Mrs. Knight says:

    I agree that it was naïveté on both Harry and Meghan’s parts. And the concerning thing about Harry to me is, he was blissfully ignorant on racism. In fact, I wonder if he even had friends or loved ones who weren’t white before Meghan. As for Meghan, I can see how hopeful she was, but it does seem terribly cartoonish to think you can change a monarchy that has been problematic since inception. But, I think the bigger surprise that neither could see coming is that everyone saw her as Black. Brian Cox makes some good points.

    • Snuffles says:

      Actually, he does. He’s pretty tight with Karl Lokko. An ex gang member turned community activist. He and his wife came to the wedding. There’s a whole article about their friendship in the tabloids. But I refuse to post it here.

      Instead, watch his Ted Talk

      • Mrs. Knight says:

        That’s good to know. But I guess one Black friend or couple doesn’t give you a full different perspective. The monarchy does shield their members from experiencing diversity except when they’re on missions. I’m sure this is just one of the many ways Harry’s world has opened up. But I’m still disappointed in how he discussed racism and his own privilege. However time will tell.

      • C says:

        He had nonwhite friends, and the other issue is, the royal family is perfectly capable of being outwardly friendly and polite to POC despite their racism. I mean, there are plenty of times when they are jackasses but there are lots of occasions where they get on just fine with them in public. And it might have misled him.

        But none of those POC had ever tried to join the royal family and marry in. That was something different for them, which I don’t see how he could have really anticipated since it hadn’t happened before.

    • Jais says:

      Well, Harry has strait-up said he was naive about race.

    • notasugarhere says:


      One of Harry’s closest friends is Nacho Figueras. Depending upon the particular brand of racism, some may or may not perceive him as ‘white’.

      Another of Harry’s closest friends is Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, with whom he founded Sentebale when Harry was 19. Seeiso is the one who has said, repeatedly, that the press has no idea who Harry really is on the inside. One of his quotes? ‘For us, Harry is one of us. (That) he is taking a person who has African roots again cements our love for Harry and his respect for the African continent’

    • Okay says:

      Of course he had friends from other ethnic backgrounds. He founded the Sentebale in 2006 alongside Prince Seeiso of Lesotho which supports children and young people living with HIV in Lesotho and Botswana.

  11. C-Shell says:

    Eh, it’s slightly better in context, but I still rankle at his (typical of a man his age) comments about the princess fantasy that he attributes to Meghan. Also, “ambition” coming from his demographic is a pejorative for a younger woman who has a vision of what she can accomplish with a more global platform. Words out of Meghan’s mouth and off the tips of her fingers have clearly shown her attitude about women who work vs. women who lunch, what she hoped to accomplish with Harry, leveraging their roles in the RF to reach more causes and people in need, and her cockeyed optimism. The tragedy is how the unholy alliance did its level best to crush every bit of those hopes and plans.

    I wish Brian could open his mind to THAT reality.

    • kirk says:

      Thank you for your right-on comments C-Shell. I was incredibly rankled by yesterday’s post based on Daily Fail’s always torturous presentation. And seeing that Brian Cox said other words makes it only slightly better. Can’t change the fact that he wrongly attributed Meghan with full knowledge of a weird gaslighting system prior to marrying into it, or that he mistook her ambition completely.

  12. Becks1 says:

    The line about “they knew what they were getting into” is just so annoying because they did not. Harry barely knew what she was getting into. he thought his wife would be treated the same as William’s wife by the institution and no one, especially William’s wife, was willing to let Meghan be treated the same.

    That said, the line about Meghan’s ambition makes more sense to me. He’s not saying she had her sights set on Harry for years before she married him. He’s saying more that its normal to have a childhood fantasy of prince charming and marrying royalty and how wonderful its going to be and when she met her prince and fell in love it seemed like marrying him was the easy natural next step. Basically Disney movies have helped boost the BRF’s image for lots of young girls lol and that gets imbedded in us.

    The line about ambition – I’m not sure if that’s in reference to the princess fantasy (it comes right before that) or if he just means that he thinks M is ambitious in general. (and she was ambitious when it came to her role in the firm in terms of wanting projects completed, wanting to be hands on, wanting to do more than just smile and wave.) But I guess the interpretation of that line is going to depend a lot on whether you think being ambitious is a good thing or a bad thing (I think its a good thing.)

    Finally, when someone is basically saying “this whole institution is crap and should be abolished” of course the tabloid press is going to pivot and focus on any slight or potential or out of context criticism of H&M.

  13. Amy Bee says:

    There’s a slight difference in tone but he still makes some assumptions about Meghan that are not true. I think a lot of the anger towards Meghan is that she exposed the true nature of the Royal Family to the world.

  14. C says:

    I read the whole interview and it wasn’t horrible but Cox is sort of ignorant about certain things (stuff unrelated to the Sussexes too). And I mean, so am I, but I’m not giving several page interviews about those things, lol.

  15. Harper says:

    Everyone thought Meghan’s entry into the royal family was going to be a positive force for change. But after an effective smear campaign waged by Harry’s own family, Meghan is the one hung out to dry for thinking she could enter the royal family and change it. If there was this dreaded innocence going around, then we all had it.

    • Jojo says:

      @HARPER. Well said. 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

      The innocence & naivety, in this context, was widespread and the deliberate destruction of it a much needed eye opener to many. But that is a good thing in a twisted kind of way. Many who were blinded by a lifetime of PR and spin, or even ambivalent to these problematic issues, now finally see the RF & BM for the racist, misogynistic scum they’ve always been.

  16. Dee(2) says:

    And I will just iterate the comment I made in yesterday’s story, these people really need to learn how to say no comment because even if you have complemintary things to say they will be taken out of context and you will spend more time trying to defend what you said than people listening to what you said in the first place.
    They WANT to misquote and stir up crap, stop falling for the okie doke.

  17. ❌❌❌Tart ❌❌❌ says:

    Over 50 percent of marriages in the UK and USA end in divorce. The rate of failure is larger for second marriages. Yet those people did not know what they were getting into, but Meghan did?

    • DeeSea says:

      100%. And what’s the broader assertion? That people shouldn’t enter into a new situation unless they can anticipate exactly how it will play out? That would mean that no human should ever take a risk on anything or try something new. So we’re all supposed to just stagnate wherever we are instead of venturing into new situations or experiences? It makes absolutely no sense, and it completely negates our natural human instincts around curiosity, experimentation, risk, and exploration.

  18. SusieQ says:

    The line that resonated with me the most is Cox’s observation about acknowledging what we’ve been through on behalf of one family. I’m reading Dan Jones’ new novel, Essex Dogs, about the Hundred Years War, and Cox’s comment perfectly encapsulates that whole event. The novel is about a group of men from Essex who are fighting in France and trying to survive the war. And the reason they are there is because Edward III is claiming the French throne as his own.

    The British Royals colonized most of the world, starting with their own neighbors. Many of us are where we are because of them. And they still exist. It’s just honestly astounding

  19. Ameerah M says:

    Yeah he still could have kept Meghan’s name out of his mouth. At this point it’s well known and established that talking about her invokes headlines. Which is why I will continue to side-eye folks who do it.

  20. Zoochy says:

    Logan Roy would have *shredded* the DM “editors” that misquoted him. That is all.

  21. Honey says:

    He said: she knew what she was getting into, and there’s an ambition there clearly as well


    I’ve always thought/felt that Harry had perhaps oversold Meghan on the idea of what they could do and achieve as a royal couple. In addition, I have always thought that Meghan thought, with stars in her eyes, that she’d have a larger platform to become a combination of Princess Diana and Angelina Jolie. That’s not necessarily a criticism. It’s just a statement.

    I also think that always blaming Meghan slaps of misogyny. However, in that, the unstated piece (usually) is that Harry doesn’t have any agency and is naive. So, that says a lot about what people thought/think about him too. In many ways, tho, Meghan does have more real-life, practical experience than Harry. That’s just real and situational given their lives heretofore.

    The one thing I will say that can be construed as a criticism is that Meghan probably didn’t give herself enough time to get to know the players like one would at a new job. Once you figure stuff like that out it becomes a bit easier to maneuver. No, I’m not saying she should have put up with abuse.

    The other thing I think neither Harry nor Meghan expected was the lack of transfer in terms of deference. Here is where I think they were both naive. The people who work for and support the monarchy, at some point, deeply believe in hierarchy based on birth. They buy into the fact that QEII, KC3, Anne, William and Harry are their betters—their superiors. So, of course, they bend over backwards and are super gratuitous and fawning. Pulling forelocks and bowing deeply. Kate? Meghan? No. Hell to the no. One is a middle class get with a ridiculously phony acquired accent and the other is an American, biracial, divorced actress from Compton (🙄). Who will take orders from them?

  22. ScotchyD says:

    I just think it’s rich that he actually thinks the United States was built on egalitarian principles. It is a country that was built on the backs of slaves and by oppression and destruction.

    • Emily_C says:

      All countries were. All of them, every single one. The U.S. wrote down a principle, though, that is centrally important: By the people, for the people. No monarchy. No aristocracy.