Tina Brown is promoting The Palace Papers in both the UK and America. I will give her some haphazard credit – she’s not talking out of both sides of her mouth. She’s being an unhinged Keen Defender on both sides of the pond. I thought it was going to be a Robert Lacey situation, but it’s more like an Angela Levin situation, as many people have pointed out. Apparently, Brown even spoke to Thomas Markle for this book, and “his side” of the drama is well represented. I suspect she also spoke to what’s her face, that Samantha troll. In her new interview in Time Magazine, Tina even admits that as she wrote The Palace Papers, she found it difficult to find people to talk to about the Sussexes. Meaning, I believe, that she sourced the book using the people who would talk, i.e. Kensington Palace. Some highlights from this Time interview:
Whether Charles & Diana’s marriage could have ever worked: “I think it could have worked if she’d met him when she was 29 and had a life and had some knowledge of life. But she was a child and from a very turbulent and riven family. The only way you can survive inside the monarchy is if you have a family background that is so secure that it’s going to be like a Praetorian guard around you, and somehow protect you from not only the scrutiny of the world, but also from the royal system. Both Camilla and Kate Middleton have that kind of family. Diana didn’t and had a family that hardly spoke to one another. She was the worst candidate to have a husband who then cheated on her. It was like the worst nightmare for her.
Brown writes that “Kate’s charm is less about dazzle and more about sheen.” “[Kate & Meghan] are just such different women. I don’t think they were never going to have a particularly close affinity whatever had happened. I think there would have been a cordial relationship. Kate was raised in such a traditional English way; Meghan has been a career woman and fending for herself from the age of 21. It’s an entirely different outlook on the world. I’m also not sure that anybody could have really changed how Meghan felt about what she discovered when she married Harry. To her, it was just an utterly disillusioning process to discover what it was like to live inside the palace system. Compared to what she had imagined, there was no fairy princess-ness about any of it. The life that she was going to lead was just a big grind—and she didn’t like it.
Whether Carole Middleton ‘arranged’ the Cambridge marriage: “No, it was a complete love match and still is. I think that Kate fell madly in love with William, but there’s a difference between falling madly in love with somebody and being able to navigate for 10 years the obstacle course that was like a Snakes and Ladders game. She could have at any point stepped on a snake and gone down to the bottom of the chute because it was full of obstacles—press, family—and I think that [Kate’s] mother was hugely helpful in keeping that course steady.
Harry is portrayed as “utterly consumed by hatred of the press” yet he’s made a foray into media: “I’m told that is most puzzling to the royal family themselves at the moment. Apparently, what they say about Harry is ‘we don’t recognize him.’ Essentially, this conflict between wanting no press to being someone who can’t seem to stop talking. And he’s now writing a book which invades not just his own privacy but also that of his family, when he’s always suffered so deeply from these tell-all books. I think Harry must be in his own mind completely confused about what he should and shouldn’t be doing.
Many royals simply want to have jobs & make money: “[Royal life has] become more and more incompatible with modern life. I think what older generations were prepared to do, which was to live on an allowance and do the good work, it’s much harder today for modern people to accept doing, though Kate and William have accepted that… And frankly, you could live very, very comfortably on the allotted money in beautiful houses which are always going to be paid for. But you do feel infantilized, and I think that’s what Meghan disliked most about being married to Harry. This is a person who earned a living aged 21 and now she’s totally dependent upon a man who really is completely dependent on his family. So that’s kind of quite an uncompromising feeling.
Whether Meghan was correct that “the monarchy likely needed her more than she needed them.” “A lot of her instincts were right as we saw from the recent Commonwealth tour [from William and Kate] that went so badly. Meghan sensed that a lot of the stuff she was doing in Australia felt archaic. I think she had a lot to offer in terms of media modernity. But [her pushback] was just chaotically executed and done with such recklessness and bad feeling that a lot of this stuff got mixed up.”
Brown writes that if the Cambridge marriage fell apart, “the whole Windsor house of cards could come tumbling down.” “[The institution] is in a fragile state. It’s very interesting how it evolves now [because] it is going to have to modernize more. I do think that it will be very hard for it to credibly continue if there was drama at the top between William and Kate. So they’re very lucky that they have these two people who are actually willing to serve their country and follow the path of duty as the Queen has. I think that William has quite a lot of resemblance to his grandmother. He’s very prudent, he’s thoughtful, he’s not headstrong. That’s a lucky thing for the monarchy. You have to wonder, if the first son had been Harry would it have survived?
In some ways, I actually feel a tad sorry for Tina Brown, because she has to promote this fakakta book right after the Sussexes’ amazing performance at the Invictus Games. That’s why she feels so out of touch – she still has the mindset of so many of these royal biographers, which is that they are the gatekeepers of royal narratives, that they “help” make or break the royal image. And what we are seeing now is that Meghan and Harry are not part of that royal image-making system – they can speak for themselves, on their own terms, using the platforms of their choosing. Tina Brown is trying to protect her way of life, and she’s stuck in the ‘90s.
Anyway, so much of this is idiotic. Brown is like, well yeah MAYBE Meghan was right that the royals desperately needed her, but how dare she… offer to continue working for the family part-time! HOW CHAOTIC. And Brown’s emphasis on how Meghan was living on her own and making her own money at the age of 21… like, that’s how most people live. Most people don’t spend 10-plus years waitying around, being financed by dodgy Uncle Gary. The part about the Cambridge marriage though… well…
Photos courtesy of Instar, Backgrid.
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