JAN MOIR: Will Andrew and Harry bring down curtain on the REAL Crown?

JAN MOIR: Will Andrew and Harry bring down curtain on the REAL Crown?

Could this be the beginning of the end for the Royal Family? It certainly feels like something ugly is afoot, and that it comes equipped with a steel toecap rather than a Regency buckle.

Up on the blasted heath of their diminishing realm, the Windsors are at a crossroads. Whatever direction they take, the way ahead is uncertain and fraught with danger. For we have reached a point where the credibility and identity of the monarchy is being called into question.

Leading the attack are the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who continue to lob their cannonballs of peeve through the castle ramparts.

Some say they are only finding freedom and their own truth, others that they are behaving like petulant B-listers scrambling for a foothold on the Hollywood ladder, selling their secrets to the highest bidder. 

Leading the attack are the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (pictured above), who continue to lob their cannonballs of peeve through the castle ramparts, writes Jan Moir

On balance, you might not be surprised to learn, I tend towards the latter theory.

Watching foolish Harry plugging his Netflix masters while riding around Los Angeles on top of a double-decker bus with comedian James Corden last week was more than just cringe-making, it was a moment in history.

When archivists try to pinpoint the dropped stitch that led to the unravelling of the royal tapestry in years to come, I suspect they will come to see this as the day it all started to go badly wrong.

Certainly, it was the end of hope for those who believed that the Sussexes might uphold royal values. That they would resist the blandishments and siren call of Hollywood and, instead, behave in a manner that would reflect well upon themselves in particular, and the Royal Family in general.

Did we really think they were above selling themselves? Lights! Action! Cue hollow laughter.

The terrible irony is that Prince Harry still believes himself to be a noble warrior on some sort of vague crusade to save the world. He doesn’t see that he is being juiced and pulped by commercial forces far greater and more rapacious than anything he has ever encountered.

In the process of globally establishing themselves as heroic victims by trashing The Firm back home, the Sussexes have triggered a crisis that threatens to engulf all involved in a fireball of recrimination and allegation.

The unedifying spectacle of the most privileged people on the planet all accusing each other of bullying would be hilarious, were it not quite so tragic. And that this is all happening while the 99-year-old Duke of Edinburgh lies in his hospital bed only adds a layer of sadness to the unfolding drama.

Prince Andrew pictured speaking about his links to Jeffrey Epstein in an interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis in 2019

For decades, Prince Philip has been the disciplinarian in the Royal Family, a man whose own record of selfless service was a benchmark to all those who later married into the House of Windsor. Being a royal spouse is a tricky negotiation into a difficult life — no wonder so few royal marriages survive. Soon his influence and wise presence will be gone for ever — and what then?

Shuffling about in the wings, like Quasimodo in the cathedral, lurks the shamed Duke of York. His disgrace is so total it seems unlikely he will ever grace a balcony or wear a military uniform in public again — let’s hope so, anyway.

And if Andrew thought he could rot quietly away, pottering around sweatless in his Windsor bolthole, think again. The Duke has always denied any wrongdoing and no criminal charges have ever been brought against him, but the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell in July will only drag him and his rackety past back into the public eye. And that is not good for royal business.

There are struggling families on sink estates who enjoy only a fraction of the comforts and wealth that comes with being high-born, but who manage their affairs far better than the warring Windsors.

However, the royals might argue that at least they do not have to contend with the ongoing torment of The Crown. Peter Morgan’s Netflix series is watched globally by millions and is relentless in its depiction of the Royal Family as hard-hearted chisellers without a drop of kindness or a redeeming feature among them.

For decades, Prince Philip (pictured above) has been the disciplinarian in the Royal Family, a man whose own record of selfless service was a benchmark to all those who later married into the House of Windsor

And Harry and Meghan’s carefully curated victim narrative seeds nicely into this harvest of hate.

So this is where we find ourselves. The Windsors are being attacked from without and within, while each generation of royals only seem to dilute the magic that once entranced so many for so long.

God save the darling Queen, who hasn’t put a foot wrong since her coronation — it makes it particularly awful that the last years of her impeccable reign are shadowed by the antics of fools.

The Duke and Duchess of York have caused untold damage over the years, while the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are the new crack in the royal vase — letting the light in and casting an unflattering glow on everyone, including themselves.

Can’t they see that each new utterance or publicity stunt or TV interview — just ask Princess Diana or Prince Andrew — only makes matters worse in the long run? And that most people love and respect the Queen and don’t like to see her being belittled in such a manner?

In the meantime, the Sussexes seem hell-bent on destroying any lingering traces of royal mystique. The Queen gave Archie a waffle-maker for Christmas. Harry’s nickname is Haz and he can rap about the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

Keep going, kids, don’t stop now. At this rate, Buckingham Palace will be a Marriott hotel or a tourist attraction within a decade or so. Mark my words.

Don’t fret… it’s all looking Rosie

Victoria’s Secret once turned her down but M&S signed her up — and lingerie model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has never looked back.

She has got a make-up range, a knicker range and, now, the Devon-born beauty, who has a three-year-old son with fiancé Jason Statham, has just posed naked for Elle magazine. 

Victoria’s Secret once turned her down but M&S signed her up — and lingerie model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, pictured above in February 2019, has never looked back

She looks amazing, of course, but has complained about her post-baby body.

‘I’ve got wrinkles and bits that have shifted,’ says the ancient crone, who will be 34 next month, ‘but I think I can work with it.’

Scientists have discovered that cuttlefish can show self-restraint — and I am happy to report that, incredibly, so can Paul Hollywood. Not when it comes to barmaids, of course — he’s still the same old grab-and-go guy on that front. 

I’m talking about dieting. The Bake Off judge has lost 1 st in lockdown due to an extreme diet of boiled eggs, bread and soup. And he is not alone in his eggy devotion. 

In 2008, Charles Saatchi ate nine eggs a day for nine months and lost 4 st, while Nicole Kidman claims that if she needs to lose weight she eats four hard-boiled eggs a day. Is it permissible to admire their discipline while praying never to get stuck in a lift with them? 

Feminism’s not about big Saudi earrings, Meghan

On Monday, it will be International Women’s Day and I simply cannot let this peak moment of international feminism pass without mentioning the unmentionable — The Duchess of Sussex and her Saudi earrings.

The £500,000 sparklers were a wedding gift to the Duchess from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and wowwee! Are they not quite the most delicious diamonds you have ever seen?

The question is, should a high-profile, self-avowed feminist such as Meghan dare to wear jewels from a country with a woeful record on human rights, and female rights in particular?

When she wore the earrings to a dinner in Fiji in 2018, the Duchess claimed to have been unaware of speculation that the Crown Prince was involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Fair enough, but that is not the point.

Surely she could not have been unaware that when it comes to the rights of women, Saudi Arabia is still in the dark ages? Its male guardianship system means Saudi women must obtain male approval to get married, leave prison, or obtain some healthcare. Men can file cases against female relatives for ‘disobedience’.

And many female activists who have peacefully fought to change this system have been put in jail.

Days after she first wore the earrings, the Duchess made a speech in New Zealand. ‘Feminism is about fairness,’ she said. ‘The basic human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future.’ And last year, when addressing the 2020 Girl Up Leadership Summit, she told young women: ‘Don’t underestimate your ability. Push through the fear. Chase your convictions with action.’

Indeed! A good action might have been to send the Crown Prince packing — or at least refuse to wear his blood diamonds in protest against the Saudi regime. Instead, she empowered herself by wearing them. I can’t blame her. They are lovely. But still.

Time to stop talking, Alice

Does Alice Evans have any friends? If so, could they please have a word and advise her to stop the late-night ravings on Twitter? Alice is hurting and wants to lash out at her ex-husband, the actor Ioan Gruffudd. He has left her and their two young children, which is obviously distressing for all involved.

Yet through a series of tormented tweets, she has chronicled her ongoing anguish. She claims she learned he was filing for divorce via a magazine report and writes of his perpetual ‘anger’ and her fears that another woman is involved.

Alice Evans with Ioan Gruffudd during the ‘Amazing Grace’ London premiere. In trying to hurt her husband — and his career — Alice is only hurting herself, writes Jan Moir

The British-American actress also describes how she broke the news of the divorce to her younger daughter, who ran away screaming: ‘My daddy would never do that to my mommy.’

In addition, there are her worries that her daughters will be ‘disappointed by their dad’s behaviour and model that in their future relations with the opposite sex’.

That’s too much. It’s terrible, in fact. I sympathise with celebrity families, whose break-ups and agony spill out into the public arena.

But in trying to hurt her husband — and his career — Alice is only hurting herself. And in weaponising her own children, she is invading their privacy, too. Someone please stop her, or advise her, or give her a hug before she says or tweets words she might really regret.

Some things said in the heat of the moment can never be taken back — so don’t say them in the first place.

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