America woke up to a new game of thrones this morning as Prince Harry sketched out an unlikely role for himself as Mighty Queen Protector, Defender of Her Realm.
From more than 5,000 miles away he is suddenly at the helm? How does that work?
Everyone knows the person the Queen is most in need of safeguarding from is Harry himself, the man who has single-handedly done the most damage to the British monarchy since Oliver Cromwell.
This includes indirectly criticising her as a bad mother, smearing her family as racists and suing her Government over security issues.
Yet here he is, as nice as sour cream pie, the smirking assassin in a polo shirt, assuring millions of viewers on U.S. television of his vital role at Her Majesty’s side, which is news to everyone back in Blighty.
The shamelessness of it all! Just gasping.
The Prince was appearing in a special interview on NBC’s breakfast show with its host Hoda Kotb, who had flown to The Hague to meet him at the Invcitus Games.
Prince Harry (pictured with the Queen and Meghan in 2018) spoke at an interview, during the Invictus Games, about his ‘special relationship’ with the Queen
The Duke of Sussex (pictured on stage during the Invictus Games opening ceremony) has been in the Netherlands as an ambassador of the international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women
Prince Harry spoke to American interviewer Hoda Kotb (pictured) about his life in America, being a father and the Royal family
The pair of them sat on fold-up chairs in an archery butt, with three targets visible behind them. Should we read anything into this intriguing choice of location? Perhaps we were supposed to imagine photographs of Charles, Camilla and William on the bullseyes. Or is that too triggering?
Certainly, Kotb had a lot of soft shots packed into her quiver of questions. Do you feel yourself peaceful? What’s a Wednesday like for you? What do you love about fatherhood? Has Archie got your cheeky thing? Harry answered enthusiastically, waving his arms around to emphasise his points — and the more vacuous his point, the bigger his arm signals.
This is a new communication development for the Prince, who at times was spouting such New Age nonsense that he looked as if he were marshalling a jet or conducting an invisible orchestra of the absurd.
‘Cheekiness is something that keeps you alive,’ he said at one point, which is not only emotional bilge but also the kind of thing said only by someone used to being listened to without interruption or criticism.
The most awkward moment came when Kotb asked if he missed Prince Charles and Prince William. Harry’s face was as blank as a sponge when he explained that his focus ‘at the moment’ was on the Invictus Games and later it would be on his own children.
‘They are two little people, you know,’ he added, kindly explaining what a child is to the NBC audience, some of whom may have been unsure.
Prince Harry said that sometimes he feels ‘massively at peace’ but other times he is too worried about the world to be happy
Pause it there for a second. The fact that Prince Harry couldn’t find it in his heart to simply say yes, he missed his brother and his father, is surely indicative of the utterly toxic state of their relationship. And for someone who claims to find ‘healing in helping others’, he sure knows how to wound.
Clearly, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex only feel happy talking to these pat-a-cake U.S. celebrity hosts, whose collective attitude — to Harry in particular — seems little short of idolatry.
First Oprah, then Ellen and now Hoda, who once said interviewing Beyoncé was the celebrity highlight of her career. On this occasion there was no Meghan present to hold Harry’s hand and egg on his bubbling omelette of grievance, which was a shame. Yet her very absence added a frisson of excitement to the proceedings, because there was always a chance she might rush in from stage left in a £17,000 top and say something mean about Kate’s Easter decorations or choice of tights.
But in this 12-minute slot, broadcast on Wednesday morning between items on the success of Bridgerton in the U.S. and the local mask mandate, there was only time for Harry. And he didn’t waste a second, the sole of his desert boot pressing hard on the foot pump of fable as he inflated his status within the Royal Family into the realm of the mythic.
For he revealed he was not only the Queen’s Protector, he was Court Jester and Royal Confidante, too.
‘We have a really special relationship, we talk about things that she can’t talk about with anybody else,’ he said of his meeting at Windsor with his grandmother.
Prince Harry claims a ‘special relationship’ with his grandmother, saying she can talk to him about topics no one else can
What on earth could the Queen talk about with Harry that she can’t talk about with anyone else? I’ve been racking my brains. Rescue chickens? Naked billiards? Did he bring some crystals from the Montecito New Age Store and try to realign the royal chakras?
Maybe he got her to do the weird deep-breathing thing he does every time he arrives in London, to help her cope with her grief at losing Prince Philip.
Or by claiming this special relationship, maybe he was just getting even with his big brother for all those times he was excluded from the regular kingcraft sessions William had with the Queen when they were growing up.
We are back to Game of Thrones. Behold the warfare and ancient wounds between the spare and the heir. Winter is coming, and something in their brotherly bond seems to have broken for ever.
There was the usual light sermonising about mental health issues. ‘What I do know is there is a light at the end of the tunnel for absolutely everybody,’ said Harry. This is patently not true, but perhaps it is something that a man with a financial stake in a company that sells mental health packages must believe.
His own mental state? He revealed that sometimes he feels ‘massively at peace’ but he worries too much about the world to be happy — like all millennials, even rich and royal ones, he can never not be a victim.
‘My mantra now every day — and it’s a dangerous one because I need to make sure I don’t have burnout — but it’s trying to make the world a better place for my kids, otherwise what’s the point in bringing kids into this world?’ he moaned.
His saviour complex blooms like a virulence, but should anyone listen to a man who can’t even make the world better for his own father — and father-in-law?
Prince Harry didn’t say in the interview if he misses his father and brother
Naturally he played his ace, the Diana card. Americans still can’t get enough of Princess Diana, and being her son has conferred a kind of heroic status on Harry. He deploys this with the expertise of the slick Californian PR man he has become.
Yes, there are photos of Grandma Diana in the house, he revealed. And in response to a question, he told Kotb and NBC that he felt she had been watching him ‘over the past two years’.
Somehow he didn’t seem to mind this enquiry into his feelings about his dead mother — because it’s not an invasion of privacy when it’s a marketing opportunity, right?
Once more, Prince Harry has managed to snatch a defeat from the jaws of victory. Response in the UK to the interview has overshadowed all the good work he has done this week with the Invictus games — however, the truth is becoming all too clear.
Prince Harry doesn’t care what anyone in the UK thinks. He doesn’t care that the Palace is shocked over his latest words, that royal aides are stunned, that UK broadcasters are fuming, that British newspapers are writing of his arrogance and misplaced conceit, that his brother and father must be crushed by his words.
That’s all just rhubarb, rhubarb on his path to glory in America. For his fortune and his future now depend on what Americans think of him, not what whiny Brits back home happen to be grumbling about.
He is focused on promoting himself on coast-to-coast TV, on the deals and on producing content for Netflix and others that has a monetary value, while convincing himself he is doing good at the same time.
That is why he continues to manipulate his relationship with the Queen and the Royal Family, using it as a golden emollient to grease his way up the celebrity ladder. He is giving it all he’s got — because it is all he’s got. And Americans are lapping it up.