You don’t have to be a fan of the House of Windsor to feel sympathy for it the way it was dragged down by the free-wheeling interview the estranged royals, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan Markle, gave to the soap opera diva Oprah Winfrey. The most regrettable part is it did not even spare Queen Elizabeth, the longest–reigning British monarch, now in her 70th year on the throne.
To suggest that the royal household was less than welcoming to an American consort with white-and black blood in her veins for Prince Harry, sixth in the line for succession to the British Crown, or to do a sob-act over an alleged argument with the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, could have been okay if she wasn’t inflicting damage on an institution which is already under attack from a number of republican supporters who find the monarchy an anachronistic hold-out from ancient times in this democratic age.
But the unkindest cut was when Merkel accused the royal family of harbouring racist feelings, apparently concerning the dark skin of her first-born. This was good television drama, nay soap-opera. But it exposed the flawed character of the psychologically-stressed couple. By choosing to wash the family dirty linen on a prime-time talk show, Merkel, playing victim, might have wanted to milk sympathy, of which there has been a great outpouring in the US.
But in the process, she may have lived up to her reputation as a manipulator who got her spouse to play the second fiddle. We did not expect him to side-step concerns about the global image and dignity of the royal family birth in which alone has been his sole calling card. He was unkind to the Queen, his father, brother and generally to everyone in the Firm, his mocking description of the hoary institution.
As for Merkel, by her carefully studied performance on Oprah, she may have confirmed the misgivings that some of the royals allegedly had about her entry into the family. Yet, the Buckingham Palace did well to acknowledge a crisis and offer an undertaking to set things right.