I genuinely looked forward to watching King Charles III’s coronation ceremony yesterday. Since I live in Germany, and Germany is an hour ahead of the United Kingdom, I didn’t even have to get up early to watch the whole thing live on my television. While I can understand why some people think the British monarchy should go, I can’t deny that I enjoy watching the pageantry of their traditions. And so it was yesterday, as I tuned in– first on German television, then on YouTube, where I found plenty of live coverage in English.
I think I love watching the British royals, not necessarily because of the family itself, but because I love all the sights and sounds of their parades. I love watching the horses, especially, all smartly decked out, prancing down the wide boulevard between Buckingham Palace and whichever church is hosting the main event of the day. Yesterday, it was Westminster Abbey again, but it’s not always Westminster Abbey.
I also love hearing the wonderful music invariably played at British royal events. Yesterday was no exception, as there were choirs and orchestras playing, and they sounded so gorgeous on my HomePod, hooked to my TV. Some of the music played was obviously composed for the coronation, including one piece that addressed Queen Camilla in song. Prince William and Princess Catherine both looked regal in their robes, and their children, as usual, were so beautifully behaved.
The ceremony itself was interesting, although I confess that I fell asleep a couple of times. I think that had to do with the fact that I was watching it in bed and I don’t typically sleep all night without waking up at least once. So yes, I dozed off a couple of times, only to be startled awake by the beautiful music booming through the HomePod again.
I was a bit surprised to find out that the new king and queen are both anointed in oil. Charles had to undress, get anointed, and then get dressed again in different robes. Camilla was also anointed, although I don’t think they did it as part of the ceremony yesterday. Charles’s anointing took place behind giant screens with crosses on them.
It reminded me of what I’ve heard and read about LDS endowment ceremonies, where church members wear special garments that allow temple workers to anoint them with “sacred” oil. I kinda wonder if the church got that bit of the endowment ceremony from Britain’s coronation ceremony. But who knows? I’ve never been Mormon, and all of that stuff is probably only meaningful to those who attach meaning to it… which I don’t. Charles isn’t my king, and the LDS church isn’t my church.
I got a little choked up, anyway, though… because if I weren’t from the United States, I’d be British. Or really, I’d probably be Scottish. I think I inherited a lot of national traits from my ancestors, like a love of good music, an affinity for good spirits, a tendency toward depression, a quick wit, an appreciation for interesting stories, and an affection for time honored traditions. Most British royal ceremonies incorporate those things… I might even include depression, since I know not everyone appreciates the British Royal family or their soirees.
It’s not lost on me that the huge production that went into yesterday caused issues for the locals. Yes, there was an opportunity to make a lot of money– hotels, restaurants, taxi drivers, airlines, cruise lines (especially in the case of Cunard), and souvenir shops all probably made out like bandits.
London isn’t cheap to visit under the best of circumstances. I’ll bet hotel rooms were scarce and very expensive! I wonder about those who booked hotels a year in advance. What did the hotel managers do? Because I’m sure the price went up for those dates. Did they jack the price up on the people who booked ahead? What if they paid in advance? I mean, this could have been a thing. A year ago, Queen Elizabeth II was still living. What if someone had planned a trip to Britain for the weekend of May 6, 2023 and planned WAY in advance, as I tend to do for trips that involve cruises?
However, along with all of the money, excitement, and pomp and circumstance, no doubt came traffic snarls, loud crowds, pollution, and everything else that comes with huge events. I’m sure some people– even including those who don’t have a problem with the monarchy– were annoyed by the whole thing.
Some people simply don’t like Charles and Camilla. I saw people commenting about how Diana should have been queen. To that, I say no, she shouldn’t have. Charles and Diana should never have married in the first place. They didn’t like each other, let alone love each other. Yes, Diana was beautiful and extraordinary, but she wasn’t suited to being Charles’s wife. It’s clear to me that Charles and Camilla deeply love each other, and have for well over 50 years. They should have been married to each other in the first place. I think, if Charles hadn’t been who he is, they would have married and never divorced. As far as I’m concerned, Camilla is the rightful Queen Consort.
But that doesn’t mean that Diana wasn’t an incredible person. It’s tragic that she died so young, under such terrible circumstances. She should have had more of a chance to find the right person to be with, and do the work she loved to do. Her story is very sad, and what makes it worse is that her death could have been prevented.
It’s all I can do not to offer a rebuttal, though, when I read comments about how awful Charles and Camilla are. Charles didn’t ask to be a prince. He was born into that situation. And he didn’t ask to have his family meddle in his love life, back in the 1970s and 80s. Most anyone else would have been permitted to marry the person they loved. He obviously loves Camilla. Yes, it was wrong for Charles and Camilla to have an affair when they were married to other people. But… to be fair, it’s not as if Diana didn’t also have affairs. I’m not sure about Camilla’s ex husband’s fidelity.
Charles and Camilla may be royal, but they’re also human… and as the second wife of a man who married the WRONG person in 1990, I have great empathy for Camilla. I think she’ll make a fine Queen Consort. Divorce generally sucks on many levels, but sometimes, it’s absolutely necessary. And I think it was necessary in the case of Charles and Diana.
On another note, I’ll bet Charles and Camilla are tired today…
I’m glad I was able to watch the coronation. Regardless of what I might think of British royalty, yesterday’s ceremony was historic. If nothing else, I just really enjoyed the music and watching the beautiful horses (and missing having my own horse). I also enjoyed seeing my new favorite royal, Princess Anne. 😉 It was a nice way to pass the time alone, while I wait for Bill to finish his latest TDY assignment, and we start making some summer fun plans. I am in some serious need of fun, after the last three years… and the last six months, really.
Well, I have a few things to do today. I might try to finish preparing the garden furniture for the summer. Noyzi needs a walk. I need to practice guitar for a few minutes. I have a book to finish, and a roast to cook. So, I think I will end today’s post, and get on with my Sunday. Hope you enjoy yours…
I don’t want to write a super long post today. Bill got home last night, and we have today to enjoy before he has to leave again tomorrow afternoon. He’ll be gone until Wednesday of next week, so this part of his “TDY” (temporary duty yonder) will be shorter. I’m grateful for that, because I always miss Bill when he’s gone, and because we still worry about Arran’s cancer suddenly going south.
Arran, by the way, is still doing well, except for the peach sized tumor that has formed on his left side. We’re going to Stuttgart for a few days in a couple of weeks to see our dentist. Hopefully, Arran can hang on through that time, or if he can’t hang on, he will go south at a time when Bill is here. As of right now, though, he’s still pretty vibrant. He wants to eat, take walks, snuggle with Bill, and sleep in our bed.
So… on with today’s topic. This week, the world learned that there’s a new prince and princess in our midst. That’s right– Prince Harry, and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have announced that their daughter, Lilibet Diana, was christened. And she’s now going to be known as Princess Lilibet. Likewise, her older brother, Archie, will be known as Prince Archie.
In spite of the recent strife between Harry and his British royal family, the Palace has confirmed the change in status. In fact, as I write this post, I’m looking at the official Web site for the British Royal Family, and the change has already been made.
What was my initial reaction to this news? Well, to be honest, I kind of groaned. I understand that as the grandchildren of King Charles III, Archie and Lili are entitled to be known as “prince” and “princess”. However, for the past several years, the whole world has heard endless griping from Harry and Meghan about how damaging and racist the royals are.
Harry has written a tell all book about his upbringing, with many shocking details about what it was like to be Prince Harry. Meghan has said that she felt “suicidal” when she was in the thick of royal duties for a short time. So why would they want to visit the burden of royal titles on their two young children? Especially when in the United States, those titles don’t amount to much of anything. There is no monarchy in the United States. Of course, a lot of us Americans enjoy watching the royals…
To be very plain, I think this move was calculated as Meghan desperately tries to stay relevant somehow. I’ve mentioned many times before that she makes my N chimes ring… and while I won’t say definitively that she’s a narcissist, I do recognize the signs and symptoms. I don’t think Harry is a narcissist. I think he’s being influenced by his wife. I also suspect that their story won’t have a very happy ending. But I could be wrong. We’ll see.
In any case, I hope the royal titles don’t result in Archie and Lili being bullied by their American contemporaries. Kids just want to belong, and fit in with their friends. Royal titles make sense to certain adults, but I suspect kids won’t be so impressed. I don’t know how factual the depiction of King Charles’s time at Gordonstoun School was on The Crown, but I do remember the show depicting him as being severely bullied because he was a prince.
Some people think it’s time to abolish the monarchy anyway. It’s certainly a controversial idea, as Brits love tradition. I just find it puzzling that after all of the complaining Harry and Meghan have done about Harry’s family, they want to include their children in what they’ve repeatedly claimed is such a toxic entity. It kind of reminds me of how Ex had nothing but horrible things to say about Bill, yet still wanted to be part of his family. Very dysfunctional.
I suspect the timing of this announcement, which was on International Women’s Day (March 8), is very deliberate. As we all know, Harry and Meghan were recently brutally roasted on South Park. Comedian Chris Rock has also had a go at them on his Netflix special. King Charles III also evicted the couple from Frogmore Cottage, where they haven’t lived in years, anyway.
The couple is not particularly well liked in the United Kingdom, and I suspect they are quickly losing their appeal in the United States. Adopting royal titles on behalf of their children seems pretty tacky and tone deaf to me, even if the titles are the children’s birthrights. Seems to me it would be better to wait until the children are grown, and allow them to choose for themselves if they would like to be saddled with the burdens of royal life.
I guess it doesn’t surprise me that Harry and Meghan are now kind of backpedaling about their condemnation of the British Royal Family. Charles is about to have his coronation in May, so that also makes this announcement also rather strategic. Naming the children as prince and princess keeps the couple in the news…
Anyway, they aren’t my kids, and aside from it being in the news, it has no bearing on my life. I won’t lose any sleep over it. I just think it kind of goes against Harry’s and Meghan’s narrative… it kind of smacks of desperation and hypocrisy. I fear the children could ultimately suffer for it… or worse, they could make other people suffer as they grow up with royal titles that set them apart in a country where the titles are mostly meaningless.
Also… it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Lili eventually adopts her grandmother’s name and starts going by Diana. Her mother, after all, goes by her middle name. Meghan’s first name is actually Rachel. I can totally see it. And I bet it wouldn’t be Lili’s idea, either. But we’ll see what happens… Maybe someday, this couple will no longer be in the news. One can only hope.
Regarding today’s featured photo… Did you know that you can buy fake pregnancy tests on Amazon.de that always come up positive? This is supposed to be a “practical joke”… Seems like they could be used for more nefarious purposes, too…
“Well, howdy there, Internet people…” to quote Beau of the Fifth Column. I hope you had a pleasant President’s Day. I was really struggling with writer’s block yesterday, so after I posted about our delightful Sunday dinner at a German castle, I reposted a couple of articles from 2018. I thought I might come back and write something new later, but Bill and I ended up hanging out with sweet Arran. Arran has lymphoma and has been on chemo since October. The chemo is no longer working quite as well as it was, and I fear we will have to say goodbye to him before much longer.
I dread saying goodbye to Arran. He’s been part of our lives since January 2013, and he’s an incredible dog. Losing him is going to hurt a lot. But, on the other hand, I look forward to not having to worry about canine cancer so much for awhile. We do still have Noyzi, but he’s still fairly young. I also want to go on vacation, and that’s harder to do when your dog is getting chemo. I guess the main thing I feel, though, is that this is part of life. Prolonging the inevitable isn’t productive in the long run.
Aside from hanging out with Bill at home, which we probably wouldn’t have been doing if not for Arran’s cancer, we had a fairly uneventful holiday weekend. I noticed a lot of scuttlebutt about pregnancy rumors. There’s talk that Meghan Markle might be pregnant with her third child. Some people never believed that she was ever pregnant with Prince Harry’s children, Archie and Lilibet, let alone with another baby now. There’s an especially icky rumor that Meghan “lacks the necessary parts” to have babies. I’m not sure I believe that. But then, it’s not really my business.
Lots of people on H.G. Tudor’s channel are commenting about this “news”. I do remember Harry had said that he would only be fathering two children, due to his concerns about the environment. People are commenting on everything from Harry’s claim that he only wanted two children, Meghan’s “real” age, and how she might actually be older than 41 (sister Samantha has said Meghan is, in fact, 41), to claims that Meghan had a hysterectomy years ago, supposedly due to her having had multiple abortions.
I don’t know how true any of that is… Actually, even though I am not a fan of Meghan’s, I find the constant speculation about whether or not she still has all of her female parts, fertility (or lack thereof), real parentage of her children, and her “actual age” kind of disgusting. I think that kind of mean-spirited speculation only gives credence to the Harkles’ claims that people are being “evil” to them. It’s probably best to just ignore them… give them what they claim they want– PRIVACY.
But, of course, the Harkles won’t go away, and we keep seeing them in the news. I will admit to being part of the problem, since I read Harry’s book and reviewed it on this blog. I also read and reviewed Tom Bower’s book about Meghan and Harry. They are kind of fascinating, in a trainwreck sort of way. I don’t know if Meghan is pregnant. I don’t actually care that much. What I think is interesting is the commentary about why the rumor may be circulating– perhaps even at Meghan’s hands.
H.G. Tudor’s commentary regarding the narcissistic uses of pregnancy is especially interesting to me. Because, as he rightly points out, Meghan being pregnant right now would be fortuitous timing, as King Charles III is about to be coronated. A potential new Sussex could possibly make the adults in the British Royal Family more interested in reconciliation with Harry and Meghan.
Personally, I think Meghan and Harry went too far with the British Royal Family and are desperate to maintain ties. Talk of gestating a baby, real or imagined, is one way to do that. It could also explain why Meghan hasn’t been out and about so much lately.
Well, I suppose time will tell. People on H.G. Tudor’s channel are already saying that Meghan will eventually have a “mythcarriage”. Clever turn of words that is… and I suppose it’s pretty plausible. It would garner attention and public sympathy, too. But maybe she won’t. Maybe she really is pregnant. While it’s not as common for women in their 40s to get pregnant, it does happen. Sometimes, it even happens by accident. But, as I’ve never been pregnant myself, I don’t really know.
Moving on… I would like to write about another attention seeking woman who is currently being buzzed about in the Duggar Family News Facebook group. I’m writing about Jill Rodrigues. Now… I don’t actually write very often about the Rodrigues family, even though I recently got a nasty comment from someone who claimed I was condescending and hateful to Jill and David Rodrigues’s pregnant daughter, Kaylee. For the record, I mostly try not to be hateful– especially to or about people with whom I don’t have any personal dealings. I will admit, though, that I am human. Sometimes, the snark does slip in on occasion. And folks, when it comes to Jill Rodrigues, it’s kind of easy to be snarky.
Jill Rodrigues was reportedly born on November 3, 1978. That means she’s 44 years old. She has 13 children, with her husband, David. David was born on May 29, 1972, meaning he and I are the same age. I know that one’s 40s and 50s is not the prime time to be making babies, but modern medicine is miraculous.
Jill’s eldest child, Nurie, is married to Anna Duggar’s brother, Nathan, and together, they have two very young sons. Jill’s daughter, Kaylee, is also married and currently pregnant. Jill recently announced that her son, Timothy, is now in a “courtship” with Heidi Coverett. This is a lot of exciting news for the “Rodlets”, as they are sometimes called by fundie snarkers. Perhaps Jill was feeling a bit left out, as she posted this announcement on her Instagram, and it was shared in the Duggar group (I am not on Instagram myself, so I didn’t find this on my own).
I have taken the liberty of editing out the children’s faces in these photos…
Alas, it was not to be, and hopes and dreams are cruelly dashed as Jill announces a miscarriage of her 14th child…
Ahem… If Jill Rodrigues really was pregnant and has suffered a miscarriage, then I am truly sorry for her loss. I would not wish that on any woman, regardless of what I might think about them. And, to be honest, I don’t think about Jill very often, but I do see her get posted about a lot due to some of the places I frequent on the Internet. I don’t agree with the way she behaves. A lot of her behaviors set off my cluster B chimes, just as Meghan Markle’s do. But if she was pregnant and had a miscarriage, that is legitimately sad news for her.
It’s kind of interesting that this announcement came up as Jill was sharing other big news about her children. I know that when it comes to narcissistic types, sometimes it’s hard to let other people have the spotlight. Pregnancy can be very validating to a vain type of narcissist. Being fertile signifies youth, which might also mean a person is still sexually alluring and attractive.
I don’t find Jill sexually alluring. I’m not attracted to women, and I probably wouldn’t go for her even if I was, because she wears tons of makeup, is a fundie Christian, and sells Plexus. But, I do realize that biologically speaking, heterosexual men are naturally attracted to women who can still reproduce. So, claiming to be pregnant at age 44 could be a stab at trying to stay youthful and attractive.
Again, maybe she really was pregnant. I don’t know if she was, nor do I even really care, on a personal note. I just find attention seeking, narcissistic behavior very interesting.
On another note, many people in the Duggar group were commenting on how the little child in the photo is holding on to Jill’s pee stick with both hands. Will the child’s hands be washed after the photo op? One would hope so. Adding to the intrigue are the messages that were supposedly written by Jill’s already born children, comforting her after her loss. This message was connected to the above photos of the very small grandchildren holding Jill’s pregnancy test and announcing that they are going to get a new aunt or uncle.
Many people in the Duggar Facebook group speculate that, in fact, Jill wrote those “messages” supposedly given to her by her children. Again, I don’t know if she did or not, but even if the kids did write them, posting it on her busy social media pages, for strangers to see, does seem to be a very needy ploy for attention. I also know, from the posters in the Duggar group, that Jill doesn’t like it when people question her sincerity. She has a habit of blocking people who are “negative”.
I’m certainly not in the position of knowing whether the pregnancy claims regarding either of these 40-ish women are true or not. I know that some women can get pregnant naturally after age 40, but it’s not necessarily easy or particularly common to do so. I think the ones who get pregnant in their 40s probably had medical help of some sort. But that’s not the kind of thing that most people want to talk about openly.
Pregnancy can be a great way to stir up attention and buzz, though, especially when the mom is “older”. It’s kind of an old trick. I saw it somewhat often when I used to hang out in a certain online “pink” site for second wives and stepmoms. Certain women would announce that they would soon be hearing the “pitter patter” of little feet, only to announce a miscarriage later. Then they would “drink up” all of the attention from other women who were kind and sympathetic to their pain. I suppose if you think about it, the need for attention on that level is kind of sad and… painful. Especially for women who are of a certain age. 😉
Recently, I have been dealing with a little mid life crisis myself. Sometimes I do think about the fact that I don’t have children… and instead, I have dogs, who get cancer and die. :'( But, on the bright side, I don’t have to send them to college or get them fitted for braces. And dogs are an ever flowing fountain of love, loyalty, and regard toward those who bring them into their families and take good care of them. I have never regretted a single dog adoption… except for one, and that was an exceptional case. That dog never actually made it into our house, either.
I guess, if I feel anything sad about aging, it’s that I feel like I haven’t amounted to much and have disappointed other people. But that’s probably a futile and pointless thought, since when it comes down to it, most people are pretty fixated on themselves. So, at this point, it probably doesn’t matter too much. At least I managed to marry well, right? 😉
Anyway, if Jill Rodrigues is recovering from a miscarriage, I wish her all the best. And if Meghan Markle is pregnant, I wish her a happy and healthy pregnancy. If these two ladies are just trying to gin up attention, sympathy, and buzz, though, then I wish for them to find good mental health help. That kind of behavior is truly pathetic, and it has far reaching consequences for innocent people.
Last night, I happened to see a hilarious TikTok video on Facebook. Someone shared it in the Duggar Family News group— white people having a good old fashioned “praise break”. The TikTok user muted the original music and replaced it with “Linus and Lucy”, by Vince Guaraldi. It’s perfect, if you’ve ever seen A Charlie Brown Christmas. Incidentally, my beagle, Arran, reminds me more of Snoopy every day. Especially at dinner time.
Someone in the group wrote:
When I was in college we often would get loaded and go to listen to the music at tent revivals. It was an enlightening experience. We did lose one friend, who while under the influence of LSD went up to be saved. He came back a fews days later…
Bwahahahhaha! I had a good laugh at that. It actually sounds like a great way to spend time with friends. I wish I had thought of that when I was young enough to appreciate the entertainment value of a good tent revival. Now that I’m as old as I am, I know that there’s more to religion than praising a higher power. It’s also a hotbed of corrupt people who want to control others.
Still, what a hoot it must be to watch a bunch of rhythm challenged folks catching the spirit and dancing like… well, very inhibited white guys. I’m not the greatest dancer myself, but I do think that’s something we should all learn how to do. Or, at least learn not to be ashamed when the mood strikes us to bust a move. I know… I’m sitting here laughing at white people dancing in church on TikTok. Maybe that’s hypocritical of me. The video would be much less embarrassing if these folks had not been taught to be so inhibited in the first place.
Dammit, why didn’t I find this last month? Guaranteed to make you smile! That is, if you like banjo… and I do. Someday, maybe I’ll learn to play.
I’m not sure what got me on this topic today. Currently, I am reading two new books. I don’t usually read two at a time, but one of the books is a good, old-fashioned, honest-to-God book. Bill usually falls asleep before I do, and I can’t read regular books in the dark. A couple of nights ago, after I finished reading Spare, I started reading a new Kindle book. The new Kindle book has literally been waiting years to be read. It’s actually a pretty compelling book, too, and not at all like the physical book I’m reading.
The physical book is a true crime story about two terrible murders that happened in Middlesex County, Virginia, back in 1990. The book is very good so far, although I’m having some trouble reading it, because the print is very small. It’s not available on Kindle, which is surprising. People are still interested in reading about this case. I am personally interested, because I grew up in neighboring Gloucester County. I remember when the murders happened. Hopefully, I will finish the book quickly, both because I’m eager to write about this crime, and because reading tiny print is hard on my eyes.
I will also probably write more dedicated posts about Prince Harry’s book, Spare. Maybe I’ll even do that today. I just decided that my first post of today should be different. A whole lot of people are writing reviews and making YouTube videos about Spare. I watched a couple of them yesterday. Reactions to Spare seem mixed. I would say more people like the book than don’t, with many people sympathizing with Harry and Meghan. However, a significant number of readers seem offended by Spare.
Sky News in Australia seem to think that Meghan Markle can “smell” weakness on King Charles III and is “out for blood”. Personally, I wouldn’t give her that much credit. If the British monarchy crumbles, it certainly won’t be because of Meghan Markle. However, the controversies raised by Harry’s book, coupled with the “woke brigade” and people who think the Royal family costs too much, could spell the end of the monarchy. I don’t know.
Personally, I wouldn’t call myself a royalist. I am simply a child of the 80s, and I grew up watching the British Royal Family because they were always in the news. Also, my earliest memories are of living in England. I will admit, though, that Queen Elizabeth II was an exemplary monarch, and it will be extremely difficult to follow her. She had an incredible devotion to service, and she was mostly very appealing to the public. I don’t think King Charles III can come close to his mother’s popularity. However, I do think William might, which is why I think he will eventually be King. Beyond that, who knows? I’ll probably be long dead by the time George could be King.
Harry’s book doesn’t do William any favors at all. Harry makes William sound like an asshole. He describes his interactions with William and Catherine, at least post marriage to Meghan, as tense and angry. He makes William sound unfriendly and intolerant, and Catherine sounds cold and snobby. I, for one, am taking Harry’s comments with a huge grain of salt, though. Because I think his wife is a liar, and is pushing an agenda. Also, I never heard of any of this type of behavior until Meghan came on the scene. Catherine, in particular, has never put a step wrong in public.
Sky News Australia is notoriously anti-Meghan and Harry. I take what they say with a huge grain of salt, because their coverage regarding Harry and Meghan has been very obviously biased and negative. However, if Meghan is really a narcissist, then we can expect a relentless smear campaign. That’s what narcissists do.
I hope Harry prepares, too. If he and Meghan ever have a falling out, she will use his book to cast him in a bad light. He was very frank in the book, with multiple revelations about mental health issues, drug abuse, and questionable behavior (wearing a Nazi uniform, anyone?). If they split up, and there is a custody dispute, it stands to reason that Meghan will point to that book as evidence that he’s not a fit parent. I hope it doesn’t come to that… but I still hear those pesky “N” chimes.
Well, I suppose it’s time to do some housekeeping chores and get back to reading my new books. In the spirit of getting loaded and going to tent revivals, may you all have a blessed Thursday. I encourage you to dance, but try not to emulate the kids on A Charlie Brown Christmas.
I doubt many people have long awaited my thoughts on anything, let alone Prince Harry’s “tell all” book, Spare. I do have a few die hard regulars, though, so here’s my promised review of Harry’s controversial tome about life as the “spare” to the heir of the British crown. At this writing, Prince Harry is currently sixth in line to the throne. When Harry was born to the Prince and Princess of Wales, Charles and Diana, September 15, 1984, he was third in line. Charles had famously joked about having an heir and a spare. Harry’s older brother, Prince William, and his lovely wife Catherine, now have three darling children, so the “spare” has lost some status… in terms of his royal rank, anyway.
For me, personally, it’s been awkward watching the fallout of their exile from the kingdom. I have never had a problem with Prince Harry. Before I read Spare, I didn’t know that much about him. I didn’t have a problem with Meghan Markle until I started paying closer attention to some of her behaviors. Regardless of how I might feel about either Harry or Meghan, or the two of them as a couple, they’re basically competent adults who should be allowed to chart their own course in life. My main issue with Harry and Meghan is that their actions don’t correspond with what they say. I kept hearing them talk about being hounded by paparazzi, and yet they seem very determined to be in the public eye.
Writing a tell all book about the secretive British Royal Family seems counterintuitive to the idea of avoiding the press. Harry has repeatedly expressed disgust for the press, and yet here he is, courting the press with a book that the Palace clearly didn’t want him to publish. My initial thoughts were that Spare was going to be a heartfelt “fuck you” to the British Royal Family. For the same reason, I have avoided watching their Netflix series. But then, although I continue to pay for Netflix, I hardly watch it anyway.
Originally, I wasn’t going to read Spare. I’ve grown tired of hearing about Harry and Meghan, and their constant complaints about the British Royal Family. I changed my mind when I happened to catch a video of CNN’s Anderson Cooper talking about Spare. It’s not even that I’m an Anderson Cooper fan. I just thought his comments about the book made it sound like something I’d want to read. So, on January 10th, I joined the many thousands of people who bought Harry’s book.
I finished reading Spare yesterday. Today– January 18, 2023– marks the third anniversary of the day when the Palace released the statement telling the world that Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, would be “stepping back” from their official roles representing the Queen. For three years, Harry and Meghan have lived outside of the United Kingdom. The couple currently make their home in an expensive mansion in exclusive Montecito, California, where they live among A-list celebrities. They have two beautiful and reportedly healthy children. They also have gobs of money, even though the Palace has cut them off, as Harry bitterly complains. Still, as I read Spare, I found myself empathizing with Harry. He’s clearly a very troubled man. Trauma is a bitch for anyone, regardless of their station in life.
So… about the book…
Hiring a competent ghostwriter is one thing that Prince Harry did right when he decided to publish Spare. I think Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist, J.R. Moehringer, was the right man for the job. Moehringer seems to have a penchant for sentence fragments that ordinarily would have annoyed me. I get the sense that he used that style to capture the essence of Harry. By many accounts– apparently even Harry’s own– Prince Harry isn’t a reader. Although he went to “fancy” private British boarding schools, he does not excel at academics.
Harry was forced to act in the Shakespeare play, Much Ado About Nothing, to satisfy a graduation requirement at Eton College. It was an activity Harry didn’t particularly want to take part in, as he doesn’t share his father’s love of Shakespeare. Harry was much more a fan of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, a much shorter and more readable book with characters that were relatable to Harry. It’s been many years since I read that book myself, but it seems kind of inspired that Harry would relate so much to an American novel about an “odd couple” navigating life in 1930s California. So, although some readers don’t care for Moehringer’s fragmented writing in Spare, I think it makes sense. In fact, as I read the book, I could practically hear Harry in my head.
I found Spare very engaging and readable. At times it was funny for the right reasons. Moehringer manages to capture a charming and humorous side of Harry that makes him seem likable and “regular”. Other times I laughed for the “wrong” reasons. I went over some of them yesterday, in my post about why Meghan Markle makes my “N” chimes sound. There were more examples that I didn’t include in yesterday’s post. Sometimes, Harry just seemed incredibly naive and immature to me, especially given that he was an officer in the British Army.
Harry relates a story about taking Meghan to meet Fergie. She supposedly doesn’t know anything at all about the British Royal Family. Harry tells Meghan she must curtsy to the Queen and call her “Your Majesty” and “Ma’am.” Fergie demonstrates the curtsy once, and Meghan tries it. Then, when the big moment arrives, Meghan performs perfectly. Harry acts all amazed about this. It doesn’t seem to occur to him that maybe Meghan isn’t being truthful about not studying up on the British Royal Family.
It’s not like Meghan hasn’t told a whopper or two, since she first arrived on the royal scene. But, I suppose that’s what makes Harry so appealing to her. He takes her at her word and never questions her. I think Harry’s apparent blind loyalty to Meghan is what seems to upset Prince William so much. William is the heir to the throne, and his station in life depends on maintaining the status quo. Some British people would like to see the end of the British Royal Family, so their survival depends on people toeing the line. Meghan hasn’t been obeying protocol, so of course that upsets the powers that be.
Harry is firmly on Meghan’s side, and doesn’t seem to think she can do wrong. That even applies to her curtsy, which she apparently learned on the fly, just before meeting Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. As frustrating reading as that might be for me, I think it’s an authentic aspect of Prince Harry’s personality. So kudos to Mr. Moehringer for managing to capture that so expertly. His role as a ghostwriter is to make the book seem like it came straight from the source. I think he succeeded.
And the content?
There are some parts of Spare that I genuinely enjoyed reading. I found Harry’s descriptions of exotic places in Africa enchanting, especially when he meets wild animals in Botswana. I liked reading about Harry’s Army training, especially since my husband is an Army veteran. It was fun sharing some of Harry’s insights with Bill, who could relate and expand upon Harry’s comments. There are some aspects of military service that transcend all nations.
Other parts of Spare were more annoying to me. As I mentioned yesterday, I find some of Meghan’s behaviors triggering and all too familiar. Like, for instance, before Harry and Meghan were married, and Meghan was showing Harry how to roast chicken. He’d never done it before, nor had he ever been exposed to the music of Nina Simone or, one of my favorites, James Taylor. During that evening, Meghan evidently made a comment that came across as an offensive “crack”. Harry describes it thusly:
This was a passage that triggered me, mainly because my husband’s ex wife tried to convince him that he “hated women” and needed intensive therapy. Now… I’m not saying that either Bill or Harry didn’t need therapy. In fact, for as long as I’ve known him, I’ve encouraged Bill to speak to someone besides me about his trauma. I’m happy to report that he finally did seek therapy from a Jungian analyst. But it was entirely in his own time, when he was ready to do it. He chose his own therapist and therapeutic model. It’s been very successful and rewarding for Bill.
When I read the above passage, I hear Harry taking all of the blame for what happened in that situation. Meghan implies that Harry is a damaged soul, and if he doesn’t seek therapy, she’s going to dump him. It was the same threat my husband got from his ex wife. Of course, in Bill’s case, Ex’s decision to dump him was a huge blessing. But, at the time, Ex’s declaration that he was a dangerous misogynist was not only totally untrue, but extremely damaging and traumatizing for Bill. She really had no right to do that. Neither did Meghan have the right to insist that Harry see a therapist.
I think Meghan knew very well that Harry was, and still is, totally smitten by her. I have a hard time believing that if the situation were reversed and Harry felt that Meghan was disrespectful to him, she would take kindly to being ordered into psychotherapy. Therapy works best when it’s approached voluntarily. Ideally, people should seek therapy as a means of helping themselves, not because they’ve been threatened or bullied into treatment. Moreover, when a person is coerced into seeking mental health care, it can set up a narrative that the person is somehow “unstable” or even “sick”, which can later be weaponized.
Therapy probably has been helpful for Harry, if only because the therapist told him that she thinks part of Harry is trapped in 1997, which is when he lost his mother, Diana. He’s obviously still traumatized by losing his mother at such a young age. The trauma was such that he’d forgotten a lot of things about his youth. Harry reports that therapy has helped him recover some memories, some of which have been pleasant. Therapy has also helped Harry cry, which I’m sure helps him process his 25 years of profound grief. For years, Harry believed his mother was still alive, but in hiding. Now he accepts the truth.
Some of the sob stories kind of made me queasy…
I know some of my readers follow my personal Facebook page. They’ve seen some of the passages I’ve shared there. Yesterday, after noticing how many times Harry found Meghan “sobbing” and inconsolable, I decided to share brief snippets related to the sobbing incidents with friends. Most of my friends got where I was going with sharing about all the sobbing. I had some trouble reconciling the reports of Meghan’s “sob stories” with Meghan’s image of being “tough”, independent, and assertive. There were so many “sob stories” that I don’t want to share them here. Suffice to say, it was very noticeable and bordered on oversharing.
Early in their relationship, Meghan got food poisoning because she ate bad calamari. Harry writes about holding her hair while she vomits. I’m sure that sharing this anecdote is supposed to convey Harry’s deep love and concern for Meghan, but again, it verges on oversharing. Ditto to Harry’s long winded stories about getting frostbite on his penis, as well as the disclosure that he and William were circumcised. On the plus side, it was the first time I’d seen the word “todger” used outside of the Monty Python number, “Penis Song”.
There’s also some controversy over Harry’s discussion of his military service in Afghanistan. Harry claims that he killed 25 members of the Taliban. Sharing that number was probably ill advised, especially if he’s truly concerned about his and his family’s personal safety. On the other hand, it really is too bad he couldn’t stay in the military. It seemed to suit him.
Some of Harry’s complaints are valid…
Even though he’s currently sixth in line to the throne, Harry was expected to ask his grandmother’s permission to marry the woman of his choice. Somehow, in spite of his upbringing, no one ever explained to him that Queen Elizabeth had to approve of his wife. When Harry awkwardly approached his Granny, she left him unsure of whether or not she’d actually approved of the union, even though she had clearly said “yes” to his request. That’s certainly a dilemma that most “normal” people never have to face. I do wonder, given what’s happened, if Queen Elizabeth II ever regretted giving Harry her permission to marry Meghan.
A lot of people might have some trouble mustering much sympathy for Harry and Meghan, but I do think there is some validity to some of their complaints. Besides the obvious lack of privacy and safety risks faced by all famous people– not just the Royals– Harry makes the case that he was kind of infantilized. At the end of his book, he writes:
At another part of the book, he writes:
Here’s this guy, who from birth, was expected to support the monarchy and raised to do what he was told. For that privilege, he enjoyed every material luxury he could ever want. When Harry dared to try to make decisions for himself, he suffered reprisals. Harry was essentially cut off from all he knew, with no room for compromise. Making matters worse was the fact that people who weren’t in the family got a say– the Bee, the Wasp, and the Fly, three advisors to the Queen, were heavily involved in the decisions regarding Harry’s and Meghan’s departure from official service to the Crown.
It reminded me of my husband’s former stepson, who at age 21, demanded that Bill continue to send him $850 a month in “child support”. He sent Bill an email demanding “timely payments” of the money. Legally, Bill wasn’t even his father, and he had a perfectly just cause for cutting off the support. When it was clear to former stepson that Bill wouldn’t acquiesce to his demands, the young man made one last pathetic plea for a final payment of $500, with the promise that he’d never “bother” Bill again. It was very embarrassing and heartbreaking for Bill to get that email. And, on some level, I’m sure it was humiliating for ex stepson to send it. That incident taught me that “helping” adult children too much often does them a disservice.
Likewise, Harry sounds humiliated as he complains about being financially dependent on his father. I don’t think Harry had a choice in the matter, even though he says he “agreed” to support the monarchy. The monarchy clearly expected Harry to loyally support it by all means. Because Harry’s life was mapped from birth, he was not taught certain essential life skills. That’s a poor reflection on his family. They should have prepared him better.
However, Harry is now a 38 year old man, a husband, and a father of two. Many people are ready for him to grow up and take responsibility for himself. Yes, he’s missed out on learning a lot of skills he should have learned decades ago. It’s past high time for him to pull himself together and catch up with his peers.
I, for one, am ready for Harry to stop complaining about money. Even if his father cut him off, his mother left him millions. He and Meghan could certainly buy a home somewhere less expensive than Montecito and live life independently. Hell, they might have enough money left over to pay for the security they say they need. They could live almost anywhere. That’s a freedom that most people will never know. And while writing this book is going to potentially cost Harry his family, it will also make him a lot of money. So now is the time for Harry to learn how to manage his affairs and act like the grown ass man that he is.
A lot of people seem to think Harry is a bit “thick”. Some have even called him stupid. I don’t think Harry is stupid. To me, he seems gullible, naive, and surprisingly immature about some things. For instance, he used up all the laughing gas intended for Meghan when she was giving birth to Archie. Besides being immature, that seems pretty inconsiderate to the woman whose hair he’d once held back as she puked up British squid. I’m sure Harry presented that anecdote to be funny– just as he wrote extensively about his frostbitten pecker. But even though it was kind of funny, it also revealed a childish, sophomoric aspect to Harry’s personality that may later prove to be embarrassing. Hopefully, he will evolve some more in that department, too.
Spare was worthwhile reading for me. I think the book will help me spawn a lot of content, if nothing else. I have mixed impressions of Harry’s story. Overall, I think he needs to grow up and get wise. But I also have some empathy for him. His situation is very unusual, and perhaps it does present a case for doing away with the British monarchy. Or, at least, maybe some changes need to be made in the way the highest royal family members raise their children.
Harry’s situation is unique, in that he lost his mother at such a young age, and she was an extraordinary woman who was world renowned. Her death was, in part, directly caused by being hounded by the press. But it also happened because Diana’s driver was drunk, and drove recklessly at excessive speeds. Diana also wasn’t wearing a seatbelt when the car crashed. Harry seems to overlook that part of the story as he blames the press for all that is wrong in the world.
In any case, I recommend Spare to the interested. I will probably seek out more books written by J.R. Moehringer. He did a fantastic job writing Harry’s story.
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