Speaking of happy couples, it is our silver wedding anniversary this week. You may think that after a quarter of a century it might be difficult to surprise a spouse. Think again. When my other half opens her special present on the big day, she will find a VPN and subscriptions to CBS AcessAll and Paramount+.
I am going to surprise her further by keeping her awake all night. Not what you think. She will be in charge of the coffee machine until four o’clock in the morning while I trick the internet into thinking we’re still in America, log on to our new subscriptions and write a review of “Oprah, Meghan and Harry: A CBS Special”.
There are different types of surprise. During the broadcast, The Royal Family are expecting a nasty one. So much so that the Queen has moved Commonwealth Day and established a brand new age-old tradition of addressing the nation upon it. Hours later Meghan will do likewise in the US.
We’re all aware that there’s no row like a family row, but is this necessary? Are the stakes so high?
The Commonwealth Day programme is to be hosted by the BBC’s horrid Anita Rani. In the interests of equality, during her ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ ancestry programme, Anita had the lower caste girls cover their faces and look to the floor when she entered properties in India. The word ‘junglee’ was used. Have the Royal Family misjudged this? Your humble author thinks that they have and, while holding his nose, is calling the contest for Meghan.
So much for myself, my wife and the warring Mountbatten-Windsors, what can Puffins expect to see when they sit down in front of the UK transmission of the CBS special the following evening?
The programme will begin with a mixture of biographical guff, teasers of what’s to come later and glorious shots of Meghan’s new home, its gardens and their Santa Barbara surroundings. Take it from someone who has experienced all four, given a choice of the colonies, the extreme far north of England, various shit-hole countries and Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara wins hands down. It is like paradise.
As the title music fades away, it was Royal biographer Andrew Morton who suggested the first section of the interview will recall Meghan and Harry’s royal wedding on a glorious Windsor Saturday in May 2018.
The first shot will be of the glowing woman whose big day it is. The most important person at any wedding, Oprah Winfrey, wears a pale lilac dress and a wide-brimmed straw hat. She circulates outside St George’s Chapel chatting with the Clooneys and the Beckhams. Ms Winfrey then shares a joke with some of Prince Philip’s ‘South American’ relatives, the production team not realising who they really are. Prince Andrew passes with his face blurred out. Oprah winks at James Cordon who winks back.
When it’s no longer possible to ignore a girl in the background in a white dress stepping out of a carriage, the camera will cut to a lavish Santa Barbara terrace where, from a low backed wicker chair, an immaculately coiffured Oprah will say,
“But your father wasn’t there to walk you down the aisle?”
Meghan will gulp and hold back a tear, so will Oprah. Incidentally, Oprah will be wearing THOSE diamond earrings. If you think Oprah does well to hold her head up, it’s because her high white collar disguises a neck brace supplied by De Beers.
“My father and I are both victims,” replies the Duchess, in a black dress with a white spilt paint motif over her right shoulder. While she rubs her baby bump, she speaks spontaneously of the tabloids, courtiers, social media and Royal Family who forced her father, Thomas Merkle Sr, to take a truck full of money in return for embarrassing interviews and staged photo shoots.
“And your mother was left to sit on her own at the back while I was at the front?” Asks an astonished Ms Winfrey.
The heartless Royal Family, sighs Ms Markle. Mama Doria should have been on Prince Philip’s knee like in a chapel of love in Nevada.
On a more serious note, at the start of the interview, Meghan will be defined as being a victim of those who disagree with her, including the Royals, the tabloids, internet trolls and even members of her own family. Never mind a ducal palace on the Solomon Hills looking down over the California surf, if you lived in a council house in Leeds you’d be embarrassed by the author of ‘Princess Pushy’s Sister’, Meghan’s 56-year-old wheelchair-using half-sister Samantha (NHRN) Markle.
At the top of the show, it must be established that none of these people has a right to express an opinion. They are all bullying the spotlessly innocent La Markle.
During these exchanges, we must play Meghan bingo. Listen for: reached out, responded, wellness space, independence, freedom, Netflix, compassion, healthy communities in online spaces, AppleTV, miss-information, Spotify, connecting, stop hate for profit, mental health, Clevr Blends (yes, Clevr Blends), stand with, colour, philanthropy, cultural change, reclaiming, digital landscape and ‘a better world for Archie to grow up in’.
If you think this is tosh, remember Oprah’s only viewer is Karene. Karene is an over 35-year-old female, slightly more sophisticated than some, who has a big role in household spending decisions. Karene is aspirational and does not buy products or services, rather purchases improvement for herself and her close family members.
Back in the running order, a collage of UK tabloid headlines and troll tweets accompanies a timeline of Royal Family slights and exclusions. Meghan has come to American to find freedom and to be the person that she really is. Add that to the bingo list.
The final section of the programme will be bright and optimistic. We do not want to send the viewers away negative and pessimistic. They will not buy into this if they feel bad. Likewise, we want people to keep on watching to the end, therefore the bombshell revelations are placed in the second last section of the programme.
The Queen’s former press spokesman, Dickie Arbiter is quoted by the Daily Express as saying,
“They [Meghan and Harry] aren’t going to rubbish the Royal Family because it’s not in their interest. They might well rubbish what they call ‘the suits’, ‘the grey suits’.”
Dickie is wrong. Nobody cares about the suits. They are not a fearsome enough monster for the Duchess’s heroic struggle. Perseus didn’t slay a PR man. The Minotaur wasn’t a PA. Meghan and Oprah rely on suits, it is not in their interests to rubbish them. Karene is not frightened of suits. They are often very helpful to her, she may even be married to one. But what she is frightened of is America’s toxic relationship with race.
The family feud having spun completely out of control, Meghan’s bombshell revelations will consist of hammering the outsized red nuclear button marked ‘racism’.
Meghan will not mention black, or Black Lives Matter. She will mention ‘colour’. She will ‘stand with’ the victims of racism, better than that, she will say that she is one of them.
Prince Philip’s victims have included driving instructors, dentists, pot-bellied Hungarians and the entire ‘slitty eyed’ population of China. One shudders at what he may have said within earshot of an American, a tinged one at that, and an actress to boot.
Meagan’s father, Thomas Merkle Jr, is white. Her mother, Doria Ragland, is a bit of a mixture. If Doria were a dog then she’d be able to chase the hare around the track while simultaneously rounding up sheep and biting football hooligans. Therefore, a friend informs me, Meghan is not Black, she is a light-skinned black woman. My source is a black-skinned black woman who isn’t Black either, as she has not had the lived Black experience.
This friend is from the valley, not the ‘hood. She went to college, is a medical professional and lives in a $1million+ California home. In the neighbouring street, houses sell for $800,000+. My acquaintance refers to that row of attractive executive residences, with BMW’s on the front-drive, as ‘the ghetto’. Is this Golden State humour? I dare not laugh, just in case it isn’t.
Meghan will try to cancel the Royals by calling them racists. She may even quote David Icke.
After the commercials, Prince Harry will enter the room and sit next to Meghan. In a light suit with opened necked shirt, he agrees with everything she says. This final section of the programme will be an optimistic and uplifting account of the couple’s much happier life in California and their plans for the future, a future that Karene can buy into by purchasing their tat.
Besides Spotify, AppleTV (with Oprah) and Netflix projects, the tat includes Clevr Blend. Meghan is an investment angel with a minority holding in the Clevr Blend drinks company, a start-up which sells mail-order hot drink sachets. This small company will not make, sell or distribute the product, merely brand and promote it. Ideally, with the help of Meghan and Oprah, the brand might achieve such a high profile that it could be purchased by a multinational (as Unilever bought Ben and Jerry’s) at which point the original investors can cash in.
To impress Karene, Clevr Blend is promoted as being women-led and woman-owned. This isn’t quite true, the co-founders being Hannah Mendoza and Roger Coppola. Ominously, Roger is a graduate in Biopsychology and a former research associate in neuroscience. Remember, this has got nothing to do with the hot drinks, it is about perception, positioning, branding, virtue and wellness. If the drink tastes disgusting, all that proves is that it is probably good for you.
Clevr Blend is also heavily promoted on social media by Oprah Winfrey.
All well and good. That’s capitalism. If Karene wants to waste her husband’s money on crap and he’s soft enough to let her, leave them to it. He earned it. He paid plenty of tax on it. But there’s another sell.
Meghan has ambitions beyond the commercial. Her Archewell foundation supports Dr Doty, a ‘world-renowned expert on neuroscience’. Through another centre, Meg is going ‘to radically reimagin[e] our digital infrastructure’. Also, a foundation she supports is, ‘reimagining technology’ and ‘strengthening democracy through culture making’. Yet another front organisation is constructing ‘safe community gathering zones during non-disaster times’.
Way beyond what’s needed to make her product and media endorsements appear woke, these activities suggest Meghan has political ambitions within the culture war.
It’s time for bed. I press my cold feet against my warm wife. No surprise there. I tell her about my article. There’s a culture war, including a fight to the death between the Royal Family and the Duchess of Sussex, which the Queen isn’t bound to win.
“If I were the Queen I’d spoil the interview with some kind of giant distraction then lockdown the narrative,” I note drowsily.
My wife admonishes me. I’m over-excited and have been spending too much time with Puffins. As per the previous quarter-century, it would be therapeutic for me to concentrate on putting bins out, changing light bulbs, fixing things and paying the bills. “Oh,” she then remembers. “There’s a message going around. If a VVIP dies soon, we’ve all to keep off social media.”
To be continued……..
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file