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IF there were a national competition for self-pity, Harry and Meghan would wear the crown.
Rarely has there been a public couple more addicted to whingeing.
Ever since they met, their relationship has been accompanied by a dreary soundtrack of victim status, as they moan about everything from press intrusion to lack of support from the House of Windsor.
“She and Harry feel the Royals have been racist and sexist,” said one friend yesterday.
Another report this morning claimed that the pair had been the target of “bullying” and had been “constantly told their place.”
It is this sense of persecution that led to their extraordinary demand for semi-detached status, plunging the monarchy into crisis and prompting yesterday’s Sandringham summit.
But the Sussexes’ tale of woe is totally unjustified. Their wailing is just childish self-indulgence on an epic scale.
Their victimhood is entirely a myth of their own making. Far from being treated badly by the Royal Family, the public or the media they have been shown remarkable goodwill and generosity.
Lavished with public cash
The nation was eager for them to be happy, as shown by the enthusiastic celebrations of their wedding in 2018 at Windsor Castle, for which no expense was spared.
Their charitable work was acclaimed, their stylishness admired. They were offered a gilded existence far beyond the dreams of most British citizens who subsidised their lavish lifestyle, including the £2.4million renovation of Frogmore Cottage.
One courtier, expressing bewilderment at the attitude of the Sussexes, said at the weekend, “People bent over backwards for them. They were given the wedding they wanted, the house they wanted, the office they wanted, the money they wanted, the staff they wanted, the tours they wanted, and the backing of the family.
"What more did they want?"
Adoring public support
It is the same story with the endless bleats about press scrutiny.
In reality, the media has generally been supportive of the Sussexes, giving fulsome praise to the success of their South African and Antipodean tours, as well as their domestic work like their project for the victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster or their help for unemployed women.
It is true that they were heavily criticised for their lectures on the environment while flying through the skies in private jets, but their hypocrisy made such condemnation inevitable.
There are few things the British public dislike more than wealthy virtue-signallers who fail to practise what they preach.
Their Hollywood buddy George Clooney once said that the Sussexes had been “pursued and vilified and chased”.
It was an absurd remark, but it reflects the fact that Meghan and Harry expect nothing but constant deference from the media.
Cocooned by their wealth and privilege, Meghan and Harry seem utterly clueless about the lives of those who subsidise them.
Self over service
The couple wail that they feel “tethered” because of their current status. But none of us enjoy total freedom to do what we want.
Unlike Meghan and Harry, we are all “tethered” by our obligations: mortgages, family duties, car loans, rent, utility bills, pension payments and work commitments.
Nor do the despondent duo seem to have any grasp of what membership of the Royal Family really involves.
The singer Elton John, who has become their celebrity friend, was quoted as expressing his delight “that they are admirably taking back control of their lives.”
But royalty is not about control or the meeting of selfish demands.
It is about sacrifice and selflessness, a spirit encapsulated in the words of Princess Elizabeth in 1947, five years before her ascension to the throne, when she declared in a radio broadcast that “my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be dedicated to your service.”
In their grasping narcissism, Meghan and Harry have exhibited exactly the opposite attitude.
Harry said recently that he “just wants to be ordinary”. Yeah right.
If he really wished that, he could go off and be a planning officer with Braintree District Council or a gym instructor in Slough.
But in truth, he and his wife are far too grand for that.
They want to be a multi-millionaire celebrity power couple, the globe-trotting King and Queen of Woke, the transatlantic superstars of the social justice movement.
In their view, duties are for the little people.
But instead of berating their royal relatives, they could have learnt from.
They bleat about a hostile press, but they experienced nothing compared to Prince Charles and Camilla, who endured years of real vilification without complaining in public.
Similarly, the Duchess of Cambridge stoically put up with continual snobbery about her middle-class background, including her mother’s career as an air hostess.
“Cabin doors to manual,” sneering courtiers reportedly said when Carole Middleton was leaving the palace.
Nor did she threaten to go off in a huff when she was photographed topless during a private holiday in a Provencal chateau in France, a far worse incidence of intrusion by the paparazzi than anything Meghan has experienced as the Duchess of Sussex.
The ITV presenter Tom Bradby, who is close to Harry and Meghan, wrote at the weekend about the “poisonous palace”.
But if anyone has been spreading the toxins, it is this selfish pair with their mix of suspicion and friction.
They are the oppressors, not the victims, as they showed in their proclamation of independence which they issued without any consultation with the wider Royals.
That behaviour showed no respect for the 93-year-old sovereign.
'Her way or the highway'
One of Meghan's closest confidantes said at the weekend that the breakdown was “only a matter of time", adding, "With Meghan, it has to be her way or the highway.”
She has certainly done a demolition job on Harry. Before he met her, he was a lovable, fun-loving scamp.
But now he has become a self-pitying bore, full of politically correct opinions and misguided celebrity ambitions.
In the humourless world of identity politics, victim status is something to be craved. That is why Meghan and Harry are so desperate to achieve it, however unjustifiably.
Watching his sad transformation, I recently wrote this little limerick about him.
“Harry was a bit of a joker
He loved a game of strip poker
But since he met Meghan Markle
He’s lost all his sparkle.
He’s just become woker and woker.”
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