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A billionaire and two millionaires talk oppression

By Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer | Mar 19, 2021

I just want to say this: I

like Oprah, even though I’m

about the only one who never

got a car. I think she went

through a lot and she has a

good heart. I was in junior

high when Prince Harry

was born, so at no time did

I ever think of him like that;

the most I thought of him at

all was about how brave he

had to have been to lose his

mom, I mean mum, so tragically

then have to walk with

the men in his family behind

her casket in front of, literally,

everyone and to keep that

stiff British upper lip.

I have no beef with

Meghan, either. I haven’t

watched Suits, I don’t know

if everything she has said is

true (was she a royal family

fan from childhood or did

she never Google Prince

Harry early in their courtship)?

I think her mom is

nice and wasn’t in prison,

and her dad and half siblings

are sketchy, but can’t we all

say something similar about

family members? Family

drama, secrets, opinions and

gossip are often problematic,

and it’s a tough decision

for anyone to stand with the

Fam or go public with what’s

wrong.

There was this one time

when I was in seventh grade,

about the time Prince Harry

was born, that we had a Night

of the Notables in which we

had to dress up as our favorite

notable person and parents,

siblings, teachers, others,

would interview us as if

we were that person. I chose

Princess Diana. My mother

asked of all the women in

history, why I chose her (other

than our passing resemblance

sort of) and what on

earth she has accomplished

besides getting married.

I said as she was just 23 or

so at the time (only 10 years

older than me!) that what

she had was potential. That

I thought she, out of all the

royals I knew of, would have

the spark to take the wealth

of the monarchy and make

the world a better place.

“We’ll get you a tiara,” my

mother said. “You’ll have to

brush your hair.”

I became well versed on

the Prince and Princess

of Wales’ royal tour to

Australia and New Zealand.

We found a replica jeweled

tiara at Ben Franklin and a

ruffly shirt reminiscent of

the cream dress the Princess

wore at the farewell State

Banquet in Auckland at the

end of the New Zealand tour.

I read up on New Zealand

(when I was 12, I read “The

Thorn Birds,” after my dad

was gifted it years earlier for

being good at the dermatologist

where his Air Force

tattoos acquired in Japan as

a young airman were painfully

burned off, and had a

fascination with Australia

and New Zealand from that

point) and pledged to go

there when I was in my 20s

(but I haven’t made it west of

California yet).

If she was still here in

2021, would she have

chilled out and healed some

of her traumas, enjoying life

as a grandmother about to

turn 60?

I don’t idealize here even

though my predictions came

true with her investing in

people with AIDS, in removing

land mines. She

didn’t do everything right

in her personal life and she

may not have been wise in

what she shared with the

world in her own interview.

I do believe she left money

to Prince Harry so he could

have choices in his life, but

I doubt she thought she’d

be doing so at 36. She was

no urchin when she married

into the royal family. Queen

Elizabeth II attended her

parents’ wedding. Her father

was the Earl of Spencer

and she became a Lady at

age 9. She may have been

even richer as a stepdaughter

even for a few years of

Peter Shand Kydd, a wallpaper

magnate, of her mother,

Frances, daughter of the

fourth Baron Fermoy.

Of what use is the British

monarchy to us and why do

we care? American tabloid

presses can be relentless and

cruel, but the British tabloids

have over 500 years of experience

in snarking the royal

court. It did ring true that

Meghan had no idea she’d

be expected to curtsey to her

husband’s grandmother. But

rank, position and title are

carried through and through

in that world whereas the

founders of the United States

sought to leave that behind.

But we have the offspring

of billionaires telling us that

they are the closest thing the

U.S has to a royal family.

I’m still asking why we want

one, and why anyone would

say that as if it’s a good

thing.

No longer in need of castle

fortresses, the modern royals

live in the palaces meant for

parties, for state business,

for the work of patronizing

charities and such. With the

pressing business of running

the country, negotiating treaties,

allocating funds left to

the prime minister and parliament,

I think an excess

of drama has been allowed

to permeate. When the family

has so much wealth to

manage, so much staff to

hire, pay, promote, retire or

fire, that they need a Human

Resources department and

a Firm to manage it, I can

see where those behind the

scenes can start a climb to

power.

The Interview. Why

Oprah? Why the United

States? Why now?

I question if there was

something specific about

Harry or Meghan. Can any of

us name Princess Eugenie’s

or Princess Beatrice’s husbands

without Googling,

even though they both had

royal weddings in the last

couple of years? What about

Prince Edward and Sophie’s

kids – they’re just as much

grandchildren of The Queen

as Prince Harry. Could we

pick Princess Anne’s kids,

who have no titles and hold

full time jobs, and were actually

the first grandchildren of

the Queen, out of a lineup?

I sense what Harry was

looking for as his distance

from taking the throne

steadily increased, was a

quieter life out of the spotlight,

like his cousins enjoy.

Why couldn’t he spend most

of his time in Australia planning

the Invictus Games that

he founded? Why couldn’t

he dive into veterans’ affairs

while juggling a few of the

Crown’s projects besides?

It is true that numerous

creative people from

Hollywood have moved to

Santa Barbara to avoid the

spotlight, and most of the

paparazzi is too lazy or lacks

the time to travel the 90 minutes

to stalk people there.

It’s just far enough away that

one can’t really go to Los

Angeles to all the parties at

which someone could see

and be seen. If Meghan and

Harry wanted to be in the

U.S., it’s one secluded place

to be.

Agreeing to interview with

Oprah, they could control the

narrative and say what they

needed to say, even within

the bounds of her questions,

which were not vetted in advance,

they said.

I think Harry’s move, particularly,

is important because

as one of the most

liked members of the royal

family, one of the most

popular individuals in the

UK and beyond, with funds

at his disposal to do almost

whatever he wanted (within

the stifling rules of the

monarchy), he chose to expatriate

to the U.S., to do

podcasts and Netflix films

and be independent with his

wife and child (soon to be

two children). He’s not the

first to abdicate his role (the

only reason his grandmother

is queen is that her uncle

Edward abdicated for the

love of American divorcee

Wallis Simpson, leaving the

crown to the Queen’s father,

George, who died prematurely

leaving Elizabeth a

reluctant queen at age 23).

Had that not happened 80

years ago, Elizabeth’s line

might have been no more

famous than the Spencers,

the Kydds, the Shands, the

Roches from Diana’s side.

Meghan is not the first

royal family member of

color. Aside from the North

Africans on Prince Phillip’s

side, we need not go far

in Elizabeth’s line to find

Queen Charlotte. Why the

fuss then, over a Prince seventh

in line to the throne,

whose children would have

been Prince and Princess

once it was their turn – after

Queen Elizabeth passes and

Charles or William is on the

throne.

Are we all pretty far from

all this in Estherville, Iowa?

When I think of The Throne,

my first thought is of an implement

in my bathroom.

When I was 13 and chose

Princess Diana for Night of

the Notables, I wasn’t thinking

of what it meant to be a

British princess. I liked her

hair, her looks, but I hoped

to inhabit the spirit of someone

who used an old, creaky

institution that even then

was outliving its usefulness

to light up the world. I hope

Meghan and Harry also find

a way to do that, too.