In a long and bleak year, two cultural shifts offered at least some hope: racial progress, accelerated by massive street protests across the United States, and the marginalization, albeit tentative, of the culture of celebrity. Both these attainments seem to have been undermined this week by Oprah Winfrey’s palace-rattling interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at their mansion in Santa Barbara.
Only a day before, the main news in the U.K. had been the pitiful 1% pay raise offered by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government to the overworked and exhausted staff of the National Health Service. The general reaction veered between dismay and outrage.
On Sunday, however, public attention, a strained reserve these days, quickly shifted to the travails of a disinherited prince and princess. Evidently, the pair was driven from Britain for Southern California by overt racism from the royal family and a campaign of persecution from British tabloids. On Tuesday evening, Buckingham Palace issued a statement saying the allegations were being “taken very seriously” and would be addressed privately.
It is not callous to suggest that Markle might have avoided this fate had she, like many women marrying into a joint family system, done some due diligence on her in-laws. Take, for instance, this typical remark by Prince Philip, offered to a group of British students in China in 1986: “If you stay here much longer, you’ll all be slitty-eyed.” The jaw-dropping recent…