Who was to know that this momentous day would set in train a series of events which no-one in St Paul’s Cathedral – or the 750m of us watching around the world – could ever have imagined? I remember it well. I was almost 14 and more enthralled by the apparent romance of it all than perhaps I cared to admit.
I’m far more cynical these days, as are we all. And never more cynical than when it comes to the behaviour of Prince Harry, the beloved younger son of Charles and Diana, who is rapidly turning into a dangerous loose cannon with the power to create damage not just in the foreseeable future, but down the line into future generations.
This is not what the country needs right now. You might expect better from a man who still lays claim to such a strong sense of patriotism.
There are already rumblings that his constant clamouring for our attention is fuelled in part by fears that his brother William’s children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – are all above Harry in the line of succession and may steal the limelight as they grow older.
Why should we care, you might ask? Why should we care that this rich entitled individual, who now lives with his wife and two children in California, can still cast such a long shadow?
We should care because, regardless our own personal attitudes towards the Royal family, the UK, our country, is still a constitutional monarchy headed by the Queen, Prince Harry’s grandmother.
The news that Prince Harry, or the Duke of Sussex to give him the proper title he still clings resolutely to, has secured a four-book deal with an advance approaching £30m, with one volume scheduled to not appear until Her Majesty has passed away, is ominous.
It is being heralded as a tell-all autobiography, penned in collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winner ghostwriter J.R. Moehringer, who helped to shape the life-stories of champion tennis player Andre Agassi and Nike sportswear brand’s co-founder Phil Knight.
Harry has promised a book which is “a first-hand account of my life that’s accurate and wholly truthful”. Coming so soon after the Sussexes took part in that TV interview with Oprah Winfrey, this has obviously set alarm bells ringing at Buckingham Palace.
“I’ve worn many hats over the years, both literally and figuratively,” he says. “And my hope is that in telling my story – the highs and lows, the mistakes, the lessons learnt – I can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think. I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to share what I’ve learnt.”
Is it just me who is wondering where exactly in this worrying display of self-indulgence sits the Prince who set out his stall to be the saviour of the poor and oppressed, preaching the importance of climate change while clocking up the air miles?
Like any family, the Royals put on one face in public and quite another behind closed doors. The face that Harry shows to the world right now is not a pleasant one. Perhaps he was more protected by ‘The Firm’ than he ever knew.
It’s reported that when leading contract negotiations for his book deal from his Montecito mansion with publishers Penguin Random House he was “very take it-or-leave-it”, and “those involved were actually very shocked by his approach, which was to look at them coldly and state his demands”.
That one of the titles in the eventual four-book contract is reported to be a self-help guide to wellbeing penned by his wife, the former actress Meghan Markle, simply underlines the trepidation.
It’s time he did some serious reflection of his own. And there is no better day than today on what would have been the ruby wedding anniversary of his parents.
His late mother was not perfect. However, above all, she wanted people to be happy. More than anything, she would not have wanted her two sons, who meant the world to her, to become so bitterly estranged on separate sides of the Atlantic.
The first volume is not due to be published until the end of next year. There is still time for Prince Harry to think again about his actions – and their impact on his grandmother, father, brother and the country that he was proud to serve until his own marriage.
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