The Working Royals vs. the “Working-It” Royals
Why Meghan Markle is a Bigger Threat to Kim Kardashian Than to Kate, Princess of Wales
I wish I could tell you that I had come up with the outstanding aphorism of “the working Windsors vs. the working-it Windsors” to describe the rivalry—scratch that—the open warfare going on in the U.S. between the “American” side of the House of Windsor (the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, otherwise known as Harry and Meghan), who are currently residing in California, and the Prince and Princess of Wales (aka Catherine “Kate” and William), who are now visiting Boston. Instead, it was coined by my brilliant friend, the historian and philanthropist Amanda Foreman, who, like me, is American (she was born in the U.S.) but spent most her childhood in Britain before moving here in her twenties.
Prince William, Prince of Wales, and Catherine, Princess of Wales, meet a boy dressed as a guard in Boston, MA on December 1, 2022. [Credit: Shirley Preston/Shutterstock]
Foreman explained in the funniest, most on-point article I have read on the topic that Brits who hoped that the Waleses’ visit to Boston this week might clearly illustrate their superiority in what Foreman lists as “duty, probity, discipline, decency, discretion, loyalty and commitment”—versus the Sussex’s currency of “self-actualisation, self-healing, self-identity, self-care, self-expression, self-confidence and self-love”—hoped in vain.
This, Foreman says—in an article for the UK Sunday Times so spikily excellent that I wish it had been published in the U.S.—has to do with a generational divide. According to Foreman, Americans under 40 (i.e., the demographic who don’t read New York Magazine and therefore didn’t appreciate its “Meghan of Montecito” expose in August) don’t want duty, probity, etc. No, they want something called “me-spiration” which, says Foreman, is “not a philosophy so much as an ego massage and…a pure money maker.”
As an analogy, Foreman asks her readers to think about Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP, launched as a newsletter in 2008 and valued at $250 million a decade later in 2018. Foreman opines that Paltrows’ supporters “don’t need the products to be real, they just need them to be emotionally satisfying at the point of sale.” (In other words, it doesn’t matter that, surrounding a serious allegation of racist hostility, Meghan Markle told Oprah Winfrey a bunch of un-fact-checked assertions, some of which later turned out to be incorrect. The emotional experience the audience felt as they watched that interview was more important than whether or not what she said was true.)
But back to the money. Foreman says Netflix (which launched its trailer of the Sussex’s new documentary series on Thursday, slap in the middle of the Wales’s visit), and Random House, (which is due to publish Prince Harry’s memoir, Spare, in January) have too much money invested to let either of these projects fail. As Markle herself says in the Netflix trailer, “When the stakes are this high…”
Foreman, who is a royal contributor for CBS, was asked on TV this morning what those stakes are exactly.
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