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home : opinion : columnist June 10, 2023

5/1/2023 8:28:00 PM
Guest Column
Countdown To Coronation Fraught With Drama

Tammy Wilson
Guest Columnist

If you’re an Anglophile like me, you surely have May 6 marked on the calendar. Early Saturday brings the televised crowning of King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort—a once-in-a-lifetime event.

The last British Coronation was in 1953, starring Queen Elizabeth II. I wasn’t around for it, and you probably weren’t either.

My first encounter with televised royalty was in 1960, when Princess Margaret, the Queen’s sister, married Antony Armstrong Jones, a photographer. I was in kindergarten at the time, and remember my mother pointing out black-and-white newsreels of the bride and groom in Westminster Abbey. Mom was a royal watcher dating from the time of King Edward VIII who gave up the throne for the divorced American socialite, Wallis Simpson.

I watched royal events into adulthood, from the investiture of Charles as Prince of Wales in 1969 to Princess Anne’s wedding in 1973, the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson in 1986, and, more recently, the marriages of Prince William and Prince Harry.

Like many of you, I watched coverage of Princess Diana’s funeral and the funerals of Prince Phillip in 2021 and the Queen’s last year.

Yes, you might say I’m an Anglophile, but keeping up with the Royals has become especially interesting lately, thanks to a major dust-up.

As most know, Prince Harry married Meghan Markle, a biracial American actress, in 2018. Queen Elizabeth granted them the titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Within two years, things turned sour. Prince William and Harry stopped speaking to one another. Harry and his father stopped speaking. The rift grew wider, involved the wives, some said.

In 2020, Meghan and Harry abandoned the UK and royal duties, charging media harassment, mistreatment and racism by the Palace. All claims were roundly denied.

Though they’ve distanced themselves from the Royal Family, Harry and Meghan kept royal titles for themselves and their offspring as they continue to lambaste the monarchy, the UK press and the British public from their new home in Montecito, Calif.---home of the rich and famous.

Shortly after the death of Queen Elizabeth, I found myself on a flight surrounded by Brits. I extended condolences to one Welsh lady seated across the aisle. After a brief exchange, Prince Harry was mentioned.

I commented that he ought to stay in California.

Oh no, she said. Harry’s my favorite.

I was a bit taken aback, considering how the Sussexes’ tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey had shocked viewers. Claims of racism toward Meghan rocked the Royal Family, including the Queen, who was then 95 and suffering from bone cancer.

As the world knows, the couple was paid millions for producing a Netflix documentary broadcast this past January. That expose’ focused on alleged abuse by the Palace, harassment by paparazzi and mistreatment by the Royal Family.

Days later, Harry published his memoir, Spare, airing even larger heaps of dirty laundry including details of sexual exploits, combat kills in Afghanistan and private communications with family members.

An episode of the TV series “South Park” skewered the Sussexes in February, cratering their popularity. Still, the couple has continued to make public appearances and give interviews, including the broadcast ($33/per view) of Harry’s counseling session with a therapist.

Odd behavior, indeed, for a couple seeking privacy.

As for the Coronation, invitations were issued to the Sussexes, who didn’t respond until late in the game.

Their final answer: Harry will go; Meghan will stay home so as to not miss Archie’s fourth birthday. Meghan’s request to allow singing of “Happy Birthday” to the toddler during the formal Coronation ceremony was nixed by King Charles.

Oh well.

Film at 11.

---Tammy Wilson lives near Newton. Contact her at [email protected]

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