My fellow ugly Americans, we finally have a reason to celebrate our exceptionalism. While we may lead the world in perpetrating unjust wars and COVID-19 deaths, at least we can take solace in this fact: We rebelled against that racist royal family 244 years ago.
In a stunning primetime interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan Markle outlined her years of entrapment inside of Buckingham Palace. Separated from her ID and passport, she wasn’t allowed to move freely, and the Royal Family micromanaged every aspect of her schedule–even dictating when she could and couldn’t see friends. She says she contemplated suicide, but was denied care. The family feared it would reflect poorly on the “institution.”
Well, it’s safe to say that Oprah dismantled the “institution” with two hours of pointed inquiry, exposing the Royal Family as atavistic tormentors. During the first hour of the special, Markle revealed there were concerns among the family about the possible skin color of her baby.
The revelation prompted Oprah to respond incredulously: “WHAT?!”
As a literal descendant of royalty, there are limits to how far Prince Harry can play the “woe is me” card–and, by extension, Markle. They’re worth at least $30 million, largely thanks to Harry’s inheritance from Princess Diana, and their decision to step back from royal duties will only add to their wealth. Free to earn personal incomes, Markle and Harry are already capitalizing off their brands. They’ve started a production company, signed a mega-deal with Netflix, and purchased a $14.7 million Montecito compound. Being stripped of your taxpayer-funded security is not a very sympathetic plight.
Yes, that’s correct: The Royal Family is granted taxpayer-funded security. In fact, British taxpayers fund the family’s entire existence, to tune of £67 million annually (the equivalent of nearly $80 million).
Now, is spending $80 million on the Royal Family as egregious as directing $80 million towards failed fighter jets? I’m not sure. Would you rather give your hard-earned cash to Prince Andrew or Lockheed Martin? It’s a tough call.
But in defense of American corporate welfare–yes, in defense of it, dammit!–at least our system is based on meritocracy. American dynasties are self-made, even if the actual patriarch or matriarch died generations ago.
At their cores, Americans still buy into the idea of meritocracy, despite our terribly rigged reality. That’s why Markle’s story resonates. She was raised by a single mom and worked odd freelance jobs to support herself between acting gigs. She may be in Oprah’s lush backyard now, but she worked her way into that stratosphere.
And yet, that’s probably why the Royal Family shunned her–along with her biracial identity. When Markle was accused of bullying staff, Buckingham Palace immediately announced an investigation, even though the report only cited unnamed sources. “The Duchess is saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma,” a representative for Markle said last week.
As it turns out, I guess Americans didn’t invent racism–we picked it up from somewhere!
We are not the only messed up country, and that, my friends, is comforting. For all of the praise heaped upon European nations for their handling of COVID, the EU’s vaccine rollout is progressing at a glacial pace. It is also the most vaccine-skeptic region in the world.
Meanwhile, we just vaccinated 2.9 million people in one day. USA! USA! USA!
It’s telling that right-wing idiots on Twitter, like this Erick Erickson, are defending the Royal Family. Finally, there’s an American story we can be proud of, and their loyalty lies with rich white racists.
Next thing you know, they’re going to be wheeling around golden sculptures of Prince Charles at CPAC. But at least it wouldn’t be taxpayer-funded. In this country, you support your favorite grifters through dark money political pacts. That’s the kind of freedom we can all get behind.