Rosemary Nissen-Wade: Aussie poet and teacher of metaphysics – a personal view
My bestie nicknamed me SnakyPoet on her blog, and I liked it. (It began as
'the poet of the serpentine Northern Rivers' and became more and more abbreviated.)

Sunday, November 07, 2021

Meghan and Harry: The Real Story by Lady Colin Campbell – Review

 

Meghan and Harry: The Real StoryMeghan and Harry: The Real Story by Lady Colin Campbell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Her Ladyship builds a case that Meghan is a controlling, manipulative fake and Harry a besotted idiot – all the while declaring at frequent intervals how much sympathy she has for them and how she hopes to see them do well.

In some ways she is quite convincing, partly because she moves in aristocratic circles in which she has access to both facts and gossip that most of us don't. However she is fond of extremely spurious methods of argument, saying things like, 'Some people might think that ...', 'It's possible to interpret this as ...' and so on – and then, later in the book, using these speculative incidents as if they were proven fact, as the basis for saying things like, 'This is yet another example of [some piece of reprehensible behaviour or bad intentions]' or, 'As we have seen, [X] is typical.' (I'm paraphrasing from memory, not quoting exactly.)

She defends the tabloids against accusations of bias, and the British against a racist attitude to Meghan. Sorry – I became very interested in Meghan when her romance with Harry first went public, so I did a lot of research online and read everything that came up about her. In the tabloids, the poor woman couldn't take a trick. Whatever she did, it was wrong.

For instance, I bought the issue of Vogue she edited. (It wasn't distributed to Australia, but I was able to order it.) It seemed a very interesting thing for a new member of royalty to do, so I was curious. That's when I first realised that, whatever else Meghan is, she is essentially a writer – which has now been proved several times over, with other things she has authored. I might add, I consider her a very good writer.

I liked and respected what she had to say there, and other aspects of her editing of that issue. She was soon questioned as to why her own face was not included on the cover, among 'women of influence'. When she said she thought that would seem boastful, this was immediately touted in the tabloids as insulting to both Princess Diana and the Duchess of Cambridge, who had been featured on Vogue covers. Could nobody see the obvious – that there's a vast difference between being invited to appear on a cover and putting oneself on the cover of an issue which one has oneself edited? Of course she would have been criticised for being boastful, had she done so!

I could cite many other instances of tabloid prejudice, distortion of facts and outright lying. Suffice to say that Lady CC's defence of the tabloids doesn't really hold water.

There's also the telling point that Prince Harry's two previous most serious relationships, with Chelsey Davy and Cressida Bonas, broke up (we are told) because neither young woman would continue facing the intense media scrutiny.

I certainly discerned racial undertones in much of the tabloid coverage, as well as snobbishness on the basis of class – a snobbishness which Lady CC's book is also full of. Half the time she doesn't even seem to realise she has this attitude, but it's very apparent. Perhaps someone of her background takes it all for granted. I of course, as an Australian, am one of those colonials whom she gently disparages as not really understanding British manners and mores.

Oddly enough, that very point is one of the strengths of this book. She has spent considerable time in America too, and is able to explain clearly the great differences in British and American customs and attitudes – which account in large part for the very different ways in which Meghan and Harry are perceived on different sides of the Atlantic, and also for ways in which Meghan upset and offended people in her new country without having any notion that that's what she was doing – and without such people realising she wasn't intentionally being rude and thoughtless.

I'm grateful to this author for clarifying that for me, and doing so in some detail. Otherwise I would never have guessed at some of the finer points of British (and particularly aristocratic) sensibility. It's a fascinating look at these social distinctions. Nevertheless I'm disappointed that she only pretends to be giving a fair, balanced and sympathetic point of view whilst really doing a nice little hatchet job. If I ever read Lady Colin Campbell again, I'm afraid it will now be with a fair degree of cyncism.

However, credit where it's due. It's one big mark in the book's (publisher's) favour that typos and other copy-editing mistakes are almost absent.

View all my reviews

2 comments:

  1. She probably doesn't know she is doing a hatchet job because of her own inbuilt prejudices.

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    Replies
    1. I wonder if she does really believe that she is being impartial? She certainly wants her readers to believe that. But her own opinions, stated frankly, paint both her subjects in a bad light and she is far from unaware of that. It is as if she is saying, 'I'm being absolutely impartial and that leads me to take this side.'

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