One of the grand traditions across Medieval Europe was the ‘world turned upside down’. On this carnivalesque day, fools would be kings and everything was topsy-turvy. We should be grateful to the modern world that this day of lunatic inversion has been extended to a year-round affair.
It is almost axiomatic now that whatever one reads in one’s newspaper, while salting a quail egg and taking a sip of jasmine tea – we breakfast properly here at BI – must be reversed if the truth is to be sought. The ongoing five-act farce that is Britain’s royal family is no exception.
Prince Andrew (whom professional curmudgeon Peter Hitchens is coming worryingly to resemble) must be toasting Prince Harry and his extraordinary wife on an hourly basis. One minute, the Klieg light of an accusing media has trapped him against the prison wall, the next he is all but forgotten about as Harry and his dysfunctional Disney princess make laughing-stocks of themselves and, by extension, the British people.
After stepping down from their royal duties, the ones Harry’s grandmother has been performing selflessly for many decades, the couple announced they would be moving to Canada. Just a short hop to Hollywood, after all, and they will be welcomed by Justin ‘is my Daddy Mick or Fidel’ Trudeau, who has recently been much in the media for growing a beard in a vain attempt to look less like My Little Pony. Also, Canada is still notionally in the Commonwealth, so it looks like a nod of respect to the Queen, although it is no such thing.
The reason for this royal flit? All too predictable. When we here at the BI barracks get out of bed at first light, and after our route march, ice-cold shower, and flailing ourselves with birch twigs (step into my office, would you? Ed.), our first task is to see what has been deemed racist that day. For Meghan ‘Sparkle’ Markle, it is – wait for it, wait for it – her treatment by the media. And how would she define that treatment? Well, I’ll be; racism!
And she is right. Since her arrival on the scene, bringing as she did a whiff of dusky-hued Orientalism – which is what one journalist seriously wrote about Markle because she is half-cast – the British press have been in estrus about her. One of the major news sites, which carries a nine-square grid usually infested with clickbait, filled fully eight of them with pictures of Harry and his vulgar strumpet. ‘Racist’ is probably the last epithet one would use to describe her treatment by the media, except inversely. But, now that Sir Roger Scruton has left us and we must listen to Stormzy on matters of colour, everything is racist.
The Americans, of course, will love the couple because Americans chase celebrity like a kitten chasing a torch-beam across a carpet. What remains to be seen is whether Harry will tire of it all. When you have toured Afghanistan in a military helicopter and walked its treacherous streets carrying an automatic rifle, how many Hollywood canapés can you eat?
One feels sorry for her Majesty, whose quiet dignity has been usurped by the royal equivalent of the Kardashians. The world turned upside down indeed. Wake us when it has righted itself, would you?