Because I always strive to be a happy little elf, I will start with the happy news. It’s been four weeks, nearly a whole month of glorious silence, since the last episode of Meghan’s podcast.
To recap, previous episodes proved to be the most persuasive argument ever heard for living off-grid. The Duchess of Sussex delayed the next one until the official mourning period for the Queen was over and, to be fair, a month without Meghan is surely what the Queen would have wanted.
But all good things must come to an end and now she’s back, as wronged and stoic as ever, telling the sad truths we must all take on board if we are to become better people. Or something. I won’t lie, these are tough times to be a happy little elf, although the news this week that she employs a fact-checker on the podcast is beyond parody and cheered me up no end. Is one enough? Will she ever develop the ability to fact-check before she opens her mouth?
In this episode, she starts strongly, if incomprehensibly, with ghormeh and larb. Apparently they’re foodstuffs. Her guest is Margaret Cho, a successful Asian-American actress, activist and comedian. Cho has many interesting things to say about the perceptions and stereotypes surrounding Asian-American women, and whole seconds go by in which she is allowed to say them uninterrupted.
Ultimately, though, it falls to Meghan to point out that “all people” are multidimensional and layered, although no mention of elves, which makes me wonder if I am truly seen. She also confides that she loves Los Angeles because it is “full of culture”, which makes me sad, not happy, because if only we had some culture of our own, maybe she’d have stuck around.
It’s been a busy time for the Sussexes. Watching the Queen’s funeral, did they recall hitting back at her with the jibe “Everyone can live a life of service”? Probably not. The brand building is going brilliantly, though, or at least better than that tin-eared visit to a Californian cemetery on Remembrance Sunday.
Earlier this week, in a last desperate plea for privacy, they released new photographs of themselves. Meghan goes for smouldering stateswoman. Harry, bless him, manages something closer to gormless or, in the word of royal biographer Hugo Vickers, sad.
Back home in California, there are reports that they’re trying to row back on the Netflix documentary that pays the mortgage, and that Harry is frantically trying to tone down his memoir now that his father is King. He might be panicking because it’s too mean about Camilla, as some suspect, or he might just want to bring it bang up to date with all the many slights he no doubt feels they suffered while they were here. Some were uniform related, as they always are.
My favorite is the story that Meghan had to be banned from going to Scotland, a country she usually flies straight over. Just this summer, the couple allegedly declined to holiday at Balmoral, when the Queen was still alive, but perhaps the fact-checker can get to the bottom of it.
They’ve parted ways from their American PR company, Sunshine Sachs, which successfully remained in their employment for more than half an hour and deserves a long-service medal with the P45. And they appear to have suffered the indignity of being NFI to the launch of George and Amal Clooney’s charitable foundation.
Earlier this week, in a last desperate plea for privacy, they released new photographs of themselves.
For legal reasons, we must consider the possibility that they were invited but chose not to go, before snorting into our tea and proceeding. The event featured exactly the sort of Obama-heavy guest list they’d like to be on, and it is exactly the sort of glitzy foundation, honoring worthy people, which they’re struggling to establish for themselves, possibly because the fascination with their navels remains strong.
We don’t yet know the pain they’re feeling about the continued uncertainty over Archie and Lilibet’s titles, but we can be sure they’ll keep it to themselves. Harry spent his entire life cursing his royal title, so it must be excruciating for him that his children may never get to experience the full horror of being an HRH.
Anyone who thinks, “Hmmm, didn’t he once speak about severing the cycle of genetic pain suffered by royal children?” must have misremembered, as Meghan once told a High Court judge. I will leave you with Meghan’s closing remarks, as rendered by the transcript of the podcast, which it warns is automatically generated and may not be accurate. Judge for yourself. I’m just an elf.
“Be yourself your full complete whole layered, sometimes weird, sometimes awesome, but always best.” Quite so. I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Hilary Rose is a longtime columnist for The Times of London and the author of the weekly column How to Get Dressed