Tina Brown: Duchess Meghan had a ‘willful blindness to institutional culture’

by Susan Ryant

I was on Team Maybe Tina Brown Will Really Dish The Royal Dirt, but I was wrong. I admit that fully, I was totally wrong about Tina Brown’s The Palace Papers. I thought she was doing the thing that some royal commentators do, criticizing the royals under the guise of embiggening them. Not so much – The Palace Papers is apparently deeply sourced within Camp Cambridge, meaning it’s a litany of bullsh-t about how everything the Duchess of Sussex did was completely wrong. The WaPo review of the book points out Brown’s clear bias towards the Duchess of Cambridge, and Brown’s blind spot when it comes to how f–king racist the Windsors and the British press were to Meghan. Here are some lowlights from The Palace Papers:

Before Meghan, Harry William fought about patronages: Intriguingly, she says that the relationship between the two siblings began to decline long before the destabilising arrival of Meghan Markle. ‘Friction between the brothers escalated over their professional alignments,’ Brown writes. ‘William knew he had to be respectful of hierarchy when it came to his father’s ownership of the environmental platform, but he was less willing to accede to his brother.’ For his part, Harry felt William was ‘hogging the best briefs’, a rivalry especially keen over their joint interests in Africa and conservation. Brown claims that Harry wanted the prestigious rhino and elephant charity the Tusk Trust, of which William had been patron since 2005. ‘Harry was a very, very angry man. I think those were absolutely Olympic rows,’ she quotes a friend of the brothers as saying.

William is terrible public speaker: ‘If William makes a speech, everything from “Good evening” onwards has to be typed out and handed to him,’ a charity official tells her. ‘When he came to our dining club one evening, as soon as he got up to speak he froze.’ Harry knew how to work a room like his grandfather Prince Philip, starting with a joke to break the ice.

When Harry Met Meghan: She and the prince became ‘drunk on a shared fantasy of being the instruments of global transformation who, once married, would operate in the celebrity stratosphere once inhabited by Princess Diana’.

Meghan is horrible for being a good public speaker: The world caught a glimpse of this power grab at the unveiling of the so-called ‘Fab Four’, when Meghan articulately spoke with all her actressy skill at a meeting of their Royal Foundation, which had set up the Heads Together mental health charity. ‘Harry looked on with awe and his brother and Kate stood by with expressionless irritation,’ Brown writes. ‘When it was Kate’s moment to speak, she was strikingly less articulate, as well as brief.’

Dusty palace courtiers had no idea how to harness Meghan’s charisma: So far so glamorous, but what Palace insiders saw as Meghan’s ‘wilful blindness to institutional culture’ was a clash with the actress’s world view. ‘In the ranking system of the entertainment world, star power — wattage — equals leverage . . . Alas, she seemed oblivious to the one critical factor that would determine the outcome of her plans for the future: primogeniture.’

Meghan got freebies, oh no: In the book, Brown shines a fascinating and waspish light on Meghan’s life just as she was meeting Harry and how her then blog, The Tig, was a dragnet for luxury freebies. ‘She won a reputation among the marketers of luxury brands of being warmly interested in receiving bags of designer swag.’ A publicist is quoted as saying she had been copied in to a message from a member of Meghan’s team after she became Duchess of Sussex. ‘Make sure [the publicist] knows that she can still send me anything. She’s always been one of the good ones.’

Meghan’s conclusion after the South Pacific Tour: Her view, according to Brown, was that ‘the monarchy likely needed her more than she needed them. ‘She had starred in the equivalent of a blockbuster film and wanted her leading-lady status to be reflected in lights’.

[From The Daily Mail]

Here’s the thing, I’ve never believed that Meghan is a saint who walks on water, but it’s increasingly ridiculous for biographers to continue to lay the blame for everything at Meghan’s feet. Say what you will, but Meghan f–king TRIED. She tried to learn about how to work within the institution. She tried to find ways to follow “the rules” (which kept changing to only apply to her) while still doing good work. And they trashed her, they lied about her, they spread smears about her, they tried to bully her out of the country.

Also: the freebies thing is so bizarre, of course actors get freebies from designers. Meghan had a celebrity profile and an Instagram account and her own blog. Of course companies were sending her things.

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DEN HAAG, 15-014-2022, Zuiderpark De Invictus Games is een internationaal sportevenement voor fysiek en mentaal gewonde militairen.Deze editie is in Nederland Zuiderpark, Den Haag. FOTO: The Invictus Games is an international sporting event for physically and mentally injured soldiers. This edition is in Nederlasnd Zuiderpark, The Hague. The Invictus Games is an international sporting event for physically and mentally injured soldiers. This edition is in Nederlasnd Zuiderpark, The Hague. Op de foto: Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex,Image: 683324648, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: (c) beschermde foto en verplichte volledige naamsvermelding tenzij anders voorafgaand overeengekomen of vermeld,geen gebruik zonder toestemming, alleen eenmalig gebruik, opslag in databank verboden, / Caption in file Info, Copyright marked, stricktly one t, Model Release: no, Credit line: Patrick van Emst / Avalon The Hague, NETHERLANDS – Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, arrive for the Friends and Family reception during the 2022 Invictus Games in The Hague. The reception at the Invictus Games Park is hosted by the city of The Hague and the Dutch Ministry of Defence Pictured: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex BACKGRID USA 15 APRIL 2022 USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com *UK Clients – Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication* The Hague, NETHERLANDS – Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, arrive for the Friends and Family reception during the 2022 Invictus Games in The Hague. The reception at the Invictus Games Park is hosted by the city of The Hague and the Dutch Ministry of Defence Pictured: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex BACKGRID USA 15 APRIL 2022 USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com *UK Clients – Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication* 09-03-2020 Commonwealth Day Celebrations Westminster Abbey 2020 USA Rights Only, The Hague, Netherlands – 20220416-The openings ceremony of the 2020 Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans, at the Zuiderpark in The Hague.-PICTURED: Meghan Duchess of Sussex-PHOTO by: PPE/Nieboer/DDP/INSTARimages.com-INSTAR_Dij2XmkjNThis is an editorial, rights-managed image. Please contact Instar Images LLC for licensing fee and rights information at sales@instarimages.com or call +1 212 414 0207 This image may not be published in any way that is, or might be deemed to be, defamatory, libelous, pornographic, or obscene. Please consult our sales department for any clarification needed prior to publication and use. Instar Images LLC reserves the right to pursue unauthorized users of this material. If you are in violation of our intellectual property rights or copyright you may be liable for damages, loss of income, any profits you derive from the unauthorized use of this material and, where appropriate, the cost of collection and/or any statutory damages awarded 172811, Ashleigh Banfield at the CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute at the American Museum of Natural History. New York City, New York – Sunday December 17, 2017. Photograph: Ã?© Avalon.red, PacificCoastNews. Los Angeles Office (PCN): +1 310.822.0419 UK Office (Avalon): +44 (0) 20 7421 6000 sales@pacificcoastnews.com FEE MUST BE AGREED PRIOR TO USAGE,Image: 534294549, License: Rights-managed, Restrictions: WORLD RIGHTS, DIRECT SALES ONLY UNLESS STATED OTHERWISE IN CAPTION – Fee Payable Upon Reproduction – For queries contact Avalon.red – sales@avalon.red London: +44 (0) 20 7421 6000 Los Angeles: +1 (310) 822 0419 Berlin: +49 (0) 30 76 212 251 Madrid: +34 91 533 4289, Model Release: no, Credit line: Avalon.red, PacificCoastNews / Avalon 09-03-2020 Commonwealth day Celebrations Westminster Abbey 2020