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Vol. 23, No. 2, 2024
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Robert J. Lewis
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folie à deux



For more of Liz, visit her fashion/brenda website.


Harry. Haz. Your Royal Hazness. Sup bruh?

Congratulations on your new website. Looks very regal.

Speaking of—I hear you’re hoping to return to the royal fold. Makes sense. Things are a bit messy back home, with your dad’s recent cancer diagnosis and sister-in-law out of commission. Also, since you often look bored out in public, I’m guessing your new life has somewhat underdelivered. Probably you miss your old tribe just a little. They know the real Harry and they’re fun—skiing off-piste, getting bladdered and making a cheeky Nandos run—and stylish too, with their pocket squares, pebble-grain leather derbies, pinkie rings and shotguns. Not like those friends Meghan picked out for you. With them, it’s all Adidas sliders and baseball caps and ashwaganda this and probiotics that.

Time and distance make your old life seem not so ‘unsurvivable’ after all.

NGL, you have your work cut out. Megxit was more like Kaiser Sosexit, given how you burnt everything to the ground when you left. Spinning your departure as a valiant escape from a prison of aristocratic bigotry hurt the House of Windsor just a little. They’re human too, after all. Cut them and they bleed all over the priceless Persian Sultanabad rug. It’s not just family you’ll have to win back but the lost love and trust of the British people. I believe, with my help, there’s still a tiny window of royal-shaped redemption available.

I know what’s coming: what would I, an unpedigreed commoner from the Commonwealth know about it? Newsflash: you need commoners like me onside to commonsplane the situation on the ground. Shall we begin?

Make friends with the press
I know it’s custom for blue-bloods to look down their noses at low-rent Fleet Street types. But as you hinted in your memoir Spare, the oiks love their broadsheets. They’re also proud of the hard-won battle to not only restrain the power of monarchs but the right of the press to mock them endlessly.

Doubtless, the press has caused you no shortage of pain but your tabloidphobia comes off as imperious, while your concern over the “rapid rise in misinformation and disinformation” feels like a luxury belief. The world’s in a mess right now and Brits have bigger problems.

From wounded veterans to sick children, you serve many noble causes. The Aspen Institute’s “Commission on Information Disorder” is not one of them. It sounds Orwell-esque.

One more thing . . . going on record claiming that “America’s First Amendment is bonkers” is bonkers.

Give your rebranded website another rebrand . . .
The tabloids are complaining that looks too close to the BRF brand and to be sure there’s some royal window-dressing: purplish-blue colour scheme, coronets, coats of arms and grandiose name. That’s all on the surface. Substance-wise, it’s a long way from home.

For someone who shares a nationality with Shakespeare, Kipling, Wodehouse and other venerated British content creators, I’m amazed this got your stamp of approval. What, for instance, does this mean:

“We meet the moment by showing up, taking action and using our unparalleled spotlight to uplift and unite communities—local and global—through acts of service and compassion.”

Or this?

“Investing in people and places that foster meaningful bonds and help people thrive.”

And this absolute gem:

“At Archewell Productions, we believe that stories have the power to unite and inspire audiences around the globe.”

If you want to unite and inspire audiences around the globe, I advise taking advantage of that unparalleled spotlight to foster a meaningful bond with an actual writer as opposed to an AI large language model.

Meanwhile, the level of self-promotion is eye-watering. The bios for you and Meghan left me wondering if you’d also cured cancer and orchestrated the Peace of Westphalia. Spare wasn’t just a NY Times bestseller and the fastest-selling non-fiction book ever but “told with compassion, vulnerability, and unflinching honesty.” Meghan didn’t just edit British Vogue, but the “fastest selling [issue] in the magazine’s history.” Her podcast is record-breaking and her children’s book is an acclaimed NY Times bestseller. No wonder South Africans rejoiced in the streets when you married, though recollections varied on that one.

Self-obsession and braggadocio are anathema to the British psyche; as un-British as butting in line and pronouncing ‘Worcester’ phonetically. Speaking of which . . .

Are you in or out?
Frankly, you’ve been drifting from your roots since well before Megxit. Remember back in 2018 when your friends the van Straubenzees held an annual carol concert at St Luke’s Chapel in Chelsea and instead of a traditional festive reading you delivered a sermon on period poverty that had your tweedy audience squirming in their seats? Or that London dinner party when Meghan went berserk over the British custom of seating couples apart and you totally capitulated?

Six years later, you go jetting off to Jamaica for a photo op with the country’s virulently anti-monarchist prime minister. If you want back in, stop making Piers Morgan cry.

Less therapeutic psychobabble
We get it: you’re emotionally literate and mental health is a big issue for you. You’re a self-proclaimed mental wellness advocate and holder of the title of Chief Impact Officer at BetterUp, a Silicon Valley ‘mental fitness’ startup.

Here’s the thing: Brits, especially older ones, wonder when younger generations became so psychologically fragile–a situation that would mortify my gritty, home-steading British ancestors.

Having said that, there is one mental health disorder worth looking into–folie à deux (French for “folly of two”), a rare psychiatric syndrome in which symptoms of a delusional belief are transmitted from one person to another. Just sayin’.

I hope all this has been helpful. With any luck, you’ll be back in the royal diary in no time, attending ribbon cuttings on new Sainsbury’s locations and anniversary celebrations of mining museums in Kent. This brings me to one final, somewhat contradictory, piece of advice: be careful what you wish for.







Arts & Opinion, a bi-monthly, is archived in the Library and Archives Canada.
ISSN 1718-2034


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