By Matthew Groves, BMS Blogger in Residence
When our own People’s Prince, Harry, Duke of Sussex, was fighting in Afghanistan it seemed fitting to draw analogies with Henry V of both Shakespeare and the historical fact, who bravely achieved victory in France at Agincourt. The figure of Prince Hal of Shakespeare and his journey to maturity is a powerful symbol of coming of age. Henry Plantagenet, son of the usurper Henry, Bolingbroke, who became the guilt-ridden Henry IV, was very much off the rails. His drinking companions, Sir John Falstaff, Ancient Pistol, Lord Bardolph, Nym and Mistress Quickly are ne’er-do-wells. While on a deeper level Sir John Falstaff represents something of Merrie England being destroyed by Protestantism (as Mistress Quickly put it upon his death:
“Nay, sure, he’s not in hell: he’s in Arthur’s bosom, if ever man went to Arthur’s bosom.”),
nonetheless, in Shakespeare’s account Prince Hal played the reprobate only to mature into the glorious King Henry V, who made sure that a te deum and a non nobis were sung at victory (virtuously laying credit for the victory at Agincourt with God not himself). Indeed, he renounced his former influences and even ruthlessly had Bardolph hanged for theft. We see a journey from the harmful influence of drunkards and thieves to the full maturity of kingship.
How different our own Prince Hal! Once a well-loved national hero, instead of breaking free of harmful influence he now seems to be under its spell. Not the influence of the Falstaff variety, steeped in the tradition of English folk life, bawdy and dissolute as it sometimes was; instead this new influence is one that regards itself as particularly virtuous and superior to ordinary folk. That influence is the culture of “woke” and it makes a strange bedfellow with Royalty. Wokeness is the ideology against privilege and yet Royalty is a paragon of privilege. Prince Harry is where he is, and his opinions are heard because of his privilege. Douglas Murray wrote about the danger of Royals embracing the woke attack on privilege, because it will lead inevitably to an attack on their family and very existence. It was no error that British BLM demonstrators swarmed Buckingham Palace baying revolutionary slogans.
This blog defends privilege, not all privilege, but divine Royal privilege. Royalty exists and is supported by God and by Right: “Dieu et Mon Doit”. To attack privilege per se, as woke culture does with no nuance, means Prince Harry is setting himself and his leftist Californian wife up as targets. He is travelling away from maturity and wisdom in an attempt to remain relevant after renouncing not only the Royal duties that he so loved, but his HRH title. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are now dangerously close to attacking the very institution of Royalty in their recent assault on the commonwealth. Not only is this a very sad betrayal of Her Majesty, who so loves and values this family of nations, that the Queen in her person as Sovereign links together; it amounts to a corrosive account of the role of the British Crown and its promotion of an international society that Prince Harry also once seemed to love. Nearly seven decades of work, love, and deep effort has been given by the Queen to the Commonwealth of nations – an international collective which Prince Harry’s father will eventually come to guide and represent as its head when he becomes King.
It is perhaps time to stop avoiding the main issue. Prince Harry has changed and not just by a little. He has become painfully woke since his involvement with the outspoken republican celebrity who is now his wife, and no doubt sees the world through the prism of a particular narrative about racial justice in the United States – one that has little relevance to the history of the Commonwealth. It is with reluctance that this point must be made. The whole British nation welcomed the bi-racial Duchess of Sussex warmly and with enthusiasm, only for her to reveal herself as ideologically hostile to tradition and hierarchy – the very essence of Monarchy.
It is the Duchess of Sussex who was unable to identify, realise, and act on the very fine line/distinction between being celebrity and existing as Royal; she, celebrity due to her American television stardom and Harry Royal, due to his birth right and privilege. Harry is celebrity second due only to his birth, a person who has never and will never know a normal, or private sense of being, something that a celebrity first individual will never mentally understand. Being born Royal comes with an automatically built in expectation of institutional charity and duty – an existence of public life with limited privacy, a trade-off for the gilded cage and world fame which is the modern curse of today’s royals. To think he would ever exist in the world as a private individual is nothing more than naivety on his part, fed by the disillusioned existential fantasy of the Duchess, who was born and remained a private individual until after her university career.
Not particularly bright, often led astray, and blinded by the shielded luxurious existence of being one of the world’s most known Royal personalities, Prince Harry in the eye of any observer, has fallen to the undermining liberal mindset of his wife, which has all but destroyed his family life, his military appointments, and the person his country of birth loved, supported and cheered for decades. Harry’s new woke existence sees him a changed man without his family, without his friends, without his country, and without any real meaning or purpose outside of the Royal family. We have all sadly come to accept a type of reverse of the Shakespearean Prince Hal, from duty fulfilled to rejection of duty under the influence of another. Having come to accept this sad departure of a favourite Prince among the people, we were not expecting new attacks from across the Atlantic upon what Her Majesty, his own grandmother, holds so dear. Therefore, yet another sad disappointment is added to the series of already tragic disappointments since the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
At this time when a Marxist movement clearly sees all our loved and cherished institutions as ripe for pulling down and crushing underfoot, we do not need and never would have expected Prince Harry to become naively complicit in an agenda that is hostile to his very person and position as a member of the Royal family. He is not only now sadly isolated from his family because he has caught the contagion of ideological possession from his republican infused wife, but they both feel they have licence to make harmful and damaging political comments about our nation and our Commonwealth family, where the mixing of politics and princes is forbidden. The betrayal is now complete.
At one time it did look as though Prince Harry was emerging from the Falstaffian influence of his friends, from whom (according to some media reports) he has now ruthlessly been cut off. Instead this was no step into full Royal maturity, rather he now plays the role of the young Prince Hal again who caused such concern to his father King Henry IV in the plays. It seems to us that the carefree and slightly louche influence of Falstaffian spirit would be very welcome in contrast to the judgemental and self-righteous spirit of “woke” that has sadly taken possession of our own Prince Hal via the American born Duchess of Sussex.