I can’t be alone in thinking that when you see images of Kate and William’s young children uncomfortably carrying out their royal roles, being forced to wave to crowds of millions and shake hands with strangers, it feels like looking at young zoo animals.
Omid Scobie, Harry and Meghan’s biographer, author of the international bestseller Finding Freedom has been analysing what the future holds for the monarchy for his next book, Endgame: Inside the Royal Family’s and the Monarchy’s Fight For Survival (to be published later this year) and he also feels that the public mood is changing towards the monarchy
“I feel like, since The Queen’s death, we have entered a place in which I think people in the UK and across the Commonwealth feel a lot more comfortable having conversations about the relevancy and the purpose and the current status of the monarchy, in their lives and the society that they live in,” he tells me. I ask him if he thinks that Meghan and Harry have acted as a catalyst for this?
“Harry and Meghan became proxies within the culture war, they represented ‘woke snowflake culture’, he tells me. “So much of the public’s problems with Harry and Meghan isn’t really about them. It’s about their issues with woke culture. But I think alongside that has also highlighted the royal family’s issues with woke culture as well. And it hasn’t necessarily put them on the right side of history in that. And I think that there’s been not enough effort made on the institution’s side, to position itself into a slightly, just slightly more neutral position that isn’t quite so conservative or right-wing targeted.
“Harry and Meghan coming together presented them with a plethora of new challenges and issues and discussions. And at every hurdle they failed. And these are those moments where the royal family is supposed to modernise.”
Scobie agrees with me that the Queen’s length of time on the throne represented a bygone era, a time of mystique around the monarchy, that unfortunately no longer exists. (How can we have the same respect for poor old Charles when we know every lick and spit of his turbulent private life – Tampax-gate included – over the past 50 years?)
“The Queen was like the invisible shield around the entire family. She kept them all safe. And I think without her, who we all sort of universally loved and revered, and she was perhaps or definitely was more popular than the monarchy itself, it’s left everyone a bit exposed,” he says.
Whether King Charles will inspire the same love and reverence both at home and abroad now that he has been officially crowned our monarch remains to be seen.