The Duke of Sussex was the focus of the past week. The royal family takes the spotlight this week.
Many people were curious about how the family would handle returning to the public eye after the holidays in light of the revelations made by the irritated prince in his book “Spare” and promotional media appearances.
Prince Harry responded “of course” when asked by US comedian Stephen Colbert last week whether his family and the British media are actively working to undermine his book. The royal continued, They have provided their side of the story after 38 years. This is the other side of the story, and there are a lot of things in it that might make people feel scared and uncomfortable.
However, the reality is not as straightforward as that. Certainly, soundbites from commentators are still used in numerous British newspapers’ follow-up headlines frequently. However, in contrast to Harry’s assertions, there appears to be little evidence of a coordinated effort to disprove his grievances from an army of unnamed palace sources. Naturally, whenever the book is brought up, the palace maintains its radio silence.
As they began their first engagements of the year, the Windsors have been seen engaging in a lot of walkabouts and meetings.
Two days after “Spare” hit bookstores, King Charles and the Prince and Princess of Wales kicked things off. During a visit to a community center in Scotland with the intention of reducing rural isolation, the monarch shared raucous laughter with the general public.
The following day, when they called into the brand-new Royal Liverpool University Hospital and the mental health charity Open Door in Merseyside, northern England, William and Kate appeared at ease. Questions hurled at the couple asking if they had been “hurt by the comments in Harry’s book” went unanswered, and there were no signs of apparent sadness regarding their disgruntled relative in California.
Senior royals have since visited schools, youth charities, and other royal patronages for engagements.
The prince’s autobiography has since set new sales records, with its publisher announcing on Tuesday that three quarters of a million copies had been sold in the UK. The following was stated by Transworld Penguin Random House managing director Larry Finlay: Last week, we made the announcement that Guinness World Records has confirmed that SPARE was the fastest-selling non-fiction book ever on its first day of publication. We now know that in its first week of publication, it is also the best-selling memoir ever.
The royals don’t appear to have been bothered by that. Following the publication of the book, they will have a keen awareness of the optics. However, rather than being dragged further into the drama by issuing statements or postponing planned events, they have focused on regaining any lost civic trust by returning to work.
In his memoir, Harry put it so succinctly: “The power of our platform.” The royals are aware of it. They are aware that they require being seen, that personally greeting the public at events they care about has a lasting impact long after they leave, and that shining a royal spotlight on local businesses has the power to amplify an organization’s message and needs like no other.
The public has been reminded by their actions this week that family disputes are not occupying their attention. The British people and the difficulties they face as the new year begins are still the primary focus. Another illustration of this is King Charles’s recent request to use some of the profits from the Crown Estate for “the wider public good” rather than bolstering the royal coffers.
On Thursday, the Crown Estate made the big news that six new lease agreements for offshore wind energy had brought in a lot of money. In accordance with a 1760 agreement, the monarch gives the UK government all estate profits in exchange for a portion known as the Sovereign Grant, which is essentially the King’s expense account.
However, a spokesperson for the Buckingham Palace told CNN: The Keeper of the Privy Purse has written to the Prime Minister and Chancellor in response to the offshore energy windfall to “share the King’s wish that this windfall be directed for the wider public good, rather than to the Sovereign Grant, through an appropriate reduction in the proportion of Crown Estate surplus that funds the Sovereign Grant.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt, and Keeper of the Privy Purse Michael Stevens are the royal trustees of the fund. They decide the grant’s actual amount. At the moment, the fund is set at 25% of the Crown Estate’s annual net profits. This indicates that the UK Treasury paid out £86.3 million in the previous fiscal year. This money is used to pay for official travel, staff costs, and palace expenses.
It is not yet clear how much money the King is sending to the public purse. Additionally, because the amount he receives is based on the two prior fiscal years, the effects of the monarch’s actions will not be reflected in the grant until 2024-2025, it will not adversely affect him this year. However, it is likely to be viewed as a welcome symbolic gesture at a time when families all over the country are struggling financially.
In his first Christmas broadcast, King Charles demonstrated that he is aware of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis by acknowledging how people in the UK may have struggled to pay their bills and “keep their families fed and warm.”
And rather than engaging in a verbal conflict that would do them more harm than good, the family has chosen their response without complaining or providing an explanation: to embrace their value through service.
Listen: The Prince and the Press
Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have switched their strained relationship with the British press for the celebrity industrial complex in the United States over the past few years. On this week’s episode of “The Assignment,” host Audie Cornish talks to insiders from both media ecosystems about how the duke and duchess are reshaping their narrative by using the press. Mary McNamara, a culture critic for the Los Angeles Times, and Jack Royston, Newsweek’s Chief Royal Correspondent, provide their perspectives. The podcast can be found here.
What else is happening?
Prince Harry dragged into execution spat after book admission.
The Duke of Sussex has found himself pulled into a quarrel between the UK and Iran over the execution of a British citizen, after claiming in his memoir that he killed Taliban fighters during his military career. Harry wrote in “Spare” that he killed 25 of the insurgent group’s fighters in Afghanistan while serving in the British Army. His words have drawn criticism from some British security and military experts. Iran said this week that the UK is in no position to preach human rights after Harry’s confession and accused Britain of turning a blind eye to this “war crime.” Iran’s Foreign Ministry wrote on its Twitter page Monday, “The British regime, whose royal family member, sees the killing of 25 innocent people as removal of chess pieces and has no regrets over the issue, and those who turn a blind eye to this war crime, are in no position to preach others on human rights.” The tweets came after British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly warned Iran that it “will be held to account” for the execution of dual British-Iranian citizen Alireza Akbari. Akbari was hanged by Tehran on charges of espionage and corruption, according to a state-affiliated media outlet over the weekend.
Kim Kardashian buys Princess Diana pendant.
The Skims founder and reality TV star has acquired the diamond-lined Attallah Cross pendant worn on several occasions by Diana, Princess of Wales for £163,800 (about $200,000). In the last five minutes of the Royal and Noble collection sale at Sotheby’s auction house in London on Wednesday, a representative for Kardashian successfully outbid others vying for the amethyst cross. The item sold for more than double its pre-auction estimate, Sotheby’s said. Made by court jewelers Garrard in 1920, according to the auction house, the pendant features square-cut amethyst stones in the shape of a cross, decorated with circular-cut diamonds in a distinctive flowery design. It was bought from Garrard in the 1980s by the late businessman Naim Attallah, who lent the item to his friend, Princess Diana, several times to wear to events, according to Sotheby’s.
Photo of the week
A local council has been slammed for wasting money on a mural in Northampton, England depicting the late Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III, with critics saying the street art bears little resemblance to the monarchs. The mural was commissioned by the town council to mark Charles’ accession to the crown.
Did you know?
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex this week dismissed the latest apology from TV host Jeremy Clarkson for penning a widely condemned article about Meghan in Britain’s Sun newspaper last month. The pair said it fails to address “his long standing pattern of writing articles that spread hate rhetoric, dangerous conspiracy theories, and misogyny,” according to a spokesperson for the couple.
“Unless each of his other pieces were also written ‘in a hurry’, as he states, it is clear that this is not an isolated incident shared in haste, but rather a series of articles shared in hate,” the statement released Monday continued.
The Sussexes also rejected Clarkson’s claim that a letter he sent on Christmas Day to apologize for the article – in which he expressed his hatred for the duchess and wrote about wanting to see a naked Meghan being pelted with excrement – was addressed to both the duke and duchess. According to the couple’s spokesperson, it was sent “solely to Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex.” The letter was marked “Private and Confidential,” the statement added.
Clarkson previously apologized publicly shortly after the publication of the column, as did the newspaper, which also removed it from its website.
The King’s wife this week visited the new Science Teaching Hub at the University of Aberdeen, where she has been Chancellor for the past decade and in 2020 was conferred with an honorary degree.