Not since Saul of Tarsus walked to Damascus has there been such a conversion. Prince Harry, freest of spirits, a rip-snorting, hog-whimpering, pheasant-bagger, has been pasteurised. Denuked. Colonised.
He has been turned into a preachy wokester who now lives in Los Angeles amid the facelifts and shrivelled dewlaps of celebritydom.
Poor lad. Might he and the pup Archie not soon start an escape committee?
Original Harry was full of beans. Original Harry was the non- intellectual one with the wooden rifle and kid’s soldier uniform, a full head of red hair and a sporran of oats.
We ached for him when his mother died in 1997 and, days short of his 13th birthday, he had to walk behind her horse-drawn coffin.
Harry joined the Army and occasionally succumbed to barracks language. Against the wishes of some courtiers, he went to Afghanistan and fought for Grandmother and country.
He could strip a machine-gun and fly a helicopter. He could gallop on a polo pony. He was a blood and a blade. Harry was good for morale.
All that has gone.
Prince Harry, freest of spirits, a rip-snorting, hog-whimpering, pheasant-bagger, has been pasteurised, writes QUENTIN LETTS
It happened after his marriage to Meghan Markle, divorced, American TV actress, professional emoter. She was a small notch above Harry intellectually but they seemed a good match. Some sneered that it would never last. I confess, I liked Meghan.
As a couple they looked pretty sporty. But when the Sussexes began married life, it was soon apparent that the new duchess was going to be indignantly American in her approach.
She expected others to bend to her aesthetic. She was appalled when her synthetic effusions were not applauded.
The daughter-in-law of the heir to the Throne was playing the victim card. Courtiers apparently failed to make the right noises. Rancour mushroomed. There were allegations of snubs and rudeness to Meghan by other Royals.
Families can be like that: an omitted compliment soon becomes a vicious slur, at least in the imagination of a newcomer.
There were hints of anti-American and anti-black prejudice.
Maybe Meghan was tricky. Then came the lectures about climate change and mental health. Once-carefree Harry, Captain of Burps, kept furrowing his brow, though not because he was suppressing another belch. He was frowning because he wanted us to know it wasn’t easy.
Life was hard. He, in his princely cocoon, felt our pain.
The climate-change homilies were particularly hard to swallow because the couple continued to use private jets. They said they would be dumping their Royal connections, yet called their new website Sussexroyal.com.
They promoted democratic engagement – recording a get-out-the-vote video which was pretty clearly a ‘vote for Biden’ message – yet their own prominence flowed entirely from the non-democratic institution of the British Monarchy.
It happened after his marriage to Meghan Markle, divorced, American TV actress, professional emoter
They posed as saints of self-denial and said they were going to try to become financially independent while they were splurging vast sums on a new house in California. They attacked the Press for intrusion yet were more than happy when cameras caught them giving food to the needy.
Did Herself co-operate with Finding Freedom, that fawning biography about her and Harry? How did that sit with her demands for privacy?
She and Harry announced they had ‘chosen to make a transition’ and would be ‘carving out a new role’.
This was alongside a statement that the Duke would be retaining the rank of Major and the honorary ranks of Lieutenant Commander and Squadron Leader.
For Remembrance Day 2020, British congregations stood in the rain at local war memorials to remember the fallen. Meghan and Harry tried to muscle in on things by making a staged visit to a graveyard in California.
It was all about them. Look at us in our masks, grief as a fashion choice, adopting a pose for our own self-glorification.
The stunt backfired. Meghan’s response was to hire two more PR advisers. More manipulation. More messaging. The nation pressed ‘unsubscribe’.