This week’s column, I absolutely promise, is going to be a Meghan and Harry-free zone. Haven’t we all had quite enough of the Duke and Duchess of Netflix?
For the last five days the planet has been marinated in Meghan, then dunked and pickled in an ocean of princely vinegar. Surely their Titanic of trouble has crashed into our iceberg of indulgence for the last time? Change the subject please!
Most are exhausted with their drama; we simply can’t absorb much more of their suffering.
From the rescued chickens to the Queen’s knee blanket to Humphrey Yogart to who said what at the fake wedding before the real wedding —you know the big Windsor wedding that they didn’t want to have anyway because it wasn’t about them?
I’m going to press pause just for a moment to say, that was a surprising revelation, wasn’t it? ‘This spectacle is for the world, but we want our union between us,’ is what Meghan told Oprah she said to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who must have been wondering why in the name of holy tunicles he got his Sunday best vestments steam-cleaned if that was the case — but I digress.
No more Sussexation to ease vexation, palpitation and eternal damnation! That is my new creed.
JAN MOIR: For the last five days the planet has been marinated in Meghan, then dunked and pickled in an ocean of princely vinegar. Surely their Titanic of trouble has crashed into our iceberg of indulgence for the last time? Change the subject please! Pictured: The newly married Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2018
Still, it kind of hurts that Harry and Meghan felt they were only going through the wedding day motions for the crowds; the civilians, the great unwashed, us mugs who were all genuinely thrilled by their union and swept away by the sheer romance of the event.
What then was the point, at the very least, of inviting Oprah and George and Amal and all those other celebs they barely knew if they were secretly craving privacy and modesty?
As my friend Simon said during a socially-distanced coffee break, if Harry and Meghan really wanted a no-fuss register office do and a vegan sausage roll high tea afterwards, no one would have quibbled.
The union of a divorced bride and a second son who is sixth in line to the throne did not have to be such a Hollywood production, right? Right.
‘Well if they wanted a quiet wedding,’ said my mother on the hotline from the Highlands, ‘what was all that fuss about the borrowed tiara then?’
Hush, mater! If Meghan reads this, she might ring up the editor and get me sacked.
Anyway I’m not writing about them/her/him this week, even if it still strikes me as odd that Meghan only had her mother at the church and not a single other member of her family. ‘What does that say about her?’ asks my pal Amy on Zoom, but I don’t care because what I am writing about this week is a year of lockdown not a year of Meg-down, thanks all the same.
This week, an entire 365 days have passed since the pandemic began, and I just heard on the radio that it is also coincidentally a year almost to the day when Harry and Meghan attended Westminster Abbey on Commonwealth Day, which turned out to be their last appearance as working royals.
I do recall how the wintry relations between the Duchess of Sussex and the Duchess of Cambridge were plain for all to see for the first time; Green Hat versus Red Hat in the battle of bottled fury.
‘OMG. Two sisters-in-law rowing about bridesmaids’ dresses,’ texts my friend Susan. ‘Sooo tacky. Like a second-rate plotline from Emmerdale.’
No comment, Susie, I’m moving on. I’m writing about a year in lockdown. ‘Well, who has done more in lockdown than those two?’ she counters, not unreasonably.
In the last year I made two bottles of handwash from sprigs of rosemary, failed to write a major work of fiction, tidied my cutlery drawer and did not defrost the fridge.
Meanwhile, Harry and Meghan have shipped halfway across the world, moved home at least three times, changed continents, changed nappies and got pregnant.
By claiming that Meghan suffered racism and contemplated suicide at the hands of the Royal Family, they also turned themselves into a cause celebre, earning the support of Hillary Clinton, Beyoncé and Labour leader Keir Starmer who believes that the ‘serious issues Meghan raised have to be taken seriously’.
The couple also signed lucrative commercial deals with streaming giants and are the subjects of a flattering biography. ‘Well there is a major work of fiction for you,’ volunteers my mother. Mum! That is quite enough from you, or we’ll all end up in Meghan jail, please desist.
Pictured: Oprah Winfrey interviews Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on A CBS Primetime Special premiering on CBS on March 7
‘Well. It’s the Queen I feel sorry for,’ she says, before hanging up and getting back to batch baking enough shortbread to keep Meghan and Harry’s overworked ‘comms teams’ and ‘our team in the UK’ in sugary snacks for months. And I bet they could all use a treat.
Harry and Meghan, Meg and H — theirs is a kinship of wounded souls, how lucky that they can comfort and soothe each other in their padded bassinet of endless provocations. Now that they are neither silent nor silenced they say they want to move on, to draw a line under this week’s torrid events, and really, don’t we all?
But how easy is it going to be to escape the fallout from their blame-spraying victim fest with Oprah, this gleeful act of sabotage which has already been watched by 50 million people around the world?
I think a lot of hurts have to be healed before the Duke and Duchess of Netflix can crawl out of this vale of tears and rifts — but hang on. Didn’t I say this week was going to be a Harry and Meghan-free zone?
Recollections may vary.
Sassy Susan’s got no reason to feel sorry
The pandemic has had an effect on many, including Susan Sarandon (pictured). The 74-year-old actress hasn’t been in a relationship for six years and these days she is not what you would call fussy
There is no doubt the pandemic has been bad news for singletons. What rotten luck for all those who were single and ready to mingle but lost out on 12 months of potential romantic opportunities.
It has had an effect on many, including Susan Sarandon. The 74-year-old actress hasn’t been in a relationship for six years and these days she is not what you would call fussy.
‘I will date anyone, man or woman, so long as they have had the vaccine,’ she said with admirable frankness. However, serious suitors need not apply. ‘I’m pretty open to the idea of being with someone but, you know, it certainly would take someone extraordinary to share my bathroom cabinet at this point. Those days are over,’ said the star of Thelma & Louise.
She was speaking on the Divorced Not Dead podcast, where she also parlayed some regrets.
‘I just wish I had made my mistakes faster,’ said Susan, who dated David Bowie and Sean Penn before a long relationship with actor Tim Robbins. They sound like pretty nice mistakes to me.
There has been much laughter about Rachel Brosnahan and her Covid-filtering umbrella. The star of the Amazon Prime series The Marvelous Mrs Maisel was pictured filming on location in New York with her trusty brolly, complete with its HEPA filter to control contamination.
Trust Hollywood! But it is not that masks or even double-masking are not good enough for stars — it is so that Rachel can stay protected while working without ruining her stage make-up with a mask.
It must be like wandering around in your own little goldfish bowl, while your lipliner and blusher remain immaculate. I want one. Now.
There has been much laughter about Rachel Brosnahan and her Covid-filtering umbrella. The star of the Amazon Prime series The Marvelous Mrs Maisel was pictured filming on location in New York with her trusty brolly (pictured), complete with its HEPA filter
Surrogacy’s blessed babies
At the age of 73, newscaster Jon Snow and his wife Precious (pictured) have just had a surrogate baby after 11 years of marriage and many medical setbacks and miscarriages
Potential parents using surrogates for motherhood is nothing new.
In the UK, parental orders transferring legal rights from a surrogate to the parents tripled from 121 in 2011 to 368 in 2018 — and one can only imagine the heartbreak and joy that lies behind those figures.
At the age of 73, newscaster Jon Snow and his wife Precious have just had a surrogate baby after 11 years of marriage and many medical setbacks and miscarriages.
‘We will always be deeply grateful to our surrogate who carried our embryo to term,’ he said this week.
Meanwhile, Alec and Hilaria Baldwin welcomed a surrogate daughter just months after she gave birth to their fifth child.
Hilaria said that she ‘double-babied’ because her children ‘were grieving’ for the child she had miscarried last year before getting pregnant again.
Confused? Read on.
A new BBC series The Surrogates told the story of Caitlin, who had a baby for her boss, Kate.
That might be taking company loyalty to extremes and one wonders what kind of corporate environment compliance allowed it to go ahead.
There is so much potential for surrogacy to go wrong. Many argue about the lack of boundaries and how it turns life itself into a commodity, along with potentially leaving children in lifelong confusion about the identity of their own mother.
On the other hand, it can bring untold joy to couples who might not otherwise be able to experience parenthood.
To want to have a child so much that you are prepared to go through all this says one very important thing — that the baby is cherished, wanted and needed, therefore already blessed.
I’m happy to give unlocking a go
Ping! Another unsolicited email arrives from someone selling something. Knuckle dusters, bath salts? I don’t even look.
‘Are you slightly nervous about life after lockdown?’ it wonders. And this takes me slightly by surprise, because I realise the answer is… yes. A little bit, to be honest.
How will I navigate the world again after becoming used to the luxury of knowing that no one is going to sit next to you on a bus or train?
Or join the throng of commuters moving across the city in smart clothes with neatly packed bags, resplendent in tights and mascara and all the other decorations of civilisation? It seems impossible, like joining the Red Arrows on a ceremonial fly-past.
Lucky me — I do still work in an office sometimes. However, the ability to get ready for work, get out the front door and at my desk quickly and efficiently seems to have completely evaporated during lockdown.
These days it takes hours — and I still leave keys or important paperwork behind.
What has happened to me? In addition, we must all learn how to dismantle our pandemic wariness of stranger danger and human proximity.
It’s not going to be easy. However, I’m willing to give it a go if you are.