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MAIL ON SUNDAY COMMENT: An ailing Duke – and a TV interview tinged with sadness and regret 

For millions, the main concerns this weekend are close to home.

The schools are about to reopen at last, ending the long and unsatisfactory grind of home education. 

The growing numbers who have been vaccinated offer hope that release from the tedious and infuriating limits of lockdown is now a real possibility.

Even amid the chilly greyness of a British March, there are clear signs of the beginning of spring.

What do this fortunate pair truly have to complain about, in a world where so many young couples struggle to make ends meet, where the young, especially, battle to find secure and rewarding work or to afford their own homes?

But we all have plenty on our minds as we contemplate a national return to work – where there is still work – and the mounting problems which will follow Rishi Sunak’s cautious attempts to balance the national books.

For the Royal Family, this is, above all, a time of worry – most especially about the condition of the Duke of Edinburgh, who has for decades been one of the strongest pillars of the Monarchy.

But the Duke, for so long an exemplar of uncomplaining slog and good-humoured dutifulness, is an astonishing 99 years old and his latest spell in hospital has naturally caused grave worry to those close to him.

If the Prince of Wales is said be concerned, how much more so must the Queen be? The Mail on Sunday can only wish him well, as the whole country does.

But notice how the members of the Royal Family – ‘The Firm’ – continue to do their duty.

For many British viewers, when they finally get to see the encounter tomorrow evening, the occasion will be tinged with sadness and regret

For many British viewers, when they finally get to see the encounter tomorrow evening, the occasion will be tinged with sadness and regret 

The Queen herself has played a strong and encouraging part in helping to keep the nation stable and united during the long months of the Covid emergency, and nobody doubts that she will continue to do so, despite any personal concerns. 

The next two generations likewise continue to fulfil their duties as far as they can amid pandemic precautions.

And no wonder, for this is what they have been taught to do, by a Monarch who remembers all too well how wrong things can go if royalty puts personal desires before the good of the country.

In contrast with this steady, plain and unflashy approach to life, things are very different in California, where the uncrowned Queen of Television, Ms Oprah Winfrey, prepares to launch her much promoted interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

For many British viewers, when they finally get to see the encounter tomorrow evening, the occasion will be tinged with sadness and regret.

On the day of their wedding, the whole nation gave the warmest possible welcome to this beguiling young couple. 

Harry, thanks to his brave war service and his engaging, unstuffy manner, was one of the best-loved princes of any era. 

Meghan looked as if she would become the epitome of modern royalty, a charming, refreshing antidote to the institution’s formerly stuffy and conservative atmosphere.

How has this all gone so wrong, so quickly?

Can it really be entirely the fault of the Monarchy itself, or of the Queen, who strives above all things to hold her family together?

And what do this fortunate pair truly have to complain about, in a world where so many young couples struggle to make ends meet, where the young, especially, battle to find secure and rewarding work or to afford their own homes?

No doubt, seen from a sunny lawn in California, in a country where celebrity has for decades been the dominant currency, the difficulties of Meghan and Harry look significant and fascinating.

In our cooler, more realistic climate, they may not seem quite so pressing.


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