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Prince William's thoughts on the Sussexes' decisions about Archie's godparents


William didn't appreciate Harry and Meghan's "prima donna" maneuver too much to hide their son's birth. He and Kate were unable to visit the newcomer for eight days.

In contrast, the Queen, Prince Philip, Charles and Camilla all came to coo over the baby within hours – and it seemed odd that when the Cambridges finally showed up more than a week later, they didn't bring little George with them, Charlotte and Louis welcome their new cousin.

Then came the real crisis: the godparents. These adult mentors, who guide the new baby through life spiritually, morally, and often materially, are an integral part of any Church of England baptism process and are considered even more important to members of the royal family. Technically, they have the title “sponsor”.

Paranoia: Meghan and Harry refused to reveal the names of Archie's godparents

Numbers six and seven in the order of their succession don't seem particularly close to the heir to the crown, but who knows what can happen in times of mass terrorist attacks and global pandemics. Six and seven could be promoted to three and four – or even higher.

"Secret Sponsor" has a seedy sound. And it is part of the representative monarchy of Britain that the people should have the right to know who is giving moral guidance to their possible future king or queen.

Again, precedent, protocol, and practice clashed headlong with Harry and Meghan's firm insistence on their privacy – and that of their new baby.

The Sussex Royal office confirmed the palace's announcement, clarifying that the entire sponsorship issue was non-negotiable.

The names of the godparents would not be revealed.

"Friends" of William suggested that the future king, only five places away from Archie in succession, could not understand how such a fundamental issue of the constitutional principle had been misunderstood.

The Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019

The Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 11, 2019

St. George & # 39; s Chapel in Windsor where Archie was baptized

St. George & # 39; s Chapel in Windsor where Archie was baptized

How could a new Windsor Royal be baptized in a meaningful way without knowing the newcomer's sponsors when they are not in attendance?

What does such bizarre and paranoid behavior say about the parents involved? One thing we can conclude is that Harry and Meghan had developed an exaggerated notion of their own importance.

The months since their marriage had shown the couple shared a common flaw in character – both tend to cascade from their peaks of generous self-esteem into miserable moments of self-pitying sacrifice.

They see the world as hostile and behave self-destructively, which is where this hostility arises.

Persistent demands and how Meghan Markle tackled THIS Sandringham Summit like her TV legal alter ego (whose mantra was "Never underestimate the power of a good slap – or two")

At the end of a trip abroad, it is not uncommon practice for family members who have carried out the mission to pay a courtesy visit to Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace to report to the Queen.

Her Majesty is 99 percent certain that she has visited these areas and that she has personal knowledge of some of the presidents and locations involved. These meetings are usually informal gatherings over tea or gin and tonic – and occasionally the gist of the gathering is passed on to the press to convey the Queen's gratitude to those who have carried the flag on their behalf.

But in October 2019, there wasn't such a leak to tell the world that the Queen was pleased with what Harry and Meghan had accomplished in Africa.

As Elizabeth II sat in front of her television watching an African trip, she must have been delighted at the hope her grandson and wife had brought to Nyanga parish on behalf of their Queen's Commonwealth Trust.

Meghan's jump on the stump to pronounce herself as the "woman of color" was courageous and visionary.

But then, to emotionalize against the backdrop of one of the most battered corners of the planet and complain about the agonizing problems you have as you get used to living in a palace – Meghan's litany of complaint had suggested indifference to that contempt for the world's real worries borders on those among whom she smiled.

It also revealed a bizarre numbness about how miserably indulgent her self-pity must appear.

Tough: Meghan as reckless Rachel Zane in suits

Tough: Meghan as reckless Rachel Zane in suits

This was no doubt the view of a powerful constituency in Buckingham Palace led by the Queen's private secretary, Sir Edward Young.

The three major lawsuits against the British media company that Harry and Meghan initiated in Africa were the best examples of this – sheer insubordination, not just for Young and his staff, who would have to deal with the effects on the Crown, but ultimately on the Queen.

It was absolutely unknown that one, let alone three, such major conflicts with the outside world had been initiated by a family member without the Queen's blessing – which Harry and Meghan had neither requested nor received.

In the fall of 2019, there was the most terrible explosion over what Harry had done – and had his wife done – without the courtesy of consulting the boss.

As the Christmas break approached, Harry and Meghan berated the Queen for the second time. They hadn't gone to see her in Balmoral that summer and decided they couldn't come to Sandringham for New Year's break either.

That seemed a good fit for Charles and William – and so did the Queen.

Over the weeks, Harry and Meghan, who now live on Vancouver Island with Archie, discussed the tumultuous sequence of events since the wedding – what had gone right and what went wrong – and found they just couldn't go back to the old one Kind of things in the UK.

It was a tough decision, but they had to step down from their role as senior royals. They could become some sort of semi-royals, they thought, and cut themselves off from access to royal money. They suggested spending more time overseas and still visit the UK enough to carry out their basic royal duties.

If Harry and Meghan were more in Canada and also touring the Commonwealth, they could keep doing their jobs for the Queen while escaping the pressures of the royal vortex in Britain.

Meghan with Harry will be interviewed by Tom Bradby in Africa in 2019

Meghan with Harry will be interviewed by Tom Bradby in Africa in 2019

The new website they planned to launch on their return to London contained their ideas as a manifesto with headings like "Supporting Community", "Serving the Monarchy", "Strengthing the Commonwealth" and most importantly their personal hope for "a progressive new role." work out within (the institution of the royal family) ”.

Concerned that the news of their plans could have leaked if he put too much down in writing, Harry emailed his father that he was looking forward to discussing the practicalities in more detail than he and Meghan did at the start of the flew back to London in the New Year.

After all, the Sussexers seemed to have some plans for which they were willing to seek Her Majesty's permission.

Harry and Meghan were due to return from Canada on Monday January 6th, and Harry suggested that he and Meghan could fly straight off the plane to Norfolk that morning.

They could meet in person to discuss the whole program with Charles and William if he would join them – and most importantly, of course, with Grandma herself in Sandringham.

When he spoke on the phone with his father and grandmother over Christmas 2019, both the Prince of Wales and the Queen seemed open to the prospect of speaking further. Harry should come to Sandringham, when he and Meghan got home at the beginning of the New Year they agreed.

But when the prince called their Vancouver offices to get an appointment in the diary, he didn't seem so welcome. Her Majesty would not be available for another month, he was told by her staff. How about January 29th?

Harry and Meghan were seething when their Air Canada flight landed in London that Monday. They toyed with the idea of ​​going direct from Heathrow to Sandringham – which would surely have been a New Years surprise for the Queen.

But an unannounced arrival could have knocked important noses out of the joint, and the couple decided for the moment to be shrewd and instead drove to Windsor, where they called a meeting with their best helpers at Frogmore Cottage.

But the main negotiator and spiritual leader of the entire team that Harry would submit to himself was of course Rachel Zane – the character Meghan played in the hit US television series Suits. She hadn't spent seven years playing the role of a hotshot paralegal at a top Manhattan law firm without developing confidence that she could handle the cut and thrust of such a high-stakes duel.

"Don't sign anything unless you can get something in return," was the key bid her father Robert Zane, the high-profile black lawyer who was both her nemesis and inspiration on the show, drilled into Rachel with "Stand Your" floor '.

In Sandringham (pictured), both the Queen and Prince Philip are said to have been "devastated".

In Sandringham (pictured), both the Queen and Prince Philip are said to have been "devastated".

Meghan only stayed in the UK for a few days before flying back to Archie in Canada on Thursday January 9th. It was planned, however, that she and Harry would stay in close contact by phone and internet as the events unfolded.

At 6:30 pm the Sussexes hit the button on their new website sussexroyal.com and the Bomb News announced that they were leaving the UK and planning to "develop a progressive new role within this institution" and become "financially independent". .

The media shock over this was nothing for the consternation and anger in the palaces – which Harry had given the news to just ten minutes before.

Prince Charles was just getting organized after returning from an official trip to the Middle East – and in Sandringham both the Queen and Prince Philip were considered "devastated". Once again her grandson had acted unilaterally.

"Talks with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage," Buckingham Palace said curtly in a statement that it managed to storm out in just 15 minutes. "We understand your need for a different approach, but these are complex issues that will take time to deal with."

Still, Harry had finally got his family to answer. The next day, he kissed Meghan goodbye and made a conference call with William, Charles and the Queen, all of whom had suddenly found time in their diaries to chat.

No real progress could be made in the first emotions of the moment. The Queen concluded that the four – Harry, William, Charles, and she – should sit down with their respective private secretaries in Sandringham the following Monday to sort things out, though William confided to a friend that he'd rather leave the haggling would to the staff.

"I've put my arm around my brother all my life," he said, "and I can't do it anymore." We are separate entities. "

The conclusion to be drawn from this apparently amicable comment was that William could not – or chose not to – treat his brother as a separate entity. The new Meghan-fired Harry clearly stunned him. Williams' "arm around my brother" – his lifelong care for Harry – always seemed to be based on some element of control, and that was certainly gone now.

William kept his distance from Sandringham Summit. The Queen had suggested that the family gather for lunch in the library that afternoon before their big pow-wow, but he declined his grandmother's invitation.

He would obviously show up for the meeting at 2pm, he said, but he just wanted to talk about business. The prince himself has failed to confirm his friends' speculation that he was so angry with his younger brother that he couldn't stand the hypocrisy of smiling at him over lunch.

According to Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand (authors of Harry and Meghan's biography Finding Freedom), the four members of the royal family, led by the Queen, took a "hands-on approach" when they settled in the Lange Library together Sandringham continued that afternoon.

They agreed that it was in everyone's best interest to work out a deal as soon as possible and that Harry should gather his aides to speak to their aides at Buckingham Palace over the next few days to work out a compromise.

Unfortunately, hammer was the definitive word. The Sussexes' harsh tactic of paying so little attention to the palace when they activated their provocative website last Wednesday had emerged directly from another mantra by which Rachel Zane lived: "Never underestimate the power of a good slap – or two" .

And after she gave a good slap in the face, another was just around the corner when it was widely reported that her team had been in contact with ABC, NBC and CBS, as well as celebrity chat show hosts like Oprah.

"It was like dealing with a die-hard Hollywood attorney," says a senior palace source familiar with the negotiations. "The Sussexes wanted guarantees on every single item like it was a contractual negotiation."

"You played the negotiations completely wrong," says the palace insider, "but so did the palace."

The palace strategy was directed by private secretary Sir Edward Young.

"The problem with Edward," says the source, who worked with Young for many years, "is that he's not very good at doing people." It's incredibly difficult to read – impossible to fathom. He is also deeply careful. He is a man by the law. "

It was a transatlantic intercultural conflict that turned the stereotypical all-American superwoman against a Monty Python parody of a royal teat-nose teat – and left little room for outside intervention.

The Queen had asked her trusted long-term assistant, Samantha Cohen, a cheerful and no-nonsense Australian who had worked with Meghan for a while, to see if she could attend some of the sessions and help. But "Samantha the Panther" – as the tabloids liked to call her – was unable to work its usual magic.

Prince Charles's representative was his private secretary, Clive Alderton, an experienced diplomat who had been ambassador to Morocco and tried to mediate between the two sides.

Charles felt sympathy for his younger son and commissioned Alderton to bring the two sides together. But over the years Harry had come to distrust the man who had organized so much of his father's life – and with it aspects of his own life.

William was advised by his private secretary, Simon Case, a high-flying civil servant from Downing Street who had previously worked with both David Cameron and Theresa May and who developed close ties with Boris Johnson. But Case couldn't bring his political gifts into play – the basic dynamic was too confrontational.

The agreement, announced wearily on Saturday, January 18th, turned out to be a result of negatives.

The deal closed with talk of a "constructive and supportive way forward" but Meghan and Harry had to "step down from their royal duties".

Harry would also lose his beloved military appointments and role as youth ambassador for the Commonwealth. The Sussexes could no longer represent the Queen and "will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the royal family".

The fact that the Sussexes themselves had voluntarily foregoed any access to the sovereign grant and public money as their own proposed price for freedom – along with repayment of the cost of renovating Frogmore Cottage – was portrayed as a punishment: “You will no longer received public funding for royal duties. & # 39;

And when it came to her plans to make her own money with the name Sussex Royal, this decision was delayed "until further deliberations about the palace".

The Queen pondered for several weeks and then decided that Harry and Meghan could not use Sussex Royal as brand names to market their wares and various activities in North America.

It has been reliably reported that Her Majesty remained benevolent towards her grandson and daughter-in-law. She wished them all the best for their new life in Canada – and of course also for their “eighth great-grandchild”.

But it has also been said by those in the know that the couple's unpredictable and impulsive behavior over the past year had not prompted Queen Elizabeth II to trust the Sussexes with the use of the word "royal" anytime soon.

  • Excerpt from Battle of Brothers: William, Harry, and the Inside Story of a Family in the Troubles by Robert Lacey, published by William Collins October 15 for £ 20. © 2020 Robert Lacey.

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