opinion

OPINION: The Palace is guilty of a stark double standard.

“The Queen will be feeling very let down and very angry. Probably more than she felt after Andrew’s car crash interview last year.”

This quote was the real clincher.

So much so, that it was met with gasps from the studio audience of Good Morning Britain, who couldn’t quite believe what former royal spokesman Dickie Arbiter just said.

If this is true – that the Queen is more “let down” and “angry” by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to “step back” from royal duties, than her son Prince Andrew, who was close friends with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and allegedly had sex with his 17-year-old “sex slave”, then surely we can agree her priorities are out of order.

But it’s not just the Queen.

If the media is anything to go by, it’s the Sussex’s who are guilty of betrayal. Not Prince Andrew.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been at the centre of a media frenzy since announcing they are stepping back as senior royals with plans to become financially independent and split their time between the UK and America.

 

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“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.” – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex For more information, please visit sussexroyal.com (link in bio) Image © PA

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Leaks from Kensington Palace have revealed that the Royal Family is angry. Really angry. Words like “incandescent with rage,” are being used to describe the reactions from Prince Charles and Prince William according to The Sun, with Arbiter’s talk of “anger” from the Queen mirrored in many articles across the UK – all from different sources.

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The story is plastered across practically every publication in the world.

front-pages
Two of the front pages, which capture much of the mood in the media right now. Image: Mirror/Daily Mail.

But it's not just the Royal Family who are fuming. Much of the media is as well. British breakfast host Piers Morgan, (who has never hidden his disdain for the couple), called their announcement "grasping, selfish and scheming."

"I've seen some disgraceful royal antics in my time, but for pure arrogance, entitlement, greed, and wilful disrespect, nothing has ever quite matched the behaviour of the 'Duke and Duchess of Sussex,'" he wrote for the Daily Mail.

Nothing?

In fact, the Mail dedicated its first 17 pages to Meghan and Harry and the fallout from their announcement.

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This news, while shocking, is quite frankly incomparable to the scandal kicked up by Prince Andrew and his alleged involvement in the sex trafficking ring organised by his self-confessed best friend, Jeffrey Epstein.

What Harry and Meghan have done is not criminal. It can be called selfish, rude and shocking, depending on how you want to spin it - sure. But the level of press attention and anger from both media and royal commentators, and the royals themselves, is entirely disproportionate. Especially when you compare it to the world's more subdued response to Andrew.

Now, of course, there was still outcry. When Prince Andrew sat down for a November interview with BBC Newsnight to address and dispute the claims made by his accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the mess of an interview that followed deservedly got widespread media attention.

Here's a clip from Prince Andrew's interview with BBC Newsnight. Post continues after video.

Video by BBC

Guiffre says Prince Andrew slept with her three times when she was 17. Allegedly, she was trafficked directly to Prince Andrew by Epstein.

Those two points alone are more morally repugnant than "Megxit".

In the BBC interview, Andrew tried to say a photo of him with his arm around Guiffre was doctored, labelled Epstein's actions as "unbecoming," had no real argument to explain why he stayed at Epstein's home after he'd been convicted, and provided no empathy or apology for the victims.

Prince Andrew BBC
The BBC interview transcended 'train wreck' levels of bad according to critics. Image: BBC.
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Piers Morgan, to use his commentary comparatively, described Prince Andrew in the interview as "dim" and "entitled."

He did, however, describe the incident as "very serious," pointing out that "Jeffrey Epstein may turn out to be one of the worst paedophiles in American history."

Like Morgan, most tabloids across the UK and the US (and here in Australia) were rightly negative in their coverage of Andrew and that interview, but there's no denying that after a few weeks of robust debate and damning headlines, Prince Andrew managed to slip away from the news cycle and go off and enjoy his Christmas holidays while being left relatively alone.

His mother, the Queen, referred to a tumultuous year in her Christmas Day address as being "quite bumpy."

QUEEN-CHRISTMAS
The Queen in her Christmas Day address. Kensington Palace.

Prince Andrew has been called by US lawyers to answer questions under oath.

That, surely, is a little more than "bumpy."

After that interview, Prince Andrew stepped away from public duties. It was reported by The Times, that while the Queen didn't approve of the BBC interview and was "deeply frustrated", she still believed in her son's innocence, and was spotted riding with him a few days after it aired.

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In analysing the difference between Prince Andrew's potentially criminal actions and Meghan and Harry's failure to follow royal protocol, royal commentator Arbiter says the distinction is: "The Epstein and Andrew thing has been going on for ages...this (Meghan and Harry's announcement) is a bombshell that's just been dropped."

Although true, this is not the first time Meghan has attracted worldwide media scrutiny, while Prince Andrew lies peacefully in the shadows.

Prince Andrew and Meghan
That first spike is Meghan and Harry's wedding, the second blue spike is the Newsnight interview. You'll notice Meghan's line is almost always higher - she's always of more interest to the public. Image: Google Trends.

Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his prison cell in August. In the same month, Harry and Meghan were spotted flying in a private jet.

Vanity Fair wrote that month, "Flying in a private jet in the era of climate change is a morally dubious choice; so is remaining friends with a pedophile. And from the way the tabloids have covered them, you might think both choices carry equal weight."

The publication added that Prince Andrew was providing "one of the biggest scandals the royal family has faced in several years, but for now, it can’t seem to gain traction."

We've watched as Meghan has been demonised in the media for things like speaking down to staff, being "fussy" and making her sister-in-law cry - none of which we have any evidence for.

Let's not forget, there is a royal accused of doing something criminal. And the more we obsess over Meghan, the less he makes it to the front page.

Image: Getty.

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