There’s a reason that literature and folklore are full of the archetype of the femme fatale, the scheming temptress who casts a spell on the dashing knight and dooms the kingdom.
The fate of the British monarchy might not be quite so dire after Meghan Markle’s calculated tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey on Sunday night, but it’s not for her want of trying.
The American wife of the Queen’s grandson Harry gratuitously trashed his family in the CBS two-hour prime time special, describing life in the royal court as “almost unsurvivable.”
Asked how Buckingham Palace would react to “hearing you speak your truth today?” she bared her teeth.
“I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there was an active role that ‘the Firm’ is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” she said.
The Firm is the insider term for the institution of the monarchy, which Meghan appears to think she can best.
You only have to remember how swiftly she discarded her father and sister after she met her ginger prince to understand how pitiless she is. Now she is intent on inflicting the same cruelty, or worse, on her husband’s family.
To some misguided souls, her destructive self-obsession is a noble form of female empowerment. But most people know the type.
Calculating and devious, they use their feminine wiles to bewitch a powerful man into sacrificing everything he holds dear.
Meghan ensnared Harry by acting out the worst nightmare of his childhood, when his beloved mother Diana was killed with her lover in a car crash in Paris when Harry was 12.
He was powerless to save his mother then, but he is determined to be the supportive husband she never had and save Meghan from what he feared was “history repeating itself.”
Meghan made Harry believe that unless they escaped England for the life of luxurious grifting she desired in LA, she would suffer the same fate as Diana, crushed by the faceless men of the palace and his uncaring family.
In her Oprah confessional, she wears a tennis bracelet belonging to her late mother-in-law, in a not-so-subtle ploy to channel Diana.
To drive home the comparison, images of Diana fill the screen as Harry talks about his mother’s suffering.
“My biggest concern was history repeating itself,” he says, holding hands with Meghan as she gazes adoringly at him, clad in a $4,700 black Armani dress and patting her pregnant belly.
“I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you with my wife by my side because I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for (Diana) going through this process by herself all those years ago.
“Because it has been unbelievably tough for the two of us, but at least we had each other.”
You see how it works?
Of course, Meghan’s situation is nothing like Diana’s. Harry’s mother was trapped in a loveless marriage. She was just 19 when she married Charles. She suffered from bulimia, was hounded by paparazzi wherever she went and was desperately lonely because Charles refused to give up his mistress Camilla, now his wife.
Meghan, by contrast, was 36 and a divorcee when she walked down the aisle, making her the oldest woman to marry into the royal family, unless you count that other American divorcee, Wallis Simpson, who married the Queen’s uncle after he abdicated the crown for her, and who made his life a misery in exile.
Unlike his own father, Harry has been nothing but a devoted husband. His family welcomed Meghan with open arms, staged a lavish wedding, provided her with a million-dollar wardrobe, palaces, houses, jewels and servants and indulged every imperious demand.
Judging by pre-emptive comments from the palace last week, since news of Oprah’s interview broke, it was Meghan’s demands which were unsurvivable.
A leaked 2018 email from the couple’s former communications secretary Jason Knauf, dated five months after their wedding, claims that Meghan “bullied” two female staffers out of the royal household and undermined the confidence of another.
“Members of staff, particularly young women, were being bullied to the point of tears,” a palace source told London’s Sunday Times.
Meghan’s behavior amounted to “emotional cruelty and manipulation” said another.
“The entire household was on the verge of quitting . . . It was drama, drama, drama with those two.”
Palace staff reportedly used to call Harry “The Hostage.”
Meghan denies the claims and her friends have retaliated by claiming she was the victim of bullying and institutional racism while in the palace.
Celebrity Chrissy Teigen went so far as to say: “These people won’t stop until she miscarries.”
Meghan is nothing if not calculating, so you can assume she approved every detail of the salacious way her new “friend” Oprah marketed the $7 million interview to an audience of tens of millions of people worldwide.
Harry only plays a bit part, coming in halfway through.
Estranged from his family, his homeland and the military duties that once gave his life meaning, he is “alone and palely loitering” on the sidelines of Meghan’s drama, like the woebegone knight in Keats’ poem, “Belle Dame sans merci.”
Meghan is more like that “Beautiful Woman Without Pity,” than she is like Diana, but Harry will be the last to know.
When will Biden take media’s questions? Don’t ask
President Biden’s minders have pulled the plug on him twice in the past week after he asked if he could take questions from the media. Whooshka! The screen went blank.
So, who really is running the government?
He’s almost halfway through his first 100 days and Biden has yet to hold a press conference.
Considering the radical executive orders he is signing and the shocking migrant crisis he has set in motion at the southern border, the president needs to be open to scrutiny.
On the rare occasions we hear him speak spontaneously, he betrays a mindset that is far from the unity and moderation he promised during his campaign.
For instance, he described Texas as “Neanderthal” last week, for ending mask mandates. Yet his concern about Texans catching COVID is patently insincere, since illegal migrants who have tested positive are free to stream over the border and spread infection throughout the state.
The rest of the time, he stumbles through teleprompter set pieces, calls early “lid,” and goofs off most weekends, yet no one seems to care.
But you can bet America’s adversaries are paying close attention to the apparent infirmity in the Oval Office. As former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “Weakness begets war.”