Both Great Britain and the United States are aristocracies masquerading as democracies. The UK is ruled by a public school network, from Buckingham Palace to Downing Street. It owns our land and our printing presses. The US is governed by money. Our aristocracy is formal, feudal and horsey. Theirs – informal, but no less remote – is the upper crust of Washington, Wall Street and L.A. One cannot merely be rich, or indeed famous, to be a part of it. You must be at the pinnacle of accomplishment. Beyonce and Jay Z, Barack and Michelle, George and Amal, Serena and her billionaire husband are all members of this American elite. Kim Kardashian wishes she was in it, but still carries a faint whiff of tackiness. Where the British aristocracy is parochial and hopelessly white, this part of the US ruling class is diverse and touched by glamour. Meghan and Harry have escaped the amateurish, colonial indignities of British feudalism for the comparative inclusivity of the American aristocracy. Indeed, the Sussex’s lucrative deal with Netflix is a near carbon copy of the one signed by the Obamas. This is the nature of the threat that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pose to the establishment. Their defection to the States shows that as the world’s ruling classes go, the British elite is rather second-rate. For a hot, rich mixed-race woman who’s married to a prince, there are more attractive options than enduring the petty cruelty of palace apparatchiks. Harry, scarred by his mother’s treatment at the hands of both the press and the palace, has witnessed firsthand what happens to those trapped within the royal family’s sphere of influence. Diana left the Firm, yet she could not escape the British establishment. But last night’s interview shows that no matter how the British ruling class froth and spit, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are under the beneficent protection of US media royalty: in the words of Lydia Polgreen, “America has a queen and her name is Oprah Winfrey”.
Ash Sarkar in Harry and Meghan Quit the Royal Family to Join the US Aristocracy (Novara)