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Coronavirus
LOW Source: covid.gov.pk
Pakistan Deaths
28,728
1024hr
Pakistan Cases
1,284,840
47524hr
1.12% positivity
Sindh
475,616
Punjab
443,094
Balochistan
33,479
Islamabad
107,689
KPK
179,995

EDITORIAL: When in 2018 Prince Harry married Meghan, an American woman, a divorcee and also of mixed race, it was widely seen as a sign of the British royalty having adapted to modern times. More than 80 years earlier King Edward VIII had to abdicate the throne because of opposition from his family, the Church of England as well as the political establishments, to his desire to marry an American divorcee. But the veneer of the royal family’s purported change with the times has been stripped away by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in a two-hour-long tell-all TV interview with Oprah Winfrey.

The interview, most anticipated for a glimpse of the royal glitter and glamour, turned out to be a melodrama as Harry and Meghan explained they had stepped back from royal duties and shifted to the US because of lack of understanding by the family. At the centre of their predicament was a racial issue. Meghan, whose mother is Afro-American and father is white, said when she was expecting their son, Archie, now aged one, in conversations with Harry the family had raised concerns about how dark the baby’s skin might be. Archie had also been denied the title of prince. Meghan said she had been silenced by “the Firm” – which the Queen heads – and that her pleas for help while in distress had fallen on deaf ears. Meghan also said she contemplated suicide: “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.” Although the couple refused to say who had aired those concerns, the prince’s grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, is known to have made some nasty racist remarks in the past, despite a stricture on the royal family not to make any comments on political or other controversial issue. In this case, however, the racist conversations, apparently, are linked to Prince Charles, heir to the British throne. Harry disclosed that his family had cut them off financially and that his father had let him down and refused to take his calls at one point. These revelations may put a question mark on Prince Charles’ status.

To preempt what was coming at it the palace had tried to discredit Meghan as a bully by leaking an old letter written by one of her aides. Yet, the bombshell interview has sent shockwaves through the monarchy. While Prime Minister Boris Johnson has refused to make any comment on it, Labour Party leader Keir Starmer has said the issues raised by Meghan about the state of her mental health and racism should be taken seriously by the Buckingham Palace, and that it was a bigger issue in Britain than just the royal family. That may give some traction to republican voices, without changing anything though. A vast majority of the Britons remains loyal to the monarchy for its love of tradition, and as a spectacle that makes the country a popular tourist attraction. “The Firm” would still be able to withstand accusations of racism, but the episode makes it look out of date and out of touch with civilized, modern sensibilities.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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