Prince Harry's stolen future

19 April 2022

12:19 AM

19 April 2022

12:19 AM

It had been, for a change, a good few days for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Not only have they managed to make an atypically low-profile and successful visit to Windsor Castle for an air-clearing meeting with the Queen – which, unlike virtually ever other appointment they have had in recent years, appeared in the media after it took place – but they have now headed to The Hague for the Invictus games. The games remains one of the most successful endeavours that Prince Harry has ever associated himself with. After months of negative publicity, there has been the potential for the much-maligned duo to re-establish themselves in good standing with the Royal Family and the wider world before the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations in June.

It therefore comes as a pity that the Duke, never a man who knowingly avoids spouting clichés, has managed to embarrass himself once again. While his loathing of the media is a well-documented part of his life, he has sufficiently unbent to give an interview to the only kinds of journalists he seems comfortable talking to these days: children. He spoke to two budding Tintins at the Dutch title Kindercorrespondent, aged 11 and 12, and addressed his ambitions for his own children Archie and Lilibet.

The story that the journalists got from Prince Harry was that he wished his progeny to grow up in ‘a fairer world, a safer world, a more equal world’. Leaving aside the John Lennon-ish irony of a fabulously wealthy man preaching the virtues of equality (although, as we now know, not nearly wealthy enough for the standards of Californian opulence that the two wish to enjoy), the Duke solemnly declared that:

‘It’s not going to be easy but I will never, ever, ever rest until I have as a parent at least tried to make the world a better place for them because it is our responsibility that the world is the way it is now.’ 

And then the cub reporters got their scoop. Prince Harry, never one to check himself while in full rhetorical flow, declared:

‘I don’t think that we should be bringing children into the world unless we’re going to make that commitment to make it better for them. We cannot steal your future.’

While Meghan restricted herself to the bland, PR-friendly statement that she enjoyed being around children at the games because she was missing her own kids, her husband seemed incapable of restricting himself to the matter at hand. With all of his loose and specious talk of ‘stealing futures’, the Duke seemed to suggest that there should be some kind of reckoning for those irresponsible enough to reproduce unless the world was to be altered beyond recognition imminently.

The possibility exists, of course, that Prince Harry simply isn’t very bright and that he has yet to learn the rudiments of engaging his brain before opening his mouth; seldom has an Eton education led to such trifling effect. But there may be another side to his latest piece of indiscretion.

His relatives are said to be on edge about his forthcoming memoir, which is due for publication later this year. Advance gossip suggests that he might be unflattering about his father, brother and, in particular, the Duchess of Cornwall, who he is said to be on poor terms with. His continued, baleful presence in the international media is therefore a grim reminder of the reputational reckoning that is coming for The Firm in a few months. Only then will we see whether the Royal Family’s future has been effectively stolen by its most troublesome member.

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