Harry and Meghan are ensconced in California and I just don’t know what the hell they are talking about any more.
Self-repression alongside colonial guilt on a macro and micro level?
Green travel, stepping up to save the world, tsk-tsking about everyone else’s ‘passive and active unconscious bias’ while excusing their own?
This week, Megan (right) climbed into a pair of £200 trousers teamed with £500 vegan leather sandals and topped off with a £300 straw sun hat to usher 86-year-old feminist icon Gloria Steinem into a deckchair and have a simple ol’ ‘backyard chat
It was bad enough when the pair were hunkered down at Frogmore Cottage, busy nursing petty hurts and being quick to stew in a bubbling huff, while ‘nurturing’ their relationship; ‘focusing on who we are as a couple’ and being ‘authentic and organic’ while unleashing their ‘passion for change’.
Through the clammy fog of Sussex-woke-speak, one could just about grasp what they were going on about. But now?
Their U.S.-based florid, organic flannel is a complete mystery.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. Today the couple lead excruciatingly mindful lives in the epicentre of Californian mindfulness; no doubt comforted by the fact that there, the avocados bruise easily, too.
In the UK, the Duke and Duchess were supposed to be unbiased public servants; royal ciphers robustly discouraged from making their political views known. They found these constraints so chafing, they moved continents to find freedom and a grand villa at a knockdown price.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex volunteering with Baby2Baby at Dr Owen Lloyd Knox Elementary School in Los Angeles
But now they have rediscovered their voices, what exactly are they saying? Your guess is as good as mine.
This week, Megan climbed into a pair of £200 trousers teamed with £500 vegan leather sandals and topped off with a £300 straw sun hat to usher 86-year-old feminist icon Gloria Steinem into a deckchair and have a simple ol’ ‘backyard chat’.
Honestly, it would take a heart of stone not to scream with laughter at the pretentiousness.
Gloria has been a champion of women’s rights since the days when women didn’t have any. Since the early Sixties, she has never stopped writing and campaigning for her core causes: birth control, equal pay, an end to violence against women, civil rights and social justice.
Meanwhile, Meghan once wrote messages on bananas to sex workers, urging them to cheer up.
They met under the auspices of Makers Women, a women’s empowerment platform, which streamed the meeting around the world. Object of the exercise? To encourage women to vote in the forthcoming presidential elections. Unspoken message? So long as they don’t vote for Trump.
Here is my guide to the real meaning behind the words of this epic feminist summit.
1. ‘I’m so glad that you’re home!’ says Gloria, to which Meghan replies: ‘Me too. For so many reasons.’
WHAT SHE MEANS: Uh oh! This was a sly reference to the drudgery and cruelty that Cinder-Meghan-ella endured back in the evil UK, where there was a problem with a tiara and Kate once didn’t give her a lift to the shops.
2. Gloria gives Meghan a bracelet embossed with the words ‘Linked not ranked’. Meghan, who utterly hated being in the second rank of the Royal Family, is thrilled.
MEGHAN SAYS: It means everything to me on every level; we are linked, not ranked.
Today the couple lead excruciatingly mindful lives in the epicentre of Californian mindfulness
WHAT SHE MEANS: No, I didn’t object when people curtsied to me in the UK. Nor when I get special services and VIP treatment in Soho House because of who I am.
Nor when my rank as a royal wife gives me access to people like you, Gloria, and to Oprah, Ellen, George, Amal and everyone else who ignored me when I was on Suits but knock on my door now.
No one has benefited more from rank than me, but it suits me now to pretend I got here on merit.
3. MEGHAN SAYS: I firmly believe that we vote to honour those who came before us and to protect those who come after us. Ms Steinem, my friend Gloria, is one of the women I honour when I vote.
WHAT SHE MEANS: I’ve known this old doll for about five minutes but she might be useful.
4. MEGHAN SAYS: As many of us believe, you can only be what you can see. And in the absence of that, how can you aspire to something greater than what you see in your own world? I think maybe now we’re starting to break through in a different way.
WHAT SHE MEANS: Be what you see, be a bee who wants to be a bigger bee. Don’t be a beekeeper, be a bee-seeker. Don’t bumble bee, be free.
5. MEGHAN SAYS: My husband is a feminist, too.
WHAT SHE MEANS: Dimbo dude does what I tell him.
6. MEGHAN SAYS: There’s no shame in being someone who advocates for fundamental human rights for everyone, which of course includes women.
WHAT SHE MEANS: There is no shame and never has been. I just said ‘shame’ to make it look like I was doing something brave and daring.
7. MEGHAN SAYS: Hi, honey. Come here.
WHAT SHE MEANS: I meant the dog, Harry, not you. Go back inside.
8. MEGHAN SAYS: As I’ve gotten older I’ve been able to understand that it’s not mutually exclusive to be a feminist and be feminine. And to own that and harness your femininity and your identification as a woman in all of the different layers.
WHAT SHE MEANS: Has anyone seen my balcony bra?
To be continued…
It’s not Sarah’s ‘battle’
Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding has advanced breast cancer. She is 38.
One wishes her all the best in the difficult months ahead. However, each time a celebrity gets cancer, I hope in vain that society will desist from talking about ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ the cancer ‘battle’.
This kind of combat terminology is often hurtful to those who have not recovered well through no fault of their own.
Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding has advanced breast cancer. She is 38
Or those with poor prognoses who have no chance of winning anything, least of all a deadly encounter with this disease.
The implicit suggestion in the battle conceit is that cancer victims could do something about their situation, if only they would buck up. Take some vitamins. Make the effort. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
These thoughts are a comfort for everyone, except the patients. Surviving cancer is not a matter of will. And while cancer is many things, it is not a battle. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Patients are quite passive and totally impotent in the process, turning up to be pumped full of chemicals or radiation. A positive outlook helps, but ‘fighting cancer’ metaphors don’t help anyone.
At worst, they can suggest that those who continue to struggle have somehow failed, when the truth is there was nothing they could do. Anyway, good luck to Sarah (above) — and anyone else who has a difficult diagnosis.
Honey, you haven’t shrunk a bit
Doctors have been told to be blunt with overweight patients — to save taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds. They have been accused of failing to be frank with obese people whose medical conditions stem mainly from their weight.
I’d hate to be the GP who might have to suggest to Honey Ross that she could be, ahem ahem, a little overweight … perhaps she should go on a diet? Tin hats on. Head for the hills.
The 23-year-old daughter of Jonathan Ross and his screenwriter wife Jane Goldman is a fat activist, a plus-size influencer, a woman who revels in her size and shape.
‘Fat is not a feeling,’ she says. ‘I don’t feel fat because I am fat; that’s who I am and I like how I look.’
She shamed her parents by saying that they put her on ‘toxic’ diets when she was younger. But surely they were only trying to help?
The family dynamics certainly sound complicated.
Honey believes diets don’t work — well, they haven’t worked for her. But recent spectacular weight losses by Adele, Rebel Wilson and Gemma Collins suggest that some diets can and do work.
Honey is happy how she is, good for her. Yet being overweight is nothing to celebrate, as I know.
Honey’s crusade might seem almost glamorous now — it does to her — but what happens five, ten, 20 years down the line?
Being so overweight is just as unhealthy as being underweight, bringing with it years of misery, ill-fitting clothes and squeezing into plane seats.
I salute body positivism and the plus-size movement but nobody should kid themself that being fat is a plus in itself. It is a barrier to life, not a route to cuddly happiness.
Brad Pitt discreetly jets off to his rosé vineyard in the South of France with his beautiful 27-year-old model girlfriend, Nicole Poturalski.
How very predictable! Apparently the German stunner ‘speaks five languages’.
That may indeed be true, but to be honest it usually means said beauty can say ‘thank you’; ‘is this gluten free?’ and ‘I do’ in five languages — possibly even more. Of course, we are all SO HAPPY for Brad, but wouldn’t it have been refreshing — not to say thrilling — if he had eschewed the traditional twentysomething-smoking-hot-model route and gone out with a woman around his own age instead?
Brad Pitt discreetly jets off to his rosé vineyard in the South of France with his beautiful 27-year-old model girlfriend, Nicole Poturalski
A woman of substance, a woman with child-bearing ankles, a woman who would know what to do with his rosé magnums and his Angelina hangover and his sad eyes, forever scanning the horizon for a peace that never comes? A woman just like — how can I put this? — me. Is it because I is not a polymath? Answers on a postcard please.
P.S. While we are on the subject of age, if you need any further proof of the terrifying passage of time, note that John Lewis has just opened its online Christmas shop – and Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin turned 40 this week.
Every home must have one
No, I don’t watch Selling Sunset which is too phoney — and peopled with shrieking grotesques masquerading as estate agents.
Far more interesting are the Californian celebrity property websites; a treasure trove of knick-knackery factoids that detail the interior lives of stars.
If, like me, you have an inquisitorial investigative bent — some might call it being nosy — then this is for you. I discovered; Ellen had two washing machines and two tumble dryers in the white oak utility room of the home she sold to Ariana Grande.
Kristen Stewart has paintings of Elvis and Chairman Mao (!) in her beach house. Gwyneth has a yoga barn, Cat Deeley has a circular leather sofa and two outdoor fire pits in her Hollywood Hills pad, while Game Of Thrones actress Emilia Clark has bookshelves filled with plants, not books.
Yet perhaps the Old World still trumps everything. I note that Kate and William’s apartment in Kensington Place has a ‘dedicated luggage room’ which simply out-poshes everyone.
Kate and the toilet of truth…
Kate Winslet has just given an interview to the Hollywood Reporter. Fans will be pleased that a long absence from the spotlight has not dulled her talent to annoy.
‘Now that I’m going to have to go back to work, I’m like, ‘Oh f***, I’ve forgotten how to act,’ ‘ she said.
Still, she must take comfort in being good at it, no?
Kate Winslet has just given an interview to the Hollywood Reporter. Fans will be pleased that a long absence from the spotlight has not dulled her talent to annoy
‘At the end of the day, it’s only a f****** Oscar,’ she told the magazine. I particularly liked her story of how she decided to be an actress. It happened when she was in the loo when she was five years old.
‘I was sitting on the toilet,’ she said, when she realised something important. ‘Ahh. So, acting is just being. Yeah, I want to do that. That’s what I want to do for a job.’
She should be blushing, not flushing.