Meghan’s crocodile tears are an insult to Harry’s trauma


You won't be surprised to know that once Prince Harry married a woke American actor, there was bound to be drama.

And so it has turned out since the induction of Meghan Markle, 38, into the House of Windsor.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are now trapped on the emotional rollercoaster of royal reality entertainment, thanks to her penchant for histrionics and genuinely awful family back home in America (discreet mother Doria excepted), and the hunger of the British media for Diana Mark II.

Anyone who remembers the rise and fall of Diana, the slow disaster of her doomed marriage, and the car crash that killed her in a Paris tunnel at age 36, hounded by paparazzi to the bitter end, would be filled with foreboding for the newlyweds.

Harry is only too aware of the perils ahead. "I will not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mum," he told Britain's ITV in a new documentary about the couple's recent tour to Africa with baby Archie.

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His mother's death in 1997 is still "a wound that festers," he says in Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, which aired this week on Channel 10.

"Every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash, it takes me straight back, so in that respect it's the worst reminder of her life."

Your heart goes out to the 35-year-old prince, and you're transported back to the sight of a small wan boy, 22 years ago, walking alongside his father and brother, as they followed Diana's coffin in a grim funeral procession through London.

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Harry is haunted by the fear of history repeating itself, as he demonstrated in the penultimate day of their African tour two weeks ago when he launched legal action against Britain's Mail on Sunday over its publication of a private letter Meghan wrote to her estranged father last year.

His decision was promoted by "the tears his wife has shed, and the echoes it has of his mother".

"I will always protect my family," Harry says. "So everything that [Diana] went through and what happened to her is incredibly raw every single day and that's not me being paranoid that's just me not wanting a repeat of the past."

He alluded to his mental health, saying: "I thought I was out of the woods and suddenly it all came back … this is something I have to manage."

It's heartbreaking. But instead of allaying Harry's fears, Meghan is fanning them.

The problem is her dysfunctional family - a father who sells her secrets to the media and a jealous half-sister.

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It's her job to manage her toxic relatives and at least ensure they don't embarrass the royals. The documentary shows her to be a strong personality, speaking over Harry and dominating interactions so the task is clearly not beyond her.

Instead, she has absolved herself of responsibility by playing on Harry's deepest fear.

Asked what the last year has been like since she met him, she looked miserable and said her friends advised her not to marry him because, "the British tabloids will destroy your life".

Why say that when she knows it will re-traumatise Harry and bring up the baggage of his past? Why create a victim narrative irresistible to the media?

While it's set against the backdrop of the couple's good works in Africa, the documentary ends up being a lament for her persecuted life.

Asked how she's handling the pressure, Meghan looks on the verge of tears, or maybe she's acting. It's hard to tell.

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"Any woman, especially when they are pregnant, you're really vulnerable and so that was made really challenging … And especially as a woman, it's a lot."

Then she smiles bravely: "Also thank you for asking, because not many people have asked if I'm OK."

Subtext: the royal family has not been supportive.

Ominously, she goes on to say that she "really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip, but I think what that does internally is probably really damaging."

Groan. In other words, there will be more public self-pity and performance emoting, inviting the very attention Harry so dreads, but which he can't see is self-inflicted.

Meghan seeks to be portrayed as a victim of "the system", just as Diana once did. But at least Diana had reason to seek revenge on a husband who had betrayed her.

The arrival of Meghan has caused a rift between Harry and his brother Prince William and wife Kate. It's obvious the two women are not close. Kate never puts a foot wrong and seemed eager to welcome Meghan into the family, so you can only speculate about their frostiness.

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But Harry acknowledges in the documentary that he and the future king have grown apart. "We're certainly on different paths at the moment, but I will always be there for him, as I know he'll always be there for me … As brothers you have good days you have bad days".

Given the sensitivities, it is ominous that Meghan would choose to create her "poor me" stir while William and Kate were on a tour of Pakistan which had been hailed a big success. Until they were upstaged by Meghan's drama.

We've seen this movie before.

There is a lesson to be learned from Diana's troubled trajectory: if you court publicity it will come back to bite you. You may think you are controlling the beast but ultimately it will control you, even if you are the best actor in the world.

Miranda Devine will be based in New York through 2020 covering current affairs for The Daily Telegraph.