SARAH VINE: Prince Harry is so busy polishing his halo all he can see is his reflection 


For someone such as myself who has never experienced racism, I think it’s almost impossible to truly comprehend the level of abuse that people of colour endure.

I’ve glimpsed it occasionally secondhand, but until it happens to you or someone you love, the depth of damage it causes can never be truly understood.

Prejudice in all forms is wicked, and racial prejudice is perhaps the most wicked and knuckle-dragging form of all.

There is no question that it exists, and that even in a progressive, multicultural society such as Britain it still rears its ugly head.

Far from making me want to take up my cudgel on behalf of the oppressed, his intervention just makes me want to stick pins in my eyes. If it had been Meghan alone, I would have felt differently

There is also no question that it must not be tolerated, either in institutions or in individuals. That, for me — as for most people — is simply non-negotiable.

People should be judged by their actions, not the colour of their skin. It’s not just what’s right, it’s what makes sense — after all, hate only breeds more hate.

So I have no problem whatsoever with the principle of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s latest foray into politics.

In fact, I would go so far as to say it’s a noble cause. What’s not to like about speaking out against prejudice, and lending support to Black History Month, which each year aims to provide a platform for positive discussion?

And what could possibly be wrong with championing Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) trailblazers, men and women who are leaders in their fields and an example to us all?

Why is it, then, that I find Harry and Meghan’s intervention so intensely irritating, shallow and self-serving? Could it perhaps be the sight, yet again, of the pair lecturing the world about poverty and disadvantaged lives from the tasteful greige hues of their £11 million mansion in California? Surely if anyone needs to ‘check their privilege’, it’s them. They are pictured above in Ireland in 2018

The answer is: nothing. Nothing at all. So why is it, then, that I find Harry and Meghan’s intervention so intensely irritating, shallow and self-serving?

Could it perhaps be the sight, yet again, of the pair lecturing the world about poverty and disadvantaged lives from the tasteful greige hues of their £11 million mansion in California? Surely if anyone needs to ‘check their privilege’, it’s them.

Or could it be the way they blithely dismiss Britain, one of the most tolerant liberal democracies on the planet, as suffering from ‘structural racism’?

Or maybe it’s just the fact that I have finally grown weary of being told what to do and think by a Prince who, far from demonstrating a desire to fight to make Britain a better place and stand up for the things he claims so passionately to believe in, has chosen to reject the nation that gave him every conceivable advantage in favour of one that offers him the opportunity to capitalise on his royal status to the tune of many millions.

A once honourable man who stood side by side with his fellow citizens but who, of late, seems to run as fast as he can from the slightest challenge; who cannot accept any divergence from his own point of view; who behaves like a petulant child when challenged; and who refuses to accept any compromise when it comes to his not inconsiderable demands.

Someone who wants to cast himself as the champion of the disadvantaged and forgotten, a man of the people, a brave warrior for the truth — but one who exiles himself in glorious splendour in one of the most exclusive gated communities in one of the most rarefied parts of America.

Far from making me want to take up my cudgel on behalf of the oppressed, his intervention just makes me want to stick pins in my eyes.

If it had been Meghan alone, I would have felt differently. After all, she is a woman of colour. She has actual experience of these things. So she has every right to speak out about them.

Harry, by contrast, is driven by the evangelical fervour of the repentant sinner. Because, let’s not forget, this is a person who not so long ago thought it was funny to dress up as a Nazi.

I am happy for his sake, of course, that he has experienced such a positive ‘awakening’. But does he have to shove it down all our throats all of the time?

Meghan and Harry urged Americans to vote in the US presidential election, with Meghan calling it 'the most important election of our lifetime', in a video that was widely seen as a swipe at President Trump

Meghan and Harry urged Americans to vote in the US presidential election, with Meghan calling it ‘the most important election of our lifetime’, in a video that was widely seen as a swipe at President Trump

Yet what irritates me most about this latest intervention is that, in their eagerness to show support for this most fashionable of causes, they’ve failed to acknowledge the wider suffering happening across Britain today: coronavirus, which affects every one of us, regardless of colour.

There was not even a whisper of concern or empathy for those whose lives and livelihoods have been devastated by this awful pandemic (one which, of course, has not troubled either of them the slightest in their ivory tower).

I can understand it from Meghan. After all, she never really took to us. But for Harry to demonstrate such thoughtlessness with respect to his fellow countrymen and women is deeply sad.

So, yes, Black History Month is an important event in the cultural calendar. And, yes, we all of us recognise the importance of building a more equal and fair society.

But if we want help and inspiration as to how to overcome such hardships, I think we can do rather better than a Prince who has turned his back on his country, his Queen and his family — and who is so busy polishing his halo that all he can seem to see is his own reflection.

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