Prince Harry covers the international edition of the current issue of Newsweek. It’s not a soft-focus profile of him – he actually sat down for an in-depth conversation, and he allowed Newsweek to follow him around for a few days as he did work with wounded-warrior charities, kids’ charities and the like. The Newsweek piece also quotes from unnamed royal courtiers who end up throwing a bit of shade on William and Kate. But the most notable quote comes from Harry, when he’s talking about the future of the monarchy. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:
His mother’s funeral: “My mother had just died, and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me while millions more did on television. I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, under any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”
The ordinary life: “My mother took a huge part in showing me an ordinary life, including taking me and my brother to see homeless people. Thank goodness I’m not completely cut off from reality. People would be amazed by the ordinary life William and I live. I do my own shopping. Sometimes, when I come away from the meat counter in my local supermarket, I worry someone will snap me with their phone. But I am determined to have a relatively normal life, and if I am lucky enough to have children, they can have one too. Even if I was king, I would do my own shopping.”
When will Harry & Megan marry?? One person close to the prince says Harry is not rushing to “get things done”—royal-speak for proposing. “They obviously get on very well and have a lot in common, but they have not known each other that long. They need to find out if they can have an ordinary relationship within a very unusual setting. I don’t think anything will happen until the end of the year.”
The future of the monarchy versus being an ordinary bloke: “It’s a tricky balancing act. We don’t want to dilute the magic….The British public and the whole world need institutions like it.”
The modern monarchy: One of the many things Harry is eager to “get on with” is an overhaul of the British monarchy—he, William and Kate appear determined to drag it into the 21st century. “The monarchy is a force for good and we want to carry on the positive atmosphere that the queen has achieved for over 60 years, but we won’t be trying to fill her boots. We are involved in modernizing the British monarchy. We are not doing this for ourselves but for the greater good of the people…. Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don’t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time.”
“More focused” charity work: Until last year, the queen was patron of more than 600 charities, and the royal family supported 3,000. By the time William becomes king, those numbers will have plummeted, but a source close to Harry insists this is not due to laziness. “They want instead to concentrate on specific charities that they research thoroughly first and then get involved in on a regular basis. The one thing they don’t want is to be seen as a group of celebrities.” Harry seconds that. “We use our time wisely,” he says. “We don’t want to turn up, shake hands but not get involved… The queen has been fantastic in letting us choose. She tells us to take our time and really think things through.”
William, Kate & Harry. There was no filling the hole left by Diana’s death, and Harry seemed to be growing up without someone emotionally available he could lean on. Kate has helped fill some of that gap. When she and William got engaged, Harry called her the big sister he never had. He often pops into their apartment at Kensington Palace, where she cooks him a meal—roast chicken is reportedly a particular favorite. Harry and William have very different personalities. “Emotionally, they are very unalike,” a royal insider says. “Harry wears his heart on his sleeve. William is introverted and reclusive. They are bonded together by the unique position they are in and the experience of losing their mother very young. But they don’t live in each other’s pockets, and while William was at university, they didn’t see much of each other at all.” Another member of Harry’s inner circle further delineates the differences between the two princes: “William was more successful academically, but when it comes to dealing with people, Harry knocks the spots off both him and Kate, especially with children. Harry is passionate about them and is a natural, which neither William nor Kate are.”
Here’s the thing: if William had the audacity to say “Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don’t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time,” everyone would be in full revolt, justifiably so. So why is it different when Harry says it? My take: it’s not different. It’s equally appalling. Both Harry and William are men in their 30s, with sense and education, and if they’re both going to position themselves as reluctant – some would say “petulant” – royals, then what’s the f–king point of any of this? They should just abdicate and be done with it. I’m so disappointed that Harry seems to have bought into William’s normalcy fetish too – while it’s true that Harry lives a more “ordinary” life, he’s still a bloody prince who lives behind palace walls.
Photos courtesy of WENN, cover courtesy of Newsweek.