July 15, 2024

Even though I’m American, I’ve always been interested in the British Royals in the same way I grew up following Days of Our Lives and Young and the Restless. My first deep dive into royalmania was the wedding of Charles and Diana when I was in junior high. Around that same time, I was really into reading about the wives of Henry VIII, so it all sort of melds together as historical cos-play, and an unfortunate reminder of great historical wrongs through a system built of serfdom, slavery, colonialism, and generalized white supremacy. At the center of it all is a family that just keeps the soap opera narrative alive from generation to generation. Right now we are in the brother against brother phase, and I have pulled up a chair and popped my popcorn in front of the spectacle.

I’m Team Sussex. I’ve got nothing against Team Cambridge/Wales, but they were always going to hold all of the power within the Firm, or the institution of royalty, and I’ve always particularly liked Prince Harry. Plus, I was excited for an American and a woman of color to join the Royal Family, and I don’t like the way she was treated by the tabloids or by the system (read family) that could have protected her but chose not to.

There’s a real war over the split on social media with literally thousands of accounts devoted to either attacking or defending Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex. I stumbled into this territory around the time that the Queen died. I spent way too much time on Twitter in the days between Queen Elizabeth’s death and her funeral, mostly following the now infamous Queue of people waiting to see her coffin and the BBC coverage of her life, death, and funeral (dubbed Mournhub on Twitter).

There’s some crazy stuff being passed around over there about Harry and Meghan. There are people claiming that their children aren’t real because they’ve never been brought out for public events, never mind that Harry has been very vocal about his resentment of being paraded in front of crowds and tabloid cameras during some of the most stressful times of his childhood. People, leave them kids alone. And for Her Dear Departed Majesty’s own sake, there’s enough drama without conspiracy theories.

The people who defend Meghan against all of the industrial scale trolling call themselves the Sussex Squad. I follow some of them in order to keep up with what’s going on, but I don’t normally engage with the back-and-forth on Twitter. I don’t have the emotional energy for it. I’m also not always in agreement with the Squad. I don’t care about attacking Kate Middleton, and for many that’s the shape that defending Meghan takes.

Not too long ago, there were pictures released of Queen Elizabeth with some of her grandchildren–notably excluding Harry’s children–that was taken by Kate at Balmoral shortly before the Queen’s death. The image had been photoshopped, and there was a frenzy of criticism from the Squad about that, basically accusing Kate of releasing an inaccurate representation of an historical moment. I thought the ruckus was all nonsense. Most people who photograph children take multiple shots of the same scene and merge the best shots of each kid into one image. It’s hard to get a group of kids to all look at the camera at the same time. It was a non-issue, but from the amount of attention it received from the some members of the Squad, you would have thought Kate had presented cuckoo in the nest as heir to the throne.

On the other hand, the Squad does a lot that I admire. They raise money for charity, they research false claims against Harry and Meghan and Meghan’s mother and debunk conspiracy theories. They make sure that the troll farm of anti-Sussex hate out there on Al Gore’s internet is not the only thing people see. I’m not really one of them, but I’m much more aligned with them than I am with the “other side.”

So, failing to fit in with any particular group, I’m striking off on my own to record my royal obsessions in my own way at my own place. I haven’t used this blog for some time, so I might as well use it for this. I have other interests and concerns that I will probably write about if I get back into the habit of blogging. I need some sort of outlet. Why not this?

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