Meghan and Harry’s ‘bohemian values’ trumped Royal Family’s ‘bourgeois’ style

Meghan Markle needs to be ‘cut down to size’ says Widdecombe

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are preparing to make their first joint public appearance since welcoming Lilibet into the world. They stepped back from the limelight in June to take some months to reflect and spend time with their newborn, only occasionally breaking their silence to release statements on world events. This weekend, however, they will join a packed team of celebrities for a 24-hour global TV show in New York as part of a Global Citizen event.

The organisation is hoping to draw attention to “unite, to defend the planet and defeat poverty” by putting on a music and arts show for thousands of revellers on the Great Lawn in New York’s Central Park.

Meghan and Harry appeared in a similar event earlier this year as part of a worldwide campaign to get COVID-19 vaccines distributed.

It is unclear when they will return to the UK and reunite with the Royal Family after their momentous fallout saw them move to the US last year — having since gone on to appear in several broadcast interviews taking aim at the Firm.

While many have suggested that the battle between Meghan and Harry and the Royal Family is far from over, analysis of the feud and conclusions about who was right or wrong have abounded.

Louise Perry, a columnist at the New Statesman, earlier this year waded into the conversation with a piece titled, ‘Prince Harry and Meghan Markle show the triumph of bohemian values over bourgeois ones’.

She noted the Sussexes were “playing to a young audience who have no interest in obedience to tradition”.

Ms Perry used author Niall Gooch’s description of conflict between “sets of virtue that he terms ‘bourgeois’ and ‘bohemian’.”

The former are named for their association to the bourgeoisie but are not limited to the middle classes — they include things like, “stoicism, humility, industriousness, punctuality, obedience, tidiness and a sense of duty”.

While the “bohemian” values make up things like, “creativity, imagination, tolerance, open-mindedness, independence, sensitivity, and (above all) authenticity”.

Ms Perry said that while very few people directly sit in either category, she said Meghan and Harry pitted against the Queen was the perfect example of the bohemian beating the bourgeois.

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She explained: “No single person better embodies the bourgeois virtues than our current Queen, whose rather peculiar personality has proved well suited to her role,” referencing the monarch’s depiction in the Netflix series, ‘The Crown’.

She claims: “How can the drab, reliable Queen compete with the glamour of her sister Margaret? Or the vivacity of the patron saint of bohemian virtues, Princess Diana?”

The modern drama between the two parties has, Ms Perry opined, boiled down to a much, “larger conflict between bourgeois and bohemian values, and then inviting the public to pick a side”.

She claimed: “Do you perhaps prefer the Duchess of Cambridge? In temperament she is the Queen’s true heir: a woman who rarely speaks in public, who carefully selects uncontroversial charitable causes, and who faithfully obeys the Queen Mother’s directive to ‘never apologise, never explain’.

“Or are you rooting for Markle? Who has lived a very different kind of fairy tale, a more modern story inflected with identity politics, in which a valiant outsider takes on the powers that be, suffers for her defiance and eventually triumphs.”


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Ultimately, she claimed there was a “telling generational divide,” with, “younger Britons much more likely to express support for the Sussexes in their bohemian endeavour”.

Ms Perry concluded: “And this is exactly what we should expect, given the fading away of the bourgeois virtues witnessed within the lifetime of this Queen.

“Humility and stoicism just can’t cut it in Hollywood, where authenticity reigns supreme.

“The Sussexes are playing to a young, American audience who have no interest in obedience to tradition, and their lucrative deals with Netflix and Spotify suggest that this strategy has paid off.”

Others have similarly commented that Meghan and Harry’s Netflix deal was the nail in the coffin in the feud’s saga.

The pair signed a deal with the streaming platform last year thought to be worth £109million.

Speculation has since revolved around whether Netflix bosses will be happy with the pace they are moving at.

To date, Meghan and Harry have announced just two projects each: ‘Heart of Invictus’ and ‘Pearl’ — but Netflix bosses have said the pair are working hard on their creations.

Shortly after the deal was announced, Patricia Grisafi, a culture expert, commended Meghan and Harry in an NBC opinion piece titled, ‘The Harry and Meghan Netflix deal proves Hollywood, and America, won the revolution’.

Like Ms Perry, she championed the power Hollywood can have in guiding real world events.

Ms Grisafi wrote: “The couple are writing a new chapter in the age-old American story of reinvention and self-determination by announcing that they are rejecting the British monarchy for the stuff of American dreams.

“They’ve decided they can have more power over their lives and influence over everyone else from Hollywood than from Buckingham Palace.”

On announcing their deal last year, many hit out at what they saw as a fast-track pass to stardom and riches.

Loose Women’s Jane Moore said it “irritates the hell out of me,” because, “they have been given this deal because of who they are, not because of what they have proved they can do.”

Others, however, were less critical.

Marlene Koenig, a royal expert, told she thought it was “great and important” that Meghan particularly was focusing on female empowerment aimed at a young audience.

She said: “They’re looking for projects that support what their work wants to be like in supporting minorities and mental health ‒ telling stories that will be of interest.”

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