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  • Raghav Sand

Rotten Royalty

The world has improved in more ways than what we can comprehend in this article. At the same time, there is something rotten about the way certain people and institutions are not held accountable for their words, actions and gestures. The monarchs of Great Britain (The Firm) and Saudi Arabia (Kingdom) are two of the most prominent and oldest royal families in the world. Incidentally, both these family run ‘firms’ have served themselves and their cronies more than anyone else. A long list of similarities between the two would include, but is not limited to, having disregard for human rights and getting away with heinous crimes.

Meghan and Harry with Oprah

A bombshell interview of Meghan and Harry has sent shockwaves around the world. Oprah Winfrey steered the conversation with grace and the revelations made by the former royals gave a first-hand account of the hostility. The formal relinquishment of royal duties took away all financial and security benefits from the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II. Oprah conducted the interview at a friend’s place. There was no formal agreement or pre-planned questions; Meghan and Harry were not paid for the interview.

The sparks were visible right from the time when the former royals started dating. Their marriage was ‘a staged event for the world’. Meghan admitted that she was immature in not doing her research about the British royal family; she enquired about things from Harry on a need-to-know basis. Right from the planning for her marriage to the personal liberty to move around, nothing was a fairy-tale for Meghan. She was not in possession of her passport and driving license. Is this how royals should treat one of their own?

Countries like Australia, New Zealand, and Canada are active constituents of the British commonwealth. How are common people in these nations going to react to the Meghan-Harry interview? If due attention is paid to the severity of issues and events, something big should happen as a reaction to the details coming out of the interview. If the revelations are brushed aside and the PR machinery tries to deflect from the real issues, it will be an irreversible damage to the credibility of democratic institutions.

Meghan was the more candid of the two and revealed that she had suicidal thoughts. She has a been a supporter of many charities and her work includes empowering women. Meghan did her first job when she was 13 and understands the importance of being independent better than most others. The British royal family has mastered the art of supressing scandals and controversies.

Absence of denial about falsehood being written about the couple made them realise they were on their own. Some extremely distasteful conversation about the skin colour of their first child before birth had clear racist undertones.

Harry told Oprah that he is excited about living with authenticity and has no funds apart from what Princess Diana had left for him. Meghan and Harry summarized their decision to quit the royal titles and duties due to lack of support and lack of understanding from those around them.

Saudi Arabia – No Mischief too Big

The Kingdom has made the most of its relationship with United States of America. Saudi Arabia is an important geo-political ally for the U.S. in a strife-torn middle east region. Oil is the most important pillar of their association and a common enemy in Iran keeps them glued even during the most difficult times.

Sectarian violence and an arms race in the middle east have consumed the previous two generations. Blood and oil flow in tandem to keep the life ticking. Every country in the middle east has prolific covert operations aimed at suppressing their adversaries and dissenters. The level of mischief that the Kingdom indulges in is second to none.

President Joe Biden was critical about the workings of Saudi Arabia during his election campaign. He made it clear that a few points needed recalibration and few other arrangements needed a complete overhaul. U.S. released an intelligence report finding Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, ordered operation resulting in journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death. As a consequence, some Saudi officials were sanctioned but the Biden administration deflected from punishing MBS. Such selective policing will dent the credibility of U.S. and will give an open invitation to other similar incidents.

Perception and Perpetuity

Popular and powerful people are revered due to a well-orchestrated perception mechanism. Events and statements are presented or brushed aside in a manner that is convenient and suitable on a case-by-case. If military and economic ties are above everything else, then human rights and accountability for mischief will suffocate as just words in dictionaries and global forums.

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