Not Too Wild About Harry
A video made in 2006 surfaced a couple of weeks ago , featuring England's Prince Harry. Evidently, the third in line to Queen Elizabeth's throne referred to a fellow cadet as a "Paki," and made another anti-Arab slur as well.
This little episode follows a previously released series of photos of the prince at a "fancy dress" party (on this side of the pond we call them costume parties), taken in January, 2005, in which the prince was attired as a Nazi, complete with swastika armband. Naturally, Harry apologized after those images of him emerged.
Both incidents occurred a few years ago. But is Harry older and wiser now? Has he "learned his lesson?" Is the prince merely thoughtless? Clueless? Laddish? Racist? Sorry?
Or was it simply an odd form of noblesse oblige?
Even though it's the twenty-first century and, in the words of William Shakespeare, the "royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle, this earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, this other Eden, demi-paradise, this fortress built by Nature for herself against infection and the hand of war, this happy breed of men, this little world, this precious stone set in the silver sea, which serves it in the office of a wall or as a moat defensive to a house, against the envy of less happier lands,-this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England" has become a much less insular and more ployglot kingdom -- has much really changed in the way the British royal family as an institution views those of other nations and religions?
Over the centuries among England's royals and aristocracy, anti-Semitism and anti-Arabic sentiment was perfectly acceptable. In 1189 when Richard I (the "Lionhearted") ascended the throne, and during the first few months of his reign in 1190, Jews were massacred at York and in London. Richard also led Crusades to the holy land to make war against the Infidel (of course the Muslims referred to the Christians as "the Infidel" as well!), destroy his nemesis Saladin, and take Jerusalem.
In 1290, the Jews were expelled from England by an edict of Edward I. And Prince Harry's twice-great-uncle Edward VIII, who preferred to abdicate the throne than give up his paramour, the twice-divorced American Wallis Warfield Simpson, was a notorious anti-Semite.
Isn't anyone minding the store over there? One would think that if Harry's old enough to take up a gun and go to war, he's expected to be old enough to mind his p's and q's; but that's evidently not the case. I couldn't help thinking when I read about his latest antiracial gaffe that if his mother were still alive, she would smack him across the mouth. Or wash it out with soap. After all, Diana embraced people from all nations, religions, colors, and creeds and I believe she would have been appalled by her son's behavior.
What do you think (apart from what I imagine is disgust at his intolerant remarks)? Is Harry just being an immature jerk? Or is he expressing the same beliefs of some of his royal ancestors and the issue isn't just about Harry, but is deeper and more insidious, with centuries of historical precedent?