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Prince Harry Trip: Are Brits a Nation of Sycophants When It Comes to the Royal Family?

Posted on the 13 March 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost

Prince Harry trip: Are Brits a nation of sycophants when it comes to the Royal Family?

Prince Harry. Photo credit: An Honorable German

Harrymania continues, as the prince’s official 10 day tour to the Caribbean and South America comes to an end, but are we all at risk of being whisked off our feet by the fairytale of monarchy in the build-up to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee?

Notable tour highlights for Prince Harry have included racing Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, dancing with Bob Marley’s widow, Rita, playing rugby, beach volleyball and polo, getting kissed by a Brazilian model and receiving a proposal from Miss Bahamas.

Prince Charming. As The Washington Post put it: “Say goodbye to the party prince; say hello to the Queen’s secret weapon.” The Telegraph continued to track his every move, with six articles over the last three days of his trip. The Daily Mail  was also charmed, giving the Prince ample coverage (the same cannot be said of “stunning” model/TV presenter Fernanda Motta who they pictured in her bikini).

Adulation abroad. It’s not just back home where Harry is racking up the column inches. The Jamaica Gleaner tracked the prince’s itinerary and devoted a special online gallery to videos and photos of the visit. The Rio Times reported that when Harry walked through the Complexo do Alemão favelas residents lined the streets calling his name. The Belize Guardian was delighted that the “the free spirited war-fighting Prince” persuaded their Governor General, Sir Colville Norbert Young, to dance: an apparently unprecedented event.

Harry, who’s here to help. The Rio Times hoped that the Prince’s presence in Brazil will help to improve trade relations with the UK. Usain Bolt told The Jamaica Gleaner that “meeting with Prince Harry will bring a lot of spotlight on track and field and much more recognition to Jamaica.” It also put a spotlight on Bolt-endorsed sportswear firm Puma, who are enjoying the free publicity, according to The Guardian.

He didn’t charm everyone. One teacher in Falmouth, Jamaica complained to The Jamaica Gleaner: “He (Prince Harry) is moving too fast … The big dignitaries are all over him. They are not giving us a chance to really enjoy him.”  One dignitary who would not be “all over” Harry was Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller who said at her swearing-in in January that as a grand Independence gift to the country (which celebrated 50 years of Independence this year), her Administration would move to replace the Queen as Jamaica’s head of state.

More like North Korea-lite? Yasmin Alibhai-Brown was disgusted by the latest coverage of the royals in The Independent: “Britain feels like North Korea-lite in this period of national sycophancy over the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, when adulation is mandatory.” This argument is backed up by reports on the Republic website that emails leaked by the BBC show that an upcoming Jubilee documentary presented by Gary Barlow will be resolutely pro-monarchy. Catherine Bennett concurred in The Guardian, writing that: “The Queen’s diamond jubilee has coincided with a new era of unbridled genuflection to the House of Windsor.” She saw a parallel to the post-coronation period in the 1950s when, according to historian Sir Charles Petrie, the Queen “was the subject of adulation unparalleled since the days of Louis XIV.”

What about the ugly sisters? Catherine Bennett in The Guardian, asked where the other, less photogenic, members of the Royal Family are hiding? She described Sarah Ferguson’s daughters as the “two colourful princesses,” bringing to mind their much-ridiculed choice of outfits for the Royal Wedding last year. She also raised the more important constitutional problem of the once dashing, now cantankerous Charles, equipped with fountain pen, reams of paper and a passionate belief in his right to inspect and tinker with legislation.” Quite a contrast with Harry’s account of his father’s fond memories of a “certain dance he once had with a beautiful girl called Pinah” when he was in Rio in 1978.

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