Everything was transactional. Sandy Henney, a former publicist, said of Charles: ‘When I joined his office in 1993 he was coming under some pretty harsh criticism – ‘Bad dad; loveless husband. I think he was quite hurt. She said Bolland had worked to change Charles’ image. Leaks to the media would have been a way to curry favor. “Brilliant manipulator,” Henney said of Bolland. “He got the result he wanted.” (Bolland denied those charges.)
Bolland was also accused of endorsing a News of the World article claiming a 16-year-old Harry had taken drugs, in return for praise for Charles for taking Harry to a rehab, exemplified by what the tabloid said to be photos from the visit. Harry writes that the seven-page tabloid made him sick and horrified, and that the photos were from an earlier official visit he had made to the centre. Bolland later admitted that the sequence of events had been twisted to improve Charles’ appearance. The cover, after Diana’s death, caused Charles’s portrait to spin. “No more cheating husbands,” as Harry puts it in his memoir. “Pa would now be introduced to the world as the bullied single dad.”
I think I made the point that Harry and Meghan had a bad deal.
And I haven’t even mentioned that in response to all this vitriol, potentially violent actors have risen from the woodwork. Neil Basu, a senior UK law enforcement official, recently confirmed that Meghan has received credible threats against her life, including from the far right.
Even so, shortly after leaving Britain, Harry and Meghan had their official security abruptly withdrawn. Harry says in ‘Spare’ his father didn’t step in then to help pay for the replacement, although he now plans to shoulder £3million a year to keep his brother Andrew safe, accused of exploitation sex of young women and girls (which he denied), after Andrew’s official security ended, and whose £12 million settlement with an accuser was also said to have been partly paid for by the Queen.
The way tabloids can air haphazard claims, generating a sense of urgent threat to create a social frenzy, can be used for targets other than a wandering royal.
In the run-up to the Brexit vote, among other big lies, British tabloids shouted that, thanks to a secret plot simmering in Brussels, the European Union would allow hordes of Turks to invade Britain , committing crimes, having too many babies and ruining social services. Turkey is not even a member of the EU and is far from becoming one. Brexit narrowly won, with dire consequences for Britain.
My impression from his memoir is that Harry wants to go on a crusade to apply sunlight to corrupt media practices and his family’s involvement in them. If he succeeds in combating the vile forces that he believes contributed to his mother’s death and jeopardized his newfound love, he could bring a greater sense of decency to Britain, and perhaps even reduce the power of worst practices in the media. Good luck to him.