(A Royal) Game of Thrones
If the final season of Game of Thrones is moving too slowly for you, consider daily reading of a British tabloid newspaper, where the House of Windsor seems to be auditioning for a role as the eighth kingdom in Westeros.
Need a few plot lines? There's the scheming and imperious arriviste wife of Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, acting so...American. Then there's her petulant husband, whose famous bonhomie seems to have curdled into resentment at the press. Don't forget the catty sniping between Meghan and her sister-in-law, the serenely bland Kate Middleton, wife of the king-in-waiting, Prince William. But wait: now comes word that the squabbling is really between Harry and William, who can't stand to be in the same room with each other, since William warned Harry of plunging ahead too soon with his American actress.
The latest twist appeared last weekend, when the Sunday Times (no one's idea of a braying tabloid), quoted royal officials saying they were looking to ship Harry and Meghan out of the country, perhaps to Africa, so as to cool things down between the brothers and refocus the spotlight on William.
All we need is some dragon glass and a dire wolf.
It may all sound ridiculous, but there's clearly strain among this generation of royals. We may want to believe the fairytale of a modernizing monarchy, but it seems human frailties and old habits are ruling the day. A shame, considering how William and Harry saw the petty cruelty meted out towards their mother, Diana, before she fought back famously with the help of sympathetic journalists.
The princes would do well to study her example. Whatever their hold on tradition, the royal family are utterly dependent on public good will. Diana deftly won over the public after her humiliations, leaving Charles looking like a heartless cad. Should Meghan Markle ever choose to discuss--directly or via "friends"--just she's been treated by the British press and royal courtiers, once-admired royals like William and Kate could be sullied.
At the same time, the absence of some gestures of brotherly love between William and Harry will leave the press to speculate without consequence, pushing the best story line no matter what the facts. As Meghan prepares to give birth, some gestures of magnanimity on all sides would be wise.