I can’t keep up with Prince Lochinvar, I really can’t. His mind has become like that of God. It passeth all understanding. Just when I thought Harry had brought his hacking case because the tabloids used to call him a thicko, he popped up all chevalier-like to say it was about “stopping the abuse” of Meghan.
There are thumping paradoxes in his argument. Never mind that “abuse” is not predicated on hacking, and that the alleged hacking took place between 1996 and 2011, years before he met the Duchess
How does he square his gallant protection of one woman with his willingness to throw another to the wolves, and indeed to the tabloids? Pity Chelsy Davy, the Chandleresque blonde whose youthful dalliance with Harry is now known to people who weren’t even born when it happened. Was it right to drag her name into court?
Davy is married, and has a young child. Did it not occur to Harry, who feels every prick of life like a dagger, that revisiting the flora of their affair might distress this blameless person who, unlike Meghan, backed out of the strobe lights? Did he even bother to consult her before he sued?
According to a Davy family friend, he did not. Once again, his willingness to share details about personal relationships with women makes him less Lochinvar than louche. His constant cri de coeur is that no one comprehends how he feels. Well, Harry my boy, I do.
My phone was hacked by the tabloids in the early 2000s. I found this out from Scotland Yard, who sent detectives round to my house. They told me how traumatised and shocked I must feel. I replied I would feel more traumatised if my phone hadn’t been thought worth hacking.
(I believe one of the reasons I was targeted was because of my then friendship with Boris Johnson, with whom I worked on The Spectator, but most of my voice messages must have made dull listening. They were mostly about the literals in Paul Johnson’s copy, though the police may have thought this some kind of code.)
I was asked if I wanted to sue Rupert Murdoch, as it was a News of the World journalist who had allegedly perpetrated the crime. I said I had no intention of suing him, which confounded them. They kept asking. “Why?” “Because he’s a family friend.”
I was then offered counselling, which I refused. Having your phone hacked is not the worst thing that can happen to you. Being publicly abused isn’t pleasant, but people risk that every day on Twitter. I still can’t fathom what Harry is about, until it suddenly occurred to me that he thinks he has a brain, and a fine one at that.
This explains in part why he hates Britain so much, and said at his trial that it had hit “rock bottom”. Friends of mine in California say he is puffed up like an adder by having written a book and now thinks of himself as a homme sérieux.
His avowed desire to “change the landscape of journalism” takes on a sinister new meaning; Harry believes he has a mind to be reckoned with and something meaningful to express, like Shelley or Swift. It is safe to assume that any aspiring artist is against their country, ie against the environment into which they were born.
Harry obviously believes his talents have gone unrecognised here, chiefly out of spite. In that conviction he is no different from Balzac, Swift, Molière and Pope; all of them bitter critics of their age and nation.
Dante put all the patriotic Italians of his day into Hell, Cervantes painted such a picture of the Spain he lived in that it ruined the Spaniards. Shakespeare, save for his history plays, made his heroes foreigners and his clowns English. Swift finished both the Irish and the English.
Of course Harry is a highly respectable man, and respectable men are indeed, by and large, thickos, but he seems to have acquired the affectations of an intellectual, as well as the dubious morality and sexism that often singles them out.
A best-selling book was fatal to someone of his nature. That it was ghost written matters not a jot to him, and he has probably forgotten this small detail. Of course, were he to actually write a book on his own, or indeed “reform the journalistic landscape”, he would inflict such wounds on the English language that it would never recover.
In the meantime, he is inflicting pain on his former girlfriend, something on which both he and his feminist wife would do well to ponder.