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The Sussexes and Buckingham Palace

Los Sussex y Buckingham Palace, EFE

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No. It has nothing to do with entertainment. On the contrary, it has to do with power, conflict and authority, that is, the classic elements of politics and the political, and therefore also with the study elements of political science. Furthermore, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has had a constitutional monarchy since the Glorious Revolution of 1688 transferred power to Parliament.

In other words, we are talking about a basic institution for the stability of the country, State and society, but also an institution governed by the law, and obedient to it. Perhaps both the character of the monarchy and the issue of law were the origin of this problem and what the Dukes of Sussex missed.

I confess that when I arrived in Colchester in 1976 to start my postgraduate studies at the University of Essex, I was surprised by the genuine respect that I felt everywhere, from the street to rather liberal places like the university. I had a hard time accepting it, so I decided to at least understand it, and I spent part of my time at the university to reduce my ignorance.

This is how I made use of the resources of a good library as well as access to teacher guidance and conferences on the subject. I also enrolled as an auditor in a course on the monarchy. My greatest discovery was how regulated it was in matters of public resources and the duties of the royal family, yes the duties, not only of the queen, but of all those who received privileges and public resources from the British.

I also learned that much of that legislation stems from the end of World War I, since the British monarchy has German origins by blood, marriage, and incorporation. In 1914-1918 she was rightly considered to be of German origin, then the enemy, even though everything was already very mixed up, since she was also linked to the last Russian Tsar (and later, in the case of Philip, Elizabeth”s husband). II, there were Greek and Danish components). The case was that together with the end of the war the royal family appeared with an English transformation of their surnames and the Royal House became that of Windsor to this day. Much more precise and detailed legislation also appeared.

I imagine that for millions of people it must have been quite a revelation to observe the (exaggerated) television coverage throughout the world and the very sincere appreciation of the British towards the monarchical institution and the queen they fired. The truth is that, when I finished my studies in 1980, I left England without fully understanding the phenomenon, which has even led, in a country of immigrants, but with a similar culture like Australia, through a plebiscite, to have decided to keep the Queen as head of state.

I had -that if- managed to reduce my ignorance, understanding that the institution of the constitutional monarchy was key to understanding why the United Kingdom (and before only England) did have a Constitution, only it was not written. I had it because a constitution is for, above all, and perhaps since the Magna Carta, a legal document that marks, among other things, the institutionality of a country, unlike our Latin America, where the popular idea of ​​magical realism has been installed, that a constitution is a document where our wishes are registered, regardless of their feasibility or resources.

“The Crown” has been a worldwide success and I admit to being addicted to the series, and its excellent reconstruction of Elizabeth II”s time on the throne. I am not deceived that it is not a documentary or a history book, but a very good TV series, which to be seen must combine real events with a very good presentation, which above all must be entertaining and not necessarily 100% true. just plausible. And perhaps a well-proven fact is that Churchill told those close to him that he was extending his stay as prime minister to help explain to the then young monarch what his duties were from his coronation in 1953, remaining in power until 1955.

But going back to the Dukes of Sussex, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has a difference with the European ones such as the Scandinavians or the Netherlands, and it is the particular situation that the majority of people feel as their own, including members of The Royal Family. That very positive feeling ceases to be, when there is the tabloid press that like a meat grinder takes each of the members and informs and destroys without mercy, since they are human beings like everyone else, leaving the defects of each situation very exposed and open. to criticism from an interested and avid public.

That media pressure is very difficult for anyone, and even worse, when in the case of Lady D, many years later, the BBC, no less, recognized that there was deceit and false information on the part of the journalist who interviewed her in order to get her to say what she said about her husband and the break up.

It must be very difficult to integrate from outside this type of families, rather, institutions. And I”m not only saying this for Diana of Wales, but also for the oldest monarchy, that of chrysanthemums, that of Japan. This is the case of Masako, who more than 20 years ago joined the Imperial Palace from a diplomatic function as Naruhito”s fiancée. Masako was popularly known as the sad princess, a fact that was accepted when the Imperial House recognized that she had depression. And Lady D and Masako knew much better than Meghan what to expect.

When Harry and Meghan raised their wishes to the queen and the family to abandon their duties, even partially, while maintaining their privileges, I think they were wrong, and not only because this story existed, but because there was nothing to negotiate. When they left, the tabloid press described this situation as “megxit” in reference to “Brexit”, but in the case of the couple there was absolutely nothing to negotiate, for the simple reason that it violated the law, since the privileges and annual money that is delivered to each member who fulfills royal functions, is in exchange for their dedication and not as a right that can be unilaterally changed by Buckingham Palace.

In other words, it simply could not be accessed, without creating a major legal problem for the Royal Household, as well as a constitutional one, since it broke with the basic agreement of respect for legality by the monarchy. It would have been a full-blown scandal.

The truth is that the Dukes wanted the best of both worlds, unacceptable also for a queen who, like Elizabeth, made that respect a characteristic of her long tenure of seven decades.

Meghan came from outside, from another world, but Harry”s ignorance of the legal regulation of the monarchical institution is surprising, evidence that, unlike from his brother, he was never prepared to be king. It is understandable that he wanted to take another path in life, but the right thing would have been to give up his duties as other members have done throughout history, even to the throne itself.

But was the couple worth the same for their life project and expected income, without their connection to the royal family? I think no. Even being the Dukes of Sussex is not something minor, since it was conferred for the first time on November 24, 1801 to Prince Augustus Federico, sixth son of King George III and his wife, Queen Charlotte.

It has been said that the contract with Netflix was worth US$100 million, it may be an exaggeration, but without a doubt they achieved much more than they could hope for with their role in the monarchical structure. Without this attraction, its market value is simply devalued.

I think the mistake was thinking that they could get both, without having to choose, as appropriate. I also believe that their performance since they decided to leave has been unfortunate, and this is reflected in the very poor image they have today in British public opinion. Meghan, who has had assorted confrontations with her own blood family, was grossly unfair in suggesting that there had been racism on the part of Buckingham Palace.

I don’t know about other people, but the Queen had had a proven performance far from racism, or in another way it cannot be explained that she is the head of state of so many nations in Africa and the Caribbean, widely recognized by Margaret Thatcher when recounting her condemnation of Apartheid from South Africa.

I don’t think that his latest documentary and what is said in the following ones will be answered by the Royal Household. On the contrary, probably just as they were invited to the funeral they will be to the coronation of Charles III. It is what corresponds to the rest.

Nothing special, since this is not a personal fight, exactly what the Dukes have not understood. Nor did they understand that if they wanted another life project, what was appropriate was to resign, never denounce it.

Now the publication of Prince Harry”s memoirs is announced for January 10 and he will probably continue on the lucrative path of victimization, only that at some point the secrets to be told will end, and he will once again face the dilemma of what to do with his lifetime.

In my case, after so many years of observing the different motivations of public figures, the behavior of the Dukes seems particularly wrong to me, for which I cannot feel sympathy, which does not seem to exist in the United Kingdom either.

I return to the beginning of this column. It is not show business, but a key institution of the country. The Dukes raised a conflict, but the power and authority were on the other side, which had the attributes that the Romans requested for both power and influence, on the one hand, the auctoritas, that is, the title or right to to be respected, as well as the potestas or the effective capacity to be obeyed, since the law also appears on the side of the Palace.

For this reason, given the failure of the Dukes” challenge, the leaf will probably be turned at Buckingham Palace and a formal but very icy relationship is the one that will be offered to Harry and Meghan, so as a conclusion we must resort this time to the Greeks, who spoke of the two phases of political relations, and in the way that the conflict was raised, this relationship is, the agonal phase (from the Greek word agon, meaning fight), and the architectural phase, (from the Greek word arkitekton, that is, construction).

In other words, everything to do with power is a process, struggles followed by accommodations, so you have to prepare for a new reality, this time definitely without Harry or Meghan in activities that are not strictly family.

And I am still the same as when I came and left England, although with more information and understanding, I continue to respect, but not fully understand, the tremendous popularity of the institution of monarchy.

This article is part of an agreement between El American and the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.

Ricardo Israel es un reconocido escritor, bogado, analista político y académico chileno. Fue candidato presidencial de su país en 2013. Actualmente hace parte del directorio del Interamerican Institute for Democracy // Ricardo Israel is a renowned Chilean writer, lawyer, political analyst and academic. He was a presidential candidate in his country in 2013. He is currently a member of the board of directors of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy