Shmuley Boteach

Harry’s real sin with Meghan was to become an American

I’m not the most important guy in the world – although my Jewish mother might take issue with that statement – but with nine children and 10 grandchildren, thank God, I have better things to do with my life than obsess over royal shenanigans.

But there I was watching Netflix’s reportedly $100m documentary-deal with Harry and Meghan because for me, as an American who lived in Britain as rabbi in Oxford for 11 years, it confirmed everything I believed about why and how truly vilified Harry has become, his wife even more so.

The original sin that we Americans perpetrated was to reject Britain. To reject its monarchy. To reject is stuffiness. To reject its pomposity.

The British king lives in 10 castles. The American president lives in a Georgian mansion renowned, comparatively, by its simplicity.

The British believe that some people are born blue-blooded and royal, superior to real mortals. We Americans laughed at the idea and burned George III’s image throughout the colonies.

To the British, this was heresy of heresies.

It’s not true that George III was ever a tyrant. That’s an American invention. His worst pre-war atrocity was the Boston Massacre where six died. Yes, six innocent lives. But compare that to Vladimir Putin and you’ll start understanding how we Americans tried to portray him as a monster. And why? Because he dared tell us what to do. How dare he?

And now you understand Meghan Markle. Is she entitled, a little bit arrogant, a touch narcissistic? Which Hollywood celebrity isn’t. After all, they are American royalty. But how could that possibly explain the demonization of Meghan, which stems not just from possible racism at her being a woman of color (remember, there was never a civil rights movement in Britain, then again, Britain abolished slavery well before we Americans) but from her being a powerful American woman who believes she is the equal of any of her peers.

How dare she!

What was the essence of the Harry and Meghan documentary that so stirred up the British? Yes, Harry dumped on his family. But actually, not that much. He said they were jealous of his wife. Yawn… I’ve heard that before. He said his brother screamed at him. Ouch! And he said the Buckingham Palace press doctors planted stories against him and his wife, which they probably did. It’s the name of the game in Britain where the Tabloids are among the most vicious on earth.

But is any of that really earthshattering? Sounds like a pretty straightforward family squabble to me.

No, Harry’s real sin in the documentary – shown over and over again – is how much he is enjoying living in America after having rejected Britain. Instead of the drab gray skies, he lives in Montecito, California, under its sunlit skies. Instead of being driven around in bulky SUVs, he’s driving topless sportscars. And instead of being married to a member of the British aristocracy, which would have been expected, who knows how to bite the upper lip, he’s married to a loud American who is opinionated and tough. Good on her. It should always have been thus.

Even Harry’s mother Diana was never as hated as Meghan because even Diana did not make the cardinal sin of abandoning Britain for America.

And yes, what’s rightly going through Harry’s mind – and this is the serious part of this otherwise not-that-significant story – is that his mother died of all this royal nonsense.

Royalty is an ossified relic of the past. Nearly all those who are a part of it are suffering. From Charles who suffered in a loveless marriage, to Diana who was its principle victim, to the very dignified Queen Elizabeth who was never even allowed to express an opinion, to the minor royals who quietly fade into the twilight still begging for some part of the public purse so they can maintain an increasingly unaffordable lifestyle, the monarchy is becoming something that is cruel to its participants.

Harry saw his mother literally die in the institution, surrounded by paparazzi leeches taking pictures of her crushed and dying body in a Paris tunnel.

He has decided that this will never happen to his family.

And that’s the serious part of the fake fairy tale.

A man watched his mother die and knows where this all leads. His wife admits to suicidal thoughts – and look at what the monarchy did to Edward VIII (not the greatest guy as he loved Hitler), Prince Margaret (who couldn’t marry the man she loved because he was divorced), not to mention the slow disfiguring of a once proud war hero in Prince Andrew, now forever banished for undefined sins with Jeffrey Epstein.

The Bible says that a man has to move away from his father and mother, embrace his wife, become one flesh, and build a new nuclear family by being closer to her than to his birth parents. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and leave his mother, he shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Why would anyone fault Harry for putting his relationship with his wife and children before that of his father and brother? His wife and kids come first. Period. He’s correcting the mistake of his own father, King Charles III, who never put his wife first, which is what slowly destroyed her.

I respect Prince William and Kate for carrying on the proud tradition of monarchy because it remains important to the British people. But I respect Harry even more for saying, “Get me out of here.”

Is he a hypocrite for trading off of his fame to make a buck? Come on. It’s the American way.

About the Author
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is the founder of This World: The Values Network. He is the author of Judaism for Everyone and 30 other books, including his most recent, Kosher Lust. Follow him on Twitter@RabbiShmuley.
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