There isn’t a situation in the world that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex can’t make worse by eagerly inserting themselves into the narrative.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the breathless couple condemned ‘all acts of terrorism and brutality’ following the Hamas attack on Israel. So caring yet also so terribly, terribly neutral — just in case they antagonise someone who might be useful in the future.
Or perhaps there is a more noble reason behind their careful impartiality? That would be marvellous, if true.
Yet in a word salad splashed with their usual oily dressing of corporate banal-speak, the Sussexes added that they were ‘supporting our partners and organisations on the frontlines in Israel to provide the urgent aid needed’.
What does that mean? Archewell is building a new pipeline to pump in fresh water for the besieged Palestinians? Or free copies of Meghan’s children’s book The Bench are available for anyone sending a stamped addressed envelope to Cloud Cuckoo Land, California.
Meghan and Prince Harry speak onstage during Project Healthy Minds’ World Mental Health Day Festival
Meghan speaking onstage at The Archewell Foundation Parents’ Summit: Mental Wellness in the Digital Age during the festival
The couple were joined on the panel by the Surgeon General of the US Vivek Murthy
Of course, Harry and Meghan weren’t the only elites who felt compelled to make the kind of appeasing statements which telegraphed humanity without sacrificing self-serving neutrality following the attacks.
Kim Kardashian issued a hand-wringing proclamation that also instructed us on basic anatomy: ‘As human beings with a heart, how can anyone not be devastated by these horrific images that we will never be able to unsee?’
On Instagram, Madonna adopted the same tone of simpatico narcissism. ‘Imagine if this was happening to you?? It’s Un-fathomable,’ she posted.
At one of their residency concerts in Las Vegas, at least Bono and U2 identified whom they believed to be the victims, calling the 260 young people murdered at the Supernova music festival ‘the stars of David’, and changing the lyrics of their song Pride to honour them.
Good for U2, because many celebrities, organisations, activists and high-profile doers of endless good — faced with the largest massacre of Israeli citizens in the country’s history — have been uncharacteristically silent.
Giving rise to the suspicion that when they opine in public about suffering and global injustice, it is all gesture politics, not genuine compassion; it is all showbiz, not sincerity.
Look at the ongoing circus of the Scottish Parliament, which declined to fly the Israeli flag as an act of solidarity, despite flying a rainbow flag to honour victims of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando in 2016. Not to mention the proud hoisting of a Ukrainian flag after the outbreak of war with Russia.
Meanwhile, the BBC is still refusing to call the Hamas organisation terrorists, even though terrorists is exactly what they are, in all their baby-butchering glory.
Gary Lineker, who has historically issued tweets which highlighted what he believed to be abuses against Palestinians, has remained quiet so far.
Madonna, joined a host of celebrities including Amy Schumer, Natalie Portman, Mark Hammil throwing support behind Israel after deadly Hamas attack
Earlier this week U2 frontman Bono paid tribute to Israel during a concert in Las Vegas
Perhaps the needle has fallen off his moral compass, while his virtue-signalling crampons (special BBC issue) have slipped on the treacherous slopes of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Across the wider football world, the Wembley Arch — lit up for Ukraine, for France and for Turkey within days of attacks — will not be lit for Israel. Why not? It is complicated, they say.
Yet no amount of injustice, historical or otherwise, could justify the slaughter, rape and kidnap of innocent families, teenagers and children.
However, you can agree that Hamas has plumbed new depths of cruelty while also wondering if bombing Gaza into oblivion and depriving its citizens of electricity, water and all hope for the future is the way forward for peace.
Yet to say nothing, if you are the kind of person who always says something, lends a terrible legitimacy and even a whiff of moral equivalence to the evil that Hamas has wrought.
Sometimes a flare goes up, and in the sulphurous light that it casts you can see exactly where everyone stands. Those who think of themselves and their own legacy before others.
And those who come forward to nail their colours to the mast because they know it is the right thing to do. And to my surprise, this includes our very own Royal Family.
King Charles’ courtiers issued a statement this week saying His Majesty was ‘appalled by and condemns the barbaric acts of terrorism in Israel’.
The Prince and Princess of Wales went even further — much further than some thought was wise. Not only were William and Kate ‘profoundly distressed’ by the ‘devastating events’ that took place, they went right ahead and called Hamas ‘terrorists’ — something even the national broadcaster has refused to do.
‘The horrors inflicted by Hamas’s terrorist attack upon Israel are appalling,’ said their statement — and I admire their clarity and sense of justice.
King Charles II receives Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis during an audience in Buckingham Palace on Thursday
No, you are correct. It is not something Queen Elizabeth II would ever have done. HM always erred on the side of diplomacy, avoided contentious issues and rose above the political fray throughout her 70 years on the throne.
However, if the monarchy is to mean something in the post-Elizabeth world, then surely they have to stand for something, too?
Since the Queen died, I have struggled to see what the point is of the Royal Family any more. Well, this week, they made a very big point indeed.
This week they had a purpose and a cause — and in plainly calling out terrorism when they saw it, when so many others have failed to do so, they made me feel proud.
Apologies for going on about Meghan, but what on earth was she wearing at that mental health summit in NYC? In her shoulderless jacket she looked like she was emerging from a roll of cream carpet.
Are bare shoulders even appropriate for a daytime serious seminar on Oh-How-I’ve-Suffered-and-So-Has-He? Hate to be a prude, but I think not.
After 14 years on the sofa, Holly Willoughby has left This Morning.
The announcement of her departure was so sombre that, for a moment, I thought something truly terrible had happened. Slogans such as End Of An Era, Family Comes First and even Goodbye Holly floated across the screen.
Had she actually… whisper it… died?
No, but the stand-in presenters assumed the kind of expressions parents use to tell the kids that Hammy has gone to live in the great hutch in hamster heaven. What the heck was going on?
Police allegedly found evidence of a plot to kidnap and kill the daytime TV star. It is also alleged a suspect had even ‘reached out’ to an American hitman.
There is no doubt that this must have been a horrendous experience for Holly and her family.
If there is one tiny, silver lining in this terrible tale of the perils of modern celebrity, it is that this timely gateway to leaving This Morning came at such a perfect and opportune moment.
For after Queuegate and Schofieldgate, where else could Holly go, except down — or out the door?
Holly Willoughby has left the ITV show This Morning after 14 years
Birkenstocks are the great dividers, and I am not talking about the toe post on the classic Gizeh style.
People love them or hate them. Devotees are in thrall to their cork-soled comfort and practicality; haters loathe the clunk.
I love my Madrid Big Buckles and yearn for a pair of Boston Bold Shearling Clogs, even if they do look like you are wearing a baked potato on each foot. Who cares? So cosy.
So, all power to the German sandal-making family behind Birkenstock, who have spent decades convincing us that their ugly-mugly foot-health shoes are actually highly desirable. And it has worked! Hippies, geeks, Kate Moss and Kaia Gerber have all succumbed to their knobbled charms, while even Margot Robbie dons a pair of Birkenstock sandals in the final scenes of Barbie. Mandals? Leonardo DiCaprio wears his mocha Arizonas with pride, Pierce Brosnan likes the same style but in a soft footbed and a tobacco shade, while Jason Momoa is Boston clog man. Last year, the Boston clog (in shade taupe) was so popular in the U.S. that pairs were selling for triple the price on eBay.
The company even launched on the American stock market on Wednesday, although shares opened 11 per cent below their offer price in a disappointing market debut. Yet the firm is still worth £7 billion, which is one giant step forward for the greatest granny sandal of our times.
Captain Tom would not be proud…
Whenever Hannah Ingram-Moore talks about the controversy surrounding her father Captain Tom’s legacy, she only makes matters worse.
On Piers Morgan’s TalkTV show last night, she admitted that the family pocketed £800,000 from the sale of Captain Tom’s three books, including his best-selling autobiography Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day.
Her argument was that he wanted the family to have the money, and that there was no suggestion that anyone buying the books thought they were donating to charity. What rot. The prologue of Tomorrow even expressly states Captain Tom’s delight that it will raise more money for the Captain Tom Foundation.
It is a comfort to know that nearly all the £38 million Captain Tom helped raise was paid directly to NHS Charities Together. It is the Foundation that has become problematic and the salary, appearance fees and home spa building that have raised eyebrows.
Worst of all is Mrs Ingram-Moore’s own legacy, which has been to damage public trust in giving to charity.
Captain Tom’s daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore admitted pocketing £800k from books the £39m NHS fund-raising hero wrote during a Piers Morgan interview
Liam’s on track: roll with it
For one weekend only, Liam Gallagher will be voicing the passenger announcements on the Manchester tram network.
The former Oasis frontman will be giving out recorded route information as the city hosts the Beyond The Music festival.
What a great idea — but why stop there? Mick Jagger could be put to good use on the London Undergound, giving info on the 19th Engine Breakdown, while Nicola Sturgeon is a must for the Edinburgh Trams network.
‘The next stop is Bankruptcy,’ she will say. ‘This train terminates in Utter Ruin.’
Don’t all rush, but Harrods ‘Gilty Pleasures’ Christmas crackers are now on sale at £750 for a box of six.
Buyers are instructed to place them ‘around your tablescape to appreciate their exquisite hand wrapping’ and not to ‘pull near eyes or ears or remove snap’, which sounds like what happened to Les Dennis on Strictly this year.
Treasures within include £50 vouchers, a heart keyring, card holder, silk eye masks and a 15ml bottle of perfume.
Sorry Santa, but I think me and my tablescape are rather underwhelmed.