As Joni Mitchell observed in Big Yellow Taxi, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. But our free and fearless press is belatedly finding out that one source of sales and clicks is about to disappear from view - well, in the UK, at least. The Royal goose that laid them a golden egg is flying the nest, never to return: the Sussexes are leaving the asylum.
Photo taken by Samir Hussein, (c) Samir Hussein, WireImage and Getty Images
Predictably, those in and around the Fourth Estate want the world to know that whoever drove Hal and Megs away, it wasn’t them. Some Royal observers are credulous enough to believe them, still swallowing the Kool-Aid and blaming the Duchess for not wanting to be the target of the kind of low-level racism that our press does so well.
It's not his fault, honestly ...
The problem for all those obscenely overpaid and overrated pundits is that most ordinary people do not believe them. They feel a connection with Harry and Meghan that they do not feel with the rest of the Royals, and certainly not with those in the press who have been banking sales and clicks from sneering at the Sussexes.
... she had nothing to do with it, Boss ...
And it all came to a head last week as Hal and Megs arrived at the Mansion House in central London. One photo of them under an umbrella, walking through the rain and gazing into each other’s eyes, cut through so sharply that it stung those press know-alls into grudgingly admitting that, yes, they were going to miss Team Sussex.
... she only had a Niggling Concern ...
Former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan whined plaintively “Even I was charmed by Meghan and Harry’s joyful Grinning In The Rain photo - so why don't they do more of this and less of the hypocritical preaching and moaning?” Opinion masquerading as fact, arse covering, and, as always, being famous because he knows famous people.
... and she can't even spell "Omertà"
The Daily Mail’s Glenda Cattia Maxima Jan Moir observed through gritted teeth “The superb choreography of Megxit is a credit to their mutual zeal and organisational skills, give or take the occasional petulance over the use of the word ‘royal’ … despite the rancour of the past year, one wishes them nothing but the best. How could we not?”
Yeah, right. But the Photo In The Rain was not an isolated event: as the BBC has conceded “The couple wore matching red outfits for the Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall. The duke and duchess received a long round of applause from the audience as they took their seats in the royal box”. Then came Megs’ school visit.
Some students thought their visitor was the Duchess of Cambridge. But they really paid attention when they knew it was Meghan. So why did the press embark on its sometimes vicious campaign against her? The Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr had a fair idea why.
“Is it really a coincidence that Prince Harry is first person to take the Sun to court for phone hacking? Taking on the Sun is a death wish for anyone in public life. And so it turned out. And who was Markle’s Baiter-in-Chief? [Piers Morgan]”. Big mates with Rebekah.
And among the blame-shifting from the press has come one cut-through of raw honesty, from Janine Gibson at the FT: “God this picture tho. The tabs really did kill their golden goose”. Yeah, they did. They did the deed. And they aren’t big enough to own it.
They’re saying goodbye to all that sparkle. Because the Sussexes won’t play their game.
Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at
[The Legalballs Fund has now closed]