Going down Obama way, Harry and Meghan hook up with Goldman Sachs

That didn't take long.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have taken their show on the road, getting out and about with a coming appearance to speak at Goldman Sachs, same as President Obama in his post-presidency did before them.  According to Maureen Callaghan at the New York Post:

Just weeks after slamming the door on Buckingham Palace, declaring their suffering as wealthy, pampered, world-famous senior royals so unbearable that they must take their leave and flee to the Canadian woods in search of privacy, humility, a slower way of life, time to think about which noble eco-warrior causes to support (while flying private, of course) and to create normalcy for themselves and their baby, Harry and Meghan are out on the stroll, selling their goods and services — whatever those may be — to the highest bidder.

Supposedly, this first Goldman appearance (following another one at J.P. Morgan Chase in Miami) is an unpaid gig.  But news reports note that it's likely a platform for more lucrative speaking gigs, an audition, maybe, toward making big money off their royal name, just as President Obama made money off his presidential name.  Kind of "the first one's free."

Obama got paid $400,000 for his post-presidential Goldman speaking engagements, raising questions about whether those payments for his pearls of wisdom were actually disguised bribes, a game Joe Biden learned to play well, too.  Lots of the swampy pols do.  Now Harry and Meghan are doing it, almost as if they're taking advice from Michelle Obama (which the former first lady has denied) and following the same template. 

In the age of Trump (and Boris Johnson), this sort of stuff doesn't go over well.

It's kind of sad, really.  What on Earth would the pair have to say of value to investment bankers?  They know nothing; neither is terribly famous for academic achievements, expertise, or even being a thinker.  That Harry's still in therapy over his mother's tragic death?  It's not their merit they're selling; it's their name.  It's status.  Come get near us and bask in our royalty by coming to the exclusive Goldman event with us emoting, so it goes.  In the past, royals such as Prince Harry could be seen for free at ribbon-cuttings in the U.K.  Now it's a pay thing, and reserved for the super-rich.  Goldman probably has quite a few well heeled clients who'd like that.

It's a sign that the pair aren't just going Hollywood and looking for red carpet events; they're going for big money as well the Fitzgeraldian "retreat into money" of the global elites — the Davos crowd, the billionaires with private islands, the Google summit types, trading on their name just as Obama amassed a fortune trading on his.

This is a wretched departure from the earlier model.  As Maureen Callaghan noted, Harry's mom was a different kind of royal, living a life of service to others, touching AIDS patients and doing a world of good by helping to destigmatize them with her own presence.  When she divorced Prince Charles, she didn't try to cash in on her name; she said she was content with aspiring to be "the people's princess," something that never involved going Goldman. 

What Diana did was consistent with the British royal family's own mission of representing Britain as a sort of service to the people — showing up at hospital openings in Lincoln, Perth, or Stoke, or visiting kindergartens in Nottingham, Stockport, or Derby.

As I argued here, the Sussexes, by leaving the royal family for all that "quiet" and "stepping back," as they claimed to want at the time, was really just a plot to slough off those low-status Newcastle and Peterborough events hanging out with the groundlings but keep all the glittery red-carpet appearances to themselves, leaving the boring stuff to Princess Anne.  That attitude didn't go over well with the other royals, colloquially known as "the firm," given that they divide up the work.

But with this Goldman news, it turns out they had much, much more in mind for themselves.  Instead of serving at Preston or Gloucester park openings, or ribbon-cuttings in Reading, they're going to serve whatever the investment bankers want instead.  They're going to be traveling in lots and lots of private jets, spewing their carbon compounds as they blather and hector the lower orders about cutting back.  Already they're focused on vanity and appearance, same as Meghan's Hollywood crowd is (which costs a fortune).  Unlike those sad royals they bailed on, they aren't letting themselves age gracefully as the other royals do.  To do that would be just so...middle-class, which the royal family is always accused of being.

But joining the social mountaineers and cashing in the Obama way isn't a lovely picture; it's no way to win the people's hearts as Diana tried to do. When Auntie Sarah Ferguson, after her divorce from Prince Andrew tried to cash in and sell the royal name, she was rightly treated as a pariah. For sure, this kind of activity is not going over well in Britain.

Piers Morgan let loose with a volley of fury, for one:

"There's a big difference between talking about it to raise public awareness of grief-related mental health issues - and doing it privately for a big fat fee to a bunch of super-rich bankers, business tycoons, politicians and celebrities.

"By commercially exploiting his mother's death to make vast pots of money like this, Harry is surely behaving in exactly the same way he professes to despise from the media?"

On the other side of the pond, Callaghan expressed a lot of disgust, too:

To get this right: Harry, as he said in his last public statement as a working royal, had "no other option" given the "many years of challenges" he has faced, the result of losing his mother, his forced march behind her casket as a 12-year-old boy, and the ongoing mental health challenges from which he suffers.

"Every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash," he said last year, "it takes me straight back."

So, as he said in his farewell speech, he was forced to "step my family back from all I have ever known, to take a step forward into what I hope can be a more peaceful life."

But for the right price, he'll dredge up all that deeply personal emotional chaos, held sacred for decades, to a room full of global powerbrokers — despite zero chance any of it will elucidate or ameliorate a single real-world problem.

To cap off this inaugural foray into life as working commoners, Harry and Meghan reportedly had dinner with two of the most philanthropic and publicity-shy people on the planet, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez.

Now they're reportedly house-hunting in L.A. and New York City — exactly where celebrities seeking seclusion go — and have been in talks with Goldman Sachs since at least November, months before announcing their plans to "step back."

Who buys this stuff? People who don't vote for President Trump, it seems. Fortunately, that's a dwindling tribe, given the crowded field of 'influencers' out there. 

This selling of the royal name for lack of anything else to sell may not work out as well as they think it will.

Image credit: Northern Ireland Office via Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 2.0

That didn't take long.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have taken their show on the road, getting out and about with a coming appearance to speak at Goldman Sachs, same as President Obama in his post-presidency did before them.  According to Maureen Callaghan at the New York Post:

Just weeks after slamming the door on Buckingham Palace, declaring their suffering as wealthy, pampered, world-famous senior royals so unbearable that they must take their leave and flee to the Canadian woods in search of privacy, humility, a slower way of life, time to think about which noble eco-warrior causes to support (while flying private, of course) and to create normalcy for themselves and their baby, Harry and Meghan are out on the stroll, selling their goods and services — whatever those may be — to the highest bidder.

Supposedly, this first Goldman appearance (following another one at J.P. Morgan Chase in Miami) is an unpaid gig.  But news reports note that it's likely a platform for more lucrative speaking gigs, an audition, maybe, toward making big money off their royal name, just as President Obama made money off his presidential name.  Kind of "the first one's free."

Obama got paid $400,000 for his post-presidential Goldman speaking engagements, raising questions about whether those payments for his pearls of wisdom were actually disguised bribes, a game Joe Biden learned to play well, too.  Lots of the swampy pols do.  Now Harry and Meghan are doing it, almost as if they're taking advice from Michelle Obama (which the former first lady has denied) and following the same template. 

In the age of Trump (and Boris Johnson), this sort of stuff doesn't go over well.

It's kind of sad, really.  What on Earth would the pair have to say of value to investment bankers?  They know nothing; neither is terribly famous for academic achievements, expertise, or even being a thinker.  That Harry's still in therapy over his mother's tragic death?  It's not their merit they're selling; it's their name.  It's status.  Come get near us and bask in our royalty by coming to the exclusive Goldman event with us emoting, so it goes.  In the past, royals such as Prince Harry could be seen for free at ribbon-cuttings in the U.K.  Now it's a pay thing, and reserved for the super-rich.  Goldman probably has quite a few well heeled clients who'd like that.

It's a sign that the pair aren't just going Hollywood and looking for red carpet events; they're going for big money as well the Fitzgeraldian "retreat into money" of the global elites — the Davos crowd, the billionaires with private islands, the Google summit types, trading on their name just as Obama amassed a fortune trading on his.

This is a wretched departure from the earlier model.  As Maureen Callaghan noted, Harry's mom was a different kind of royal, living a life of service to others, touching AIDS patients and doing a world of good by helping to destigmatize them with her own presence.  When she divorced Prince Charles, she didn't try to cash in on her name; she said she was content with aspiring to be "the people's princess," something that never involved going Goldman. 

What Diana did was consistent with the British royal family's own mission of representing Britain as a sort of service to the people — showing up at hospital openings in Lincoln, Perth, or Stoke, or visiting kindergartens in Nottingham, Stockport, or Derby.

As I argued here, the Sussexes, by leaving the royal family for all that "quiet" and "stepping back," as they claimed to want at the time, was really just a plot to slough off those low-status Newcastle and Peterborough events hanging out with the groundlings but keep all the glittery red-carpet appearances to themselves, leaving the boring stuff to Princess Anne.  That attitude didn't go over well with the other royals, colloquially known as "the firm," given that they divide up the work.

But with this Goldman news, it turns out they had much, much more in mind for themselves.  Instead of serving at Preston or Gloucester park openings, or ribbon-cuttings in Reading, they're going to serve whatever the investment bankers want instead.  They're going to be traveling in lots and lots of private jets, spewing their carbon compounds as they blather and hector the lower orders about cutting back.  Already they're focused on vanity and appearance, same as Meghan's Hollywood crowd is (which costs a fortune).  Unlike those sad royals they bailed on, they aren't letting themselves age gracefully as the other royals do.  To do that would be just so...middle-class, which the royal family is always accused of being.

But joining the social mountaineers and cashing in the Obama way isn't a lovely picture; it's no way to win the people's hearts as Diana tried to do. When Auntie Sarah Ferguson, after her divorce from Prince Andrew tried to cash in and sell the royal name, she was rightly treated as a pariah. For sure, this kind of activity is not going over well in Britain.

Piers Morgan let loose with a volley of fury, for one:

"There's a big difference between talking about it to raise public awareness of grief-related mental health issues - and doing it privately for a big fat fee to a bunch of super-rich bankers, business tycoons, politicians and celebrities.

"By commercially exploiting his mother's death to make vast pots of money like this, Harry is surely behaving in exactly the same way he professes to despise from the media?"

On the other side of the pond, Callaghan expressed a lot of disgust, too:

To get this right: Harry, as he said in his last public statement as a working royal, had "no other option" given the "many years of challenges" he has faced, the result of losing his mother, his forced march behind her casket as a 12-year-old boy, and the ongoing mental health challenges from which he suffers.

"Every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash," he said last year, "it takes me straight back."

So, as he said in his farewell speech, he was forced to "step my family back from all I have ever known, to take a step forward into what I hope can be a more peaceful life."

But for the right price, he'll dredge up all that deeply personal emotional chaos, held sacred for decades, to a room full of global powerbrokers — despite zero chance any of it will elucidate or ameliorate a single real-world problem.

To cap off this inaugural foray into life as working commoners, Harry and Meghan reportedly had dinner with two of the most philanthropic and publicity-shy people on the planet, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez.

Now they're reportedly house-hunting in L.A. and New York City — exactly where celebrities seeking seclusion go — and have been in talks with Goldman Sachs since at least November, months before announcing their plans to "step back."

Who buys this stuff? People who don't vote for President Trump, it seems. Fortunately, that's a dwindling tribe, given the crowded field of 'influencers' out there. 

This selling of the royal name for lack of anything else to sell may not work out as well as they think it will.

Image credit: Northern Ireland Office via Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 2.0