English: Prince Harry at a 2009 charity match ...
English: Prince Harry at a 2009 charity match at , London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been a little perplexed by the coverage of Prince Harry’s visit by the international media. Reporters almost universally seemed to interpret the positive reception the young Royal received as a diplomatic coup for the Royal Family in general and Harry in particular. The hug between Harry and Portia made headlines as an example of Harry’s charm and warmth despite the PM’s reputation as a hugger extraordinaire.   A few reports say the PM was the hugger.  More seem to prefer the story that she was the hugee. But you get the sense that they expected her to show, on some level,  hostility or unfriendliness until Harry charmed her. What nonsense.

I suppose all the emphasis on the warmth of the Jamaican welcome stemmed from fears that given the Prime Minister’s avowed determination to sever ties with the monarchy, there might have been street protests and embarrassing demonstrations,  with the BBC et al. on hand to capture scenes of crowds lining the streets and booing a red-faced Harry, while waving badly lettered cardboard placards reading “Out with the Queen!”

The fact that no such protests materialized is not, I believe, an indication of whether or not people want to hold on to the Queen. We are perfectly capable of welcoming a foreign visitor, especially someone exotic enough to be labeled with that fairy-tale designation “Prince” (Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty anyone?) while still maintaining core beliefs. Can a white Prince dance reggae?

Can a royal soldier shoot?

What does he look like up close?  What will he say to Bolt and Portia?

 

Royals are also celebrities, and we love celebrities, whether or not they happen to represent our Head of State.

I interviewed Paul Harrison of Sky News who made a point of saying that most Jamaicans he spoke to thought bread and butter issues were more important than replacing The Queen.  That’s undoubtedly true. Replacing The Queen is never likely to show up on a list of priorities for a people struggling with poverty and crime.

There’s also a lot of talk about the affection older Jamaicans feel towards The Queen, making them loath to cut ties.  Harry’s visit could cement that feeling, it is suggested.

Have several days  of a pre-planned publicity tour really had any significant impact on us?   Surely not. Harry is really not that important. Or is he? Maybe some people feel that anyone who can race Usain Bolt, drop a likkle patwa (he’s quoted as saying “every liddle ting gonna be aright!” at the Kings House State dinner – I assure you, that’s the spelling used in the release) and gamely take to the dance floor to “drop foot” is one more reason for us not to cut our last remaining ties with Britain. If so, God help us. Have a view, whether for or against holding on to the monarchy. We can argue that out another time. But don’t base your view on the manufactured visit of  an irrelevant prince . That would just be royally stupid.

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