'Dear the Royal Family: you need to talk about Prince Harry'

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"You lookin
"You lookin' at me?" (Image: Martin Meissner/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

If one man told you he was thrown to the floor by his brother in a row over their wives, and you asked the brother if it was true, you'd assume if he said "no comment" that it probably was.

If you heard the second man used to flush the heads of school friends down the toilet as a child, and expected complete strangers to bow and curtsey to him, you'd be certain it was true.

And if you learned that both men didn't even get a hug from dad when their mother died, you'd be able to draw a straight line from cause to effect without taking a detour to 'hmm, but do we believe it?'

In a council house, we'd call it a dysfunctional family who probably say 'no comment' to police officers, social workers, and the magistrate, too. Which is why the Royal Family cannot maintain its omerta on Prince Harry's allegations for much longer - the more days that pass, the seedier it seems.

'Dear the Royal Family: you need to talk about Prince Harry' rridqqieqiqerinv"Here's looking at you, Willy" (Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

In 1992, the palace likewise kept schtum when Andrew Morton's biography Diana: Her True Story dropped bombshell after bombshell, including five suicide attempts, her marital misery, and the fact she called the lady who is now Queen Consort 'The Rottweiler'.

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Much of it was personal, one-sided, and reported family conversations. And while the public lapped it up, MPs demanded the media face strong sanctions for "lies", harrumphed about breach of privacy, and many disputed it was true at all.

It later transpired it was written in Diana's own words, from taped conversations, and the much-maligned Morton became in time a respected biographer. While 'Harry's treachery' is considered unprecedented, Diana and Charles both did books, and both gave TV interviews that undermined the monarchy, admitted personal flaws, and revealed family upsets.

But here's the thing - only Diana was called a traitor for doing it.

Charles, the actual monarch-in-waiting whose actions had caused the problems, became a misunderstood man, in love with the wrong person, a victim of his parenting. The exact same could be said of Diana, but it wasn't.

While the king-to-be rehabilitated his reputation from an interfering tree-hugger to an environmental seer, she had to die before people stopped talking about the damage she had done. She's a saint now, but on the day of her death she was "a terrible mother" cavorting with an Arabic boyfriend and "humiliating" her sons, one of whom now reveals he was perfectly happy with it. Those venting their fury at Harry today should ask themselves how those words might sound in future.

'Dear the Royal Family: you need to talk about Prince Harry'And perhaps whose side Saint Di would be on (Getty Images)

Because if the future holds one certainty, it is that the truth will always out. Just as, 30 years on, we now know Diana was right about a deeply-damaged family and a cruel institution barely fit for purpose, we can be pretty sure that Harry's revelations won't be far off the mark. No-one who makes up a fight says it broke a dog bowl and they didn't throw a punch; no-one motivated by "malice" or the "million dollar deal" says he just wants his family back.

Harry's problem is that this imaginary family doesn't exist. It's a collective of genetically-similar, unemployable individuals of limited income and intelligence, locked in a museum and made to wear name badges that say 'brother' or 'father' with little awareness of what it means. Nannies do the wiping, servants do the cleaning, and policemen do the discipline. All this family does is shuffle up and down the line of succession, trying to get as far away from Uncle Andrew as possible.

Asked in his interview with Tom Bradby why he's speaking out when it'll only make the rift worse, Harry replies that staying silent doesn't fix anything. And he's right. His mother would agree.

It is only what needs to change that doesn't want to: the palace, the people it has broken and are called prince or princess, and a country which has for centuries sided with the Crown because it won a fight, and not because it was sane, reasonable, or kind.

If Harry was able to see past his blinkers, he'd know that's why the briefing against him worked. Everyone sides with the clear winner, right up to the point that it looks like someone else has won. His parents did only one TV interview a piece, but Harry's already done four. The chances are he won't stop there - and with only silence in return, his version of events will become fact.

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Perhaps in 30 years, Royalty will be more reasonable to those forced to endure it. But if it wants to survive that long, the institution needs to realise that today, just as in 1992, silence makes the Royal Family look cold, uncaring, and as guilty as hell.

And that does more to undermine the monarchy than anything Harry has done, written, or said.

Fleet Street Fox

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