SARAH VINE: A 6,400-word masterclass in manipulation… Meghan’s latest interview is an Exocet missile tipped with poison and aimed at the heart of the British monarchy

The comparison is striking. The simple black turtleneck. The pared-down make-up. The gaze, staring boldly into the camera. No, not the Duchess of Sussex, pictured for her latest interview with a U.S. magazine; but Princess Diana, photographed by Patrick Demarchelier in the autumn of 1991 for Vogue, and later used on the cover of a re-issue of Andrew Morton’s book Diana: Her True Story.

It can’t possibly be intentional, can it? After all, today marks 25 years since Diana’s tragic death in Paris, at the age of 36.

Surely not even Meghan, however subconsciously, would seek to troll the Royal Family on such a solemn occasion. Yet there it is.

And let’s face it, she’s done it before. Who could forget the timing of the Oprah Winfrey interview, aired only a month before the Duke of Edinburgh passed away in April 2021? Nothing and no one, not even the ailing health of Her Majesty’s consort of 70 years, could be allowed to stand in the way of Meghan speaking her famous truth.

In truth, though, the similarities are only superficial. The composition and styling are, it’s true, very alike. But while Diana’s smile is slightly shy, she nevertheless gazes warmly at the viewer, her eyes dancing with mischief.

The comparison is striking. The simple black turtleneck. The pared-down make-up. The gaze, staring boldly into the camera

No, not the Duchess of Sussex, pictured for her latest interview with a U.S. magazine; but Princess Diana, photographed by Patrick Demarchelier in the autumn of 1991 for Vogue, and later used on the cover of a re-issue of Andrew Morton’s book Diana: Her True Story

By contrast, Meghan’s half-open mouth is more of a smirk. And her beautiful warm brown eyes are somehow as cold as ice.

The Duchess of Sussex’s latest interview — 6,400 words of faux sincerity and fawning praise delivered from her lofty £11.2 million perch in the hills of Montecito, is an Exocet missile tipped with poison calculated to strike at the heart of the British monarchy.

It’s a threat so open, so blatantly obvious she might as well have stuck a horse’s head in the Queen’s bed.

Every line drips with menace, real or implied. Even her supposed moments of vulnerability are loaded with malice. At one point the interviewer, Allison P. Davis, asks her why she and Prince Harry ended up in California; why they felt they had to walk away from the UK; why they were unable to reach some sort of compromise, ‘even though several other members of the family do that exact thing’.

‘A pause as she looks down and inspects her hands,’ writes Davis. ‘“I don’t know,” she says, casting a knowing gaze out into the middle distance.’

Obligingly, Davis fills in the gaps. Meghan’s ‘supernova (biracial, divorcée, self-made millionaire, clothes-horse) presence’ was a threat to the monarchy, highlighting the way it ‘was becoming irrelevant to a younger generation — and worse, the ways that it was deeply flawed (and racist)’.

She was too sophisticated, too independent, with ‘desires and goals and a fan base’. In other words, far too cool and fabulous to fit in with the fusty old royals.

The Duchess of Sussex’s latest interview — 6,400 words of faux sincerity and fawning praise delivered from her lofty £11.2 million perch in the hills of Montecito, is an Exocet missile tipped with poison calculated to strike at the heart of the British monarchy

Like everything Meghan does these days, this interview is a masterclass in manipulation, a carefully orchestrated, professionally executed exercise in brand-building.

Meghan the philanthropist, handing out lunch to homeless people on the school run; Meghan the mother, teaching her little boy his manners; Meghan the wife, her metaphorical roots intertwined with Harry’s. It’s all there, every last cliché. But perhaps most importantly it’s Meghan the tragic, misunderstood, maligned heroine. Meghan as Cinderella, cast out by the twin Ugly Sisters of the British media and the Establishment, her princess dreams in tatters, her dress stained with silent tears.

And yet, despite her suffering, her noble, beautiful heart is simply bursting with forgiveness.

‘I think forgiveness is really important. It takes a lot more energy to not forgive,’ she says wisely. ‘But it takes a lot of effort to forgive.’

And then, the sting in the tail: ‘“I’ve really made an active effort, especially knowing that I can say anything,” she says, her voice full of meaning.’

There she goes again with the horse’s head. Don Corleone himself could not have delivered a more elegantly unequivocal threat. And she’s even trained Harry to do it. Davis is treated to a tour of their shared home office in the presence of the barefoot Duke.

‘“Most people that I know and many of my family, they aren’t able to work and live together,” Harry says in passing as I take a peek at their command center (sic). He enunciates family with a vocal eye roll.’ A ‘vocal eye roll’, eh? Good boy, Harry, pat on the head. Give that man a treat. But back to Meghan (for who else is there?). Is she a living saint or an angel — or perhaps both?

It’s a threat so open, so blatantly obvious she might as well have stuck a horse’s head in the Queen’s bed

In South Africa, she informs us, she is worshipped like Nelson Mandela.

When she married into the Royal Family, the people of that great nation apparently ‘rejoiced in the streets the same way we did when Mandela was freed from prison’.

Goodness. Who knew that overcoming apartheid was as easy as marrying a rich man with a title? Such humility, and so down to earth with it.

Now, of course, she is the undisputed Duchess of Montecito; but, at first, she didn’t dare to dream of such splendour.

‘We didn’t have jobs, so we just were not going to come and see this house. It’s like when I was younger and you’re window shopping — it’s like, I don’t want to go and look at all the things I can’t afford. That doesn’t feel good.’

Poor Harry and Meghan, their little cold noses pressed up against the electric gates of Montecito, with nowhere but go but the 25,000 square foot Mediterranean-style mansion in Beverly Hills (complete with hot and cold running staff and security detail) loaned to them by the actor Tyler Perry. Truly, they have suffered.

On and on it goes, each ‘revelation’ more delusional than the last. The tragedy, of course, is that people will believe this narcissistic drivel. The world is full of idiots who think that the Queen is a lizard and that Princess Diana was the victim of an MI6 assassination plot, so really this is no great leap of faith.

Poor Harry and Meghan, their little cold noses pressed up against the electric gates of Montecito, with nowhere but go but the 25,000 square foot Mediterranean-style mansion in Beverly Hills 

Indeed, it is perhaps no coincidence that this interview should coincide with the anniversary of the Princess of Wales’s tragic death in a car accident, 25 years ago today.

Not even Meghan would dare draw an overt comparison; but the timing can’t be overlooked. There is nothing and no one this woman will not exploit in pursuit of her own advantage.

In common, I suspect, with the Royal Family as a whole, I had hoped that once Meghan had obtained the life she desired — that is to say a private existence away from the cameras and her obligations as a working royal — she would, if not quite extend the hand of friendship then at least relent in her attacks on the Queen and her family.

But it’s increasingly clear that she has no such intention. If anything, she seems hellbent on revenge.

No wonder she’s planning a return to social media: no better place to fling around vague and unsubstantiated accusations which spread like wildfire.

She is building an identity, a career, based solely on casting herself as the innocent victim of her wicked in-laws. She is ruthlessly exploiting the modern obsession with identity politics to feed negative stereotypes about Britain, and turning it to her advantage.

The late Princess Diana, for all her struggles, had genuine reason to be aggrieved with the Royal Family. Although many of the paranoias that haunted her turned out to be largely fabricated, her marriage to Prince Charles was, indubitably, based on false pretences

All the while, of course, continuing to enjoy the privileges of the status and titles she claims to despise.

The late Princess Diana, for all her struggles, had genuine reason to be aggrieved with the Royal Family.

Although many of the paranoias that haunted her turned out to be largely fabricated, her marriage to Prince Charles was, indubitably, based on false pretences.

Meghan may fancy herself in the same league, but the truth is there’s no comparison. Diana suffered much greater hardship, both privately and publicly, than Meghan ever did.

And yet while Diana did, in her own way, strike back against The Firm, she never sought to bring the royals to their knees. She was fundamentally too kind a person. Not so Meghan.

Make no mistake, this woman doesn’t just want to hold the feet of the Royal Family to the fire — she wants to burn the House of Windsor to the ground and dance on its ashes. The awful tragedy is that, with the help of Prince Harry, she might just succeed.

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