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Harry and Meghan in Jamaica are soft-power dynamite. Britain is left with kryptonite William and Kate



A popular Nigerian adage says “the cow never knows the value of its tail until it is chopped off”. In many tragic ways, this speaks to today’s Britain. From EU membership, to competent leadership, to low inflation, it seems necessary for Britain to lose things to appreciate their importance.

This week, look at Prince Harry and Meghan being feted in Jamaica. See the soft-power skills they carry with them, and think about that Nigerian adage.

In much of the British media, Harry and Meghan are all-year panto villains. But around the world, they could not be more loved – often for the very reasons they are despised in the British media. They are the soft power we could have enjoyed with the increasingly dominant, increasingly self-confident non-white world, especially the Commonwealth.

It’s not just that they are royals. Prince William and Kate headed to “no problem” Jamaica in 2022, and encountered problems aplenty. As their PR fiasco unfolded, they were derided for shaking hands with Jamaican children through wire fences, and for motoring viceroy-style through crowded streets in a fancy Land Rover. At the nightmare’s end, Jamaica basically handed Britain its P45, informing the royals of its intention to be a republic, to “move on”.

And it’s not just that Harry and Meghan are famous. David Cameron’s 2015 visit to Jamaica as prime minister was seen as another giant clunker. But then he did self-sabotage there, swatting away reparations requests, urging Jamaicans to “move on” from slavery and offering to fund the building of a prison to house the Jamaican-origin criminals whom Britain didn’t want. As a figure of renown, and, of course, a descendent of enslavers, he could have handled it all better.

Still, Harry has something the royals he left behind and the likes of Chillax Cameron can never have. He has familiarity, an ease with difference – and he has Meghan.

In 2012, he also had the love of the UK press and public. He was praised for his warm embrace of the then Jamaican PM, Portia Simpson-Miller, and was photographed larking about with Usain Bolt. “He has shown himself to be a natural ambassador, a diplomat in a very real sense – one hug from him has (at least partly) dissipated the bad feeling of generations … It is inconceivable that any other royal could have pulled this off quite so effectively,” gushed the Mail on Sunday.

But that was then, before the British media’s own version of Orwell’s “two minutes hate” became a thing. Now, much of the press sees Harry and Meghan glad-handing and being glad-handed in Jamaica, surfing the love at the premiere of the Bob Marley biopic, and they don’t much like it. “Meghan and Harry pose next to anti-royal Jamaican prime minister who wants to ditch the monarchy and warned Wills and Kate they’ll never be king and queen of his nation – as Charles undergoes prostate surgery and the Princess of Wales recovers in hospital,” thundered the Mail. “The hubris of Harry and Meghan’s Jamaican photoshoot,” snorted the Spectator. “Crown fools: ‘Provocative’ Harry & Meghan spark royal row as they meet Jamaican politicians plotting to oust Charles as head of state,” jeered the Sun.

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