Despite their plaintive pleas for privacy, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle seem to be doing anything but shying away from the spotlight. Chatting with Oprah (and dropping a bombshell or two along the way), signing lucrative business deals with companies about whose products they have little familiarity (the Hunter Biden approach?), and hobnobbing with Hollywood glitterati. And now Harry has questioned the value of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution in a podcast. None of those actions add up to the idea of keeping a low profile.
Meghan, of course, grew up in America, and although she apparently voted in the U.S. presidential election, she may technically be a British subject. Harry, as of yet, hasn’t burned all his London bridges and remains a son of the old sod.
Though ensconced in the hills of California at the moment and looking as if he and Meghan intend to stay, Harry hasn’t exactly endeared himself to denizens of his host country lately. He may want to tread lightly there for a bit. From what I was able to read, it seems the Prince had this to say about one of the cherished rights We the People hold dear:
“I don’t want to start sort of going down a First Amendment route because that’s a huge subject and one I don’t understand because I’ve only been here for a short period of time, but you can find a loophole in anything and you can capitalize or exploit what’s not said rather than uphold what is said,” he said. “I believe we live in an age now where we’ve got certain elements of the media redefining what privacy means.”
“I’ve got so much I want to say about the First Amendment as I sort of understand it, but it is bonkers.”
Actually, Harry, we don’t tend to see it that way. And it’s really not a good idea to bash your new friends. Fortunately for you, the First Amendment allows you to spout off about pretty much whatever you like without repercussions. Had you piped up like that in Russia, you’d probably be chatting with the 2021 version of the KGB or Putin’s posse (which may be one and the same). In China, they would have put you to work in a factory in Shanghai by now, or perhaps tending a booth in an outdoor Wuhan food market.
I guess it’s easy to understand how he may not have had any concept of our First Amendment. After all, he comes from a long line of relatives who could lop off the head of anyone who dared voice an opposing opinion.
It occurs to me that if the First Amendment is giving you some trouble, Harry, perhaps there are other things American that may need some clarification as well. For example, a “lift” is really an elevator here. A “flat” is an apartment. When inviting someone into your home, in the south we say, “Y’all c’mon in,” not “come through.” Tea is infrequently served at 4:00 in the afternoon, and when consumed, it’s often over ice and loaded with sugar. Also, seldom do we have crumpets. Glazed donuts are more standard fare.
You’re not driving, are you? Left-hand turns in Britain are not quite the same here. We use the right side of the road. Remember, it’s RIGHT turn on red that’s usually allowed. You may find a bit of a problem if you try that going left.
If you order chips at McDonald’s, you’re not going to get French fries. If Mickey D’s had them, you’d probably get a side of Fritos or Lays. And don’t call the chips “crisps” either. You’ll just get a lot of blank stares from waitstaff and grocery store employees.
Learning other Americanisms might come in handy for you if you want to settle in successfully. For instance: Your “mobile” is called a cell phone here. A “nappy” is called a diaper. A “chemist” is called a drugstore. A “motorway” is a highway. A “dustbin” is a garbage can. A “biscuit” is a cookie. A “bonnet” is the hood of a car, “petrol” is gasoline, “trainers” are sneakers, a “jumper” is a sweater, and the “loo” is the bathroom. Oh, and since you claim to crave your privacy, you should know it’s pronounced with a long “i” . . . not “prih-vacy.”
If you’re going to stay in our fair land, you really should make an effort to assimilate a bit. Things are somewhat different around here now than they were way back when the British were in charge. Remember learning about that huge war between your country and ours back in 1776? In case you were told differently in your schools, we won.
©MMXXI. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer