Just imagine. Another perfect morning in Montecito, southern California. As the sun rises over the Santa Ynez mountains, an ocean breeze ruffles the leaves on the scrub oaks and ripples across the mosaic of swimming pools that stud this millionaire’s paradise.
Avocado toasts are slipped on to warmed plates. The smell of fresh coffee rises in the land of the elites. And then a terrible, piercing scream rips apart the balmy calm.
What awful calumny has occurred? Has the boutique down by the bay run out of sustainable cashmere? Are there too many pips in that organic Meyer lemon?
No, it is something much, much worse. Princess Pinocchio has finally had her nose tweaked.
Piers Morgan and GMB have been cleared over a heated debate about Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview where he said that he didn’t ‘believe a word she says’ on March 8 (pictured)
More than 57,000 people – including Meghan – contacted the regulator after the former GMB presenter said he didn’t believe the Duchess’s claims about experiencing suicidal thoughts
For deep inside the Sussexes’ grand mansion, set in an exclusive gated estate on a private street, a blast of good ol’ Blighty reality has crashed in like a meteorite.
One can only imagine how the duchess reacted upon discovering that her complaint against Piers Morgan has been thrown out by Ofcom, but for a woman with such a finely honed sense of victimhood, anything less than volcanic on the stroppy scale would be a surprise.
The duchess was among the 57,000 people who complained to Ofcom – and personally to ITV –when Morgan stated he ‘didn’t believe a word’ of what she told Oprah Winfrey during their interview back in March.
I mean, really. Piers was kind enough to give Meghan and Harry the priceless gift of candour, only to have it thrown back in his face without a word of thanks.
Piers Morgan leaves home in West London on Wednesday evening with wife Celia (left) to attend the GQ awards at Tate Modern and (right) Piers is pictured at the awards reception
Mr Morgan, pictured alongside his wife Celia, quoted former Prime Minister Winston Churchill in his latest Instagram post
Yet in moment of triumph for freedom of speech, for UK broadcasters and journalists everywhere – but most of all for the former Good Morning Britain host himself – Ofcom ruled that: ‘Mr Morgan was entitled to say he disbelieved the Duke and Duchess of Sussexes’ allegations and to hold and express strong views that rigorously challenged their account.’
So he has been entirely vindicated, while the duchess has been accused of being part of a ‘chilling restriction on freedom of expression’.
Oh dear. That is not a good look for a self-styled international humanitarian and do-gooder; a woman who, according to the couple’s Archewell website, wants to ‘unleash the power of compassion to drive systemic cultural change’.
All Meghan seems to have driven is her wheezing old jalopy of self-justification into the brick wall of baloney that has awaited her all this time. For sooner or later, this day of reckoning had to come.
Piers Morgan described the Ofcom decision as a ‘resounding victory for free speech’ after receiving the news earlier today
Since the moment they left to forge a new life in America, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been assiduous keepers of their own flame of fame.
From day one they have depicted themselves as victims fleeing from the tyranny of inherited wealth; a couple of rich and privileged pups forever barking about the unfairness of life.
My daddy won’t give me any money! My daddy talks to the press! It’s all so simply awful.
From Oprah Winfrey to Instagram statements, from podcasts to Netflix series, from newspaper op-eds to Zoom calls, they have built up their story of suffering and burnished their images without halt.
Then of course there is the Finding Freedom biography, the remarkable unofficial histoire written by Carolyn Durand and Omid Scobie that largely seems to reflect their every thought and itch.
Along the way neither of them appear to have minded about any collateral damage caused to the Queen, other members of the royal family, household staff or even poor Thomas Markle.
Morgan shocked viewers by walking off set during a row with Alex Beresford, before quitting the programme hours later
Then and now one can only gasp at the ultimate vanity of their quest – to have their truth believed at all times, and to never be questioned.
They have tap-tap-tapped the golden syrup from the tree of fib and glib without pause.
Their vision, their view, their version of events has spooled out behind them in a wallow of words, each one carefully curated.
Somehow the Sussexes have been able to accuse and counter accuse, to complain, to control the momentum and the narrative, to indulge their victimhood. Until now.
The Ofcom ruling is perhaps their first wake-up call. The point will come when they will have to account for themselves and their accusations, which so far are unsupported by any evidence or detail.
Of course, Mr Scobie is already leading the pushback, citing a clause in the Human Rights Act that says free speech must always be compounded by the ‘protection of health and morals’. This, he says, ‘makes me question the Ofcom decision’.
Until now, to criticise the Duchess of Sussex (pictured on her wedding day at St George’s Chapel in Windsor with Prince Harry in 2018) was to be accused of racism, sexism and worse
Well he is entirely within his rights to do so, just as Piers Morgan is entirely within his rights to question the duke and duchess’s statements – many of which, incidentally, have been shown to be untrue.
Until now, to criticise the Duchess of Sussex was to be accused of racism, sexism and worse.
One hopes that the Ofcom ruling will at least allow the occasional cheep of doubt to be raised, without the cheepers being cancelled and sent to woke jail by Meghan’s permanently furious supporters.
This febrile atmosphere, into which these serious accusations of bigotry are thrown around like noxious confetti, is stoked by the Sussexes themselves.
All this scurrility propounded by annoyance and huff, spiced with a pinch of what looks increasingly like spite.
Surely it doesn’t have to be like this? Why do they seem so determined to crush not just the Royal Family, but anyone of note who disagrees with them along the way?
We are all entitled to freedom of speech. It is not a gift granted only to those who hold views acceptable to Harry and Meghan.
When I think about the Sussexes, sometimes it seems like a ghost story they have concocted themselves, one that is brooded over by malevolent wraiths, hurts real or imagined, insults perceived, slights dead and gone.
Many will welcome this cold bucket of water that has been poured over the graveyard of their fevered claims.
Oh to have been a fly on the Montecito wall when the news came through. I like to imagine the crash of teacup on saucer and then that prolonged scream, echoing down to where the surf rolls onto the shoreline like a benediction.
And if Harry were still juggling at the window, like the circus clown he is at heart, then surely he would have dropped his balls in shock.
So what of Princess Pinocchio’s own truths?
Piers Morgan is far from the only person who has raised serious questions about the Sussexes’ wilder claims, as the Mail reveals…
In the couple’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan claimed they were married three days before their official wedding in a private ceremony with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
But Archbishop Justin Welby insists: ‘I signed the wedding certificate, which is a legal document, and I would have committed a serious criminal offence if I signed it knowing it was false… The legal wedding was on the Saturday.’
Harry and Meghan suggested at least one royal expressed concern about ‘how dark’ their unborn son’s skin might be. But the explosive claim is fraught with inconsistencies.
Meghan alleges there were ‘several conversations’ about Archie’s skin colour ‘when I was pregnant’, yet Harry has said there was just one ‘before we even got married’.
As the Palace aptly puts it: ‘Recollections may vary.’
The couple have suggested Archie was refused a title amid those ‘conversations’ about his skin colour. Meghan told Oprah ‘they’ (apparently Palace officials) ‘didn’t want him to be a prince or princess’.
In fact, royal protocol dictates that the great-grandchild of a monarch doesn’t normally become a prince until their grandparent – in this case Prince Charles – has taken the throne.
Royal life was so claustrophobic, Meghan has said, that at one point she ‘left the house twice in four months’. She also claims that her passport was confiscated.
But the Court Circular shows that in the 17 months between her wedding and moving to North America, she attended official engagements on 73 days, as well as private outings and at least four holidays abroad.
In short, there doesn’t appear to be any ‘four-month’ housebound period. And she must have used her passport to travel. So what really happened?
Meghan has said she wanted to devote her life to royal service. Yet, simultaneously, Harry denies the Queen was ‘blindsided’ by their decision to step down as working royals.
In the Oprah interview, Meghan said to Harry: ‘I remember when you talked to her [the Queen] several times about this [Megxit] over…’
Harry: ‘Two years.’ That suggests they began planning to withdraw in January 2018, four months before their marriage.
HARRY IN SHOWBIZ
Harry has insisted that ‘Netflix and Spotify was [sic] never part of the plan’ for his new life in California.
Yet it has since been revealed the couple began speaking to at least one video streaming firm as far back as early 2019, about a year before Megxit.
HARRY has said he signed deals with broadcasters only after ‘my family literally cut me off financially… In the first half, the first quarter of 2020.’
Yet Clarence House records published in June show Prince Charles gave £4.45million to his sons and their wives in the previous financial year.