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Monday, 29 January 2024 22:25

Endgame: Inside the Royal Family and the Monarchy's fight for survival.

By Jacob Mawela.

During her 70 years on the throne, your grandmother has done nothing to redress and atone for the suffering of our ancestors that took place during her reign and/or during the entire period of British trafficking of Africans, enslavement, indentureship and colonialization," partly read an open letter from human rights advocates, professors and lawyers going by the umbrella identification, Advocates Network, released pending the then Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's (now, Prince and Princess of Wales) – William and Kate, that is – January 2022 eight-day Caribbean tour of Commonwealth countries as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee.

Occurring in Belize, the trip – described as a disaster which turned out into a PR nightmare – became riddled with protests, demonstrations and calls for reparations owing to the "colonial legacy of THEFT." Incidentally, a mere month from the registration of said objection, yet another couple from "the FIRM" (the description for the British Royal Family), namely Edward and Sophie (then the Earl and Countess of Wessex), served to add more to the monarchy’s declining stock among sympathizers when, whilst on a tour of yet some more of the Caribbean countries, the Earl (now Duke of Edinburgh) affronted Antigua's prime minister, Gaston Browne, through the response, "I wasn't keeping notes, so I'm not going to give you a complete riposte", when the head of state called out for reparatory justice for Caribbean countries which were colonized by Britain.

These unwittingly similar incidents are contained in the recently published 403-page paperback by British journalist, Omid Scobie, titled, Endgame: Inside The Royal Family And The Monarchy’s Fight For Survival. Scobie’s beat focusing on the British royal family, his latest offering following on the 2020 bestseller regarding the married lives of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Prince Harry and Meghan), viz, Finding Freedom – casts critical insight into the ancient institution and its prominent members. Although about a familiar topic to royal watchers around the globe, Scobie’s contribution contains anecdotes only he as a privileged inside observer could conjure!

Consider the incident contained within the content titled, The Fall of Prince Andrew: Scandal, Shame, and Silencing Jane Doe, when the 61-year-old disgraced prince was summoned by the Queen to Windsor Castle to face up to a plethora of his shenanigans which also – damagingly to the monarchy's universal image – included his hobnobbing with the now late Jeffrey Epstein (the American financier declared a sex offender and alleged to had taken his own life whilst under incarceration in August 2019).

Described, by a former aide, as being in a nervous, frustrated and like s- -t state of mind and appearing gaunt and exhausted whilst dressed in a rumpled suit on a frigid morning of January 11, 2022, he was to face comeuppance for compromising scandals long of his making, from Her Majesty, which would render him losing his HRH (His Royal Highness) title, military honours and almost all his official royal roles. The House of Windsor, effectually, was simply gatvol (had had enough) with him, with Prince William alleged to had initiated the rebuke of his uncle. Andrew, Scobie hints, had to abide by such punishment especially when viewed within the context that he needed his mother’s charity (in the form of a sum of 12 million pounds Sterling) to bail him out of a lawsuit accusing him of sexual assault brought by Virginia Giuffre – a woman who alleged that the prince sexually assaulted her when she was 17.

In the lead up to the decision against Andrew, the Queen and Prince Charles appeared to dither, to William's ranklement, in slamming the gavel upon an uncle whose affairs he deemed to be "casting a long shadow over the entire institution . . . over all of them." It was such a moment which served to
reveal a fissure betwixt father and son insofar as their styles of leadership – just as the now heir to the throne’s intervention dropped a reminder of him being the future of the monarchy, as opposed to his father’s ‘momentary’ (becoming King Charles III at the age old age of 73) reign.

Another segment in the tome delves into the historically all White royal family’s grappling with the ever contentious issue of race. Delving into incidents of bigotry and denialism, Scobie casts the spotlight around an institution which had, unprecedentedly, to deal with one of its own getting married to a person of colour – read Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – thus setting the future stage for the introduction of biracial offspring into its fold! It is such a prospect which caused some royals to be twisted in knots – with one of them, audibly so, being Princess Michael of Kent. "Well . . . we could already guess what someone like her would be like," the wife of the Queen's cousin was heard gossiping with an aide in March of 2021. That someone was Meghan and the unwelcome was to reach its zenith with the airing of the revealing Netflix series and the January 2023 release of Spare, the memoir by Prince Harry disclosing his experiences whilst still an accepted member of the royal family.

Scobie's subjects may be blue blooded all they care, but they're also error-prone humans as his literary endeavour reveals. Although six countries in the Caribbean have indicated their intention to remove the British monarch as their head of state – with Barbados becoming the confluence's newest republic as of November 2021 – in addition to the House of Windsor ‘s disappointment with William and Harry failing to live up to their billing as the two members who could ensure the public's (especially the young) continued interest in the monarchy, along with a myriad of other challenges of the 21st century – the book's title oughtn’t in any way suggest that civilization is currently experiencing the demise of a time-worn institution!

Published by HarperCollins UK, Endgame is distributed around South Africa through Jonathan Ball Publishers. Available at reputable bookstores countrywide, it retails for R430.