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Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's all about Harry

Today's Observer carries an interesting and informative profile of Prince Harry saying that his arc of narrative, early tragedy, boisterous misbehaviour, respectable adoption of responsibilities in adulthood, interrupted by occasional bouts of boisterous misbehaviour, mirrors many classic spans of fiction, not least that of Shakespeare's Prince Hal. They add that it has also, albeit unwittingly, allowed the prince to become the focus of many public debates over what the British royal family is "for", and how it should behave.

What I found most endearing about the article though was the respectful tone that it adopts throughout, culminating in this wonderful example:

It wasn't his last apparent misjudgment over political and racial sensibilities. In 2009, he burst into the dressing room of the entertainer Dizzee Rascal and attempted to engage him in a "street handshake". Mr Rascal responded: "If you weren't royalty, I'd have punched you by now."

Of course all Dizzy Rascal's fans refer to him as Mr. Rascal. Why should the paper's correspondent do any differently?

But in the interests of balance I believe I also need to refer to Harry's ability as an Apache helicopter, his bravery in going to Afghanistan, and his first visit to Lesotho during his "gap year", when he quietly co-founded an Aids clinic there, returning many times. And I will conclude this piece with the article's final paragraphs, which say far more about the Prince as a man than anything the Murdoch press may throw at him:

In Mozambique a few years ago, the founder of the Halo Trust mine-clearing charity had a quiet insight into Harry and, arguably, a more lucid one than a shaky stolen Nokia-grab of blurred genitalia. While talking to a blind victim of an excruciatingly random explosion, Harry had held his hand, "which isn't something that comes naturally to a lot of people".

Some people might think that's the beginning of a better story.
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