03:28:07 am on
Tuesday 16 Jul 2024

The Royal Dream Team
David Simmonds

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle want to step back from the burden of Royal work and split their time between North America and Britain. Having watched eighteen episodes of The Crown, with twelve left to go, I consider myself something of an expert on matters Royal. Thus, I will venture to comment. 

Setting up shop in North America

Prince Harry is sixth in the line of succession to the throne.  Prince Charles is first, followed by Prince William and his three young children.  The chances of Harry being called upon to wear the Crown are slight. The Royal Actuary could come up with a precise percentage.  Thus, why not let him, Meghan and Archie set up shop in North America?

Commentator consensus is it that by saying North America they more precisely mean Canada, where they spent their Christmas and where they liked it so much, they paid a special thank you visit to the Canadian High Commission in London. Canada does that to people.

Canadian public consensus seems to be that Harry and Meghan, more formally known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, would be welcome. Indeed, some are already suggesting he be made King of Canada or, failing that, Governor General (GG). Julie Payette, the current GG, would presumably be induced to step aside quietly to take up a space mission to Mars or some such project. Yet, we may get the presence, of the Duke and Duchess, without the need to make them reigning top dogs; moreover, they may prefer to live as commoners.

There is bound to be a bit of a competition to secure their place of residence. Victoria appears to be in the catbird seat: it’s where they spent Christmas, it’s close to the Markle ancestral homeland of California; it has a climate that could be British and a name that is very British. Yet, Toronto is in there with a chance: Meghan called it home for the five years when she was filming Suits and it is home also to her stylist and best friend, Jessica Mulroney.  

The bidding might get intense; for all we know, Prince Edward Island could have offered the Royal couple the exclusive use of the Anne of Green Gables cottage. Maybe the Ontario government should up the ante by offering to buy a residence in the Sandbanks Summer Village enclave for them.  After all, it gets hot in the big city and there’s nothing like dipping your toes in the cool waters of East Lake to refresh your spirits. It just might tip the balance. 

The Duke and Duchess have also indicated their wish for financial independence from the monarchy. Indeed, their good names could earn them a tidy income.  They have already figured out their brand and have put up a spiffy new website to show it off, sussexroyal.com. 

An ex-royals marketing plan.

The Duke and Duchess probably have an equally sophisticated marketing plan under development, which I have no doubt will employ good teste in all its works.  You won’t catch them speaking in excited tones about the local furniture and appliance store no-interest-for-twenty-years sales event.  Far more likely that they will adopt discreet package labels that employ such honeyed words as, “By appointment to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, supplier of chocolate biscuits since 2020.”

There is another international celebrity that is shortly to retreat from England to Ottawa. It’s Mark Carney, former Governor of the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada. He is now the dollar-a-year special ambassador on climate change for the UN Secretary General. 

Carney is only 54. What does he do? The obvious steps are for him to take a slew of corporate directorships here and a distinguished visiting professorship there. I wonder, would that be enough for a challenge for him? 

Some have linked him to a political career. Coincidentally, a columnist recently speculated that Justin Trudeau was getting tired of the governing business and was ready to move on. You can read what you like into his decision over the holidays to hole up and grow a most- interesting-man beard, but some have taken it as corroboration of that perception.  

Aside from politics, my only suggestion for Carney is that he make a proposal to the CBC to secure the Saturday night, in the first intermission spot on Hockey Night in Canada, which was recently vacated by Don Cherry, and rename it Economist’s Corner.” He could use it to tell old war stories about when he was an economist in the minor leagues and interest rates were at seventeen per cent or the Argentinian economy was in the tank.  It could generate a whole new audience for the CBC - although there may be some risk of deterioration in the existing audience.

Perhaps the new arrivals can get together.

Then, again, perhaps Carney could form a partnership with Harry, Meghan and Archie to add some macroeconomic punch to their already strong brand. Those chocolate biscuits could bear an additional “Mark Likes Them Too” sticker. What a dream team.

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose, not infrequently laced with savage humour. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Pete Hamill and Mike Barnacle; the late Jimmy Breslin and Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington, Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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