Emma Cowing: Keep it under wraps a little longer, Harry
IN THE refined, aristocratic circles Prince Harry normally moves in, the phrase would probably involve the word ‘scamp’. In Glasgow, it’s a little more blunt. In short, you couldnae beat it with a hammer.
The rehabilitation of Prince Harry, third in line to the throne, army officer and confirmed veteran of saucy shenanigans at Las Vegas pool parties has been swift, sleek, and expertly managed.
On Monday, the Royal Family’s bad boy made his first public appearance at an awards ceremony celebrating seriously ill youngsters and the doctors and nurses who care for them. One child, six-year-old Alex Logan, when asked what he would say to the prince when he met him, replied: “I’m glad you’ve got your clothes on Prince Harry.” You and me both, Alex. In the event, Harry bent down to talk to the boy, shook his finger at him, told him not to say “something cheeky” and smiled broadly. as the youngster ceremoniously placed a toy penguin on the prince’s forehead. You could almost hear the sigh of relief from his aides.
Yesterday, Harry was at it again, attending several events at the Paralympics (he was banned from the opening ceremony apparently, as “punishment” – or more likely “damage control” – following his naked adventures in the US) where he larked about with some of the younger members of Team GB, cheered on the women’s goalball team and generally seemed to be having a jolly good time, something, I think it is fair to say, he has always been rather good at.
Harry has always been excellent with kids. In a TV documentary a few years ago about his African charity Sentebale, he was seen playing with some of the younger beneficiaries with an affection that was both genuine and warm-hearted. For a 27-year-old single man, he has a rare gift of connecting with children. But then perhaps that is because he’s little more than a big one himself. Either way, it’s a PR opportunity the Palace has never been slow to exploit.
So, is all forgiven? Will we go back to thinking of Harry as the lovable rogue with a heart of gold? Or does his latest indiscretion expose a grubby underbelly within the Royal Family that shows him up as little more than over-privileged, over-indulged manchild with no sense of responsibility for his own actions?
Conversely, it actually helps Harry that one of the women allegedly involved in whatever allegedly happened in a suite at the Wynn in Las Vegas (allegedly) decided to sell her story to a downmarket tabloid last weekend. Nothing will garner sympathy for a man quicker than a seedy kiss-and-tell story – particularly when there’s nothing much to tell, there’s no wounded wife in the background and the woman in question is already skipping off to the nearest Versace boutique with the payment cheque.
Added to that, Harry is far from the first playboy prince. It’s just that nowadays, the press, the public and the the all-seeing camera phone are far likely to capture any indiscretions he may be in the mood for. And insofar as he was born into the family it does seem that he is held to a rather higher standard than most men his age.
Indeed, were it any other male celebrity of a similar stature – a footballer say, or a movie star – the story would have barely caused a ripple. Yet as a member of “the Firm”, we expect him to behave accordingly. As taxpayers, we view the royals with the same sort of proprietorial suspicion as we do the BBC. It’s our money, so we want to know what they’re up to. It’s about time Harry learnt this. Gallivanting around Sin City in little more than a jaunty panama hat is all very well if you’re Wayne Rooney (although it’s an image I’d rather not dwell on), but if you’re a member of the Royal Family and you want to retain the goodwill of the people, it’s simply not on.
For this reason, I’d really rather the Firm hadn’t started his rehabilitation so soon. Most of us don’t care about Prince Harry in anything other than a light entertainment capacity, unless he’s spending our money while doing it. Certainly, my enjoyment of the Paralympics does not hinge on whether or not the third in line to the throne was in attendance or not, and hi-jacking a charity award ceremony seems like little more than a desperate attempt for some positive publicity.
I don’t know about you, but for the meantime at least, I’d like to see a lot less of Harry. Whether he’s wearing his clothes or not.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West