tv Amanpour on PBS PBS May 21, 2018 6:00am-6:30am PDT
welcome to amanpour on pbs from outside windsor castle. who can forget the grieving 12-year-old boy walking behind his mother princess diana's coffin. now 20 years later, prince harry prepares for his big day and a thoroughly modern royal marriage to the american meghan markle. i'm joined by a panel of experts to discuss why this royal wedding is such a big deal for britain and for america. good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. i'm christiane amanpour in windsor, the castle behind me
where tomorrow another milestone for the british monarchy will take place. britain's prince harry will marry his fiance meghan markle, a decidedly special union as she's an american, an activist, an actress and she is of mixed race. she's about to become the newest member of the firm, as the royal family is known, the most exclusive family in the world. tonight we will try to understand what makes this royal family different and why not just the british but the world's media has been consumed by it. some things don't change. britain's brutal tabloid press seems to have nixed the father of the bride coming. bowing to pressure, we're told he's recovering from heart surgery in america, so meghan will break with tradition and walk down the aisle alone. prince charles, her soon to be father-in-law, will walk her the final lap towards prince harry. for a marriage, they say, will see them forge their own path. >> i think in these beginning
few months and now being boots on the ground in the uk, i'm excited to just really get to know more about the different communities here, smaller organizations who are working on the same causes that i've always been passionate about under this umbrella and also being able to go around to the commonwealth. i think it's just the beginning of a -- >> there's a lot to do. there's a lot to do. >> a lot to do, that was when they announced their engagement. so let's dive right in with the author of "british, on race, identity and belonging." patrick jefferson, chief of staff to harry's mother princess diana. he's penned a book titled "the meghan factor." and royya nikkah, the sunday times correspondent. welcome to you all.
yo ef you know, it's unusual for me to get involved in this but i believe it's possibly a game changing event for this country and the monarchy. i want to ask you what you think are the takeaways of this union. >> for me this is a question of symbolism and the major role the royal family play in this country are one of identity. they offer british people a sense of cultural continuity and tradition in times of change but they have been a family that has been exclusively white and in a country that is so multicultural that has one of the highest rates of interracial relationships in the world and as a mixed-race british person growing up myself, i notice that and it's the idea that britishness itself was a white identity so meghan markle entering that family is the end of that and the idea that there is nothing inherently white about the royalamily and britishness and that's a very profound symbol. >> patrick? from the very inside. in your opinion the palace. >> i was and it intrigues me to hear the importance that the racial aspect is getting.
i was always struck when i was working with princess diana how welcome she was in ethnic minority communities and obviously in -- around the world, five continents and i can remember a gentleman in britain of obviously african heritage saying "she's one of us." and i think what is it that made princess diana one of us to so many people around the world. it's that sense of exclusion, inclusion, and the fact that meghan is making the transition from being one of them to one of us is fascinating. >> royya, you've interviewed prince harry. it does seem like the lineage -- he's getting a lot of example from his mother or is that romantic thinking. >> i don't think it is, actually. wherever i've spoken to him about anything he has always talked about how important his mother is to him not only in the work he chooses but the choices he makes in life and i think
meghan is part of that. when they first got engaged, although diana is no longer around, he talks about how meghan and diana would have been thick as thieves so this wedding is -- we've seen harry's ups and downs, he's had big hick up cup his life and now he's got someone by his side and they'll be a real power couple. >> we have that soundbite about what princess diana would make of this moment. it's very poignant actually. >> they'd be thick as thieves without question. she would be over the moon jumping up and down so excited for me but that she'd be best friends with meghan so it's days like today when i really miss having her around and miss being able to share the happy news but with everything else that's going on, i'm sure she's with us jumping and down somewhere else.
>> so the ring, of course, was designed from her jewels, her diamonds. again, you've written so much about this, it's almost as if your book was designed for this moment in british history, in english history where we have really people have talked about how brexit has unleashed sort of a strain of nativism, foreigners, britons of african or caribbean descent feel excluded. we've had the whole wind rush scandal, the immigration debacle here. again, you've been seeing some of the people who turned up here in windsor and talking to the members of the black community here about all of this. >> i think it's complicated. we have very deeply ingrained historical structural problems of racism in britain, know venlt, no wedding, no one woman can change that but it's been remarkable the way people have been reacting to this. if you go around windsor, it's not a particularly diverse place. >> no, it's not. >> the streets are lined with
people of all places. there are so many african-americans here, weeping some of them with emotions feeling that within of them is entering the palace. that is the thing about meghan. for many people whose heritage made them feel excluded from this place and this sense of tradition they now feel more included and i think that's important. this is the tension the royal family embodies. we are a society that claims to be about social mobility, equality of opportunity, a meritocracy. this is a family that represents generational inherited privilege. it's not a modern concept so the challenge for them is how they can retain the tradition that people do love while also making themselves something more people can relate to and i don't think this relationship is a cynical ploy to make them more relevant to new generations but had they wanted to do that, they could hardly have chosen a better move because meghan markle is not only of african heritage, but she's self-made. she's not from abject poverty but she's built her own career, she's followed her passions with
a life-style blog. she's the kind of woman many young women would like to be. >> you've raised these issues, patrick, you've written the meghan markle factor and you have some quite interesting conclusions because i think you think it could go one way or the other for the royal family. it could either be a roaring success, this marriage, or it could be the beginning of, what? >> well, it certainly marks a change and it will be very interesting to see historically whether it marks a upswing or down swing. the reality is we're facing in the not too distant future an earthquake in the royal landscape. when queen elizabeth's reign comes to an end -- as it sadly must -- the whole royal picture is going to shift and where will meghan fit in that new picture? i think it could be a wonderful opportunity. the risk, though, is that since harry is so far down the pecking order now in constitutional terms, he's relatively insignificant. >> the seventh with the birth of
the latest -- >> sixth, i think. >> i must point out that when the royal engagement was announced, one of the newspapers, one of the most read newspapers in britain immediately reacted with a succession diagram which basically had the message don't worry, she'll never be queen. and that is a factor. >> and don't worry, her maybe black children might never be in line. >> i think had this been william it would have been a different conversation and it's wonderful to see how much people are welcoming her but i can't help but question whether harry is allowed a little bit more leeway than the direct heir to the throne would have been. >> but it does require a real reconciliation of the tradition and the news and harry being the seventh in line is -- the royal family is a very inclusive family. >> and royya, again, you've talked to harry and explain a little bit because he has had
his bad boy days, some quite unforgivable antics he got up to his n his fancy dress parties and this other stuff but he's also, let's not forget, he, like all the royal men, trained as a military and he went to war in afghanistan. >> twice. >> went to war twice and he was really devoted to it and he was -- tell me about how he felt when, again, the tabloids outed him and he had to leave. >> well, the australian and american publications, let's not forget. let's not type all the british press with the same lot. but ten years with the cavalry and he will say that was the making of him. it shaped him and that's why we're going to see so much military presence and regiments he's linked with at tomorrow's service, including the cavalry. it was devastating for him. he said it was the darkest time in his life after his mother's death when he was -- his cover was ploen tblown and he was pul. that's why the likes of major general smith osborne were
determined to get him back. that i got him back into afghanistan as an apache helicopter pilot, a co-gunner, he served his time and to come back and to say to other soldiers, other normal people in the outside world, i've had a job, i served my time. that's made him not only more fulfilled but more relevant. it's one of the reasons he's so popular. he's a veteran, he's done his time in war. >> and they are honored in any society. veterans are honored. they have a special place in any socie society. >> and when he started the invictus games, that gave him another outlet. >> don't forget about our friends who didn't come home from the battlefield. don't forget those at home who still need our support and don't forget that you are proving to the world that anything is possible. you are invictus, let's get
started. >> so we know what he's been doing with his career and his life and we'll get to the mental health -- the fab four as some people call them, william, kate, harry and meghan with the mental health issue which is huge in this country and many other parts of the world. but let's talk about meghan. you mentioned she has accomplishme accomplishments, she's a self-made woman but she's had to give them all up, all what has made her meghan markle. she's had to give up acting and activism. she's had to give her life-style blogs and the lot. >> it's remarkable. there's no other context in british life i can think of where we would accept the idea that automatically because of marriage women should give up her previous career and the royal family the last institution where that's seen as acceptable. meghan is a feminist. she's continued to say that after engagement. she named harry as a feminist.
it would be such profound contradiction if somebody who self-identifies as a feminist hand has been championing feminist causing since she was a child was forced to stop doing the things that have identified her in the past. >> we've seen royal wives going from safe roles like charity -- not to down play charity but it's not the same as activism and meghan has been an activist so i would like to see the royal family get with the program and realize it's an era in which we expect young people -- >> i think patrick who comes from the inside of the royal family has laughed his head off at that terrible prospect. >> i think you're right, it's going require a change. her previous experience isn't wasted. she'll build on it. but she has to be wise in how she builds on it. she's getting a voice beyond anything she could have dreamt of. she has a fabulous platform, she has element unlimited potential
for pursuing the things she's passionate about. she is going to have to be wise. it v it's desperately important. she's not used any platform to take positions on matters of public policy. she is not a politician the royal family is here as a focus of unit above politics and if she is tempted to use her new platform to push political points of view, as she has in the past -- >> well, we'll play a soundbite. >> it will be trouble. >> let's remind, she talked again about women at the united nations and let us just play that for a second. >> we need a global understanding that we cannot implement change effectively without women's political participation. it is said that girls with dreams become women with
visions. may we empower each other to carry out such vision because it isn't enough to simply talk about equality. one must believe in it and it isn't enough to simply believe in it, one must work at it. >> i mean, she's very poised. that was three years ago, now she's about to enter this incredible new situation but with a massively amplified voice. royya, how do you think she's going to fit in? from what you know and what you've seen, can she trim her sails? how will -- how long will the romance the british press and the british people have with her last and what might be the trigger points? >> i personally think she doesn't so much need to trim her sails as to sort of just, as patrick says, find a way to adjust into the new way of
saying things in a more -- less political way. we have seen a statement of intent from her, i think, in the engagement she did with harry so far. she has talked about female empowerment and gender equality in joint engagements with william and harry and kate so when we see her join their foundation which he she will do tomorrow upon marriage, we will see more issues she'll get more involved in and i don't think she'll become a silent princess. i read a story she'll give a speech at her wedding. >> she is? >> yes, at the evening reception. she has as patrick knows better than anyone a team of people who will advise her and encourage her. she's no fool.
>> you were around helping shaping princess diana in some of the most dark times that she experienced and basically she went out into the light, found herself into some really terrible times. >> i always loved that -- that you don't know how strong a woman is until she's in water like a tea bag. diana found herself in hot water after her separation and indeed running up to it and a lot of people were surprised she discovered in herself that she had the real steel and ambition and determination and defiance to refute those w who wanted he to go away quietly. she found a role for herself, she built it, it required a great deal of hard work. it's appearing effortless, making it look easy and be open and accessible and emotionally articulate requires hard work and preparation. something meghan i'm sure will
understand if she doesn't already, being a perfect princess requires hard work, hard slog learning the stuff, learning nuances giving the transatlantic cultural shift she's going to have to adapt to. >> can i go back to what happened slightly earlier today when prince harry on the eve of his wedding and his brother prince william who will be his best man, they came out here in windsor to meet and greet so many of the people who've come and there will be members of the public who are inge vivited to witness the wedding. there are no politicians, that was very deliberate. it will be friends, people who espouse causes that they believe in and et cetera. but harry and william did come out but i am sure that they did not meet many, many homeless people in windsor. you said it's not a very diverse town, this and indeed it's a pretty rich town but there are a lot of homeless people here and
our crews caught up with some of them and this is what they were telling us about the day and about how they plan to get through it. >> it's unique in this country, our royal family. i'm happy for queen and country because if we didn't have the queen here half of these people wouldn't be here because they've come to see elizabeth and her family. they ain't come to see a couple of homeless people. >> the wedding, we're making loads of money or something? we're not making loads of money. we're just about surviving everyday. >> many things said about what's going to happen to us. they're going to -- gosh, they can do what they want. >> think of the amount of money they're spending on the wedding.
it's taxpayers' money isn't it? they could build housing or something like that. they can't house 10 or 20 peopl people. >> give twice, thank you very much. >> i don't this for -- as a job or to make money and stuff like that, that some of these people think that we do. i do this because i don't have a choic choice. >> congratulations to them, i'll enjoy the festivities as much as anyone else. >> he's a happy lad because he's found what he needs. he's got his -- well they have each other and i read he proposed to her over a roast chicken dinner. how down to earth is that?
♪ i think to myself what a wonderful world ♪ >> well, i mean, it t really is -- that's the voice from the street that even in the desperate need they were wishing them well. >> that's because the royal family do represent this sense of identity. everybody regardless about how they feel about the monarchy can relate to the needs that they believe in. it goes to the foundational human need i think and for many british people the royal family are part of that. that's why they love the royal weddings. a lot of this tradition was invented recently but it doesn't matter because people believe it's existed for thousands of years. >> and the police have told us they're going to try to secure the homeless people's property for them and help them out for at least tonight. we don't know what will happen afterwards. i was struck by how nobody stopped to give any of those people money, coffee or anything
else. patrick, you are an american citizen, people would be surprised to know. how and why is this such a big deal in america? boat loads of press are here, african-americans are here and it's captured the united states. obviously she's american but -- >> well, the americans love the royal family. i think it's some sort of sense the idea that there is some connection with the old country but there's a new thing this time. i've been struck by the number of african-american women i've met at various business events who say we're so thrilled about meghan joining the royal family. and i was taken aback. it means so much so their eyes are on tomorrow, they will be on the future of meghan and harry. they'll hope harry makes her happy and shell continue with the things they can identify
with. and really the opportunity this marriage offers to strengthen and help protect the future of the relationship between america and britain is stupendous. it's very well timed and i think it augers well for the future. >> and we saw a picture of her with her mum there. royya, steven said they may miss the gold old days when there was a monoaarchy there. they don't. but what about here? there are periodic spikes of republicanism, people wanting to do away with the monarchy. this is the time we've seen the crown and the success of that and the queen emerging much more dynamically as she gets older and older in have public -- even interactions on television, et cetera. what do you think it will do for that endless argument? >> that argument raises its head
occasionally but even the spikes of republicanism, after the death of the princess of wales when the royal family went through a rocky time, every time the country is polled it wants to retain a monarchy by a big margin. this i think there will be a spike in the royal family of popularity. they are such a popular couple. i think this is going to open up to the royal family to people who weren't interested before and finally make an institution that has seemed clunky and old-fashioned and move much more slowly to society seem that more relevant. the queen appointed harry as a commonwealth youth ambassador so they'll travel the world. she's canny, the queen. she knowshat an asset meghan will b and she will use that asset for the future of themona >> i was going to bring that up. the commonwealth is something is -- it's britain's last ties
to empire that is all over the world and people are fond of it. we had a big commonwealth meeting, the last the queen will host, she doesn't travel is anymore and this connection with the rest of the world and him being the ambassador and her as well with him will be a big deal. >> definitely, in a post-brexit landscape our royal family are constantly send abroad by the foreign office with the royal family's approval and they will be dispatched as global envoys for that purpose, to boost bilateral relations when we need them more than ever after brexit. >> and i am going to just end by saying a little piece of suit so we get reacquainted with meghan markle from the silver screen. >> hi. i'm rachel zane, i'll give your orientation. >> wow, you're pretty. >> good, you've hit on me. we can get it out of the way i'm
not interested? >> i'm not hitting on you. >> trust me, i've given hundreds of these and whatever hot shot thinks i'm just a paralegal that i will be blown away by his dazzling degree, let me assure you, i won't. >> i was. >> uh-huh. >> i was hitting on you. >> you were. take note, i won't repeat myself. >> go meghan. and that's it. thank you very, very much for joining us. and that's it for our program tonight, thanks for watching amanpour on pbs. join us again next time. is
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