So, Prince Harry’s a feminist? Good – all men should be

The world would be a better place if more people were feminists and ‘woke’, treating their fellow human beings as just that, and doing as they would be done by

Harry and Meghan share photo of Lilibet on first birthday

For what it’s worth, a lot of folk are exercised about Meghan, Duchess of Sussex mentioning that her husband Harry is “a feminist”.

I thought pretty much everyone is a feminist these days, whatever their sex or gender, and thus (like me) they can wear a “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like” T-shirt with only a faint hint of irony and unease about its unflattering physical fit. (Mine was gifted to me by a professional feminist colleague, I should add, after one too many jokes.)

After all, even Boris Johnson, a man whose feminist credentials have historically suffered some pressure, can unselfconsciously declare that Russia would never have stated a war in Ukraine if Vladimir Putin was a woman. “Toxic masculinity” the prime minister calls it, and I needn’t add that the old alley cat should know all about that.

I have no reason to doubt, either, that Prince Harry and Meghan had a “guttural” reaction to the Supreme Court’s abolition of the (in effect constitutional) right for a person to have an abortion. Whatever the legal arcanaries of that ruling, the practical effect was to take control over their own bodies away from women – and that is unequal treatment, morally wrong and politically unsustainable.

The ironic, and rather insulting, thing about so much coverage of the Sussexes is the constant theme that poor little Harry is some hopeless dimwit who cannot think for himself and is constantly being manipulated by his wife, who is simply using him for some ulterior reason.

She has smuggled him away from his loving family back home and has made him into a kind of captive. His father and brother, indeed, are sometimes reported as thinking that Harry is so lovestruck (or a similar less lovely term) by Meghan that he is no longer able to exercise judgement or free will. This about a man who, though academically undistinguished, like most of his clan, served in the army with such distinction in Helmand. Are soldiers not supposed to be capable of respecting women?

Here, for example, is the view of TV personality and professional Meghan-hater Dan Wooton, writing in April: “He has been so indoctrinated by the hippy dippy woke philosophies of his Californian social climbing wife, who has managed to convince him they are genuinely saving the world by, er, signing multi-million-dollar deals with mega corporations like Netflix and Spotify…”

Excuse me while I wipe the spittle and spew away. It seems to me that being a feminist and being “woke” is nothing for anyone to be ashamed of. Indeed, all that those labels represent is a simple unassuming acceptance of the basic values of courtesy, respect for others, whatever their background, and compassion. They are civilised values, common to all the great religions.

The world would be a better place if more people were feminists and woke, treating their fellow human beings as just that, and doing as they would be done by. I’m not particularly bothered about any of the supposed hypocrisy in all this. There’s nothing incompatible with being stinking rich and wanting a more equal society. If things of lasting global significance can be agreed at an international conference and it needs people such as Prince Harry to help make it happen and to fly there, then so be it.

There’s certainly nothing inconsistent about being a member  of the House of Windsor and having “progressive” views. Take this royal quote for example: “There is certainly much more to be done and many challenges to be overcome. Discrimination still exists. Some people feel that their own beliefs are being threatened. Some are unhappy about unfamiliar cultures.

“They all need to be reassured that there is so much to be gained by reaching out to others; that diversity is indeed a strength and not a threat.

“We need also to realise that peaceful and steady progress in our society of differing cultures and heritage can be threatened at any moment by the actions of extremists at home or by events abroad. We can certainly never be complacent.”

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That was the Queen back in 2004, or “Woke Granny”, as she’d no doubt be dubbed now. She was speaking during another time of concern about migration, and doing so entirely within the bounds of the British traditional values of tolerance and fair play. She was expressing deeply held Christian values.

It was surely a rather “woke” thing to say. It aroused no great indignation then, though she’d probably be attacked if she said as much today. Nigel Farage would probably call for her to be sacked. As indeed has more or less happened after Prince Charles made his private remark about the Rwanda deportation scheme being “appalling”.

The awful thing, a grievous truth, is that Meghan and Harry were driven into exile by misogyny and racism in certain sections of the press and across social media – which only proves the validity and need for them to continue to speak out against such evils. What some term “misogynoir” is the thing people should be ashamed of engaging in, not being woke or a feminist.

We’ll know we’re making progress in that struggle when Meghan and Harry feel it is safe for them and their children to live in Britain without personal intrusion and incessant harassment. Their monarchy and this country need them here.

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