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Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, interviewed Dr. Jane Goodall, the primatologist, for the September issue of the British Vogue. They had a vigorous agreement on the urgency of various impending climate catastrophes. The Vogue issue in which Harry’s interview appeared was guest edited by the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.
The Duke received wide attention by announcing that he and the Duchess would be having “two maximum!” children. Because of the climate, of course.
My National Post colleagues have more on the story. Sharon Kirkey explores the fashionable set who think that having children, or more than a specified number, is “immoral.” Because of the climate.
Rex Murphy eviscerates, as only he can do, the arrogance and hypocrisy of Prince Harry and his fellow ultra-rich climate crusaders.
Let me then add three small observations regarding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex taking a turn in Vogue.
Regarding children, limiting population has been high on the progressive agenda for more than a half-century now. It doesn’t really matter what the problem is, the solution is to have fewer babies. But the argument does shift over time.
In the late 1960s, the argument was that the material welfare of people required it. “Overpopulation” meant that people would be poorer, and the poorest would die of starvation. “The battle to feed humanity is over,” wrote alarmist-in-chief Paul Erlich in 1968, predicting that hundreds of millions would starve to death in the 1970s.
The population of the earth is now greater than ever before at over seven billion and everything is better. The Millennium Development Goals of halving global poverty by 2020 was achieved several years ago, well ahead of schedule. People don’t starve to death except as a consequence of bad political leadership.
That good news is bad news for the anti-natalist crowd, so the argument has now shifted. People are not bad for people, it turns out, but people are bad for where people live, the earth. People are bad for Dr. Goodall’s great apes and other creatures, great and small. And the forests and the sea levels. So Harry and Meghan will have two children, but not three.
In order to do his bit for the climate, Harry’s father The Prince of Wales converted one of the royal locomotives to run on used cooking oil. But not everyone has a royal train to convert and not everyone has a lot of used cooking oil. Everyone though, including the very young and very elderly – even the poor people who don’t read Vogue – are able to not have a child. The Sussexes are very democratic in that way.
If it turns out a few decades hence that people are not so bad for the places that people live, don’t worry. Another reason will be found not to have children.
Regarding celebrity, I fear that the Sussexes are not going to end well. No, I don’t have any inside information. I do know one large bit of outside information, though, namely that celebrity and monarchy do not mix. It begins well – Rainer and Grace, Princess Margaret and Peter Snowdon, Charles and Diana – and then ends in ruin. Bringing Hollywood actress Meghan Markle into the royal family was a high-risk decision and her decision to bring her celebrity past with her is fraught with danger.
Last spring, I noted with chagrin that the Duchess flew to Manhattan for a lavish baby shower thrown by her celebrity friends. (Vanity Fair, not Vogue, covered that exclusively).
Royals belong in slightly drafty grand homes on country estates, not in penthouses overlooking Central Park. I never tire of pointing out that one reason the Queen is going from strength to strength as she approaches 70 years on the throne is that she has been more often to Moose Jaw as Queen than Manhattan. Duty before glamour.
Regarding courtesy, a royal family that is not a model of good manners is seriously delinquent. Yes, Harry is a minor royal, and the standards are not high for a prince who once thought it funny to dress up in a Nazi costume, and on other occasions to be entirely without any costume at all. Still, given that his own brother has three children, would not common courtesy alone demand that he refrain from publicly characterizing that choice as irresponsible? Even because of the climate? Is it not simply bad manners to say, more or less, that it would have been better if Prince Louis, the third child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, had not been born?
On children, Prince Harry is fashionable but wrong, much like Vogue itself. On celebrities, Harry has decided to embrace the celebrity world of his wife, which is a mistake. On courtesy, Harry has proved himself rude. Why then should anyone pay heed to what he advises?
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FATHER RAYMOND J. DE SOUZA, Convivium's editor-in-chief, writes for the National Post, the Catholic Register and other publications. A Calgary native, he is the parish priest for Sacred Heart of Mary Parish on Wolfe Island, in Ontario, and a chaplain at Queen's University in Kingston, where he teaches economics.