Let me introduce you to Dr. Denis Mukwege, who is just an extraordinary person. A Congolese gynecologist, he founded a hospital in his war-torn country that treats women who have been severely s*xually abused.
For his work, he received, in addition to many awards, the Nobel Peace Prize and was awarded the French Legion of Honor.
On Monday, Dr Mukwege shared the stage with Sophie, Countess of Wess*x, daughter-in-law of the late Queen and Honorary Daughter, at the UK Foreign Office’s International Conference on Preventing S*xual Violence in Conflict.
That same day at Clarence House, while King Charles double-checked that his chefs only used harvested nettle leaves for his morning tea, Queen Camilla was upstairs welcoming Queen Rania of Jordan and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark (aka Our Mary). ) before taking on the elimination of violence against women and girls.
The event takes place at Buckingham Palace and is part of the 16-day UN action against gender-based violence. (Queen Mathilde of the Belgians will also attend to raise the royal stakes even further.)
On the same day yet daily mail spotted last week in California Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Suss*x of the Archewell Foundation, updated their website with a post titled “Thanksgiving” and sharing a photo of said Duchess helping to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for more than 300 homeless people women. .
Sigh. It would seem that the more London changes, the more things stay the same in Montecito. Because, isn’t it interesting how often the cameras are around when the Suss*xes do unofficial charity work?
While Sophie and Camilla’s photos can be as entertaining as watching Colefax and Fowler’s paint dry, the story they tell us about the version of royalty that’s emerging right now is delightfully close to revolutionary.
Consider this: we have a queen whose charity work for almost a decade has been to combat the scourge of domestic violence. (One initiative that I don’t think is getting enough attention is Camille’s distribution of hundreds of laundry bags of toiletries to survivors of s*xual assault to use after medical check-ups.)
Meanwhile, reprehensibly and constantly ignored, Sophie has been dealing with s*xual violence in conflict zones for years, including trips to Bosnia and Sierra Leone. In October, she spent two weeks visiting five countries in Central Africa, becoming the first member of the royal family to visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
I mean, it’s not your grandmother’s royal family that doesn’t have a single plaque to open, or a nervously sweating Lord Lieutenant in sight.
In a single generation, we have gone from Queen Elizabeth asking Diana, Princess of Wales why she doesn’t want to do some “good” charity other than her work to fight the AIDS epidemic, to a queen talking about shame. victims feel after being s*xually assaulted, and the king’s daughter-in-law attended a high-level diplomatic conference and spoke about rape in war zones.
This is very meaningful material, and every single one of those boring staged shots that Palace’s press team is posting on social media is inconsistent with how extraordinary and amazing what they’re doing is.
However, while this quiet feminist offensive in London is taking place between cups of building tea and archers Reruns (I’m guessing) something doesn’t seem to have changed much for the Duchess of Suss*x with a new photo of her graduation that carries a rather self-promotional scent.
Let me stress here that it goes without saying that helping those less fortunate is always wonderful and commendable.
Meghan has volunteered to help the less fortunate since she was a child, a job that continued while she was filming. Suits in Toronto, and that commitment clearly didn’t waver, despite all that royal stuff.
But… why do so many of the Suss*xes’ charitable activities miraculously end up in a photo shoot or end up in the media?
In March 2020, when the couple arrived in Los Angeles as the pandemic tightened the world, they were photographed delivering food from Project Angel Food.
Royal biographer Tom Bauer writes in his recent singing book Revenge that at the time the Suss*xes “cared about their image” prior to her legal action against daily mail so before the lawsuit began in London, Meghan and Harry’s publicists authorized the distribution of photos of them handing out food to the homeless in Los Angeles.
“The couple stood safely by the open boots of their black Porsche SUV and six-litre Cadillac Escalade to hand out packages. After a short period of charity, they returned to their Montecito harbor, he said.
At the end of August this year, Megan gave an interview to New York magazine. sliceand with journalist Allison P. Davis went to pick up his son Archie from kindergarten.
By the light of the streetlights, the Duchess “reaches into the trunk, pulls out a brand new black backpack and hands it over to her security team to hand over to the homeless man on the corner,” which contained water and food.
We just have to assume that a 41-year-old woman does this, even when a reporter doing her first print interview in five years can’t bear witness to such care and generosity.
I guess my point is that Harry and Meghan’s hearts are in the right place, and thank you for wanting to help again and again – but why does so much of what they do also feel like a PR game?
In August 2020, the Suss*xes volunteered for celebrity-loved charity Baby2Baby, helping to distribute school supplies to underprivileged children.
One would assume that the fact that two of the most famous people in the world were taking part in a very public event was something that found its way into social media and the press, as hundreds of smartphones tracked their every blink and perfect white spot. dental smiles.
Instead, we have great footage of them helping a little boy with a backpack and passing packages through the windows to waiting cars because they brought in their own photographer to capture them in action.
The same thing happened when the Suss*xes went to pay their respects on Memorial Day by visiting the Commonwealth war graves in Los Angeles, taking a snapper with them.
Similarly, in September of that year, when the Duke and Duchess visited a kindergarten to plant forget-me-nots to mark the anniversary of Diana’s d*ath, they later “released” footage of the visit, according to Telegraph report of that time.
What’s interesting to consider in this recent Archewell Thanksgiving post is why? The post talks about the work being done by the Women’s Center downtown, but it doesn’t encourage people to donate funds or come up with a few offers encouraging people anywhere to give back to their communities.
Who benefits in the end? The goal seems to be to somehow scale up Archewell and get some rainbow publicity and also support DWC.
If we compare the photographs of Sophie, Camille and Megan with the walks they cover, the meaning of the first two photographs seems to be driven by a desire to draw attention to the work being done, not to the people who do it.
And later? It has a lot of altruism, but it also brings with it a handy dose of good publicity. It would seem that no good deed deserves to go unnoticed.
I’ll leave you with that. Sophie will join Camilla, Rania, Mary and Mathilde at the palace on Tuesday for a roundtable event on domestic violence.
Imagine if things had gone differently, how strong the image would have been if the Duchess of Suss*x were also part of this group, the women of the royal family banded together and took on violence against women.
Instead, on Tuesday, when four current and future queens gather for the UN-backed initiative, the Duchess will be at the Marriott Hotel in Indianapolis for an event called Women’s Power: An Evening with Meghan. will cost you $15,000.
Who do you think has the real power now?
Daniela Elser is a writer and royal commentator with over 15 years of experience working with a range of leading Australian media outlets.
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