Queen Elizabeth’s Irish penpal: ‘Meghan Markle made her bed and now she must lie in it. She sold her family down the drain’

On Sunday at 6pm, Galway-born Caroline Devine, who corresponded with Queen Elizabeth for decades, will attend a special service in honour of the late Queen in St Macartin’s Cathedral, in Enniskillen.

We will be retracing the footsteps of the Queen that she took when she visited in 2012, “ she says.

“I only had a great visit three weeks ago from Lord Brookeborough and his wife, We had a picnic in the Dining Room here at Classiebawn Castle.“

Devine, who lives in Sligo’s Classiebawn Castle, the former home of Earl Mountbatten – who was murdered by an IRA bomb explosion in 1979 aboard his 29-ft Shadow V fishing boat – won’t be inviting Meghan Markle for a picnic in the dining room any time soon.

She has no sympathy for the Duchess of Sussex, despite her mistreatment by some members of the British public and by parts of the media.

“How you make your bed will determine how you sleep,” she said.

“She made her bed and now she must lie in it. She should have known what she was letting herself into.

“The lure of money. She sold her family down the drain.”

She does not believe that Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and his American wife broke the Queen’s heart by how they conducted themselves over the last few years: retiring from life as full-time working royals to move to California, giving that TV interview to Oprah Winfrey about the palace’s alleged mistreatment of the Duchess of Sussex, with claims of racist remarks by members of the royal family about her.

“ Break the Queen’s heart?” laughs Devine. “Absolutely not.”

“The Queen knew that whatever went on within her family other families experienced the same.

“You were dealing here with a woman who was head of the Church of England.

“She fully understood the Crucifixion and that the Resurrection follows.

“That is the path she trod.

“Prince Harry and Meghan may still have enough dignity left in them to behave at a time of great mourning for his grandmother throughout the world.

“People get tired of it, the same old same old. As Lisa Minnelli once said when she was asked about her mother: ‘That song has already been sung. So, they can put the canary back in the cage and get on with life.’”

Devine stands over the remark she made to Independent.ie in March of 2021 that their controversial interview on the Oprah Winfrey Show was “utter tripe.”

She said at the time: “Meghan is now trying to put all the burdens on the royal family who welcomed her with open arms.

“The British royal family should not have to be dealing with this tripe when people are dying of Covid, which is far more important, and Prince Philip is so ill.

“When Meghan gave that appalling interview, she had already negotiated deals worth over $100m and she still has the poor mouth on her.

“Megan and Harry were not homeless when they left England. They were given free homes to live in.”

She says now, seeing Markle in the context of historical royal spongers: “The Queen was more than familiar with sponging – like Kind Edward 7th and Wallis Simpson.

They lived off everyone they could, but they never sold the royal family.

“The Queen stood by while her own Sister Princess Margaret cavorted with whoever she wished.

“Princess Margaret’s best friend was Ned Ryan from Tipperary.

“Ned Ryan was adored by everyone in the Royal family.

“He never used them, preferring to keep his integrity intact.”

She said the Duchess of York “as always broke” and Sir Anthony O’Reilly cleared her debts by giving her a contract worth £3m to promote Unislim, which was owned by Heinz.

“She also remained within the fold because she did not sell the Royal Family.

“Meghan Markle on the other hand has sold everything the British royal family hold dear. I do not believe there is a way back for her.

“The Middleton family on the other hand are hardworking self-sufficient steeped in a working-class background.

“Contrarily to what people believe this is what is so appealing to the royal family.

“Captain Mark Phillips has also remained in the fold and so did the late Lord Snowden.

“No one can control the British royal family, but by God step out of line …that is the wrath that has befallen Meghan.”

She said that on this basis, she sticks to what she said last year.

“They invited Oprah to their wedding and Oprah said afterwards that she didn’t even know them.

“The wedding was full of people they hardly knew when most people invite their families to a family occasion .

“The writing was on the wall, but nobody cared to read it. Meghan had to rely on Prince Charles to walk her up part of the aisle.

“Why didn’t she ask her mother to walk her? But Meghan was calculating all the time. She knew Prince Charles would be a better option.”

“Meghan gabbled on and on any empowerment of women and colour …well , she had a great opportunity to empower women had she allowed her beautiful mother to walk her up the aisle.”

Devine quotes a line from Patrick Kavanagh’s poem Epic: “Gods make their own importance.”

She explained the remark: “Another way Megan tried to do this by saying ’oh we called our daughter Lilibeth because it was the pet name that Prince Philip called the Queen.’

“I have often asked what planet she is living on.

“It was Princess Margaret who called the Queen Lilibeth because she wasn’t able to pronounce Elizabeth.”

Asked how she believes Charles’ style of monarchy will be different to that of his mother’s, Britain’s longest ever reigning monarch, Devine gave a long and considered answer.

“The Queen was tutored at home .

“The new King went to the school in Scotland, to Gordonstoun in Elgin.

“He hated Gordonstoun. He went to university. He attended the Naval College in Dartmouth. He was allowed play the field. In other words, he sowed his wild oats “

She said he has done a magnificent job with the Prince’s Trust putting people who lost their way in life into good jobs.

“He was not afraid to knock on doors to get them into meaningful employment. The Duke of Edinburgh did likewise, and we have Gaisce…we have that here as a joint agreement with the North.

“People laughed at Charles when he spoke about the environment about restoring buildings Dumfries in Scotland in a great example.

“As Earl Mountbatten once said, ‘If Charles is not a good King, I will eat my hat off in Heaven’.”

“Charles is a very strong believer in God, as was the Queen.

“He will be a defender of all faiths. Who could ever forget that he postponed his wedding day [by 24 hours] to Camilla to fly to Rome to attend John Paul 11’s funeral at the Vatican? He also attended the beatification of John Henry Newman. He will be a King for today”

She continued: “King Charles is not afraid to shed a tear in public .

“The Queen would never have shown her emotions in public.

“You will not shift him from what he feels is correct. Against all the odds he gave that interview after his marriage broke down. Instead of sitting down with a close friend, like the rest of us would do, he did it on TV for the whole world.”

He will own up to his mistakes she believes.

“He will tell it as it is and not as it was. This is his track record.

“He was aware where no one else was of all the things going on in the background of when things came to an end with Diana, by admitting first that he had an affair because of Diana’s affair with Captain Hewitt.

“And her many other liaisons.

“She was young. She was beautiful. She was compassionate but so is he. People will see the measure of him.

“Charles adores humour, having been the great friends of Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe when they were the Goons.

“Spike said to Gay on the Late Late: ‘Oh he is such a lovely chappy.’ And that lovely chappy, who is full of fun and compassion because he has been through the mill, will be a great King.”

Twenty four hours after Philomena Barry, Lord Mountbatten’s housekeeper at Classiebawn Castle in Co Sligo, died in October 2919, her two sons John and Pat received a handwritten letter of sympathy from Prince Charles.

“Charles is a man of compassion,” she says.

“He would be extremely aware of what the constitutional allows – his very close friends are the extremely devout Roman Catholic Van Cutsem family,” she says referring to Hugh van Cutsem Sr, who was a pal of Prince Charles’ at Cambridge; Hugh’s father Nicholas is Prince Louis’s Godfather.

“It was Hugh Van Cutsen who advised him to postpone his wedding to attend John Paul II’s funeral.

“Charles has lived in a vastly changing world, less restrained by the restraints of the Royal Family than the Queen was allowed to.”

“He relies heavily on his cousins, the Hicks and Knatchbull family and no Earl Mountbatten never ever wanted him to marry Amanda [Mountbatten’s granddaughter].

“Amanda and Charles were great chums but neither had the spark in each other . His Queen Consort [Camilla] is what will keep him grounded. She keeps that one step behind, never showy, always constant and such great fun.

“Unfortunately for the New Queen Consort [Camilla] there was always bad blood between her and the Spencer family.

“Camilla’s uncle Peter Shand Kydd ran away with Diana’s Mother [Frances Ruth Shand Kydd ] leaving her children behind without a Mother. Diana and her brother were very young, and it had a devastating effect on them.

“Her grandmother Lady Fermoy was the Lady in Waiting to the Queen Mother and with three Spencer granddaughters… one had already dated the new King.”

She said she believes the Spencer family thought they were more regal.

“I think the fun living Camila from a middle-class army background, brought up in a manor house in the village suited him better.

“They do not indulge in too much grandeur as I witnessed whenever I was with them.

“You would always find them chatting with their staff , joking and discussing what happened the days before, when all the mighty and the great and good would be dying to get near them.

“I always smiled when I witnessed this. Charles and Camilla are great people to know.”

And the Queen? What was she like?

“She was so warm and kind and witty.

“In my many letters to the Queen I wrote ‘The Home of the Late Lord Mountbatten’ , and she corrected me, she wrote back, ‘A Home of the Late Earl Mountbatten.’

“I wrote back, ‘I Gottha’. I sent her jigsaw puzzles of JP McManus’s great horses and of Tiger Roll to play with her grandchildren.”

The first time Devine met her was at a royal family wedding.

On October 20, 1979 (less than two months after the assassination of Mountbatten in the sea off Mullaghmore in Sligo) Mountbatten’s grandson Norton Knatchbull married Miss Penelope ‘Penny’ Meredith Eastwood at Romsey Abbey, Romsey, in Hampshire.

Devine attended with her boyfriend, beef baron Hugh James Tunney, who had been leasing Classiebawn Castle from Mountbatten at the time and later bought it from the Mountbatten family.

“Prince Charles was the Best Man.

“David Hicks [who married Lady Pamela Mountbatten, the younger daughter of Lord Mountbatten] wiped away the too much blue eye shadow I had on.

“Princess Michael of Kent showed me how to curtsey. I thought I would fall over .”

Did the Queen notice Devine’s anxiety when she was learning to curtsey?

“No, luckily Princess Michael and I did this in a room off Broadlands [the country estate of Lord Mountbatten in Romsey, Hampshire ].

“In previous discussions Hugh and I would have with members of the Mountbatten family we were already briefed about when we may meet the Queen.

“The one think that stuck out was in case you wished to be excused and wish to visit the toilet do not say,’ Can I be excused? I need to visit the loo.

“That was a big no no. I believe lavatory was the correct word and not ‘lav.’ Maybe they were doing this in jest I will never know.”

Joking aside, Devine, who had attended the funeral of Mountbatten in Westminster Abbey on September 5, 1979, with Tunney, recalled that the royal wedding in Hampshire “was a very sombre wedding.”

“It was a one month after the murders here in Sligo,” she says referring to Mountbatten, his teenage grandson Nicholas Knatchbull and 15-year-old deckhand Paul Maxwell from Enniskillen who lost their lives when the IRA bomb exploded onboard the boat; and Lady Brabourne, Mountbatten’s eldest daughter’s mother-in-law, who died on the following day in hospital from the injuries she suffered in the explosion.

“The wedding had already been planned. Earl Mountbatten had purchased the wine himself in France.

“The Queen would make you feel you were the most important person on this earth as would King Charles.

“You kind of felt good about yourself after meeting them.”

Devine also met the Queen at the reception after Countess Mountbatten funeral ceremony at St Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge in 2017.

“I was introduced to the Queen as Caroline from Classiebawn.

“She said, Oh yes. How are you? Delighted you could come. The Prince of Wales loved visiting Classiebawn. Are you going home this evening? I said that I was.”

She said the Queen “who exuded such a regal presence,” did not expect anyone to come over as regal.

“If you think of the contrast between President Mary Robinson, who was more regal than the Queen, and the earthy way of President Mary McAleese, who treated the Queen like a next-door neighbour, which went down a treat.

“I am in no way criticising Mary Robinson; she just held that air of a grandee from a small Irish town.

“And as you are aware Angela Kelly, the Queen’s personal assistant and senior dresser from 2002 to her death, was the daughter of an Irish docker from Liverpool.

“I first came across Angela Kelly when Tommy Gorman told me that he was great friends with Angela.

“So, the Queen’s life was drenched in etiquette and everyone from all walks of life who didn’t know the first thing about etiquette greeted her Majesty as if they too were born into the Royal Family.”

“Mountbatten treated everyone as equals. It did not matter if you were the dust man the candle stick maker, a billionaire, if you didn’t have royal blood.

“Everyone was equal. Everyone deserved to be respected because the royal family believe if you do not give respect then don’t expect to be respected.”

https://www.independent.ie/news/queen-elizabeths-irish-penpal-meghan-markle-made-her-bed-and-now-she-must-lie-in-it-she-sold-her-family-down-the-drain-41996519.html Queen Elizabeth’s Irish penpal: ‘Meghan Markle made her bed and now she must lie in it. She sold her family down the drain’

Fry Electronics Team

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