When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex walked away from Britain they had a great opportunity to make a fresh start. To leave behind an institution they felt did not suit them, regain (in the case of Meghan) their autonomy, seek fresh pastures and build a positive new future away from the vicissitudes of public life.
This is not what they have done.
Instead of focusing on the next chapter, they have clung to their past and allowed it to eat them up.
So vested are they in their own victimhood that they exert all their energies on looking over their shoulders, pointing the finger of blame and seeking ever more hurtful ways to get back at those they perceive as having done them wrong.
That said, the images released yesterday of Harry dressed as Spider-Man for a Christmas video message to the bereaved children of servicemen and women was a bittersweet reminder of the unpretentious fellow he used to be.
I can’t help hoping that old Harry is still in there somewhere, beneath all the anger and manufactured outrage.
However, that was a rare glimpse. He and his wife seem trapped in a vicious circle of paranoia, fuelled by resentment and revenge, unable to find the freedom they seek. If the situation wasn’t so toxic, you might almost feel sorry for them.
Indeed, I used to have some sympathy for their situation, especially for Meghan. Nothing can prepare a person for the level of exposure and criticism that comes with being a member of the Royal Family, and it must have been very hard for her on a number of levels.
As for Harry, one is always mindful of the trauma he’s suffered.
But two wrongs don’t make a right. And any difficulties the couple may have suffered are now fast being outweighed by the vitriol they have unleashed on their family, and in particular the Prince and Princess of Wales.
Meghan’s jealousy towards Kate, and in particular the way the latter seems to manage the business of being a Royal consort with a grace and charm that totally defeated the American, is blatantly obvious.
What’s more, it is becoming increasingly clear this is not some primal cri de coeur, as they would have us all believe, but a cold and calculated strategy, meticulously engineered to inflict maximum damage.
The Sussexes don’t just want to part ways with the House of Windsor, they want to burn it to the ground, and they are pursuing their aim with ruthless intent. What began with that Oprah interview has culminated with the trailer for the couple’s Netflix documentary, which airs on Thursday.
For something that professes to be about their great love story, the level of hate emanating from the 60-second clip is shocking.
It’s like an interview Meghan gave that was timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death: thinly veiled threats and weaponised victimhood, now the Sussexes’ stock in trade.
Of course, canny observers have long since seen through this charade. But we live in a world where victimhood is increasingly encouraged and even idolised.
The latest assault, lethally timed to coincide with the Waleses’ trip to America, will have been lapped up by the armies of the offended woke whom the Sussexes have so skilfully recruited to their cause.
And the debacle over Lady Susan Hussey is just the cherry on the cake. Palace officials may have thought they had acted prudently and swiftly in dispatching Lady Hussey despite 60 years of loyal service. But the truth is that her sacrifice has merely whetted the appetite of the hyenas now circling.
They smell blood, and they sense weakness. The House of Windsor is on the back foot. Charles and William must consider their next move very carefully.
A big part of their problem is that, so far, they have resisted the urge to fight dirty. Every time the Sussexes hit them below the belt, they respond with upright integrity, apologising, professing sympathy and extending olive branches wherever possible.
Much good it has done them.
It’s clear that Meghan and Harry see all kindness as weakness, a chink in the armour to be exploited.
And the truth is, they don’t want a reconciliation. Their endgame is the destruction of the monarchy. They cannot – and must not – win.