Dan Murphy: The ‘Cruelty-Free’ Royals

Read what "peace silk" has to do with the newest royal couple. ( freeimages.com )

I hate to launch into yet another critique of one of the most prominent animal activist/vegan cheerleaders on Earth …

Okay, that’s a lie. I LIVE to point out the foibles and fallacies of famous veganistas, notably Paul McCartney, and in this case, his daughter Stella.

As you’re no doubt aware, unless you’re just now emerging from a secluded cave in an undisclosed location, Britain just experienced the pageantry (puffery? pompousness?) of a Royal Wedding, as Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, married former American actress Megan Markle, in a ceremony broadcast worldwide from Windsor Castle.

I’m confident most people know far more about the royal newlyweds than I do, but this isn’t about them, it’s about the now-Duchess of Sussex’s choice of attire.

We’re not referring to her wedding dress; that was described as “marvelous,” a representation of “modernity, diversity and a sense of understated elegance,” an opinion that makes sense, because the guy who offered it was Bernard Arnault, France’s richest man and CEO of the company that designed Markle’s dress, the fashion house Givenchy.

And speaking of ultra-rich guys connected with global brands, let’s get back to Ms. McCartney, whose father is a certified billionaire worth $1.22B who now resides at the top of The Sunday Times’ latest ranking of “Britain’s Music Rich List.”

Can you guess who ranks No. 2 on that list? It’s composer/songwriter Andrew Lloyd-Webber, known best for “Cats,” “Evita,” and “Phantom of the Opera.” Actually, it’s Lord Lloyd-Webber to you and me, who’s worth a cool $1.16 billion, thanks to more than 30 musical productions currently running on theatrical stages around the world.

I mention Sir Paul’s net worth because he’s made mention that his daughter Stella has become something of a notable fashion designer, which, no offense to what might be her remarkable talents, is akin to a Hollywood A-Lister bragging that their son or daughter just scored a speaking role in a straight-to-cable movie of the week.

When daddy’s a billionaire and a globally recognized household name, it kind of gives a person a leg up in the world of fashion design. Just sayin’.

And Ms. McCartney certainly took advantage of that visibility, getting media outlets to practically salivate over her “simple halter, mock-neck gown made in silk crepe” that Markle was sporting upon emerging from Saint George’s Chapel in the evening following the royal nuptials.

Sustainability Snow Job
What’s any of this got to do with the vegan lifestyle? Here’s what: Stella McCartney claimed that the silk used in Princess’ silk gown was a blend of traditional silk and “Peace Silk,” a material that she claimed is sustainable and cruelty-free — i.e., fully infused with the vegan purity the McCartneys so rigidly embrace.

That distinction matters, because after all, silk does come from silkworms, and those creatures, no matter how cruelty-free their existence, are technically members of the animal kingdom, and thus should be off-limits to profit-seeking business types, such as Ms. McCartney.

So how can a silkworm be both vegan-pure and totally sustainable? According to a report on LiveKindly.com, the worms used to make Peace Silk are “allowed to turn into moths and emerge naturally from their cocoons. The silk is then gathered from the forest after the moths have flown away.”

A couple questions: As I understand it, the moths that emerge from the silkworm cocoons — from which the silk thread is obtained — cannot actually fly. In fact, after they break out of the cocoons, the males mate with female moths, the females lay eggs, and within a couple days all of the moths are dead.

They don’t “fly away from the forest” to find a new life elsewhere with Bambi, Thumper and their pals, or hook up with Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Piglet in the Hundred Acre Wood.

Not only that, but doesn’t silk, no matter how it’s produced, automatically qualify as “sustainable?” Don’t moths lay eggs, don’t those eggs hatch into worms, don’t those worms eat mulberry leaves and then spin cocoons that can be processed into silk? Doesn’t that process simply rinse and repeat endlessly?

I mean, didn’t the Chinese figure out how to spin silk some five thousand years ago?

If silk, peaceful or otherwise, gets to claim a special mantle of “sustainability,” then every crop or plant that grows in the ground can also be marketed with the same labeling claim, as well.

As can the animals that eat those “sustainable” plants.

Which puts beef, pork and chicken right up there with the Duchess of Sussex’s simple — yet sustainable — halter-style gown, at least by the rubric that Sir Paul and daughter Stella want us to accept.

Editor’s Note: The opinions in this commentary are those of Dan Murphy, a veteran journalist and commentator.