The truth is that the British public laps up this sort of stuff, whether it's inherited monarchy or acting dynastiesby Caspar Salmon / January 29, 2020 / Leave a comment
On Thursday of last week, a man from a rich and well-connected family went on Question Time and suggested that racism is not really a problem in the United Kingdom. Then, on Sunday, another man from a rich and well-connected family went on television to make a statement about his reasons for abandoning his royal responsibilities. Barely acknowledged in the media brouhaha around both stories is the enduring question of nepotism in Britain—of which both men are shining emblems.
Laurence Fox was born forty-one years ago into a rich family, the Foxes: his father is James Fox, the veteran actor from such films as Performance, The Servant and A Passage To India. His grandfather was Robin Fox, a successful film agent connected by birth to the Terry family of actors, whose mother was a member of the Beerbohm troupe. His great-great grandfather was a Victorian industrialist, Samson Fox, inventor of the boiler flue. When Samson Fox died in 1903, the town of Harrogate was sent a telegram of condolence by the great-great-great-grandfather of Prince Harry. Laurence Fox was educated, if that’s the word, at Harrow and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Educated at Eton and another Royal Academy (Sandhurst), Prince Harry, at 35, has presumably moved in similar social circles to Fox. Like Fox, upon graduating he quickly found employment in the family business. But the whole media farrago from which Laurence Fox is now materially benefiting was created when Prince Harry apparently decided—like a mafioso trying to go straight in a Martin Scorsese movie—to quit working for the family. But—unless I’ve been looking in the wrong place—there does not appear to have been much discussion of the issue in British media, perhaps because it doesn’t have the wherewithal to cover it, being so notoriously devoid of nepotism.
Nepotism is a tricky issue to circumscribe, and harder even to regulate against. In film and TV last year, the issue of dynastic actors fully runs against the sort of social progress that we need to see in the entertainment industry. Lately, film has become overrun with highly privileged Etonians, who are able to vacuum up roles in the sort of period dramas Britain delightedly churns out, at the expense of work…