Prince Harry and Meghan, Oprah Winfrey
Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, speak with with Oprah Winfrey for a two-hour primetime special “Oprah with Meghan and Harry” on CBS.
(Joe Pugliese / Harpo Productions / CBS)
The Here & Now

Let’s get Harry and Meghan to come to Santa Cruz

THE HERE & NOW: With the announcement that Prince Harry has taken a job in Silicon Valley, it’s time for Santa Cruz to get the couple’s attention that our city is the perfect place for Meghan, him and their growing family.

Draw a straight line on a map between Santa Barbara and San Francisco, and you’ll certainly notice that the line neatly bisects Santa Cruz County.

This is relevant in the case of one particular recent immigrant to California: the Duke of Sussex, aka the Earl of Dumbarton, aka Prince Harry, the grandson of the British sovereign Elizabeth II. Maybe you’ve heard of him.

Last year, Harry and his lovely duchess moved to a new home in the Santa Barbara area, and just last month, Harry took a new job with a Silicon Valley start-up based in San Francisco.

Now refer back to your map. So, are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Yep, we have to get Harry and Meghan to visit Santa Cruz (and maybe even move here. More on that later.)

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It’s doubtful that Harry is going to be zooming up Highway 1 in his Aston Martin on his commute to work too often. But surely, he’s going to want to check out his new office at some point, and when he does, he’s going to realize that California has a gigantic northern half that’s every bit as (even more!) beautiful than SoCal.

As the post-pandemic world opens up, why shouldn’t we expect that Harry and Meghan are going to feel the urge to do what millions of other Californians are going to do: Road trip!

But before that happens, Santa Cruz must somehow get their attention.

First, let’s address the elephant in the room here: So, why would we want Harry and Meghan to come to Santa Cruz? Aren’t the British royals the most grotesque symbol of privilege and elitism in the known universe? Aren’t these people the kind of celebrities-for-celebrity’s-sake that is the exact wrong fit for this place in this time?

Hey, I hear you. If interest in the doings of the royals were hard currency, I couldn’t buy a donut. But remember, in this case, Harry is the one who wants out. He’s a royal refugee. Over a pint and a plate of kippers (whatever that is), I’m betting he would probably more-or-less agree with every indictment you could conjure up against the British Crown. Sure, he hasn’t exactly repudiated all the trappings and the obscene wealth that comes with being in line to the throne, but give the dude some time. He hasn’t been here that long. He’s probably still saying “Frisco.”

I’m pretty confident that we’re not looking at some kind of Siddhartha situation here, wherein Harry gives away everything and wanders among the destitute in search of enlightenment. But maybe, he just wants to be a normal person who has a cool job, a Netflix account, and a new Apple watch, who has to swing by the Trader Joe’s to get some Greek yogurt on his way home from the gym. Maybe he’s open to shedding that royal skin and becoming a bona fide Californian.

In which case, how could Santa Cruz refuse him? Sure, if Harry and Meghan show up on Pacific Avenue with a retinue of absurdly dressed footmen, swanning down the street on a rickshaw, giving that little queenie wave, the one that looks like you’re unscrewing a lightbulb, then, yes, by all means, let’s boo them out of the county.

But that’s not going to happen. If they come — when they come — they’re going to be just a young family looking for fun and good times. Let’s give it to them, y’all.

And once they visit Santa Cruz County, then, just maybe, they might think of it as a nice next step for their growing family and want to move here. Currently, they live in the suburb of Santa Barbara where their neighbors are other people so famous they don’t need surnames, like Oprah and Ellen. My bet is that’s going to get old.

Once Harry starts hanging with his Silicon Valley friends, catching the Dubs in their new arena or grabbing a burrito in the Mission, he’s going to want to move north.

Then, assuming Meghan’s game, it’s on. We’re going to be in competition with some pretty impressive places. But we’ll still have the inside lane. They’re going to find that San Francisco is kind of a mess right now, Marin’s too sleepy, the Peninsula’s nice but boring, Big Sur’s too weird and remote. Carmel might as well be Santa Barbara.

All signs are going to point to one place, our place.

So, Santa Cruzans, do we have a plan? I can’t help with any connections. The only Prince I know is a jazz drummer from the West Side and that’s his name, not his title.

Our best hope is to get their attention through sheer salesmanship. And here’s where everyone in Santa Cruz County can help pull the wagon.

Tell us what you would recommend for Harry and Meghan to do that might entice them to come to Santa Cruz. Click here to give me your best sales pitch. Which would be the best farmer’s market that Meghan could go with little 2-year-old Archie and the baby? Where are the surf breaks where Harry might don his royal wetsuit and get in the water? What’s your favorite coffee bar, mountain bike run, sunset spot? Where’s a good place to relax with a local IPA in hand while listening to KPIG?

Send us a selfie in a favorite spot with a hand-made sign to welcome Harry and Meghan. Offer them a personal yoga session, Santa Cruz fashion consultation, skimboarding lessons, whatever. Record a testimonial on how awesome the Beach Boardwalk is going to be for little Archie and his little sister one day.

Imagine that one day Harry and Meghan’s son is a competitive surfer working it at The Lane every day, and their daughter is a feminist studies major undermining the patriarchy at UCSC. Imagine how that would discomfit the royals back in Buckingham Palace. Now, imagine you had a part in making that happen.

Now’s the moment. Who’s with me?

Want to offer your suggestions to lure Harry and Meghan to Santa Cruz? Wallace Baine is all ears. Write him at wallace@lookoutlocal.com.