Death of a Queen: Harry and Meghan face predicament over revealing book and Netflix deal

Since 1851, Balmoral, the Scottish estate of the royal family, has been a place of peace and tranquility.

This is the place where they went to spend a long summer vacation, away from (most) nosy press lenses, to relax together and do what millions of other British families have always done – watch their father try to grill wet driftwood in the rain .

But early Friday morning, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex returned to the estate just over 25 years ago, on the day he, aged 12, woke up at the castle to learn the fateful news that his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, had been murdered. in Paris.

Once again, Deeside Manor became a place of mourning for the 37-year-old duke after the death of the queen at the age of 96.

He and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex have returned to the UK since last weekend when they returned for a series of charity events, a pseudo-royal tour teeming with walking, speeches and a few carefully crafted cheering crowds.

For the Sussexes, this time period was to be the starting point for their debut as content creators and supposed Hollywood influencers.

Meghan’s debut podcast in September. archetypes launched, almost immediately taking first place. (Now it has lost first place to the Joe Rogan show of the same name, and the Duchess’ highest-rated episode, her last with actress Mindy Kaling, is in 21st place.)

The remaining months of 2022 were set to be the biggest for the California couple since they so abruptly retired from royal life in the early days of 2020.

After the pandemic; after the political turmoil in the presidential elections; after the arrival of their daughter Lilibet; now, at last, the first bell of their post-royal career was to be rung. Podcasts, TV, book! World, beware!

Today, however, those plans have certainly failed.

There are, of course, Harry’s memoirs, which reveal that Penguin Random House wants the as-yet-untitled book to hit the shelves in time for the lucrative Christmas rush, the contents of which are said to have caused no end. irritation and nerves in royal circles.

Ever since the $27 million deal was announced last year, there have been rumors that such an extravagant amount would require Harry to agree to sensationally rid himself of royal revelations; that the duke, who has devoted most of the last two years to the Firm’s pillory, will use all these hundreds of pages for a new attack on the royal agitprop.

While he and Meghan, especially in their stunning interview with Oprah Winfrey, steered very, very far from uttering anything but sweet-tongued praise for his grandmother, the same could not be said for his father, now King Charles. . III and his brother Prince William, today the Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge.

Countless posts suggest that Harry’s book will be like Mirror reported earlier this year, would “shake the monarchy to its foundations” and reveal his true feelings for his stepmother, new queen consort Camilla.

This was announced at the end of August by a source of the publication. Page six: “Harry has several truth bombs in his book that he debates whether or not to include.”

The question is, will Penguin Random House continue with the book’s publishing schedule, especially if it presents a not-too-flattering picture of a newly minted sovereign and his heir presumptive?

On the one hand, it would seem that they have invested a lot of money in this book, and interest in the royal family is about to reach its climax. On the other hand, however, Americans today display an amazing level of public grief, with the news of Her Majesty’s passing dominating New York Times as well as Washington Post.

Surprising as it may seem, even after the Sussexes’ accusations of racism and cruelty, a survey conducted in May this year showed that 63 percent of Americans still have a positive attitude towards the queen.

Against this background, would Penguin dare to publish a book that could be so contrary to public opinion about the queen or at a time of general sympathy for the House of Windsor? Will they risk one of the biggest publishing releases in modern history only to (potentially) kick the royal family while they’re out of business?

Netflix executives are now facing the same predicament when it comes to the future of the Sussex docu-series, which has been in the works for at least a year now. (Or, as Meghan recently described the series somewhat nonsensically in an interview with sliceas a documentary about their “love story”.)

Will Netflix decide to ride the wave of a new obsession with everything related to the palace to win streaming gold? Or would it be foolish and adventurous to release this series now?

More broadly, the Sussexes now face a major threat to the brand they have built since leaving the royal court as little guys telling the truth to power; genuine voices that didn’t want to be silenced or crushed by a mind-numbing palace completely abandoned by their humane arrogance and pep.

Although they launched their philanthropic arm Archewell in late 2020 (releasing a letter that gave the world an absurdly pretentious intro: “I am my mother’s son. And I am our son’s mother”), they have so far failed to achieve anything substantial on that front.

On the contrary, their current identity in the wider US firmament is that of celebrities, not the public figures and leaders they seem to so badly want to be.

Speeches here and there and a few encounters with the great and good, not surprisingly, have not led them to be regarded in Washington or New York as serious influencers. They may take themselves ridiculously seriously, but the people who really count haven’t done that yet.

Instead, what Harry and Meghan have achieved since they arrived in the US over two years ago is a painful public PR campaign in which they pitted themselves against the royal family, a strategy that has paid some dividends in terms of popularity. and glory.

But today? It’s like a myopic gambit that can backfire.

Harry and Meghan have spent the past two years defining themselves entirely in opposition to family and institution, which today are objects of sympathy around the world, and for now, the Sussexes can no longer play the Bad Palace card.

The Duke and Duchess suddenly find themselves in a situation similar to that of a 21st century emperor’s new clothes: take away their signature mourning routine, and what are you left with? Two famous people who did not achieve anything significant and took on a huge mortgage.

As the UK comes together to mourn the loss of a historic queen, in a moment of national unity and sadness, Harry and Meghan now find themselves in the utterly unenviable position, at least for now, of being on the wrong side. story.

Daniela Elzer is a royal expert and writer with over 15 years of experience working with a range of leading Australian media outlets.

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