Meghan and Harry’s $180 million is at stake.

It’s been a week of bad news for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as the deteriorating economic climate puts them in the line of fire.

This weekend, Americans will turn into paroxysms of flying flags, grilling and drinking beer as they celebrate the 4th of July weekend. On that day back in 1776, the country rejected the rule of the British monarchy and declared that it wanted to go it alone by ratifying the Declaration of Independence. (Thanks to Thomas Jefferson and your pen journey.)

A couple of centuries later, two more people – Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – went almost the same way, though without muskets, and said that they, too, were tired of existing under the heel of the monarchy.

Harry and Meghan in 2020, as in the 1770s, was waiting for the New World, full of promises and other stamps.

But for the couple, as well as for the Republic, what began with such promises and optimism began to burst at the seams.

In fact, the events of the last week paint a bleak picture of the United States of Sussex.

At the heart of it all is the fact that they failed to defeat the Americans.

The latest poll, taken at the end of May, showed 48% of people generally have a positive view of Harry, up from 54% in March last year. Meanwhile, 30% of respondents now view it negatively, up from 26% in 2021.

Meghan has no home advantage, whose overall favor, 45 percent, is unchanged from last year. Meanwhile, the number of those who have a negative attitude towards it has increased from 33% in 2021 to 36% now.

Perhaps one way to understand this sorry state of affairs is to ask; what did they actually do to earn US support or approval?

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex may have thrown off the supposedly restrictive yoke of the monarchy and told the truth to power in prime time, but in their more than two years of living in California, they’re really worthless.

In regular interviews, they have taken it upon themselves to make statements about things like the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and vaccine equality, but as leaders they have proven themselves to be the celebrity equivalent of cardboard straws – a good idea in theory, but in reality In fact, everything is a little raw and useless.

On Wednesday, US Vogue published a conversation between Meghan, Gloria Stein and journalist Jessica Yellin about the recent horrific Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. It was supposed to be a real highlight – the eloquent and educated young lawyer (the duchess) and the battle-tested icon (who are friends) speak frankly.

(Total and loud credit goes to Megan for speaking up during this terrible moment in the US for women.)

24 hours after the article appeared online, New York Times, Washington Post, Forbes as well as Timeall of whom had previously covered the Sussexes, reported what would once have been news talk.

Ask yourself what really sets them apart, apart from titles, from other celebrities who have reasons (Kim Kardashine and criminal justice reform, Leonardo DiCaprio and the environment); other celebrities with charitable foundations (Jennifer Lopez, Miley Crius and a host of other stars) or other celebrities who probably have Oprah’s personal cell phone number (Kim again, Barack Obama and Rihanna)?

In fact, after nearly 850 days of living and working in the United States, Harry and Meghan have yet to make any real political, cultural, or social impact while their precious momentum dwindles.

All in all, it was a case of Yankee Doodle Don’t.

This can be partly explained by the fact that their careers as content producers have yet to develop. (Work with me here – eagles, you know?) They may have made enough high-profile deals to keep Variety in the headlines, but until now, their results could be recorded on a beer coaster.

The recent disaster in the US stock market should make them nervous. (Stay with me here.) The value of Netflix dropped by $290 billion in two months, resulting in high-profile bloodshed. A number of upcoming shows from a number of producers, including a children’s cartoon the Duchess was working on, have been cancelled.

In April, Netflix announced that they could lose two million subscribers this quarter, causing a stock market panic that caused the company’s value to drop by almost 70%.

In this climate, Harry and Meghan will have to make a living, which could somehow explain the realistic series they are reportedly working on for the streamer.

(Will we see the Duke and Duchess squabbling over who drank the leftovers of the match, or will we see their son Archie pull out a $1,700 Kelly Westeler lamp while practicing with his tiny polo mallet? Such voyeuristic access will go a long way to staying on the right side of the Netflix bosses, definitely.)

Meanwhile, at Spotify, the Sussexes’ affairs do not bode well. Earlier this week, it was announced that the streaming platform had parted ways with some of its other A++ list employees, former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama.

So far there has been no sign of Meghan’s debut podcast titled archetypesa series she promised “explores and subverts the labels that try to hold women back” and is due out this northern summer.

In the meantime, Harry has yet to announce any of his own audio projects.

Spotify has gotten very, very little bang for the buck so far for all that money.

The bigger picture here is that being a duke and duchess means they are immune to the cold economic winds blowing in the US and Australia. A hell of a lot has changed for Netflix and Spotify since they released their checkbooks in 2020, and with talk of a recession and a massive cost-of-living crisis, big-budget employees like the Sussexes could face a bleak future.

Or, as Scott Galloway, a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business, was very blunt about the couple during a recent episode of his influential media and technology. Rotate podcast: “What the hell did they do? A lot of nothing … You just see a lot [companies deciding] give up on these high-profile celebrities, feel good about being in a partnership, because all of a sudden, shit is real in the market.”

Not only huge, huge piles of money are at stake here, but the absolute success of the gambling they undertook when they retired from royal life. Are Harry and Meghan on the verge of becoming respected producers, or are they about to become a cautionary tale? Are they going to live out their own American dream or an American nightmare of their own making?

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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