When it’s true that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, just publicity, then Harry and Meghan had had enough of it days before the launch of their Netflix documentary about themselves — Harry & Meghan. No sooner had the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released the first trailer for their six hour-long cinematic self-portrayal than the Prince and Princess of Wales landed in Boston to accept the Royal Foundation’s Earthshot Climate Action Award give – there were tens of thousands of comments under the one-minute clip on YouTube: mostly negative.
A never-ending ego trip
Scrolling through the initial flood of requests not only gives you a crash course in the post-Megxit allegations emanating from the tabloids and social media over the past few years, but also gives you a sense of how the Meghan and Harry saga came to be conflicting interpretations challenging reality show has become independent. Will the public witness a never-ending ego trip? Or the liberation of two philanthropists from a hostile environment? Rather the former, say biting Sussex critics in the trailer comment column, developing a stylized form of ironic review speculatively aimed at the documentary or commercial: “I love the part where they say they have to protect their family, but millions “I love the part where they use stock photos from a Harry Potter premiere and pictures taken by photographers in a Katie Price trial,” it said.
In fact, it quickly became apparent that Netflix had edited archive footage of photographer groups from other contexts with footage of the duke couple in the trailer, giving the impression that the Sussexes were being chased by this same press mob, which is only true in a figurative sense. The second trailer, published a little later, shows a camera perspective from which – as the montage and soundtrack suggest – the couple and their son are targeted with a vulture’s eye, as it were. However, the photo was not taken by a paparazzi, but by one of three accredited photographers during the official visit of Meghan and Harry to Bishop Desmond Tutus’ residence.
On both sides of the Atlantic, such things were taken apart with relish, whether on the “Megyn Kelly Show”, the “Daily Mail”, which recently lost to the Sussexes in a legal dispute, or on Twitter. Lessons on framing, the trailers used private couple photos of Meghan and Harry, images of a media-stricken Diana, and of William and Kate with frozen faces — to the sound of glass breaking — as the building blocks of the narrative: Here are two who were happy and of good will , but were hounded by the British press like Diana and unprotected by the royal family in a “dirty game” of racist foul play.