Harry & Meghan: the tour documentary

Lainey Posted by Lainey at October 4, 2019 15:10:29 October 4, 2019 15:10:29

Yesterday I wrote about what may have been happening internally, in the background, when Prince Harry launched Love Shield 2019. Externally I’m sure you know what’s been happening. Harry criticised the British “press pack”. The “press pack” snarled back. Some of them even take exception to the term itself, “press pack”, that he was calling them out to the world, and referring to them as animals. 

As expected, in the days that have followed, there have been opinion pieces and columns in many UK publications and tabloids clapping back at House Sussex for their perceived hypocrisy, defending the media’s right to blast them, and pointing out that Harry’s release of his Love Shield spoiled the great press he and Meghan Markle were receiving during their tour of southern Africa, overshadowing the work they did on the final day because the headlines were dominated by the Love Shield and the announcement that Meghan was suing the Daily Mail. 

Well, it’s not like they wouldn’t have been expecting it. It’s not like they wouldn’t have known that the letter and the lawsuit would dominate. It’s not like they’d actually believe that the very people they were dragging would read that letter and then sit up straight all, he’s right! We should stop talking sh-t about them!

Of course they only talked even more sh-t. I’m not going to bother linking to all of it. They’re not hard to find. But I will highlight this one because the headline tells you everything – by Judith Woods for The Telegraph: “Meghan, please don’t force Harry to choose between you and us”. 

I mean, that’s not even subtext. That’s a neon sign the size of an alien spaceship hovering over England: an outsider is stealing one of our own! If this was Harry Potter, it’s the equivalent of a Death Eater accusing a member of pure-blood wizarding family of marrying a muggle and contaminating magical lineage. 

And who is the “us” here, anyway? Because not everyone in England is mad at Meghan of House Sussex. Almost all of the people who are mad, though, well, they share some major similarities. One major similarity. That’s the “us” that’s implied here, isn’t it? And that’s what white supremacy has always  asserted: White = All. 

That said, I wish we could have a more nuanced conversation about Harry and Meghan if not for the racism, both overt and subtle, that they’re legitimately trying to confront, because I don’t think that Harry and Meghan are right all the time. I’m not into how he spoke to Sky News’s Rhiannon Mills the other day, chastising her for asking him a question after his visit to Mauwa Health Centre in Malawi. She was trailing him on his way to the car and, sure, that’s not usually how it works with royals but she’s not a Piers Morgan type, she was asking him about the work he was doing at the health centre, and in that situation, in his position, being the prince with the power heading into his private vehicle, speaking to a reporter on the run, it was not an equal playing field and embarrassed her in front of a crowd. It was excessive use of force for that specific infraction, like a parent grounding a kid for a week for forgetting to put the cap back on the toothpaste. 

As I have said, Harry and Meghan, like all royals and celebrities, should not be above criticism. But, just as I wrote in the previous paragraph about reciprocal responses, the criticism of them should be balanced. They should be checked for their expenses – equally and alongside other royal family members. If they’re being hypocritical about anything, that hypocrisy should be taken in context with other members of the royal family. If they’ve “broken protocol”, other royals should be called out for their protocol breaches too. But that’s not happening. And that’s the problem. 

Which brings us back to the Love Shield and its purpose – to scold the “press pack”, obviously, but I also wonder if, ever the disruptors, Harry and Meghan are setting up a bigger strategy. There will be more tours and there will be more appearances. Both Harry and Meghan have said that they intend to be as involved and active as possible, so it’s not like they can avoid the “press pack” and it doesn’t sound like they’re all that optimistic about the media changing their ways. They have, however, steadily increased their social media capital. They’re aware of how popular they are among younger generation and where to best engage with them – and that’s not necessarily The Sun or the Daily Mail. Five years from now, if and when Harry and Meghan go on tour, will The Sun or the Daily Mail and other members of the “press pack” that the Sussexes object to be invited? Is that where we’re headed? And is that the bigger fear? 

To be honest, I don’t know if that’s the answer – and before you start yelling, let me explain. The columns that appear in papers like The Sun and the Daily Mail right now, to be clear, are bullsh-t. But it shouldn’t be about taking away their jobs entirely, it should be about them doing their jobs BETTER. 

Anyway, in related Harry and Meghan tour news, there will be a documentary happening:

Well that’s a tease. 

Tom Bradby is well known to the royal family. He was the one chosen to interview Prince William and Kate when they announced their engagement and has, over the years, developed a solid relationship with both Will and Harry. Presumably, given his promise that the doc “will explain a lot when it airs”, there will be a mention of the Love Shield and Harry and Meghan’s relationship with the media. Whether or not the entire documentary is about that issue remains to be seen. My guess is that the documentary is about the Sussexes’ work on the tour to champion their causes and their partnership now that Sussex is independent from Cambridge, and that they’ll devote a few minutes but not all the minutes to their position on the press coverage. And, again, Buckingham Palace would never approve of this if the Queen didn’t know in advance. So, as I wrote yesterday, those reports that the Queen and Prince Charles were blindsided by the Love Shield – it would be impossible, there’s no way Harry wouldn’t have set up the strategy in advance. 
 

Photos:
Chris Jackson/ MICHELE SPATARI/ Pool/ Samir Hussein/ WPA Pool/ Getty Images

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