Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were papped twice this weekend in LA – they went hiking with the dogs and they were seen volunteering for Project Angel Food, delivering meals to the chronically ill. Suddenly, after a couple of weeks of lockdown and no one really being able to track them, they’re no longer able to stay undercover…or maybe they don’t want to be undercover?
In addition to the new photos, Good Morning America advertised that Meghan would be on the show today and most people took it to mean that she’d be giving her first interview. Here’s how the promo looked:
If you work in television or publicity, you know this is cut to sound like she’s doing an interview but if they had an exclusive interview they would actually say it. So while they haven’t overpromised anything, you could say it was intentionally thirst trappy, knowing how people would react. What it actually is is similar to EPK footage (junket style, essentially) of Meghan that was likely filmed months ago when she was working on the narration for Elephant, which means what she said was strictly related to the movie. And it’s not surprising that GMA scored it since they’re ABC and ABC is Disney. Nothing to see here.
Besides, there’s a bigger story. This weekend, House Sussex’s representatives sent a letter to the British tabloids telling them, pretty much, to go f-ck themselves:
This evening Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan told the editors of four major British tabloids that they will never deal with them again. Their letter â€” written by representivies for the couple and sent to the Daily Mail, Express, Mirror and The Sun â€” can be read in full belowðŸ‘‡ðŸ» pic.twitter.com/SwF3afIBvG— Omid Scobie (@scobie) April 20, 2020
A lot of this language is a repeat of what they had posted on the media page of their now inactive website. Back in January they’d already declared that they would not participate going forward in the “Royal Rota system”, aka The Cartel. As Omid Scobie points out, the Sussexes are sending this message, once again, because of the lawsuit:
And for those asking why now? As I mention in the article, Friday is the first hearing in Meghanâ€™s case against Associated Newspapers (Mail on Sunday) over the publication of a private letter written to her father. The couple felt it was necessary to set out a new clear agenda.— Omid Scobie (@scobie) April 20, 2020
There was a new legal filing submitted today – thread below, basically Meghan’s legal team itemising all the bullsh-t that the Mail published about her:
ð“ð‡ð‘ð„ð€ðƒ— Omid Scobie (@scobie) April 20, 2020
Duchess Meghanâ€™s lawyers have filed their reply to the Mail on Sunday ahead of Fridayâ€™s hearing. As already reported, sheâ€™s suing Associated Newspapers for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement after printing a private letter sent to Thomas Markle in 2018. pic.twitter.com/X2Umfcfuxo
So that’s the official reason behind the new letter sent to the papers, even though it was already quite clear to them, since Harry and Meghan are suing them, that they’d no longer be engaging with them. But is it kinda like telling someone “never talk to me again!”, storming off, and then calling them a day later just to say, “I don’t ever want to talk to you again!”? What’s up, Brenda Walsh?!
I mean, I get why they want to keep telling the papers that they’re trash, because it’s been gross the sh-t’s that been printed about them, but at the same time, the letter is also a form of engagement when no engagement is the purpose. Like Twitter trolls. Any time you acknowledge them, even if you’re telling them they’re sad losers, it emboldens them that you paid attention. And it almost extends the connection between them.
On the other hand, Harry and Meghan are not only taking their tabloid trolls to court, they’re also in a battle for public opinion. There’s no way they and their team expected that this letter wouldn’t have been released – and that we’d all be talking about it today. They’re highlighting then, once again, to observers of this mess, that these media outlets haven’t been responsible, hoping to remind people, at least some of them, that these papers are not to be believed when it comes to any reporting concerning them.
If it’s a battle for public opinion though, the key word is “public”. And that’s always been the push-pull, particularly for celebrities: that ever-changing line between what is public and what is private and who gets to determine where it is. Harry and Meghan may object to being called “celebrities”, but we’re seeing them the way we see celebrities now in LA – out in the wild, no longer bound by British royal protocol, photographed with their dogs hiking in the Hollywood Hills, where the Reese Witherspoons and the Justin Biebers and the Leonardo DiCaprios and so many other stars are often seen – and that line might be getting more and more difficult to see.