As Meghan and Harry head to the UK, there are concerns that it will be chaos from the moment they land.
Rebels are what makes royal history interesting: otherwise they’re just a bunch of wimpy fools with a bad habit of marrying their cousins and occasionally invading France.
In the coming days, the renegade duo will reach London, their first real return since throwing in the royal towel in 2020, and the only question no one can answer about the journey is: can the Sussexes manage to survive the four days of Platinum Anniversary events without rogue?
That’s an unknown thing Buckingham Palace aides are concerned about, according to a new report in The Telegraphwith fears that a “Sussex bomb” would be dropped during the anniversary, while “courtiers did everything they could to disperse potential fires”.
(Anyone else imagining courtiers are around the palace right now tearing down questionable works of art? Let’s never forget that William and Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge luckily left a painting with the title the nigga page on the wall of their Kensington Palace apartment when President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama came to dinner.)
While the Anniversary long weekend is full of official events, including the first Trooping the Color to be held since 2019, the Platinum Jubilee concert at the Palace and a Platinum procession with 5000 people and a disturbing number of puppets – all of which are completely under the control of Palace mandarins — it’s what Harry and Meghan might be doing outside of this schedule that sets off the alarm.
The Telegraph‘sCamilla Tominey, who broke the news that Harry was dating the To grab star back in 2016, has reported that “the powers out there seem to have little knowledge of any of” [the Sussexes] “unofficial” plans” and that “their habit of making unpublished appearances … has naturally raised concerns about a ‘circus’ following every move.”
Only last week Meghan managed to create a little furore when she made a surprise performance in Uvalde, Texas last week after 19 schoolchildren and two teachers were brutally murdered by a lone gunman.
(Even in her earliest royal days, the Duchess showed a tendency to go off-script, such as when she decided to write in Bristol in early 2019. apparently empowering messages about bananas being given to sex workers†
When it comes to the Sussexes’ getaway in the UK, the only confirmed details are that they will be staying at Frogmore Cottage, their five-bedroom Windsor home that was until recently occupied by Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank, and Harry and Meghan will attend the Queen’s Thanksgiving service at St Paul’s on Friday. (It was revealed this week that Eugenie and Jack are leaving Frogmore and will split their time between a coastal town in Portugal where Brooksbank will be working on a luxury real estate development and Ivy Cottage at Kensington Palace.)
With just one verified outing in the books, there’s plenty of time left for the couple to pop up at any number of UK schools, daycare centers or dog rescues to remind everyone how much they care.
The problem is that no one really seems to know what they plan to do with their time on their UK jaunt. In another Telegraph Reporting the weekend, the paper’s royal correspondent revealed that the Sussexes “are believed to have only had contact with the palace to discuss logistical arrangements for the anniversary, with royal aides kept at a distance about their wider plans”.
A source told the newspaper: “We’ll see,” a source told the newspaper.
That said, the same report also indicated that the former working royals intend to behave their best and “intend to limit themselves to public engagements during the anniversary, spend private time with family but no unannounced visits elsewhere.” to bring” .
What you need to ask yourself here is, what do Harry and Meghan need to get out of this UK excursion? They may have a big estate with 16 toilets and so many commercial deals that momager Kris Jenner would turn green with dollar envy, but if you look past the press releases and their many, many loos, things start to look a lot less golden.
In almost two years they have failed to release even one piece of content for Netflix, despite the streaming giant signing a deal worth up to $140 million with the duo. Earlier this month, one of their only two projects announced was shelved, and it was reported last week that they are now working on something called a “home” documentary series.
Watching Harry and Meghan care with a capital “c” for hours on end is hardly the same as the “impactful content that unlocks action” they were initially promised to create.
Likewise, they may have signed a reported $35 million Spotify deal in 2020, but so far they’ve only released one lame half-hour podcast featuring a grab bag of their celebrity friends chatting and a trailer for Meghan’s upcoming series called archetypes which was answered with a collective ‘meh.’
Nor have they really made any meaningful progress in establishing themselves as humanitarians, opinion leaders or, in Meghan’s case, protopolitical powerhouses.
In short, the Great Megxit experiment has so far not exactly borne fruit for the Sussexes, other than lumping them together with a designer chicken coop and a promise to do a whole lot of work that the public has so far seen little evidence that they even really started.
Two years after arriving in California, their megawatts of stars have dimmed and they’ve just become another part of the celebrity fabric in the US, barely the glittering world traveler philanthropist ideal that many (myself included) thought they would become.
What they need now to get themselves out of the PR madness is a timely injection of royal stardust and a chance to remind the world that they are much more than Kardashian-lite TV fodder.
With the eyes of the world about to land on London and the international media horde currently setting up shop along the road from the palace, will the Duke and Duchess take this chance to step into the limelight? to be put in the spotlight again, even briefly, let it pass?
Drawing on past forms, such as their October 2019 documentary of their tour of South Africa where they talked about how hard royal life was, and Harry’s recent comments about making sure the Queen is “protected” they have a knack for taking otherwise tickety-boo, simple sailing moments, and refocusing the focus entirely on themselves.
The possibilities for how this could play out during the anniversary extend beyond possible surprise visits to school, as their young children Archie, 3, and baby Lilibet also travel with them.
Archie hasn’t seen this British family since he was about six months old and Lili has never set foot on British soil and the Queen is expected to spend time with the toddlers.
Given that Harry and Meghan have a track record of making private family transactions all too public (Oh hey Oprah!) can we let them, say, release a photo of Her Majesty with her little namesake Lili? or another touching snap this week?
After everything we’ve seen in recent years, nothing is off the table right now.
Just in case anyone was worried that things were too simple, there’s also the Netflix problem. While the streaming giant has not applied for press accreditation for the anniversary’s public events, “the prospect of a Netflix film crew also appearing would cause consternation,” the statement said. Telegraph†
Even with the palace off limits, where does Frogmore fall? Who would make the final decision on whether curious lenses should break through the designer walls of the home of the Sussex? (On Monday evening, The Sun reported that the duo has extended their lease on the property.)
If the Duke and Duchess of Sussex decided this week to stage some sort of attention-seeking coup, it would be a gamble. Not only would the British press and the public be apoplectic, but the Queen is still widely respected and loved in the US.
Doing anything to detract from her big party may not be good for the American public, the very same people the Sussexes need to stream, listen and buy their upcoming content offerings.
Walking this rogue path would also undo the restoration of family bridges that may have happened behind the scenes. (During the weekend The Mirror reported that William and Harry FaceTime each other to “rebond” ahead of the anniversary.)
It remains to be seen for the time being, and for the Palace? Maybe it’s not a bad idea to start by closing the shutters.
Daniela Elser is a royal pundit and writer with over 15 years experience working with a number of leading Australian media titles.
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