‘Harry and Meghan’ are ruining royal reporters while leaving the royals shockingly unaffected +2023

The first three episodes of Harry & Megan premiered on Netflix this morning, giving us unprecedented access to the world of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. In the months leading up to the premiere, speculation ran rampant that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would be airing out the royal family’s dirty laundry for all to see. Well, as luck would have it, the royal family aren’t the villains of the first three episodes of Harry & Megan. The royal media, ie the British tabloids, are. Right from the start, Prince Harry makes it clear that he sees protecting his wife and children as his dual mission and expose the dirty inner workings of the press.

“My job is to protect my family,” says Prince Harry in the cold of the show. “This is about duty and service and I feel part of this family, it is my duty to expose this exploitation and bribery that is taking place in the media.”

“This isn’t just about our history. This was always about something so much bigger than us.”

Over the course of the first three episodes of Netflix Harry & Megan, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle share how the paparazzi hunted them and their loved ones, how tabloid bribes tore family members apart and the power of the press over British society. ‘Royal Correspondents’ has been heavily criticized by Prince Harry himself, and one commentator points out how the ‘Royal Rota’ system was imposed on Princes Harry and William and their children without consent. If sections of the press seem furious at these otherwise fluffy docuseries, it might be because they’re hit hardest in the narrative.

Harry and Megan
Photo: Netflix

Directed by Liz Garbus Harry & Megan aims to provide an intimate look at the headline-grabbing romance between the British royal family and the American actress. In a way, it’s a fairy tale. Two soul mates found each other and fought for their happy endings in a huge mansion in Montecito. However, it is also the story of the hate that exploded when a multiracial woman fell in love with a man from the world’s most blue-blooded family. Garbus not only offers us the behind-the-scenes gossip about Harry and Meghan’s romance, but contextualizes the broad spectrum of public opinion about it through a broader historical lens. The British monarchy’s buried link to the slave trade is exhumed and it is pointed out that Meghan and Harry’s engagement coincided with the British tabloids’ support for Brexit.

While there’s some shady royal gossip on the show – nobody has taught Meghan Markle royal etiquette, Prince Harry equates Meghan with his late mother Princess Diana and Kate Middleton isn’t a “hugger” – the real poison is for the British media and his exploitative relationship with the royals.

in the Harry & Megan Episode 1, Prince Harry tells how traumatizing it was to be chased by the paparazzi growing up. We see vintage footage of young Prince Harry, his brother Prince William and cousins ​​Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie painfully posing for a photo op while on holiday, only to be stalked by more dads at candid moments. Harry says his mother tried to be a buffer for the boys, but press fascination with the royal heirs increased dramatically after her death. This culminated in young Prince Harry getting into physical altercations with paparazzi and finding potential partners who were put off by the rabid press.

Young Prince Harry at a photocall in Harry & Meghan
Photo: Netflix

Harry & Megan also deals with the “Royal Rota”. To survive in modern times, the royals must maintain a high level of popularity with the British public. About 30 years ago, royals prioritized access to a select group of publications, mostly tabloids, with the understanding that they would repay it with positive coverage. If the royals don’t live up to their deal on “performing” for the press, there are fears the tabloids will slam them with scathing headlines. Journalist Aufa Hirsch brings up the creepy point that Prince Harry was born incorporated into this agreement and it was made without his consent. While older royals were happy with the royal rota arrangement, that doesn’t mean new generations of royals necessarily are.

Episode 3 shows us how vehemently racist the coverage of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s engagement was. These bigoted articles fueled a wave of hate, including literal death threats, Markle’s way. Markle’s friends and family were stalked by the press, and Markle’s mother, Doria, admitted she felt “unsafe.” Some members of her family agreed to trade false stories and photo setups for cash. These arrangements caused massive turmoil in her own family, estranged Markle from her father and forced the couple to uninvite Meghan’s niece to the wedding.

But perhaps the strangest criticism of the royal media comes from a casual comment by Prince Harry in Episode 3. As Markle prepares for a press day, her friend Mandana Dayani asks aloud, “Anybody can just call themselves a royal expert?” Markle throws the Question to Prince Harry.

“It’s the same as Royal Correspondent,” says Prince Harry. “Royal Correspondent is a title, I suppose, given to a select group of journalists so that those newspapers can use them and their stories with ‘Royal Correspondent’ as credible fact.”

That doesn’t sound bad, does it? Wait, there’s more.

“Just so that whatever the newspapers print gets a little extra credibility. I mean anyone can be a royal expert. The whole point is trying to give legitimacy to media articles and they get paid for it. And this kind of press pack from Royal Correspondents is basically just an extended PR firm for the royal family.”

In just a few comments, Prince Harry explains that royal pundits in the press are, at best, PR lackeys for their favorite royals. At worst, they’re just average people putting on a title to lend a veneer of legitimacy to their tabloid journalism. If I were a professional so-called “royal expert,” I could take that as a slam.

If there is a group Harry & Megan declares war, it’s not the royal family, it’s the royal rota, the so-called “royal experts,” toxic Twitter trolls, vicious paparazzi, and everyone who thrives on seedy tabloid culture. So far, the royal family has been called out for their “unconscious bias” but not vilified for it. At least not yet.

There are three more episodes of Harry & Megan due to premiere on Netflix on December 15th. Perhaps these are the ones royals should be afraid of. Then again maybe not. After all, Prince Harry boasts, “I’m my mother’s son.”

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