You have to hand it to Prince Harry and his wife, actress Meghan Markle, they know what sells in America and how to sell it: Latch onto a hot topic (or two) and run with it until the cash comes in.
That’s not to say their problems aren’t real, but to me, bringing them up at this particular moment in time on national television was impetus behind their two-hour sit-down with Oprah Winfrey last Sunday.
They wanted to give their brand a little kick in the pants by associating themselves with some of pressing issues of the day.
They needed a spark to garner interest in them and in turn their business ventures which includes an inexplicable 3-year podcast deal with Spotify for an estimated $15 to $18 million and, perhaps even more bizarre, a 5-year deal with Netflix said could be valued at up to $100 million.
“Could be,” being the key words there.
In order to realize that kind of profit, I’m guessing they need to create content somebody actually wants to watch and the only thing they have to offer at this point is them and really, they have nothing to offer.
They are their brand and up until last Sunday, not a lot of people were even paying attention to them. And since they left the friendly confines of England and the Crown to make it on their own financially (that was one reason given), they need to get busy.
So the couple took their traveling medicine show to the town of Oprah in an attempt to sell their elixir to all the rubes looking for a quick fix distraction from reality. Just when you thought “The Masked Dancer” was the most cringeworthy thing on television, along comes Harry and Meghan.
The sad part is more than 17 million Americans watched the show and probably walked away feeling oh, so sorry for the Harry and his princess.
Or is it Meghan and her prince?
Either way, I don’t care about the Royal Family, the Queen, her sons, her grandsons, the women they marry, or any television shows about them or based on them.
The whole idea that there is still a royal family in existence today – this group of privileged people living off millions of taxpayer dollars and the perks of even more millions of dollars-worth of property obtained over the centuries by any number of dubious ways - is actually quite offensive.
Harry, his wife, and their entire family are as fake as any Disney princess movie that was ever conceived.
I didn’t watch the interview Sunday, but I did catch some news and perhaps the most revealing thing I saw was the moment Prince Harry told Winfrey with a straight face that he and Markle’s decision to leave the Royal Family led to them being cut off financially and the burdens that came with that travesty.
“My family literally cut me off financially, and I had to afford security for us,” Harry, 36, said. “[I was cut off] in the first quarter of 2020. But I’ve got what my mom left me and without that, we would not have been able to do this.”
Before you cry a River Thames for poor Harry, consider this: Jointly, the couple is currently worth $10 million, according to Forbes Magazine, with a sizable portion lying in the equity of their nearly $15 million California mansion.
And Harry also inherited roughly $10 million from his late mother Princess Diana's estate, with Meghan Markle contributing approximately $2 million (after taxes) from her various works as an actress.
So they are doing okay but it’s obvious they’d like to be doing a little better.
All that being said, despite how you may or may not feel about what Harry and Meghan had to say Sunday, or whether or not you agree with my assessment that the whole thing was a dog and pony show, it’s hard to not feel the timing was especially poor.
A prince and princess whining about how tough their life has been while much of the country continues to deal with a pandemic that has killed a half a million people and left millions more broke or in a state of mental despair, shouldn’t play well, ever.
I think actor Wendell Pierce, one of Markle’s former co-stars, summed it up best when he told a UK radio show that the interview was ‘full of sound and fury signifying nothing” and that “it was quite insensitive and offensive that we are all complicit in this sort of palace… gossip in the midst of so much death. I think it is insignificant.”
Unfortunately, at least 17 million people probably disagree his take because Americans love royalty and probably always will.
One of the first big television events I can remember outside of a Super Bowl came in 1981 when Prince Charles married the late Diana Spencer and 14.2 million people in the United States tuned in to share in their magical moment.
When Chuck’s son Prince William married Kate Middleton, 22.7 million people wasted their day watching them parade around and when Prince Harry met Sally married Markle in 2018, 29.19 million people tuned in.
I wonder, though, how popular the royal family would be if they were from America and if American taxpayers were forced to foot the bill for these pompous people to live the high life in their castles just because of where they were born and to whom they were born to.
According to media reports, it cost British Taxpayers 96.2 million U.S. dollars last year to keep the Queen, her babies, their wives, and all her corgis, eating well.
I thought that kind of ridiculousness was why American’s stopped caring about Britain’s Royal Family in 1776.