Harry and Meghan: What we've learned from documentary so far
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry “appear to have given up on winning hearts and minds in the UK”, Express.co.uk has been told, as the couple shift their “main focus” to courting “fans in the US”. The first three episodes of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s highly-anticipated Netflix docuseries was released on the streaming platform on Thursday morning.
The series tracks the couple’s relationship, from their first date through to their wedding and their family life with their two children, Archie, three, and one-year-old Lilibet.
The Duke and Duchess stepped back from royal life in the UK in March 2020, quickly relocating to Meghan’s home state of California.
They have since secured deals with not only Netflix but audio streaming giant Spotify, as well as Prince Harry’s upcoming memoir, which will be published by Penguin Random House in January.
Last year, they gave a sit-down interview with US chat show host Oprah Winfrey, and Meghan has divulged details of her experiences in the Royal Family through her podcast, Archetypes, as well as in interviews with New York Magazine’s The Cut and Variety Magazine.
But with the release of the new Netflix series, the Duke and Duchess “appear to have given up on winning hearts and minds in the UK, with their main focus directed at winning fans in the USA”, according to reputational and crisis management expert Edward Coram-James.
Go Up chief executive Mr Coram-James told Express.co.uk: “This is shown by the platforms that they have utilised to gain media attention.
“For instance, their first, explosive interview was with Oprah Winfrey, a household staple in the US, who they knew would only give softball questions in a friendly environment with little real challenge, but who is rarely watched in the UK.
“The Sussexes are already hugely popular with the US Progressive left, and I expect this series to further increase that popularity.”
Success with this Netflix series, he argued, “will increase their stock and therefore the value of contracts that they can demand”.
He added: “This is make or break for them.
“Earlier attempts at series have not gone to plan, with Netflix already canning Meghan Markle’s animated series ‘Pearl'”.
Back in May, Netflix cancelled “Pearl”, an animated series which featured the Duchess of Sussex as an executive producer.
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The series was to focus on a 12-year-old girl, navigating growing up and pulling inspiration from influential female historical figures.
Mr Coram-James suggested: “This documentary is the Sussexes’ opportunity to show the major networks that they are a relevant money-making machine after all.”
However, he noted, the new Netflix series is unlikely to “change impressions” already held by the public on either side of the Atlantic of the Duke and Duchess.
He remarked: “The world already knows a lot about Meghan and Harry and most people have already developed their opinions. From a reputational point of view, it is important to get in quick and get in early.
“After an impression has been formed, it is very hard to change that impression.
“So, as reputation management experts, we need to be able to set the storyline and define options from the very outset.
“The world has watched this argument slowly build over a number of years, and opinions are now baked in.
“Those that love the Royal Family will find many reasons in this docuseries to further dislike The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, being cynical about their claims of innocence in all of this and suspicious that the real intention may be financial.
“Those that are fans of The Duke and Duchess will walk away even more entrenched in their view that the Royal Family is an out of touch, formal, colonial relic that has to go and that Meghan and Harry are victims of an ongoing harassment campaign.”
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