Meghan and Harry dilemma over future after ‘airing family grievances’

Harry & Meghan: Lorraine discusses final Netflix episodes

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will have a “much smaller potential audience” when they start releasing projects that aren’t focused on the Royal Family in the US, PR and crisis management expert Edward Coram James believes. The commentator noted Prince Harry and Meghan grabbed headlines around the world every time they aired their family grievances over the past two years – including with their latest documentary. Now, however, the Duke of Sussex suggested in the last episode of the six-parter Netflix series titled Harry & Meghan he and his wife will no longer speak about the Firm as extensively as they have done in the past couple of years as they are “moving on”.

But moving away from the subject of family drama, particularly when it relates to one of the most famous families in the world, could sensibly narrow down their potential audience as content producers, Mr Coram James said.

The CEO of PR, reputation and crisis management agency Go Up told “I wonder where the Sussexes can go from here. Their only consistent recipe for global headlines to date has been based on airing family grievances.

“Even those that do not like the couple have tuned in to watch it, out of a combination of fascination and voyeurism.

“Any future series, that is not related to the same material, will have a much smaller potential audience: those that would tune in to watch the Duke and Duchess of Sussex because they find them compelling storytellers.

“That is a much less attractive proposition for a streaming giant that is not on a righteous mission to change the world for the better, but is instead interested in one thing and one thing only: making as much money as it can. 

“From a PR point of view, the strategy appears very flash in the pan.

“I would always suggest building a name and reputation slowly and methodically, to make sure that you build a name for yourself that goes beyond your personal story. Otherwise, you may well find that you quickly run out of road.”

Meghan and Prince Harry signed a multi-year deal with Netflix in 2020, a few months after they officially bowed out of the Firm as working members.

This docu-series is the only product they have released so far for the streaming giant.

However, they are also known to be working on another docu-series, titled Heart of Invictus, focused on the stories of athletes who have taken part in the Invictus Games at The Hague in April. 

Prince Harry and Meghan also have a multi-year deal with audio streaming platform Spotify, for which they have released a holiday special episode in 2020 and the 12-episode series led by the Duchess titled Archetypes.

The PR expert also analysed the second half of the Netflix docu-series, which debuted on Thursday.

Much like the first half of the programme, first released on December 8, episodes four, five and six of Harry & Meghan featured the Sussexes first-hand accounts as well as recounts from their friends, staff at their organisation Archewell, one of their lawyers and experts.

The choice of the people interviewed for this programme did not provide an impartial account of the Sussexes’ story and struggles, the PR expert believes.

He said: “The docuseries Harry & Meghan should not be mistaken for a sincere piece of film or documentary making. 

“Instead, it should be viewed for what it is: PR and good television.

“In some ways, it reflects a masterful use of film to create the singular narrative that the Sussexes wish to present to the world, at the expense of any other perspective.”

The nature of the documentary itself, the expert added, it’s unlikely to have swayed in their favour people who previously did not like Meghan and Harry.

Mr Coram James said: “Those that already loved the Royal Family will walk away wondering when Harry and Meghan will put an end to the circus and go about living the quiet life that they have always pertained to crave, and further respect the royals for not taking the bait and entering the fray tit-for-tat.

“Those that already love Harry and Meghan will walk away even more horrified at their treatment at the hands of a perceived cold, heartless and elitist institution like the Royal Family.”

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