Harry and Meghan: Perception Problem

We were promised bombshells and revelations, instead what we got was more of the same. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attempted to convince the viewer that they were victims. This writer believes they are whiners. 

In the trailer that was dropped for the Harry and Meghan docudrama, Netflix hinted at bombshells, secrets and lies. The rumour mill started, and those who were interested, wondered what new secrets they’d reveal. Would we finally learn which Royal had asked what colour their son’s skin would be? Would they reveal who had been waging war against them in the Royal Family?

The first three episodes of the docudrama were a damp squib. There were no revelations, perhaps they are being kept for the final three episodes, which are being released on 15th December (incidentally the day when the other Royals are attending a Christmas Carol service.) 

There were three main giveaways.

  1. Prince Harry has a deep seated fear of the press, no doubt justified. As can be seen by his continued panic driven turning over the shoulder to see whether they are being followed by paparazzi in one scene. They weren’t. 
  2. The Duke and Duchess have a hard time keeping to a straight story. Be it how they met, or whether the Duchess knew how to curtsey or not. During her Oprah Interview she said she was taught how to do it by Prince Andrew’s ex-wife. Here, she says she wasn’t taught and did some elaborate bow.
  3. The Duke and Duchess didn’t want to escape the UK for privacy reasons, they wanted full control over exposure.

Now, 1 and 3 are not all that bad when you consider the upbringing Prince Harry had, and the deep-seated scars his mother’s death must’ve left on him. But, they do tend to raise eyebrows, when they continually claim they want privacy, that the press is out to get them, when they then use two of the biggest media giants in the world to air out grievances.

It does not come across as two people telling their own truth, but rather, having a whine and being safe to know that they won’t face pushback. Indeed, both during their infamous Oprah interview and now during their Netflix show, not once have they faced any serious pushback on anything they have said or claimed.

In their Oprah interview, the Ducal couple claimed that their son did not get the styling of a Prince because of his race. This was factually incorrect. He was not styled a Prince because George V decreed in 1917 that only children of the Sovereign, male line grandchildren of the Sovereign and the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales (the heir apparent) were entitled to the style of Prince and Princess. This was done in a bid to reduce the size of the Royal Family and make things more economically viable in the age of revolution. 

Now this is not something that the average lay person would know. But, any journalist worth their salt would review any possible claims or statements that could come up, and if the status of their son was a question that Oprah wanted to ask or broach she should’ve had the research done. She did not, and nobody seemed prepared to push back against the Ducal couple during that interview.

So, of course people bought it hook line and sinker, until, Royal Commentators started to come out and call nonsense on this claim. Just as they did with other claims made, such as the claim that Harry and Meghan were married privately before their very public and very expensive wedding ceremony. The Archbishop of Canterbury himself had to refute that claim, as if he’d done it, it would’ve been illegal. Then add in other claims, such as Meghan having her passport taken from her (not possible given only the monarch can travel without a passport), Meghan and Harry’s wedding being celebrated in South Africa like Nelson Mandela being freed (the man who supposedly told Meghan this has been on record to say he never met Meghan.) It becomes apparent that either Harry and Meghan are forgetful to the extreme, or they are liars.

And if they have lied about important things such as when they were married, what else have they or are they lying about? Once people perceive you to be a liar, it is very hard for them to change their view.

Then we move onto point three. 

During their documentary, Meghan Markle talks about the first time she met the Queen, she says she wasn’t really told how to greet the Queen until just before she met her. Thus when she curtseyed, she did some elaborate nonsense that only happens in movies. She claims she thought it was a joke, she laughs, claims it’s similar to some restaurant called Medieval Times. And Prince Harry before this, claims it would be hard to explain this to anyone, but especially an American. 

Now, perhaps it is just me, but, I wouldn’t take well to either of these two things. Firstly, you’re insulting the entire intelligence of a country, by claiming they wouldn’t understand curtseying. Secondly, Meghan Markle’s little joke, whilst it might’ve been meant as light-hearted comes across as petty and mocking, especially when one considers the rather strained look on Prince Harry’s face.

Thirdly, this again contradicts what they said during the Oprah interview, where Meghan had said that before she met the Queen, Fergie, Prince Andrew’s ex-wife, showed her how to curtsey correctly. So again, the perception is that they are lying.

Not only that but they are mocking one another’s cultures. Which doesn’t seem that healthy.

Harry and Meghan may have experienced some tough times as a couple, undoubtedly so. But, when you are perceived as lying and whining, and then to add on top a assumption that you’re mocking another culture, well then the perception becomes one of doubt.

People are conservative creatures, it is very hard for us to change our perception of someone or something once we’ve formulated an opinion.

Given the situation many people find themselves in with the cost of living crisis, listening to two people who live in a mansion and are airing out their grievances before the world, when many of those they have a grievance against can’t do so, and when these two people have also been found to have lied before. Well then the perception may well be negative.

And therein lies the problem. No matter how many shows, podcasts, interviews you do, if you’re perceived as being liars and whiners, nobody will take you seriously. And I fear that is the issue Harry and Meghan have now.

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