The festering Transatlantic ‘cold war’ between the Windsors and the Sussexes turned hot today after furious Palace insiders accused ‘delusional’ Harry and Meghan of attacking the institution of the monarchy ‘because it is good for business’.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex opened up a new rift in their feud with the Royal Family this week when former Suits actress Meghan let off another round of ‘truth bombs’ in her new Spotify podcast and an astonishing US interview where she said she had been compared to South African hero Nelson Mandela and claimed Harry had ‘lost’ his father Charles during Megxit.
Royal sources have now hit back at the couple, branding their tirades against life as working royals ‘delusional’ and ‘tragic’ – and sensationally suggesting that they ‘rail against the system as much as they still do’ even after Megxit to sustain public and therefore commercial interest in their ‘brand’.
One disgruntled Palace insider told The Sunday Times: ‘Everyone hoped they would go off to be financially independent, pursue their philanthropic endeavours and be happy – and that in going their own way, they might no longer feel the need to rail against the system as much as they still do.
‘But then the star power of them requires an association with the Royal Family, and the fuel on those flames is the family discord.’
Sources also rubbished Meghan’s claim South Africa celebrated her wedding like they had Mandela’s release in her interview with the ‘woke’ magazine The Cut, raging: ‘The whole thing is just staggering. Nelson Mandela? Who’s next, Gandhi? There are simply no words for the delusion and tragedy of it all.’
They also claimed that the Queen, who is now 96 and has pulled out of a string of public events in recent months amid ongoing fears for her health, does not ‘want to be on tenterhooks’ and constantly waiting for the ‘next nuclear bomb’.
And Charles’s friends told the paper that the jibes continue to be ‘painful’ for him – particularly after relations partly healed when he spent time with Harry, Meghan and his grandchildren Archie and Lilibet during the Platinum Jubilee in June.
‘For two years, there has been a steady stream of really challenging things said about a man who cannot [publicly] defend himself to a couple he obviously loves and misses. That is incredibly difficult on a personal level. He is completely bewildered by why his son, whom he loves deeply, feels this is the way to go about managing family relationships,’ one added.
The festering Transatlantic ‘cold war’ between the Windsors and the Sussexes turned hot today after furious Palace insiders accused ‘delusional’ Harry and Meghan (pictured in 2017) of attacking the institution of the monarchy ‘because it is good for business’
Sources claimed that the Queen (pictured in June), who is now 96 and has pulled out of a string of public events in recent months amid ongoing fears for her health, does not ‘want to be on tenterhooks’ and constantly waiting for the ‘next nuclear bomb’
Prince Charles’s (pictured on Saturday) friends said that the jibes continue to be ‘painful’ for him – particularly after relations partly healed when he spent time with Harry, Meghan and his grandchildren Archie and Lilibet during the Platinum Jubilee in June
Harry and Meghan’s jibes have not been well-received by the monarchy, palace insiders alleged, noting that many question what the couple – specifically Meghan – hope to achieve by publicly detailing ‘how awful it was to be a royal.’
In her wide-ranging interview with The Cut, running to more than 6,000 words, Meghan said that ‘just by existing’ she and Harry were ‘upsetting the dynamic of the hierarchy’ before they stepped down as senior working royals.
She also she said it takes ‘a lot of effort’ to forgive and hinted that she can ‘say anything’ after not signing any confidentiality agreements with the royals.
The couple’s actions also seemingly contradict the public statement they released in January 2020, after reaching a deal with the Queen to leave the royal life, in which they pledged that ‘everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty’.
Regardless, the Queen has repeatedly said the Sussexes remain ‘much-loved’ by the royal family.
Her communications staff declined to comment when Mail Online asked about the remarks of the palace insiders. A spokesperson for the Sussexes did not immediately respond to our enquiry.
Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex may have arrived back in the UK already, for the first time since returning for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
The couple touched down on UK soil on Saturday morning after flying commercial, Hello! reports, adding they appeared to be without their children Archie and Lillibet.
Harry and Meghan will appear at events in London and Manchester, as well as jetting off to Germany to mark the one year countdown to the Invictus Games.
There are ‘no plans’ for them to meet with Prince William and his wife, Kate, despite staying just a few hundred feet away from them.
They had been expected to arrive as soon as Saturday and and use their Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage, as a base, but their arrival date and time had note been confirmed.
It is not known if they will visit the Queen in Balmoral, but it is thought unlikely they will bring their children Archie and Lili on the working trip.
Following the breakdown of relationships between the Sussexes and the rest of the royal family, it is understood that there are ‘no plans’ for them to make the short 380ft trip to Adelaide Cottage for the brothers to reunite.
Royal sources suggest there are fears the couple may bring a film crew along to the UK as part of their rumoured $100million Netflix deal.
‘Trust, particularly at the moment, is a big issue,’ a well-placed source said.
The Duchess of Sussex gave a bombshell interview to The Cut – part of New York magazine
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex pictured with Archie and Lilibet in a Christmas card released on December 23, 2021
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (left) with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (right) at Westminster Abbey in March 2019
The couple’s visit to the UK follows Meghan’s bombshell interview during which she claimed a South African cast member of the Lion King film told her ‘they rejoiced in the streets the same we did when Mandela was freed from prison’ when she married Harry.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended the star-studded premiere of the Disney remake in July 2019, rubbing shoulders with A-listers including Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
‘I just had Archie. It was such a cruel chapter. I was scared to go out,’ she said in an interview, alleging a cast member from South Africa had pulled her aside.
‘He looked at me, and he’s just like light. He said, “I just need you to know: When you married into this family, we rejoiced in the streets the same we did when Mandela was freed from prison.”
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Dr John Kani has said that he was the only South African star of the Disney movie, has never met Meghan and was not at the UK premiere so was not the source of the royal’s anecdote
The Duchess of Sussex did not name the cast member. However, an actor who says he’s the only South African in Lion King live action film claims he actually never met Meghan.
Dr John Kani told Mail Online earlier this week he believes the Duchess of Sussex made ‘a faux pas’ after she used her interview to imply her 2018 royal wedding sparked celebrations in South Africa reminiscent of the release of his friend Madiba, the legendary anti-apartheid leader.
He said Mr Mandela’s walk to freedom after 27 years was a ‘landmark moment’ while her marriage to Prince Harry was ‘no big deal’ in South Africa, adding that the two events ‘cannot be spoken in the same breath’ and ‘you can’t really say where you were when Meghan married Harry’.
But Dr Kani, a veteran of the Royal Shakespeare Company who voiced the mandrill shaman Rafiki, told MailOnline that he was the only South African in the Disney movie, has never met Meghan and was not at the UK premiere.
He said the only other South African who was involved was Lebo M, a composer who together with Hans Zimmer was responsible for the music for The Lion King. But Lebo M was not in the cast.
‘I have never met Meghan Markle. This seems like something of a faux pas by her. I have I have never met the Duchess at all. I am the only South African member of the cast and I did not attend the premiere in London,’ he said.
‘I went to Hollywood as we opened there and from there I had to go immediately to Paris where I was shooting a film sequel, so I couldn’t hang around. The only South African was me playing Rafiki. But I did not go to the opening in Leicester Square as I didn’t have the time to do that. It just may be a mis-remembering on her side.
‘It is baffling me. I am the only South African in the cast. I play Rafiki, Seth Rogen plays Pumbaa, Donald Glover plays Simba and Beyonce plays Nala.’
The actor insisted that Harry and Meghan’s nuptials were ‘no big deal’ in his country, adding: ‘I cannot even tell you now what month she married or what year’.
Dr Kani said he did not believe that the people of South Africa celebrated Meghan’s marriage to Prince Harry on the scale that greeted the release of anti-apartheid campaigner Nelson Mandela as claimed by her.
He said: ‘In my memory, nobody would have known when she got married, when or what. We had no South African link to the wedding or to her marrying Harry.
‘I am truly surprised by this. For me it is a non-event, the whole thing’.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the premiere of The Lion King at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on July 14, 2019
The Queen stands on the Buckingham Palace balcony in London in July 2018 along with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
A source close to Prince Charles (pictured with Harry and Meghan in 2018) said he would be saddened if Harry felt their relationship was lost, adding: ‘The Prince of Wales loves both his sons’
The article also heard from Harry who suggested some members of the Royal Family ‘aren’t able to work and live together’, while Meghan revealed that her husband told her that he had ‘lost’ his father Prince Charles.
Meghan told The Cut magazine: ‘Harry said to me, “I lost my dad in this process.” It doesn’t have to be the same for them as it was for me, but that’s his decision.’
However allies of the couple later clarified that the duchess had actually been referring to the breakdown of her relationship with her own father.
Meghan’s unofficial spokesman Omid Scobie wrote on social media: ‘I understand that Prince Harry is actually referring to Meghan’s loss of her own father, and Meghan is saying she doesn’t want Harry to lose his.’
A source close to Prince Charles said last week he would be saddened if Harry felt their relationship was lost, adding: ‘The Prince of Wales loves both his sons.’
Asked about the confusion regarding Meghan’s comment, The Cut declined to comment.
A source added: ‘This line is a direct quote from Meghan’s interview with Allison, and as a general rule, we don’t comment or speculate on sources’ intent outside of the text of the story.’ Meghan said she and Harry felt they had to leave Britain because of negative media coverage, including of their £2.4million refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.
When they were planning their departure, Meghan said they asked the Royal Family if they could be allowed to work on behalf of the monarchy and make their own money, and were willing to live in a Commonwealth country to help the transition. But she told the interviewer: ‘That, for whatever reason, is not something that we were allowed to do, even though several other members of the family do that exact thing.’
In fact, no other working royals are allowed to make their own money at the same time as performing official duties.
There are fears the Sussexes are planning to ramp up media appearances, culminating in the publication of Harry’s highly anticipated memoir. Sources have previously hinted at Harry’s ‘truth bombs’, of which there may be more to come.
In the latest interview, Meghan hinted she had more to say about her life in the Royal Family, but was ‘still healing’.
She said: ‘It’s interesting, I’ve never had to sign anything that restricts me from talking… I can talk about my whole experience and make a choice not to.’ Buckingham Palace declined to comment.
‘Meghan didn’t lose me, I am not lost… she DUMPED me’: Thomas Markle hits out at Duchess of Sussex’s magazine claims – and accuses her of showing NO compassion to the ailing Queen as she ‘constantly throws the Royal Family under the bus’
The Duchess of Sussex‘s father has hit out at claims that she said she had ‘lost’ him – and accused her of throwing people ‘under the bus’.
Hours after her remarks were published in The Cut magazine, however, Meghan’s unofficial spokesman Omid Scobie wrote on social media: ‘I understand that Prince Harry is actually referring to Meghan’s loss of her own father, and Meghan is saying she doesn’t want Harry to lose his.’
Last night Mr Markle, who suffered a blood clot on his brain earlier this year, said: ‘I am still very ill and trying to recover from the stroke in May. Yet every time she opens her mouth she brings me into [the story].
‘It never ends.’
The Duchess of Sussex’s father Thomas Markle (pictured together at her first wedding in 2011) has hit out at claims that she said she had ‘lost’ him – and accused her of throwing people ‘under the bus’
Speaking falteringly to The Mail on Sunday from his home in Rosarito, Mexico, the 78-year-old said: ‘She didn’t ‘lose’ me, she dumped me.
‘I am not lost. She knows where to find me. My number hasn’t changed.
‘I would love to hear from my daughter and meet my son-in-law and my grandkids for the first time.’
The former Hollywood lighting director is suing British photographer Jeff Rayner for breach of contract over staged pictures taken before Meghan and Harry’s 2018 wedding. He claims the photographs caused him ‘worldwide embarrassment’ and wrecked his relationship with his daughter.
Mr Markle, who suffered from a blood clot on his brain earlier this year, said he did not hear from Meghan or Harry (pictured in Johannesburg on their tour of Africa in 2019) while being treated in California
Mr Markle alleges the stress caused him to suffer two heart attacks on the eve of the wedding and doctors refused to allow him to fly.
He has not spoken to Meghan or Prince Harry since.
In last week’s interview, Meghan was asked if she thinks there is room for forgiveness between her and her royal in-laws and her own family.
She replied: ‘I think forgiveness is really important.
‘It takes a lot more energy to not forgive. But it takes a lot of effort to forgive.’
Mr Markle told the MoS: ‘If she really believes in forgiveness, then why can’t she forgive me?
Thomas Markle’s comments came after his 41-year-old daughter appeared to say that Prince Harry had spoken of a breakdown in relations with Prince Charles (pictured with Harry in 2019) following his decision to move to the US
‘I have apologised to her multiple times for any hurt and pain I might have caused her.
‘I love my daughter. She talks about forgiveness, so why not start with her own family? What about forgiving me?
‘Every time she gives another interview it brings up all the pain and causes so much stress.
‘I am still very sick. I am going to speech therapy and doing the best I can to get better, but it is all very upsetting.’
Mr Markle also spoke of his compassion for the Queen, saying: ‘She is a 96-year-old lady who has given her life to her people and she doesn’t deserve this when she is also in poor health.
Speaking falteringly to The Mail on Sunday from his home in Rosarito, Mexico, the 78-year-old said: ‘She didn’t ‘lose’ me, she dumped me’. Picture: file image of Mr Markle
‘I do feel sorry for her and wish her all the best and hope she feels better soon.
‘It can’t be easy for her to read all these things my daughter is saying.
‘Meghan constantly throws the Royal family under the bus. The Meghan I knew was sweet, kind and compassionate. I don’t know where that girl went. I have to hope that she is still in there somewhere and that she will make peace with our family, and Harry’s, before it is too late.’
Mr Markle is being cared for by his son Tom Jnr, 55, who moved from Oregon to be close to his father. While the blood clot caused temporary paralysis and long-term speech issues, he can now speak in short sentences – although he often struggles to find words.
He says he did not hear from Meghan or Harry while being treated in California, but watched the Duchess visit a memorial for victims of the Uvalde school shooting in Texas from his hospital bed last May.
Are William and Kate about to steal Harry and Meghan’s US crown? America’s love affair with its adopted royals seems to be on the wane – but a new favourite may arrive as the Duke of Cambridge prepares for two State-side visits to promote Earthshot mission
By Kate Mansey, Assistant Editor for The Mail on Sunday
When the Duke of Cambridge goes to New York later this month, it will be a new high watermark in all his years of public service.
At the United Nations General Assembly, Prince William will have the world’s attention as he meets the city’s former mayor and billionaire philanthropist Mike Bloomberg to promote Earthshot, his annual awards for innovative solutions tackling climate change. The pair will discuss the thorny subject of how to save the planet.
William is expected to be received warmly by VIPs both at the UN and by New Yorkers in general as he meets community groups.
For the visit – his first to the city since 2014 – will come at a moment when, in the eyes of America at large, the popularity of his younger brother and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, appears to be on the wane.
Last week, US public opinion soured after publication of an interview in The Cut magazine with Meghan, in which she appeared to take aim – again – at the Royal Family. She said the early days after her son Archie was born was ‘a cruel chapter’, before hinting that she may be keen to give a more detailed explanation because she has ‘never had to sign anything that restricts me from talking’.
Prince William’s visit to New York later this month comes at a time when the popularity of his younger brother and wife, Harry and Meghan (pictured in the city in 2021), appears to be on the wane
In the interview, as part of an apparent publicity blitz for her new Spotify podcast series, Meghan gave an anecdote in which she suggested that she had been told by a South African at The Lion King’s London premiere that a huge fanfare in the country had greeted her wedding to Harry.
The article described a cast member at the Leicester Square red-carpet event telling her: ‘I just need you to know, when you married into this family, we rejoiced in the streets the same we did when Mandela was freed from prison.’
But the only South African cast member, Dr John Kani, denied it was he who made the controversial remarks. Lebohang Morake, the South African composer for the film, said he had spoken to the couple for less than a minute at the premiere and had no recollection of saying that.
It was at this point that the US media hit back.
The New York Post called Meghan a ‘spoiled princess’ and a ‘toddler in a tiara’, while The Washington Post said: ‘The only way for the Sussexes to build a truly new life, and have a wider impact on the causes they care about, is to stop making themselves the centre of the story.’
Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are winning hearts and minds in the US. According to a recent poll, Kate is now more than twice as popular with the American public as Meghan.
Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (pictured attending a carol service at Westminster Abbey in December 2021) are winning hearts and minds in the US. According to a recent poll, Kate is now more than twice as popular with the American public as Meghan
This week, William and Kate will take their three children to their new school, Lambrook in Berkshire, a short drive from Windsor – a wholesome family image that is certain to melt American hearts.
The question now is whether Prince William could yet steal Harry’s ‘crown’ as America’s favourite prince. There are definite signs that Harry’s downbeat routine – which often includes criticising the Royal Family from his new home in California – is wearing thin with his fellow countrymen.
In July, the Duke of Sussex was himself at the UN, where he gave a speech to delegates on Nelson Mandela International Day.
In a sparsely populated auditorium, the prince struck a sombre tone. He railed against the ‘global assault on democracy and freedom’, and said that climate change was wreaking ‘havoc’. ‘This has been a painful year, in a painful decade,’ he said.
Prince William will have the world’s attention as he meets the city’s former mayor and billionaire philanthropist Mike Bloomberg (pictured in 2020) to promote Earthshot
‘How many of us feel battered, helpless, in the face of a seemingly endless stream of disasters and devastation?’ And he spoke of ‘finding hope where we have the courage to seek it’.
Yet his decision to use private jets has caused controversy among environmental activists. William, however, is determined to remain upbeat about the environmental challenge that lies ahead. Perhaps rightly, he now sees that America is the perfect place to launch an upbeat, optimistic battle to save the planet. And as a future king, he has the sort of access to the influential elite that a lesser royal, certainly one in self-imposed exile, can only dream of.
As one source close to the duke put it: ‘We looked at the current situation and put it into an equation, which was ‘urgency + pessimism = despondency’.
‘The challenges seem too remote, too hard to overcome, and this fatalistic attitude means that nothing is done.
‘So we wanted to change that to ‘urgency + optimism = action’.
‘We need to create the space for governments and institutions to create action. Individual action is great, but this isn’t all about individual sacrifice because that’s not what is going to move the dial on what we need to achieve.’
‘The whole subject is much less controversial than it was even a decade ago,’ a source said.
As well as Bloomberg, William has linked up with software magnate and philanthropist Bill Gates and the Kennedy family.
William is determined to remain upbeat about the environmental challenge that lies ahead. Pictured here speaking during a meeting with Earthshot prize winners in 2021
Gates has thrown his weight behind ‘Team William’ by committing to help some of the Earthshot prize-winners. Takachar, a waste-recycling project in India, has just been awarded a Bill Gates Breakthrough Energy Fellowship.
The Kennedy family gave their blessing to Earthshot, which was inspired by JFK’s ‘Moonshot’ speech in 1962, where the president encouraged millions of people to unite with the same goal of reaching the moon before the end of the decade – a feat achieved in 1969.
Caroline Kennedy, John F. Kennedy’s daughter, has partnered the JFK Library Foundation with Earthshot, saying that it was a ‘great tribute’ to her father, and adding: ‘My family and the JFK Library Foundation look forward to partnering with Prince William and the Earthshot Prize on this exciting initiative.’
The Kennedy family gave their blessing to Earthshot, which was inspired by JFK’s ‘Moonshot’ speech in 1962. Pictured is the prince attending the first ever Earthshot Prize awards ceremony at Alexandra Palace on October 17, 2021
The aim of the Earthshot Prize is to foster a lifelong association with the duke’s scheme, which continues to promote and advise winners and finalists while linking them with benevolent corporate donors who can recreate their kitchen-table innovations on a bigger scale.
To do this, William has hired a team of around 30 staff for Earthshot. Leading them is Hannah Jones, a British woman who has spent much of the past two decades working in corporate America.
Before she accepted the job as the CEO of Earthshot this year, she worked for Nike, spending 16 years as its chief sustainability officer.
It’s clear to see why William has been so enamoured with her approach, which combines ‘have-a-nice-day’ American cheerfulness and down-to-earth British common sense.
‘We have a decade to make all this happen,’ says Jones. ‘The duke is absolutely clear about that and he is tireless. He is always brilliantly challenging us.
‘From the very beginning, the duke has been saying that our mission is in helping the winners to bring the projects to [a bigger] scale.’
Sussexes back for whirlwind tour
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex reportedly landed back in Britain yesterday as they began a whirlwind tour of charity events across Europe.
Meghan is due to speak at the One Young World Summit in Manchester tomorrow. The event brings together young leaders from more than 190 countries.
The pair will then fly to Dusseldorf in Germany, where they will attend the ‘One year to go’ countdown for the Invictus Games 2023. There, Harry will meet those involved with the organisation of the Paralympic-style tournament he started for wounded and injured veterans and service personnel.
The Sussexes will return to Britain for the WellChild Awards ceremony in London on Thursday, where Harry will deliver a speech.
It is unclear whether Meghan and Harry will visit his 96-year-old grandmother at Balmoral but, given the strained relations with his brother William, he is not expected to visit the Cambridges. And even if there was time to visit his father, Prince Charles is likely to be busy in Scotland supporting the Queen as she welcomes in her 15th Prime Minister.
Despite mobility issues, the Queen still has a busy schedule and continues to receive a daily red box of official papers which demand her attention.
Other members of the family appear to be giving the Duke and Duchess of Sussex a wide berth and they are surely slipping down the Christmas list with every excoriating ‘truth bomb’ explosion from their mansion in Montecito, California.
Harry recently interrupted an interview Meghan was giving and told the journalist: ‘Most people that I know, and many of my family – they aren’t able to work and live together.’
The writer added: ‘He enunciates ‘family’ with a vocal eye-roll.’
In December, William will be back on the east coast of the States, when he announces the winners of the second Earthshot Prize.
The Duke – or ‘Dook’, as he is known State-side – will be there to present awards and praise the huge amount of work that goes into trying to save the planet. Rather than stir up division by blaming governments and corporations, William hopes to galvanise a great wave of grassroots optimism to create innovation and change – and urge institutions to sign up.
One of those who has personal experience of William’s ambition is Vaitea Cowan, the co-founder of Enapter, which aims to make green hydrogen an affordable alternative to fossil fuels. Enapter was one of the five winners of the inaugural Earthshot Prize last year.
She says: ‘With the Duke’s Earthshot, it’s not ‘Good job, good luck, bye’. He has a clear intention to keep up to date with our progress.
‘[Enapter] has always had big dreams and big ambition, but now we are this company that is scaling up.’
For aides, Earthshot is part of William’s overarching goal which will see him focus on international issues including the environment and wildlife, and on a domestic level: homelessness and mental health. Earthshot is the biggest global project of its kind and will consume a lot of his time.
It began over a cup of tea and a 90-minute chat with Sir David Attenborough at Kensington Palace, during which Sir David said he was bombarded with ideas of how to clean the oceans, improve air quality, protect the planet. Perhaps there were solutions the world needed to know but Sir David had no way of finding out.
Before launching his project, Wiiliam gave his team six months to see if someone in the world was already doing the same thing.
A source said: ‘The response came back: No one is doing it and everyone agreed that he was in a unique position to give the prize an international appeal.’
Initial reluctance on William’s part was transformed after going to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, with Sir David and hearing from world leaders that there was a need for such a project and that they would support it.
So, after dismissing several suggestions that it should be known as The Prince William Prize – the duke’s response was ‘no, no, no’ – the Earthshot Prize was born.
His thoughtfulness looks set to stand him in good stead. And, perhaps, that is where the brothers are different. Harry’s ambition appears to be to enact immediate change – vastly different to William’s slowly-but-surely approach, which is more likely to be bring lasting results.
Even in the US, where Harry is raising his family, William’s attitude appears to have won him more fans than his virtue-signalling sibling.
It is two years since Prince Harry left his role as a working member of the Royal Family to set up home in California where he has found financial freedom. But the quiet life many felt they wanted has been remarkably noisy.
Back in Britain, the tide may already have turned in some quarters. Members of the public who gathered for the Platinum Jubilee thanksgiving service in June claim to have heard boos when he arrived on the steps at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Harry may well be overtaken in his uphill battle to gain credibility in the US. William, meanwhile, is quietly taking new ground.
It remains to be seen whether or not William can halt the planet’s devastation in just ten years. Whether he will be reconciled with his brother again in the same timeframe, however, looks unlikely.
One source, who has known both brothers well, still has hope: ‘Maybe they will be talking again at some point down the line, but it’s not going to happen while shots are still being fired from Montecito.’
He might have better luck with his quest to save the planet than he does with building bridges with his younger brother.
‘It’s not an easy fix,’ said a source, referring to the Earthshot project. ‘But William is prepared to put the work in to make real, lasting change. That, ultimately, is why America will take him to their heart.’
Is America falling out of love with the ‘Petulant Princess’ of Montecito? Even the ‘woke’ magazine that interviewed Meghan Markle at her £11.2m California mansion carried an undercurrent of disapproval, writes TOM LEONARD
By Tom Leonard for The Daily Mail
When the Sussexes fled the horrors of palace life in 2020, it was America — land of the free, home of the brave and the mega-bucks media deal — that welcomed them with open arms.
The public and Press hungrily swallowed every last morsel of the couple’s harrowing tale of racism and rejection in that infamous interview with a fawning Oprah Winfrey. Their treatment at the hands of the wicked British Press generated shock and sympathy.
Soon they became the Duke and Duchess ‘across the water’, building a new, 21st-century court of their own, rubbing shoulders with Hollywood stars and the super-rich, nurturing their own brand of philanthropy and exploiting their royal titles while striking multi-million-dollar business deals, which, to most Americans, was acceptable, if not admirable.
Yet just two years on, there are worrying signs that America may be beginning to tire of it all. Worrying, that is, for the Sussexes, who need to keep milking public interest in them if they are to pay for that lavish lifestyle in Montecito, revealed in some detail in the Duchess’s latest interview with New York fashion website The Cut.
When the Sussexes fled the horrors of palace life in 2020, it was America — land of the free, home of the brave and the mega-bucks media deal — that welcomed them with open arms
Could it be that Americans are waking up to the fact there may be little more to the Sussexes than their seemingly bottomless well of grievance about their treatment in the UK?
As the Mail reported yesterday, the New York Post’s front page marked Meghan’s latest media foray with the headline ‘Toddler And Tiara: Spoiled princess Meghan STILL whining about royal family’.
More significantly, the venerable Washington Post cautioned her that ‘to succeed in the media, [she] needs to leave royal traumas behind’. And one U.S. TV insider claimed ‘some of the lustre’ has gone.
Indeed, a milestone moment in the Sussexes’ relationship with the U.S. may well prove to be that interview with The Cut.
It was intensely revealing — and not, principally, for Meghan’s outrageous and occasionally risible headline-stealing comments, such as the astonishing claim that her joining the Royal Family had been a moment of international jubilation comparable to the release of Nelson Mandela.
Even more surprising, the interview was, in fact, quite negative about her.
The Cut is part of New York Magazine, which is about as woke as you get in the mainstream U.S. media — a fact that no doubt weighed heavily in the Sussex camp’s decision to grant its journalist an audience.
And yet the undercurrent of disapproval in the 6,400-word piece — by African-American feature writer Allison P. Davis — was hard to miss.
Meghan greets her with ‘the perfect level of warmth’ at the couple’s £11.2 million mansion, and the writer is struck by the moneyed, impeccably tasteful if ‘marshmallowy’ splendour.
As the Mail reported yesterday, the New York Post’s front page marked Meghan’s latest media foray with the headline ‘Toddler And Tiara: Spoiled princess Meghan STILL whining about royal family’
Then there is the delicious irony revealed in the grandness of a pair who rejected royal life, but who work from two plush club chairs behind a single desk ‘facing into the room like thrones’, and where ‘an invisible hand’ lights a Soho House candle.
As for the interview, Davis reports every remark, no matter how nonsensical, while repeatedly hinting that Meghan is far more calculating and self-absorbed than she’d have us believe.
Davis writes — in reference to the cheesy and contrived U.S. dating reality TV series The Bachelor — that the Duchess ‘sometimes converses like she has a tiny Bachelor producer in her brain, directing what she says’.
She describes how, instead of answering a question, Meghan at one point suggests how her interviewer ‘might transcribe the noises she’s making’. (Guttural, by the way.)
Later, in response to a question about why she thinks the Royal Family treated the pair worse than other family members, ‘the Bachelor producer in her head deliberates how much should be said’, Davis writes archly.
‘ “I don’t know,” she says, casting a knowing gaze out into the middle distance.’
On another occasion, the Duchess theatrically reveals in a ‘conspiratorial hush’ that she is planning a return to social media site Instagram (though she later backtracked). Meghan ‘looks around, making sure nobody (who would be?) is listening in’, Davis writes.
She’s similarly sarcastic when Meghan tells her she and Harry initially couldn’t afford their new home — a revelation Davis finds ‘utterly humbling’.
Granted, the interview is hardly a Jeremy Paxman-style encounter, but it should have rung warning bells for the Sussexes. Such U.S. media mockery of the former Meghan Markle would have been unimaginable a year ago.
As a veteran member of the U.S. news media told the Mail yesterday: ‘It had you wondering if [they] can still rely on any of us to fight their corner without just a smidgeon of balance — they can’t expect us to doff the cap for ever.’
And the quietly mocking tone of this interview certainly had an effect on its readers. The great and good of liberal New York savaged the Duchess in the online comments, in which they dismissed the Sussexes as supremely ‘self-obsessed’ and vapid, while others asked simply: ‘Who cares?’
But if Americans do lose all interest in the couple, it will throw into question the very delicate economics that have allowed the couple to live — as Davis puts it — in a ‘palace in a better climate’.
The couple were reportedly able to afford their home only after they had signed two huge media deals — one for $25 million to produce podcasts with Spotify, and another with Netflix, said to be worth $100 million, to make films, documentaries and TV shows.
On top of the house, they have to finance a lifestyle that stretches to private security and private jets. However, both deals depend on the Sussexes producing ‘content’ and, so far, that has been very much lacking.
Compounding the pressure for results is the fact that both deals were made in 2020 when the media companies were far healthier than they are now.
Some industry insiders have wondered whether the couple are struggling to find anything noteworthy to say beyond their split with the Royal Family.
In May, Netflix abruptly cancelled Pearl, an animated children’s series that had been a passion project of the Duchess. According to entertainment industry website theankler.com, the news set off ‘a fire alarm at Archewell’, the Sussexes’ production company.
Could it be that Americans are waking up to the fact there may be little more to the Sussexes than their seemingly bottomless well of grievance about their treatment in the UK? A woman is seen protesting outside an event attended by Harry and Meghan to mark Nelson Mandela International Day in July
‘Harry and Meghan called an all-hands meeting,’ an Archewell insider told the website. ‘They were deeply concerned about the optics of this. Meghan wanted to talk to Ted [Sarandos, the co-chief executive of Netflix].’
Sources told the website that the company’s underwhelming output is partly down to a ‘lack of urgency’ from a couple with so many other interests (Harry’s polo and their charity work), but also down to the Duchess’s alleged vacillation.
‘She’s terrified of making a decision because she’s so concerned about her image, and so they can’t pull the trigger on anything,’ said a source who has spoken with Archewell about its content strategy. ‘She wants to be seen as this world leader, but they don’t have any strong ideas.’
Netflix claims there are Archewell projects on the horizon, but won’t say more.
Similar uncertainty hangs over the couple’s other big potential money-spinner: Harry’s autobiography with its apparent bombshell revelations — now reportedly delayed until next year.
Will it ever come out and, if it does, will it just be another retread of their life of suffering in the Royal Family?
This week, after a conversation with singer Mariah Carey — for Meghan’s new Spotify podcast, Archetypes — became an opportunity for the Duchess to complain that she’d never been treated as a ‘black woman’ until she started dating Prince Harry, even the fiercely progressive Washington Post, once one of the Sussexes’ staunchest defenders in the U.S. media, lost patience.
In an editorial, the newspaper pointed out that the couple’s entitled existence made them ill-suited to lecturing others.
‘The more the pair talk about what they suffered in England, the more it seems that’s all Americans want to hear from them,’ said a Post columnist.
‘The only way for the Sussexes to build a truly new life, and have a wider impact on the causes they care about, is to stop making themselves the centre of the story.’
The waning support for the Sussexes and their one-note narrative was, in fact, starting to become evident soon after the Oprah Winfrey interview in March 2021, when an Economist/YouGov poll found their popularity had already slipped from a year earlier.
Just less than half (48 per cent) of respondents had a ‘favourable or somewhat favourable’ view of Meghan, while a third had a ‘very or somewhat unfavourable’ view of her.
In May this year, another YouGov poll found that her popularity among fellow Americans had tumbled further: 46 per cent now said they had a ‘very or somewhat unfavourable’ view of her — up 13 points.
Last month, a different survey found that only a quarter of Americans were ‘very or fairly interested’ in reading Harry’s memoirs. That’s still rather more enthusiasm than in the UK (14 per cent), but the gap is surprisingly close.
Interestingly, the couple do not have to look too far to find their rivals for transatlantic affection. As one U.S. TV insider reportedly said this week: ‘We are more likely to do something on William and Kate now.’
The Cambridges have recently appointed a new PR chief, Lee Thompson, who previously worked for U.S. media conglomerate NBC, and there are two major trips planned.
Later this month, Prince William will fly to New York — his first visit to the U.S. in eight years — for a summit for environmental initiative the Earthshot Prize. He will return stateside in December to present it to the winners in Boston.
It is yet to be confirmed if Kate — who enjoys enormous popularity in the U.S. — will accompany him.
If she does, we can no doubt expect some more headline-grabbing action from Meghan in response. But this time it may not be enough to push the Duchess of Cambridge out of the spotlight.