When will Harry and Meghan leave us alone?

Brendan O’Neill

Brendan O’Neill

7 December 2022

5:00 PM

Is anyone else starting to feel harassed by Harry and Meghan? There’s no escaping them. Open Spotify and there they are. Browse Netflix and you’ll be invited to hear ‘their truth’. The one we already heard on Oprah? Not again.

The line the Sussexes love to spin is that we’re intruding into their lives. In truth they’re intruding into ours. They won’t leave us alone. I half expect to wake up one morning and find Meghan outside my apartment with a megaphone telling me yet again about the time a senior royal wondered what colour her baby would be.

Guys, give us a break. Stop washing your dirty laundry in our personal spaces. It’s feeling a little stalkerish.

We’re expected to be disturbed by the stiff upper lip of the old-world royals. I’m far more disturbed by the trembling lower lip of modern celebs like Harry and Meghan

For a supposedly private pair, Harry and Meghan sure like telling us about their lives. I know more about their emotional crises and family fallouts than I do about some of my own friends’. The Daily Star captured it best with its headline on Friday:

‘Publicity-shy couple share more intimate secrets with 8bn people.’

The latest platform on which the faux coy couple will bare their wounds to the world is Netflix. A six-part show about their lives – six parts! – kicks off tomorrow. The trailer promises the most intimate revelations. We glimpse Harry with his head in his hands, Meghan wiping away tears, chatter about ‘pain and suffering’. You can almost hear Netflix producers with dollar signs for eyes saying: ‘Roll up, roll up, see Meghan Markle cry!’

It is bizarre, to me anyway, that Harry and Meghan think being photographed on a street by a pack of paps is an intolerable incursion into their lives but inviting cameras into their literal home to film them having an emotional breakdown is totally normal.

It remains to be seen how many Netflix subscribers, many of whom will be struggling to make ends meet this winter, will be feeling charitable towards two royals in a Montecito mansion moaning about how hard their lives are. Ah, sorry your royal highnesses, I’d love to keep watching your sorrowful tale, but the electricity’s gone off.

The Netflix trailer suggests the show will tell a familiar tale. The one where the royal family is a stiff, uncaring institution that failed to love and cuddle Meghan. And the one where the media are predators and the Sussexes their Bambi-like prey. We’ve heard this sob story – or ‘our truth’, as H&M like to glorify it – a million times before. But we’re going to hear it again, whether we like it or not.

It’s no good saying: ‘Don’t watch it then! Watch something else!’ Believe me, I will. But it will be literally impossible to avoid the revelations Harry and Meghan will make. Details of their every chin wobble, every tear, every lament about royal coldness will be splashed across the world’s media.

I’m going to feel like Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange when he had his eyes clamped open, only it won’t be sex and violence my brain will be bombarded with but Harry and Meghan. Completely against my will I will discover the innermost feelings of these two people I don’t even know. I have no choice. None of us do.

This is the true dynamic in the Sussexes’ relationship with the public. We’re not hounding them – they’re hounding us. The Netflix trailer shows armies of photographers hungrily clicking their cameras, the implication being that media outlets and the masses that consume them have colonised poor Harry and Meghan’s private life.

Let’s leave to one side the rather telling fact that some of the trailer’s images of paps have nothing whatsoever to do with Harry and Meghan. One, for example, shows photographers at the London premiere of a Harry Potter film in 2011, five years before H&M even met. It seems ‘their truth’ is not always the truth.

The more salient point is that we’re the ones being pestered. Why do I know that Meghan and Kate had an argument during a bridesmaid dress fitting? Why do I know Harry clashed with Charles on the day of the Queen’s death? It’s like an aristocratic version of Jerry Springer. Next there’ll be a Netflix show featuring Meghan throwing cake at Kate as they have the ultimate Family Face Off. I don’t want to know these things. Go away. Leave me alone.

I think it’s time we reminded ourselves that Harry and Meghan’s thirst for revelation is not normal. It might be fashionable these days to expose your inner life to the world, but that doesn’t make it normal. We’re expected to be disturbed by the stiff upper lip of the old-world royals, but I’m far more disturbed by the trembling lower lip of modern celebs like Harry and Meghan who just cannot wait to perform their pain for the cameras.

Give me the reticence of the Queen – God rest her – over the emotional self-exposure of the new generation any day of the week. Let’s restore real respect for private life. We can start by keeping Harry and Meghan out of mine.

The post When will Harry and Meghan leave us alone? appeared first on The Spectator.

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Published by Nelle

I am interested in writing short stories for my pleasure and my family's but although I have published four family books I will not go down that path again but still want what I write out there so I will see how this goes

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