Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, stares into the camera lens with the wrinkled gaze of a man filming a proof-of-life video in a Cartagena basement. It’s March 11, 2020, and he’s at the Windsor Suites at Heathrow Airport. The emotion and tension is obvious, which probably has nothing to do with the $5,000 bill (on top of a business or first class ticket) that comes for hiding in a private lounge.
“We just finished… Our last push, our last stage of royal engagements,” he says to the camera. “Now it’s really hard to look back and say, ‘What the hell happened? For example: “How did we get here?”
The footage is part of more than 15 hours of footage he and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex filmed in the early months of that year, footage showing the couple on the run from the royal family as Bonnie and Clyde for the TikTok Generation .
These videos, along with a stream of never-before-seen behind-the-scenes photos, are scattered throughout their six-part Netflix series of the same name, coming out so thick and fast it’s hard to keep up. (Was Harry varnishing the tree? Eating corn on the cob in the garden?)
All these digital souvenirs are problematic.
(And not just because Meghan, without irony, says at one point, “We really cared about protecting our kids,” in the middle of the nearly six hours they were introduced to Netflix’s 223 million subscribers. Right then.)
No, the sticky gate of photos and videos is a matter of time because they ask the question of exactly when Harry and Meghan began planning their own Great Escape and when they planned to tell the story to presumably the tallest. bidder?
Harry says in the first episode that “our friend actually offered us to document ourselves during this period of time,” a decision that would end up being quite apt considering their transition from working royals to professional malcontents.
So convenient that when they signed their $140 million deal with Netflix in September 2020, they already had all those hours of footage just tucked away in their iCloud.
Now that the full series is out, we’re left with more questions than answers when it comes to the chronology of events.
Take seemingly professional photos of the love couple in the kitchen at Frogmore Cottage, which appear to have been taken after one of their last official engagements in early March 2020. Why would anyone have an experienced snapper in the most private place, late at night (they are in full dress) to capture such a tender moment, if not to one day show it to the world?
The same can be said for the photos taken inside Buckingham Palace during the same trip. (Earlier this month Telegraph reported that the presence of the snapper was not approved by the late queen.) What was the purpose of capturing these moments in high definition, if not in terms of possibly making them public?
And yet in Harry and MeganDuke says they only found out later that month that their taxpayer-funded defense was being cancelled, and that he would therefore have to find the money to pay for their bumbling defenders. (Funny how the British government didn’t want to keep paying the bills, given that they were no longer official and had completely moved to another country.)
As he told Oprah last year, due to financial need, they considered getting into bed with a streamer, saying, “All I needed was enough money to be able to pay for security so that my family could be in safety”.
But… those photos of Harry and Meghan taken in their kitchen appear to have been taken on March 7th, judging by what they’re wearing. So why were they being photographed, perhaps by a professional, before they got the bad news about their bodyguards?
Previous reporting has also cast doubt on the Sussexes’ claim that they only “thought” of going the television route after they left the UK.
Reported this last year Telegraph that Meghan was in talks with the streaming giant in 2018 for an animated children’s series, and later, in a second report, it was revealed that the Sussexes were in talks with the now closed Quibi (along with all those billions in venture capital) from early 2019 to January 2020. .
Then there is the broader question of Megzit’s chronology.
Harry says that “in early 2019 we discussed the whole concept of our move to South Africa,” a plan that was derailed when the press found out.
Then, “at the end of December In early January, I called my father and said: “We have a plan.” What if we move to Canada? he explained.
So, how does this fit in with what Dickens also said: “By the time I spoke to my father from Canada, the family and their people knew that we had been trying to find another way to work for at least two years.”
This meant that Harry and Meghan were discussing “other work” even before their May 2018 wedding, before the royal family and the UK government spent millions on a surprisingly lavish celebration.
And that would have preceded the sharp deterioration in relations between the Sussexes and the British press that began in late 2018.
I’m dizzy – are you too?
AT Harry and Megan our stars Harry and Meghan piously tell the audience that they are going to set a record. But after we watched the whole series, we were left scratching our heads.
The Sussexes told the world in their engagement interview back in 2017 that he asked the question while they were roasting chicken in the kitchen; now we know he’s hunched over in their garden, surrounded by gaudy, battery-operated candles.
Similarly, Harry told Mishal Hussein of the BBC about their meeting: “It was definitely a set-up – it was a blind date.” Now, in this episode, the Sussexes tell us they actually met on Instagram.
The whole situation is just wildly disorienting and confusing.
In light of all this, what do we do with those 15 hours of footage they filmed in the “early months” according to The newspaper “New York Times2020 – the months when they were still officially working members of the royal family and representatives of the late queen?
We see them meditate, and at another point they talk about journaling while the duchess was pregnant, so maybe their sickening self-talk in the flashing red light of the front camera makes sense.
Or is there a chance someone somewhere knew that inside information about one of the biggest crises in modern royal history could literally be worth a fortune? (Number one on the crisis list will always and forever be the convicted sex offender neighbor Prince Andrew.)
At one point, Harry smugly tells the camera, “We know the whole truth.”
But after watching Harry and Megando the rest of us understand much better what it could be?
Daniela Elzer is a royal expert and freelance writer with 15 years of experience writing for some of Australia’s top print and digital media brands. Continue the conversation @DanielaElser
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