Sussexes ‘to move forward with impressive work’ to change narrative

Camilla Tominey discusses royal properties on This Morning

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Recent reports have suggested Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle are losing favour with Americans. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were the targets of a recent South Park episode, during which the fictional ‘Prince and Princess of Canada’ embark on a worldwide tour protesting for their privacy. According to some royal commentators, the parody reflects what Americans “are starting to think of Harry and Meghan,” and the couple must soon make an effort to regain public affection.

Discussing the recent South Park episode on their podcast Royally Us, hosts Christine Ross and Christina Garibaldi speculated over what might be next for the Sussexes.

Ms Garibaldi said: “This very pointed, specific — although nonspecific — episode about Harry and Meghan is really interesting. We talk a lot about what the British people think about Harry and Meghan versus what the Americans think about Harry and Meghan.”

Ms Ross added: “Now, as an American who’s living here today, this is what people are starting to think of Harry and Meghan. You wanted your privacy but you’re putting everything out there and getting mad at other people when they talk about you in the public.

“It’s actually nice that they’re taking a little bit of a step back and not doing so many things publicly. I feel like they needed to take a step back and do things a little bit more privately until they figured out their next move.”

Ms Garibaldi added: “Yeah, and we’ve talked a lot about where they go from here. Because really, they need to move forward with really important, impressive amounts of work. Otherwise, all we’re going to remember them for is their ‘Worldwide Privacy Tour’.”

There were claims that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were furious about the South Park episode and considering legal action, but a representative for the couple dismissed the report, describing it as “baseless” and “boring”.

The episode, which is based around two characters who look almost identical to Meghan and Harry, sees the Princess of Canada — a “sorority girl, actress, influencer, victim” — and her husband, who has written a tell-all book about his family and the media called “Waaagh!”, fly their private jet across the globe in a high-profile publicity blitz in a bid to stop people talking about them.

In the days after, several reports suggested that Meghan was distinctly unhappy with the portrayal of her and her husband. The Spectator claimed the Duchess was “upset and overwhelmed” by the show and that she was “annoyed by South Park but refuses to watch it all” — though its source’s identity was unclear.

Meanwhile, royal commentator Neil Sean claimed the Sussexes’ representatives were watching the series closely for any more attacks.

Writing for Fox News, he said: “According to sources close to the ex-royals, it appears that, like so many things with Meghan and Harry, this may have legal ramifications attached,” an assertion seemingly proven wrong by the Sussex representative’s comments. “Their legal team are casting an eye over the episode to see what is wrong and what could be turned into something more sinister.”

Neither Harry nor Meghan have commented publicly on the episode and, according to a US celebrity publicity expert, the wrong reaction could have negative ramifications for the couple.

Expert Matt Yanofsky told the Daily Mirror: “Meghan Markle is divisive, and South Park is playing on that image, so it won’t impact her,” but claimed the episode “could impact her differently” if she were to lash out.

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Be that as it may, the Sussexes’ popularity has supposedly taken a hit following the release of the satirical animation.

According to a poll by Newsweek last month, Harry and Meghan are now more unpopular in the US than Prince Andrew.

The Duke of Sussex’s popularity has sunk 48 points since December, giving him a net approval rating of -10. While the Duchess’s net approval rating has dropped by 40 points to -17.

In contrast, the Duke of York was given a net approval rating of -2 suggesting he’s more popular among American adults than the US-based royals.

The Daily Express’s royal correspondent Richard Palmer has argued that “liberal America” is becoming increasingly fed up with the Sussexes.

He made the point during an appearance on Royal Round Up, saying: “I do think it does show that liberal America is turning against them and is fed up with their moaning really, I suppose to put it bluntly.”

While Harry and Meghan have remained relatively low-profile since the publication of Spare, it is understood that the couple have big plans for the future.

Archewell, the Sussexes’ media organisation and charitable foundation, will be parting ways with two of its senior figures this year.

Via a press release, Harry and Meghan thanked Ben Browning, the organisation’s head of content who oversaw the Netflix series, and Fara Taylor, head of marketing, for their help with “vital ‘look back’ projects”. It went on to say, however, that they will now focus on projects that “look forward”.

The couple, who signed a multi-million-pound deal with Netflix in 2020, have previously shown interest in developing romantic comedies.

According to royal commentator Kinsey Schofield, a pivot from documentary projects about themselves to creating fictional series would be a smart move.

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