Prince Harry is ‘playing up’ a ‘special relationship’ with the Queen to ensure he maintains credibility in America amid the Sussexes’ deal with Netflix, in the opinion of a royal author.
Investigative journalist and award-winning biographer Tom Bower told MailOnline that he thinks the Duke of Sussex is playing up his relationship with his grandmother to prevent the Palace from dampening the Sussexes’ marketing efforts and commercial endeavours beyond the Royal Family.
Bower, who is currently writing a biography on Meghan Markle, said he thinks that ‘Harry is hitting out at those standing in the way of promoting the Sussex’s self-promotion’. ‘To enhance his credibility in America and for Netflix he needs to [play up] a special relationship with the Queen.’
Harry and Meghan chose to step down from their Royal duties to pursue other commercial interests, but the pair are pushing the Royal Family for continued assistance. Bower’s comments come off the back of Harry’s latest interview in the US, in which he placed doubt over whether he would attend his grandmother’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in London in June amid the ongoing security row with the UK’s Home Office, adding: ‘Home for me now is, you know, for the time being, it’s in the States. And it feels that way as well.’
Harry also spoke of his ‘really special relationship’ with the Queen despite the highly-publicised rift between the Sussexes and the Royal Family. Meanwhile, another royal expert today alleged the Sussexes could face pressure from Netflix executives to produce more royal content after the streaming service lost 200,000 subscribers in the first three months of this year.
Netflix shares fell more than 25 per cent as the company said its user base shrank for the first time in more than a decade, with total subscribers down in the first quarter of 2021 from 221.8million to 221.6million. And bosses at the California-based firm will be looking to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to help revitalise it after they signed a deal worth $100million in September 2020 but have not yet finished producing any content.
In April last year the couple’s Archewell Productions arm announced a documentary called Heart Of Invictus about people competing at the Games – with a camera crew following them at the event in The Hague in recent days. And three months later in July 2021, it was revealed that Meghan is creating an animal series for children called Pearl about the adventures of a 12-year-old girl – but nothing has yet materialised of either production.
Now, royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams has warned of possible ‘pressure from Netflix executives to get more royal content’, but he added that filming anything with other members of the Royal Family was ‘highly unlikely’. Mr Fitzwilliams told MailOnline today: ‘When Harry and Meghan signed up to Netflix for a deal worth $100million (£77million), according to the New York Times, in September 2020, the company appeared to be riding high with a huge and expanding reach owing to the pandemic. It was undoubtedly a cachet to have two royals with a high global profile as well as produce The Crown which, though controversial, was an international hit.
‘A year and a half later they have actually produced absolutely nothing. It is true that they have announced two series – Heart of Invictus which will follow competitors to the Games, which were Harry’s creation, and which were postponed twice owing to the pandemic and Meghan’s animated series for children, Pearl, about a 12-year-old girl.
‘The dramatic news today that Netflix are now losing viewers, introducing advertisements and trying to crack down on the ‘password-sharing’ which is costing them revenue, has led to their shares crashing by 25 per cent. ‘It will undoubtedly lead to a demand for a great deal more from the Sussexes including some actual content. The original announcement promised documentaries, children’s programmes, scripted shows and feature films. It is surely time Netflix had value for money and it sounds as if they need it too.’
He added: ‘There might well be pressure from Netflix executives to get more royal content in what they produce. It is highly unlikely that it will actually involve the filming of or interviews with any members of the royal family. ‘One of the reasons that the Sussexes had to step down as senior working royals was that commercial ventures have to be separate from royal duties. They chose the road they are now on.