The haters of monarchies would make you consider “royal” families as marrow-sucking parasites on the public treasury. And they would be right. The Windsors being the examples of such parasitism, believe that ancestry and divine approval gives them an automatic right to an opulent life and to the deference of commoners. We should probably give Meghan and Harry an attagirl and an attaboy for turning their backs on ‘The Firm’, the widely used moniker for the ‘royal’ family, and stepping down to earn their own livelihood through production deals. The taxpayers who funded Meghan and Harry’s lifestyle have fallen victim. Media consumers who participate in their films and podcasts will pay accomplices in the first season of Meghan and Harry’s release.
But the media face through which the two will now meet the world is not radically new to them. Instead of “the firm” pulling the strings of the puppet over their bodies, they will do their own tugging as they move from human products of a company that markets their lives to the world to human products they control. It’s just the same unscripted material moved to a new location. The biggest difference is how they disintermediated the Windsors from profit sharing and took on the full image creation for themselves. Call Come to America 3.
Having made do with family and tradition, and having moved their act to an international stage, Meghan and Harry have not erased their issues of publicity and autonomy. In order to remain commercially relevant, they will need to produce great content for Netflix and Spotify before their novelty wears off. This is not an easy task. They’ll be competing with the brightest filmmakers and podcasters in the world now, and conjuring up content out of thin air is nothing. Even Steven Spielberg can’t deliver what audiences want every time, and he’s the greatest mass artist of our time. Additionally, neither Meghan nor Harry have much experience in media production. Without their relationship with the “royals,” they couldn’t have had a meeting with a Netflix flunky, let alone a deal.
The couple’s most enduring assets are those they created when they left the cocoon of Buckingham Palace for La La Land. This season, for example, the couple portray the aggrieved and sympathetic “royals” in exile, self-proclaimed underdogs who want to show the world that they can be media moguls. But as Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Madonna and others have shown, an artist shouldn’t work under one character for too long. Audiences say they want more of what the artist has produced, but they really want something new and new. Stirring the advertising pot by picking fights with the Windsors and pursuing the British tabloids won’t keep their novelty forever.
With no surprisingly good media being created, Meghan and Harry might need to recreate many aspects of the British environment they just fled to keep audiences interested. For starters, they’ll need a steady supply of villains to fight off, additional causes to defend, unique heroes to partner with, and new personal reveals to uncover. It is an incessant and demanding spiral.
We have to wish Meghan and Harry the best of luck for taking a brave one-way flight out of the Windsor family. But did anyone warn them that they just left a cruel plot for an even more ruthless plot? Meghan and Harry’s biopic will be a highly filmable story, but it’s doubtful they’ll have the vision to capture it.
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