After a catastrophic 2023, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have taken some time to regroup and rethink. Now they have decided to grace us with their decision on to how to re-enter the public sphere in glory once again. Send for Netflix!
Not that they’ve put it quite like that. Instead, Bela Bajaria, Netflix’s chief content officer, has announced that their $100 million, five-year deal with Harry and Meghan’s Archewell Productions will continue through 2024. Speaking at an industry event in Hollywood, Bajaria commented that the pair “have a bunch [of projects] in development.” These are expected to include a mixture of features, potentially including an adaptation of the romance novel Meet Me At The Lake to which the couple bought the rights last year. Most ominously, Bajaria also said the pair had “a couple of unscripted things” in the works. Yes, it’s looking likely that there will be some sort of follow-up to 2022’s interminable series Harry & Meghan. Let joy be unconfined.
Meghan and Harry’s solipsistic and money-grabbing existence is one predicated entirely on former glories
It is surprising that Netflix are still attempting to promote the Montecito dwellers as one of their best assets, given that most other media companies who found themselves sucked into their orbit have long since cut and run. The most high profile instance of this was Spotify, who not only cancelled the much-derided Archetypes podcast series, but decided that ending their overall deal with the Sussexes was the sensible move. They had perhaps been mindful of the comments made by the leading talent agency Nicholas Zimmer that “turns out Meghan Markle was not a great audio talent, or necessarily any kind of talent… just because you’re famous doesn’t make you great at something.”
Just as this was true of their spiritual forerunners, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, who spent decades traveling the world in first class whinging about their lot in life, so it remains true of these particular disenfranchised former royals. At a time when the King and Princess of Wales have both undergone surgery, there has been no public expression of solidarity or sympathy from Harry and Meghan. Their solipsistic and money-grabbing existence is one predicated entirely on former glories. Even as staff continue to leave Archewell in droves — the words “rats” and “sinking ships” come to mind — there is still the desperate adherence on the couple’s part to grift and grasp.
In an interview with the Hollywood industry title Variety late last year, Meghan was bullish about her artistic ambitions. She commented that her aim was to produce “things that make people feel something and feel a sense of community. But we have so many exciting things on the slate. I can’t wait until we can announce them. We’re just really proud of what we’re creating, and my husband is loving it too.”
Well, she wasn’t wrong. Although perhaps she didn’t bargain that the feeling her creations have prompted is that of weary contempt, and the community is that of the viewing public allied initially in scorn, and then in switching off the TV before the first episode had even finished. Judging by the grim scowls on Harry’s face, too, he certainly isn’t loving it either. He’d rather be back in court, fighting one of the many privacy cases that he is currently embroiled in.
Still, perhaps not all is lost. With a couple of noble exceptions, the list of films Netflix is planning to release this year is the most dismally uninspiring roster of “entertainment” imaginable. It features derivative pictures with titles like Trigger Warning and Back In Action, and an apparent attempt to relaunch the career of Lindsay Lohan with romantic comedies called things like Irish Wish. Wish-fulfillment flannel with washed-up divas and contemptuous pap aimed at the lowest common denominator? Netflix may well be the perfect home for Harry and Meghan, after all.
This article was originally published on The Spectator’s UK website.