Daniela Elser: Harry and Meghan’s Time magazine cover reveals their true colors
Meghan Markle’s 40th birthday video features Prince Harry juggling. Video / Archwell
You know what they say: those who can do and those who want to be seen doing appear in the front of Time in a fog of artificial solemnity.
Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, posed for their first joint magazine cover, making the front page of Time’s issue of the 100 most influential people on the planet, and the result is… mind-blowing.
Surprisingly bad, that is.
One could start here with the fact that Prince Harry is dressed as a stagehand in a suburban Mis stage production. Or that the image is awkwardly and heavily photoshopped.
Or that the Duke seems to have been added after the fact. Or that the royal couple look like Madame Tussauds wax figures. Or that her hairline looks strangely fuller. Or that social media have fun making fun of the image that looks like a parody.
Or even, that in a story praising their humanism, Meghan wears tens of thousands of dollars of Cartier jewelry and diamonds.
No, to really see what’s wrong with this picture you have to step back, squint your eyes and ask the question, why? Why did the Sussexes do this?
It was just two years ago, in 2019, when Meghan edited British Vogue as a guest, and she chose not to grace the cover of the fashion bible with the magazine’s editor. , Edward Enniful, saying the royal felt it would have been “boastful.”
Good then. But clearly, something has changed; Obviously, these days Harry and Meghan – with a brand to build and a fledgling business empire to take off – have no problem being “boastful”.
Consider this: This issue of Time is all about saluting the men and women who have shaped the world. The fact that Harry and Meghan agreed to remove the blanket after the events and global trauma of last year speaks volumes. That they nodded when Time asked them to appear on the cover is revealing.
And this is where the problem lies. What this image of Time does is not so much to make them look like they’re hungry for publicity, but hungry for publicity.
This situation goes to the very heart of their post-royal life; lives that now seem to be motivated by both a very genuine desire to help and a very real, sincere desire to pick up as much good PR as possible.
They have some form on that front. In August of last year, they participated in a back-to-school charity event taking their personal photographer with them to film them doing good. Go back to September of last year and the couple went to a preschool in Los Angeles to plant forget-me-nots to mark the anniversary of Diana, Princess of Wales’ death, and they had once again had a photographer in tow. .
In November, on Remembrance Day, they visited Commonwealth War Graves and, what do you know! They also had a photographer’s tag.
The Sussexes clearly want to make the world a better place, but they also seem to want everyone to pay special and appreciative attention to them doing it, too.
All of this goes against the royal example where duty and service are the reigning principles. Sure, good media coverage for the Windsor Benefactors’ House is crucial to their fight for public support, but that’s not what prompts the remaining HRHs to get up in the morning, throw in a cup of Earl Gray and get over there.
Diana used to walk out of Kensington Palace and kiss the less fortunate with the press – but she has also, on countless occasions, visited hospital wards and homeless shelters to rescue those in need. were in pain and she did so without expecting anyone. praise or applause.
In February, when Harry was forced to relinquish his honorary military titles and official sponsorships, the Sussexes said in a statement that “service is universal”. Although crudely delivered, the sentiment remains true.
But now Harry and Meghan have to spend less time telling the world how great a service they are and moving on.
Harry and Meghan and their Archewell Foundation are unequivocally doing a lot of good things, but today’s Time coverage also reveals that in the Sussex world, service also equates to enjoying big shining golden stars and lots of beauty. advertisement to start.
Beyond that, this cover also reads as a pretty brutal attempt to redefine oneself once and for all after the Megxit as weight figures on the world stage.
On some level, this makes sense. Harry has long been considered the royal joker, the cheeky type who loved a pint and was always up for a laugh. Meghan was a former Deal or No Deal briefcase who found success on a cable TV show and spent her spare time hosting a lifestyle blog and building her humanitarian credibility.
Now, having escaped the royal yoke and without an official platform to perch on, they seem desperate to establish their philanthropic bona fides and be accepted into the Michelle Obama / Bono / Bill Gates charity stratosphere.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from Time’s cover is that it shows the world how compelled they feel to prove and how painful their longing is, after fleeing the Royal Nest, to be. taken seriously. That is, not to be seen simply as a man born a few steps from the crown and the woman who married him.
What this cover really smacks of is insecurity – insecurity in their post-royal identities and careers.
In the 18 months since the duo abandoned their royal careers, they have spent an inordinate amount of energy (and billable hours for photographers) trying to convince the world to view and accept them as natural leaders; however, the more they try to get their point across, the more forced it all seems.
If only they would stop trying to be seen doing and just do it.
If only they could put their egos and professional anxieties aside for a while.
What someone needs to point out is that leaders come out and lead – and don’t wait for someone to give them a gold star every time they make the world a little better.
If they want to be hailed as the brightest lights of the next generation, the proof is in the tangible pudding and not in the number of retweets they can collect, Instagram likes they can rack up or Good Morning America mentions that ‘they can amass.
Daniela Elser is a royal expert and writer with over 15 years of experience working with a number of major Australian media titles.