The near-perfect script of the American Dream

The marriage of American actress Meghan Markle to Prince Harry in May 2018 was construed as a sign of modernity by the British Crown. But, over time, this fairy tale has turned to bitterness, especially after the interview they gave together on CBS. Throughout the staging of the conversation there are thousands of political clues and winks, all of which indicate a well-studied communication strategy, and only time will tell if it was successful.

21 April 2021

The interview

  • The confessions to Oprah. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, aired March 7 on CBS, delved into allegations of racism and the serious damage done to Meghan Markle’s mental health. The event attracted more than 17 million viewers in the United States and nearly 11.3 million in the United Kingdom.
  • The effect in the Commonwealth. Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the Commonwealth, the UK-led community of nations. The accusations of racism that were aired during the interview caused a great impact in some countries that want to get out from under the yoke of the Crown, to the point that many are already relying on it to begin reconsidering their relationship with Great Britain.


The Diana factor

  • Reviving the figure of Lady Di. “I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for her (Diana) to go through this process alone all those years ago, because it’s been incredibly difficult for both of us, but at least we had each other,” Harry told Oprah during the interview. Princess Diana died in a car accident in Paris in 1997, following a high-speed chase by a group of photographers. Meghan Markle is constantly reminding us of her, not only by wearing reminiscent outfits, but also because she has said she feels as left out by the Crown as Diana was. The only problem is that she does not enjoy the public’s sympathy as Lady Di did.
  • The ghost of the paparazzi. When Diana joined the royal family, the press reaction was positive, as it was with Meghan. But following a highly publicized divorce from Prince Charles, Lady Di was relentlessly hounded by the paparazzi. In 1993 she yelled “you make my life hell” at those who were following her. The stolen photos of her going out with her new partner, Dodi Al-Fayed, are said to have sold for more than $1 million.
  • Trapped with no way out. Harry explained in the interview that he decided to step aside because of “a lack of understanding” between them and the royals. He said Meghan helped him to realize that the couple was trapped. “I was trapped too. I didn’t see a way out. I was trapped, but I didn’t know I was trapped,” he told Oprah.
  • A nod to Wallis Simpson. The interview shook the foundations of the House of Windsor and brought to mind old memories of Edward VIII when he abdicated the Crown in 1936 to marry his questionable wife Wallis Simpson, also American and an actress. Meghan makes no secret of her admiration for the woman. The dress that the Duchess of Sussex chose for the interview was an Armani floral print silk number, whose price is around 3,500 euros; a model that sold out within a few days. It didn’t take long for social networks to highlight the similarities of the garment with one that Simpson wore for several photographic portraits.

 New life

  • Where does the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s money currently come from? In late 2020 the pair announced they would be producing a series for Netflix and podcasts for Spotify. Using Archwell, their company name, they began creating programs that “encourage and entertain audiences around the world” and in which “diverse perspectives and voices” can be heard, as they put it. Although the economic terms of the contract have not yet come to light, there is talk of a 100 million euro agreement with each of the platforms.
  • The neighborhood and it’s added value. The real estate market in Montecito, California, has gone “crazy” following the arrival of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The house they live in was purchased in 2020 for close to $15 million, of which they paid $5.5 million in cash and took a mortgage for $9.5. It has 9 bedrooms and 16 bathrooms as well as a swimming pool and tennis court. Neighbors include Tom Cruise, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ariana Grande, and Oprah.


PR Lessons

Inc. magazine devoted an entire article to analyzing the four best lessons to take from the interview.

  1. Know and rehearse the messagePractice makes perfect,” says Inc., and explains that in any interview with the media, especially high-risk ones, a clear message should always be conveyed. The objective is to not confuse the audience or leave room for “interpretations.” In the interview with CBS it was clear that Meghan and Harry were very well trained in that regard, so much so that sometimes the message seemed too rehearsed.
  2. Talk to trusted journalists. Oprah attended Harry and Meghan’s wedding. The three of them are now neighbors in Montecito, California. “Clearly, the Sussexes know, like and respect Oprah enough to grant her their first joint interview since their engagement in 2017,” emphasizes the publication.
  3. Every question is an opportunity The truth is essential in an interview. Lying is never a smart public relations move,” says the Inc. article. The magazine asserts that audiences value truthful and transparent information.
  4. The perfect plan is just a plan. One should not rely on a single element of communication, in this case only on the interview, but rather everything must be part of an absolutely planned strategy. Before Oprah’s interview, several PR pieces that humanized the couple and their story were leaked to the press. For example, the op-ed Meghan wrote for The New York Times in which she discussed her miscarriage. On Valentine’s Day the couple announced that they were expecting a child. And an interview that Harry gave to James Corden on The Late Late Show with James Corden aired in late February.