Americans welcomed Prince Harry with open arms.  Will ‘Spare’ ruin a love story?

Americans welcomed Prince Harry with open arms. Will ‘Spare’ ruin a love story?

Americans welcomed Prince Harry with open arms.  Will ‘Spare’ ruin a love story?

ANDAt the height of the 1990s American teen magazine – back when Meghan Markle was a schoolgirl from California, by the way – it was not uncommon to see Prince William’s grim face peeking out from the glossy covers alongside heart-pounding Hollywood photos. Girls from coast to coast debated the merits of marrying either William or Prince Harry, dreaming of the royal weddings they would one day have when one of the princes inevitably snapped them from oblivion.

As these young royal fans matured, they carried with them an affinity for the princes and the British monarchy. They remember where they were when they learned about the tragic death of Princess Diana. They followed the romantic lives of the princes and eagerly devoured footage of their weddings.

When Harry left for the United States with his American fiancée, the narrative bore the same hallmarks of America’s very foundation: Rebellion. independence. Rediscovery. Romance.

Many American fans of the royal family around the same age as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle saw their childhood fairy tale come true when he married an American

(AFP via Getty Images)

They saw the fairy tale they dreamed of come true before their eyes, and a generation of teenage magazines – along with the rest of America – welcomed Harry and Meghan with open arms. The Sussexes leaned in, and then some, expertly handing out gossip morsels, introducing themselves as philanthropic visionaries.

But two days after the release of Harry’s diary Reservethe message to a group of 40-year-old high school friends – women now living all over the country, involved in a variety of politics and careers – elicited a fast and furious wave of responses.

Prince Harry’s ‘Spare’ breaks sales records

“So I loved the Oprah special and the Netflix series. Now with the book it’s overkill.”

“It’s hard to feel sorry for someone who probably had/has more virtues and opportunities than almost anyone else in the world. He looks spoiled, privileged and out of touch, and frankly, so does his wife.”

“It’s like watching a train crash in real time.”

Millions listened to Harry’s subsequent interviews and sales Reserve broke records – but the Duke of Sussex’s media raid may test the limits of America’s paradoxical penchant for royalty. Harry and Meghan couldn’t get off to a better start upon arrival; but they were already playing to a friendly crowd.

“For the general American public … there is something fascinating about something that the United States does not have, namely the royal family,” says Erik Goldstein, professor of international relations and history at Boston University Independent. “It’s not that the United States wants a royal family, but they like to see someone else.”

When the Sussexes announced their transatlantic move in January 2020, the Americans had “goodwill towards their arrival and curiosity about what they were going to do because it had never happened before. So it was a new experience,” says Goldstein. “And from the time they got engaged, they got married, until they came here, they were seen as representing good news and planning to do positive things. So it was an uplifting story.”

The interview with Oprah and the Sussexes garnered 17 million American viewers

(VIA REUTER)

The couple’s move has brought the royal family closer to home to Americans in more ways than one. Their openness removed “all the distance that we always feel, especially with Charles, whenever we actually hear him open his mouth or hear what he says – the feeling that he doesn’t live on the same planet is totally, very strange,” says Bob Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television & Popular Culture at Syracuse University.

American royal fans were hungry for every detail of the mysterious monarchy, and the Sussexes seemed all too eager to do so. They did it in a way that capitalized not only on the fascination with the palace, but also on America’s overshare culture that spawned the double-edged reality TV beast.

“The United States is very good at obsessing with itself and absorbing obsession with others,” says Thompson. Independent. “We’ve been helping to see that for a long, long time… psychoanalysis, talking medicine and that sort of thing goes back over a century that’s been talking about these kinds of confessions, bringing it all out in the open – which we manifest in all sorts of popular ways.”

British expatriate Tamsin Lonsdale, who moved to Los Angeles in 2009, calls American leanings “the complete opposite” of England.

“But having lived in America for so long, everyone has a reality show,” she says Independent. “It feels a little cheesy and a little cheesy, but … that makes for an interesting read.”

Americans undoubtedly ate the image of Harry and Meghan from an open book, following along with the young parents’ foray into life in California.

“What I like [is] he is so honest. There are no walls around it anymore,” says one 69-year-old retiree from Florida who, as a former NYPD detective, asked that her name not be used.

She has not been a lifelong fan of the royal family, but instead is one of the Americans who only tuned in after Meghan’s arrival on the scene – a phenomenon Mr Thompson has noticed especially among younger people. She believes this is “not just because she’s American and she’s an actress … but I also think she’s a biracial American actress who will marry into what many young people around the world consider an anachronistic, archaic institution, British Monarchy”.

He adds, “It was like there was an ongoing series of stories that they weren’t following, and that they introduced a new character to the franchise that became more interesting to that demographic for a number of reasons.”

When Harry and Meghan got married, the White Harte pub in Woodland Hills, California, hosted a 3am party for American and international clients delighted in a perhaps unlikely union. Now, however, these fans are debating the couple among themselves, says owner Gollriz Moeini Independent.

“There are certainly mixed feelings there,” says Ms Moeini, who bought the pub with her husband from an expat and “actually made it more British.” A fan of the royal family since childhood, her wedding date coincided with the day of Princess Diana’s burial, says Moeini – and she considered rescheduling.

She finds that most of her countrymen in America “are on their side because they want that fairy-tale happy ending to this American [who] he married a prince and fundamentally changed his life … I think Americans like that.”

Prince Harry and his wife shared intimate portraits of family life in their latest Netflix series

(Netflix)

Following the Sussexes series on Netflix, Reserve and a litany of Harry’s interviews, however, he says “people are really confused, more than anything, because why? Why him? Why is it going so fast? It’s almost like he has a gun to his head and spills all the beans. “

He admits that “it’s normal for Americans to share their feelings and just pour the beans out,” but the recent Harry/Meghan content bout has been “a lot.”

“It’s almost like they want to be in the news every day,” says Ms. Moeini. “These are people who say they want to have a normal life and not be the center of attention. And now it’s almost the other way around… they’re organizing it all and they’re making sure they’re the subject.”

Mr. Goldstein warns that “Americans also have their own attention span, and I think they’ve probably reached the saturation point of this story. There is nothing new that has come out now.

Watch: Highlights from Prince Harry’s ITV interview

“And I think there’s also a bit of disappointment or frustration on the part of some that this particular diary is really, I’ll say, self-indulgent on the part of someone who has such a clearly privileged life.”

He says: “What happened to the changing attitude is that instead of seeing, for example, a war veteran of the prince, the interviews and the book also showed a privileged middle-aged person who tells many about his childhood at a time when many people in in the current particular economic and international climate is not looking for despondency.”

Die-hard fans who can’t get enough of any tangential details with Sussex argue that Harry and Meghan have every right to tell their story and fight against alternative narratives; they also rightly point out that many other famous celebrities selling a book or project would do the same rounds. In Florida, a retired detective exhibits sensible pragmatism.

Many American fans see their devotion to Harry as an extension of their love for his late mother, Princess Diana, pictured holding her younger son as a boy

(1987 AP)

“He says, ‘I need to start a family,’ so he’s offering who knows how many million dollars for this book and interviews?” she says. “How to reject it? I mean, the Queen interrupted him as far as I’m concerned. He’s a backup. He wasn’t an heir… let him live his own life, see what I mean?

speak to Independent between reading Reserve and as he prepares for his upcoming golf game, he says, “I’m not that far in the book, but a little [I thought was] like, “Oh, woe is me,” like a bit of self-pity. But I didn’t lose my mother when I was 12. I mean, it affected the rest of his life.”

His mother’s legacy is an important factor in many fans’ devotion to Harry. West Virginia’s Julie Brillhart says much of the support comes from “wanting to see Princess Diana’s son do good.”

“The way she treated sick patients, AIDS patients, poor women, she was just there for everyone in need and just gathered so much goodwill,” says Ms Brillhart, 49, who helps run a Facebook page for royal enthusiasts .

The Florida pensioner, speaking of Diana, claims that “if she ever came to the States, if she lived long enough … they embrace Harry as they would hug her.”

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However, how long this attitude will last remains a matter of debate; as Goldstein noted, nothing like this had ever happened before. The teenage magazine generation now falls within the coveted marketing demographic of 18-49, with millions of all ages watching the Oprah interview, then the Netflix series, then 60 minutesthen he turned around and bought a book.

But as Ms Moeini pointed out, the steady stream of content from Sussex is actually a lot.

“It’s interesting to see not only how this plays out in a control situation during interviews, but also how it plays out in the minds of the entire culture,” Thompson asks. “Do they care? Will it be a quick flash in the pan until the next thing happens next week, which is how many of these things are happening?

“I mean, it’s everywhere now, it’s hard to ignore. But when it’s over next week or a week later, how much residual mythology and how much residual interest will it have… will it change the way Americans think about royalty?

A retired detective, for example, returns to practice again, highlighting the fact that the Sussexes have probably already made enough deals to protect them from imminent dire trouble.

“With ten million dollars, the next one doesn’t have to be that fast,” he says. “So they can breathe.”

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