I was feeling a little bit bad about how this week is going to be wall-to-wall Jubbly, then I saw that NBC News is truly sending a huge team over to the UK to cover the Jubblyshambles, and I would assume other American media companies are doing the same. Now I don’t feel so bad. The Jubbly isn’t just some hipster-insider-y royal gossip thing. Everyone is paying attention, not just in the UK and not just in the Commonwealth countries. The American market is paying attention. Close attention. It’s true that NBC News, ABC and CBS would have sent teams to cover the Jubbly anyway, but let’s face it, the Sussex story has always been major news internationally, and I absolutely believe that the Sussex angle will feature prominently in American coverage (just as it did during Prince Philip’s funeral).
The British media likes to pretend that they’re the ones controlling all of the narratives, but the rest of the world can see how they treat Harry, Meghan and their children. It’s also becoming ridiculously clear that the British media is geared up to heap abuse on Meghan and Harry non-stop this week. Nothing the Sussexes do or say will be the right thing, it will all be an affront to the Queen, it will all be “overshadowing the Jubbly.” Speaking of, the Times of London did an unhinged piece about what we can expect from the Sussexes. This is just some woman beating her head against the wall of her padded cell, crying “but Netlix, but Netflix…”
Rebel royals: The order from the very top is said to be “no dramas”. This week must be all about the Queen and nothing, not even the rebel royals, must overshadow her. Whether Netflix got the memo remains to be seen.
Again, Harry & Meghan aren’t telling people their plans: Exactly where the Sussexes will pop up and when is as yet unclear, and said to be a source of frustration to jubilee organisers. The fact that they’re coming at all is something of a miracle, given that it’s little more than a year since Meghan told Oprah her life in England made her suicidal and only a matter of months since Harry was suing the British government over his security arrangements.
Their security: During that case, Robert Palmer QC, for the Home Office, said that the Royal and VIP Executive Committee had previously accorded the duke “a form of exceptional status”, which meant that he would be considered for personal protection by the police “with the precise arrangements being dependent on the reason for his presence in Great Britain and by reference to the functions he carries out when present”. So it seems likely that while they’re attending royal events, they are always going to get the high-level publicly funded security provided by the Metropolitan Police that they enjoyed before Megxit. If they spend the weekend privately with friends at Soho Farmhouse, they don’t. They can bring their US security guards, but unlike officers from the Met, they’re not allowed to carry weapons in the UK and would not be privy to intelligence from the security services.
The VIP section?? Sussex HQ when they fly in this week will be Frogmore Cottage, which is a convenient ten-minute stroll from the Queen’s apartments at Windsor Castle and raises the possibility that they will join the Queen’s convoy when it heads into London. This week, it’s likely the Sussexes will be ushered to the VIP section to watch Trooping the Colour. As non-working royals they are excluded from any formal proceedings and banned, along with Prince Andrew, from appearing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace afterwards.
Balcony protocols: This may not be as much of a blow to the couple personally as some commentators have speculated, although their Neflix paymasters may beg to differ. The last time Meghan was photographed on the palace balcony, before Megxit, she was somewhere at the back, behind the Cambridges, as protocol demands. She did not look happy. As Brown pointed out in her new book, The Palace Papers, she never rose higher than sixth on the call sheet for Suits and married a man who was sixth in line to the throne. Protocol rankled.
Meghan’s style team: Just this week, Daniel Martin, who did Meghan’s wedding make-up, arrived in London joining her UK hairdresser, George Northwood.
Will the Sussexes go to the Platinum Party? Younger members of the royal family, possibly including the Sussexes as well as the Cambridges, will attend Saturday night’s Platinum Party at the Palace, while the Queen watches on television at home in Windsor. On Sunday, the last day of the celebrations, 16,000 street parties will take place across the country and hundreds more around the Commonwealth.
The cagey Sussexes: An unnamed source has said that the couple will attend “at least” one other public engagement as well as the service at St Paul’s, while also warning that the public “should not expect them at every event’’. What seems clear is that wherever and whenever the Sussexes do turn up, their presence will cause drama and fascination in equal measure. Nobody could blame the royals for giving them the cold shoulder, after the mud that has been flung at them from Montecito. Equally, none of them wants to do anything that might cause a scene or overshadow the Queen. Whether the Sussexes agree, only time will tell.
These people are SO MAD that the Sussexes are coming because they were all prepared to heap abuse on Harry and Meghan for “snubbing the Queen.” They already had all of those thinkpieces written! That’s what I keep getting from all of this media drama: they’re super-mad that Harry and Meghan were invited (personally, by the Queen) and that they agreed to come. Their new plan to make Harry and Meghan completely miserable while they’re in town and to convince everyone that it’s better for the monarchy that H&M are gone. Good luck with all of that.
The only threat to the #PlatinumJubilee I see are the media outlets obsessively trying to create drama.
Quite frankly, it’s an insult to the Queen to suggest she can be so easily overshadowed. HM has successfully stood front and centre for SEVENTY YEARS, I think she’ll be fine.
— Omid Scobie (@scobie) May 31, 2022
Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red.