Harry & Megan

Hannah Adams, Asst. Opinion Editor

The royal family has been accumulating significant public attention as a result of Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex separating from the monarchy and releasing the Netflix series “Harry & Megan” as well as Prince Harry’s biography, “Spare

The royal family and the position of monarchy in the United Kingdom is a system that has been in place since early history. As the era of social media has taken prominence, the family has been a source of interest and gossip to the world. This began with the dubbed invisible contract that exists between the paparazzi and the royals. 

The invisible contract that is maintained between the royal family and the paparazzi is an old concept that indicates the family holds a responsibility to allow their personal lives to be on display for public entertainment. The exchange for this is the royals’ ability to fund their lives off the taxpayer dollars of United Kingdom citizens. This contract most recently came into question with the separation of Prince Harry and wife, Megan Markle, from the royal family after public exploitation became overwhelming. 

Their leaving of the monarchy left a line of controversy behind them, with people all over the world passionately holding different opinions regarding it. 

In a BBC News article, “Harry and Meghan: What’s the media’s ‘invisible contract’ with British royalty?” by Alex Taylor, the agreement between paparazzi and the royals is further explained, as well as its effect on the mental state of the estranged royal couple. 

Prince Harry spoke of an ‘invisible contract’ between the Royal Family and reporters – a world in which orchestrated public exposure is offered, and a level of scrutiny traditionally accepted, in return for privacy behind palace gates,” Taylor said. “Meghan explained: ‘There’s a reason that these tabloids have holiday parties at the Palace. They’re hosted by the Palace, the tabloids are. You know, there is a construct that’s at play there.’” 

“Prince Harry said that he ‘feared history repeating itself’ a reference to his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, who died in a Paris car crash while being hounded by the press.” 

Most recently Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex have released a documentary on Netflix called “Harry & Meghan”.

This series, “Harry & Megan,” goes through the emotions the couple experienced during the time of their separation from the royal family as well as their personal mentality during the time. 

Prince Harry has also recently released his biography, “Spare”. This book has received mass amounts of public attention, leading some to express their sympathy, or lack thereof, for the prince. Their estrangement led to tensions being increased between the Prince and his family members. 

This docuseries had mixed evaluations from viewers, as the episodes caught worldwide attention. GC Political Science Professor Steve Elliott-Gower, who has dual citizenship in both the United Kingdom and the United States, shared his feelings on the idea of mutual exchange between the royal family and the public, and the separation of Harry and Meghan. 

The Royal Family has enormous privilege and a great American once said, ‘with privilege comes responsibility’,” Gower said. “That responsibility not only involves a certain loss of privacy but it also adds an obligation to act beyond reproach. Queen Elizabeth understood this obligation.” 

Regarding Prince Harry’s book, “Spare,” Gower said, 

“I have read excerpts and reviews. From what I have seen, the book is a tawdry, petty, ill-advised disgrace. I think the book has damaged Prince Harry’s brand,” Gower said. “He comes off as a whiner, blaming others and not accepting any degree of personal responsibility.” 

Gower also went on to speculate his opinion on why the royal family has become an attractive source of gossip in America. 

“I suppose many Americans are fascinated with the pomp and circumstance and the glamor of the Royal Family,” Gower said. “Maybe the fascination is also connected to the long history that the Royal Family represents. Of course, Americans also like a good soap opera, so maybe that’s  the attraction these days.” 

In a recent poll conducted to seventy GC students on the opinion of the “Harry & Megan” series, 50  percent found that they enjoyed the series, while the other 50 percent found the series to be annoying. 

Between the “Harry & Megan” series and the release of “Spare” the royal family has experienced heavy media attention the past few years. Reminiscent of Princess Diana’s life and her conflict with the media, time will tell whether changes will be made regarding the invisible contract and the ethics behind it.