Critics Slam Meghan Markle’s Voiceover Work on Disney’s ‘Elephant’ Documentary, Say It’s Packed With ‘Schmaltz and Cheesiness’

The reviews are in and if they’re representative of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’s future career, then it’s not looking good.

Most critics didn’t rip apart the Duchess of Sussex for her voiceover work on the Disneynature documentary Elephant, which will begin streaming on Disney+ starting April 3. But they weren’t especially overjoyed by her effort either.

Most reviewers gave the film a solid 3 star rating, citing the stunning cinematography as the main draw and Meghan’s narration as a slightly annoying detail to overcome. But certain critics had harsher criticism for the former royal’s first official project post-Megxit.

Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle | DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Meghan Markle put energy into the voiceover work – maybe too much

If anything, the critics seem to agree that the Duchess of Sussex was simply trying too hard. Empire reviewer Ian Freer wrote that the Duchess’s “excitable tones” were the “perfect fit” for the images on the screen, though he did say certain sections veered a bit too close to irritating.

“For her part, Markle’s delivery of the commentary is wholesome and over-eager to please,” he said, according to Daily Mail. He continued, explaining that Meghan “just about stays the right side of annoying.” But not quite.

Other critics had harsher words for Meghan Markle’s ‘Elephant’ narration

Times reviewer Ed Potton wasn’t so kind in his review. He gave the film a paltry two star rating, saying Meghan leaving the royal family for work like this is proof she’s “swapping pomp and circumstance for schmaltz and cheesiness.”

“The departing Duchess of Sussex narrates Disney’s tale of a herd of elephants crossing the Kalahari Desert from the Okavango delta to the Zambezi River, and boy does she lay it on thick.,” Potton wrote, as reported by Daily Mail, adding that the feel is decidedly “overegged.”

He continues: “Even the underwhelming moment in which the elephants rip some bark off a tree is presented like the announcement of the winner for best picture…To anyone raised on [David] Attenborough’s urbane authority… it all feels a little bit shallow.”

Meghan Markle will have more Hollywood projects in the future

Harry and Meghan with Bob Iger
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex with Disney CEO Robert Iger as Meghan, Duchess of Sussex hugs Beyonce Knowles-Carter | Niklas Halle’n-WPA Pool/Getty Images

These reviews are a small setback at the start of an otherwise promising career. Despite the few pockets of negativity, Meghan had plenty of reviewers charmed by her enthusiasm and “inviting version of the wholesome but amused Disney narrator singsong.” Right now, both she and Prince Harry are flooded with offers for high profile projects from speaking engagements to other Hollywood collaborations.

That clip of Prince Harry asking Disney CEO Bob Iger to hire his wife for voiceover work is likely a joke since by that point, Meghan was already slated to work on the Disneynature documentary. Based on the reported number of requests for this world-famous couple, it doesn’t sound like the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be begging for work anytime soon.

Meghan’s narration on Elephant isn’t necessarily going to win her awards. But it’s an important first step to asserting independence from the royal family and launching a whole new career that’s far from London.