Harry and Meghan: An African Journey aired nearly a week ago in the U.S. and the documentary offered the public a rare glimpse inside the British royal family in the form of emotional and personal interviews with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Ahead, learn why a crisis expert thinks the couple did a “wonderful job” in their documentary.
First airing in the U.K. on ITV, the documentary followed Prince Harry and Markle — with a few glimpses of their adorable baby boy, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor — during their official tour of Africa.
It premiered in the middle of a media storm surrounding the royals as the couple announced at the end of their tour — they broke the news on day nine of their 10-day visit — that they were suing British tabloids for a number of reasons including invasive reporting tactics, publishing false stories, and for printing excerpts of a letter Markle wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle. Learn why the lawsuit isn’t only about protecting the Duchess of Sussex here.
Why a crisis expert thinks Prince Harry and Meghan Markle did a ‘wonderful job’
We learned a lot by watching the documentary. Markle admitted to struggling behind-the-scenes — “Not many people have asked if I’m OK” — and Prince Harry opened up about protecting his family from the press because of what he saw his mother, Princess Diana, go through.
While the Duke and Duchess of Sussex certainly went to a more personal place than any member of the British royal family has gone before in an interview (except for maybe Princess Diana’s historic interview with Martin Bashir), did it help to shift their image in the public eye?
Ronn Torossian, a crisis expert and CEO of 5WPR, spoke to Marie Claire about the documentary and whether it hit all the right notes or not. Torossian felt Prince Harry and Markle did exactly what it was meant to do: show that they’re real people.
“This documentary does a wonderful job of showing the public that while Meghan and Harry are public figures, they are people too,” he said before adding, “Between Harry opening up about how he is still affected by his mother’s death every day and Meghan discussing the challenges of being a new mother in the spotlight, the video softened their images and made them more appealing to the everyday person.”
We know we found ourselves rooting for the couple by the end of the documentary.
It might not change their relationship with British tabloids
Even though the Duke and Duchess of Sussex got personal in the documentary, Torossian isn’t sure the footage will do much to change the couple’s relationship with the press, especially British tabloids.
“However, whether this will help change how they are portrayed in the press is a different story,” he said before explaining how American and British media have reacted differently to the documentary.
“American media and social media have had a sympathetic reaction, but the British tabloids have not really softened their coverage, and have never really warmed up to Meghan as a member of the royal family,” the crisis expert said. “Only time will tell if this documentary has the intended effect, and brings both Meghan and Harry out back up to the standing of proper royals.”
In the days since Harry and Meghan: An African Journey, it’s been announced the family of three will take a six-week break from royal life and spend Thanksgiving in Markle’s hometown of Los Angeles, Calif., presumably with her mother and Archie’s grandmother, Doria Ragland.