When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex moved to California just as the pandemic was starting, the royal commentators were smugly predicting that Harry would find the paparazzi, media and tabloid situation much worse in the US. It just shows you how little those people know about American celebrity culture, honestly – A-listers are able to “hide” from the tabloids and paps all the time, all they need is the will, the security and the ability to sue. It’s hilarious to me that we’ve seen so little of Harry and Meghan in or around Montecito in the past year. The only time we see them now, it’s basically always on their terms, when they want to be seen. That’s pissing off the British media to no end, especially since there are no recent photos of Archie, and zero photos of Lilibet. Lili is four months old and we still haven’t seen her, and who knows if we’ll ever see her. Which is the point of Tom Sykes’ recent piece in the Daily Beast: Harry and Meghan have achieved something William and Kate always said they wanted for their kids: substantial privacy. Some highlights:
Despite the sniping, the Sussex kids have privacy: The couple have managed to provide a level of privacy to their children which far outstrips what they were able to offer Archie in the first few traumatic months after his birth, or, indeed, what Kate and William have been able to give their children.
We see the Cambridge kids constantly because of the invisible contract: Full-face photographs of William and Kate’s kids are routinely handed out on their birthdays and the children also make several carefully staged public appearances each year where the press are given opportunities to photograph them. They are also co-opted into other digital marketing stunts by their parents: think Instagram clips thanking the NHS for their work or marshmallow-roasting wedding anniversary videos, for example. These handouts represent a long-established palace peace deal with the media. The media get pictures of the children and the press are supposed to not publish any unauthorized images of the children in return.
The invisible contract holds up: Although the deal is uneasy and occasionally breaks down—just last week The Daily Beast revealed the palace hit the roof after unauthorized pictures of the Cambridges lunching in a pub garden were published by the Sun—the architecture of the arrangement generally holds up. Despite the fact that the arrangement gives the palace a level of control of the narrative which other celebrities would give their eye teeth for, William still loathes the principle of having to hand over pictures of his kids for public consumption. He reluctantly acquiesces.
No compromises for the Sussexes: Harry loathed it too and now, free from that collectively-bargained media compromise, he and Meghan are pursuing a far more radical policy. They appear to be seeking nothing less than complete anonymity for their kids by aggressively pursuing photographers, and, in one …read more
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