Read this quick. I’m breaking news about Harry and Meghan!

Read this quick. I’m breaking news about Harry and Meghan!

Why is no one wondering why Netflix paid so much money? I’m surprised. It seems so obvious to me, so I haven’t said anything, but it’s one day before the show starts and I have to say it now so everyone knows I was right.

Before I tell you what’s in the Netflix movie, I want to acknowledge that I have a history of being incompetent at breaking news. For example, Alexis Ohanian accidentally told me that he sold Reddit before he told anyone else. I didn’t realize how big it was and I broke the news, buried in paragraph five of an umpteenth blog post about how to manage your career. Then I had no idea why it was catapulted to the top post on Reddit.

I also accidentally broke the news that Obama would win Iowa propelled by millennials. This is the thing about being right about that though — I was already writing trend pieces about millennials every day.

Anyway, media outlets didn’t pay attention to the part where I said that I was in Iowa visiting my brother and had never seen a caucus before in my life. Reporters starting putting me on tons of interviews for the news and I didn’t realize that I predicted Hilary to win the New Hampshire primary after she had already lost.

I did that on live TV. Whatever. Breaking news is hard business.

That didn’t deter me from running five blocks to go see Will and Kate the minute they arrived in Boston.

Unfortunately the only news I could break is that it’s totally annoying to make everyone listen to a speech about how we are all standing on stolen ground before we can see Will and Kate. It’s too much. If the Americans can have 200 years of over-the-top racism and still bitch about British racism when Will and Kate get here, then I think it might just be the end of royal family goodwill tourism.

But still, William and Kate looked adorable in their matching outfits. I am not reporting this though. I saw it secondhand from all the press pictures of them gallivanting around Boston. I am no good at breaking news, but I am great at patterns — I have looked at every outfit Kate has worn since she got engaged and they do not ever dress like twins.

Which brings me back to what’s in the Netflix documentary. I wasn’t going to scream about how I’m right until I saw Will and Kate being all matchy-matchy.

Look, Harry needs two very big things to reveal in order to get a big deal from Netflix and a big deal from his book publisher. These are two places that know what is worth paying for and what isn’t. The trick to figuring out it out is knowing Netflix has the smaller of the two big things, because the book is coming out after the show.

Harry and Meghan are going on and on about how the royal family didn’t protect Meghan from the press. Because it’s true. William had an affair with Kate’s friend. It was going on for awhile, but there was a handshake agreement between the royal family and the British press to not write about it.

But press outside England wrote about it, so then the British press did too. The royal family went ballistic, so the British press retracted, but it was too late. A Scottish journalist who worked at the newspaper refused to removed it from his Twitter, saying everyone in the media knew about the affair and he’s Scottish so the injunction doesn’t apply and the London press is pathetic in the way they kowtow to the royal family.

Fine. Press outside England covered the story. And it still blew over.

But while the hullabaloo was happening, Meghan and Harry got engaged and the PR team for the royal family tried to distract people by throwing Meghan to the press.

I actually thought it was so obvious that everyone must know this, but no one is writing about it. In the eyes of the royal family, it was way better to have Meghan and Harry take a hit than Will and Kate, because Will and Kate’s marriage is the future of the monarchy.

I feel like, okay, fine. I get it. The royal family acts as a unit, protects the crown.

And William and Kate look so adorable in their matching outfits that how can you not root for the monarchy? If we were the future ruler of a commonwealth who among us would not have a dalliance with the marchioness next door? Whatever. No one cares. Because it’s relatable.

Meanwhile Harry and Meghan are whining and whinging that we don’t have enough empathy for them about being thrown to the wolves but it’s because they have made us so sick of them. Which means the rest of their documentary is filled with literal stock images because they have pretty much nothing else to say except Will cheated boohoo.

Here is where I have empathy for Meghan and Harry. I know what it’s like to be bad at breaking news. And they are really, really bad at breaking news.

31 replies
  1. Lizzie
    Lizzie says:

    The affair is absolutely a thing. We live locally to Anmer Hall & everyone knows about William & Rose. EVERYONE. It is an open secret. I wonder if Harry will discuss it in his book. There will be no return for him if he does. None.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Oohh. A first-hand source! So exciting. Lizzie, did Kate agree to it? Did she have to pretend to be upset but she wasn’t upset? Or was she actually upset? And also, is Rose’s third kid William’s kid? These are questions I spend lots of time thinking about.


      • Jess
        Jess says:

        YESS! These are my exact questions. We need answers!

        I feel like I just learned Santa Claus is not real. I need to stop being so interested in the monarchy.

        • Lizzie
          Lizzie says:

          Another thing I forgot to mention… after the rumours came out, Kate’s profile jumped. She had the best jewellery, her wardrobe budget suddenly quadrupled & she got a LOT of patronages & high profile events. I think a deal was cut.

          • Penelope Trunk
            Penelope Trunk says:

            I like to think a deal was cut, too. I think women do so much better if they have a strong family behind them. Katie Holmes took on the whole Scientology system in order to get out safely with Tom’s money and full custody of their daughter. She could do that because her dad’s a lawyer and he helped her prepare for a year before she told Tom.

            I think Kate is in a similar situation. The Middleton’s have her back 100%. And even though they’re not upper class, or whatever the term is in England, they know how to manage within the upper class, and they would have made sure Kate and the kids are protected if William is going to have mistresses the rest of their lives.

            It’s really interesting to me that the job of being the spouse of a royal figure is so terrible that no one wants to do it. And Kate is really the most normal person who as agreed to it in a long time, and she has put up with so much, I don’t think any normal person will ever again agree to marry into the family. Which begs the question, why have a royal family when the job only attracts crazy people?

      • Lizzie
        Lizzie says:

        No idea to any of the questions but the Wales’ did NO local socialising for some time & then the pandemic & the move to Windsor was announced. Our friend is a local paparazzi & is absolutely 100% about it being true. If it is, it’s a great shame because she is jewel & he is probably quite dull.

  2. Janine Shroff
    Janine Shroff says:

    Wait, what was the news that this post was breaking tho? That was unclear.

    But good short summary of it fyi, just yesterday had a very passionate argument with an Indian friend who insisted the royals have done so much for us all etc etc. Also refused to believe Willy is big ol cheater.

    This affair I believe is only one of many, or at least one that was a long term one. William has been rumoured to always have been looking elsewhere, because to some degree, his marriage to Kate is an old school arrangement because she was approved of by the public. [And to get a new girl on board with the nightmare that is the crown / press faustian bargain is not easy]

  3. karen
    karen says:

    The legacy of racism in America is exactly the reason why we SHOULD judge racism in the British monarchy and the British press. To look at it any other way is just convenient sophistry rather than sense.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Yes. Well. I think I am going to have to stop being so enthralled with the monarchy. I am trying to reform myself. I see the problems here. It gets less and less fun to write about them the more I don’t want to be associated with people who don’t give a crap about them.


  4. T
    T says:

    This is an utterly gripping read! – You’re both brilliant and hilarious, Penelope, and I’ve gained much from reading your blog posts, for years. Love your writing. Love your humour. Love your brain.

  5. Jane
    Jane says:

    being bad at breaking news, you realize, is an aspergers trait. something about decontextualization. personally the monarchy is too white for me. their big contribution to culture is inspiring tv movies.

    • Deborah
      Deborah says:

      This is what I’ve always heard, as well. And if you know *anything* about Meghan Markle, that whole thing has her fingerprints all over it. The woman is toxic in so many (many many many) ways.

  6. Lissy
    Lissy says:

    What did I just read?? There is so much here that it’s making me think this is satire.
    – Annoyed by land acknowledgements
    – No mention the impact racism has on Meghan and her family
    – “Boohoo” on a future king who is a cheater (familial issue)

  7. Lyn
    Lyn says:

    Well – I guess the big Netflix reveal was William shouted at Harry so let’s hope the book has something better!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      What really shocks me is how little of anything new Harry and Meghan put into the documentary combined with the outrageous success of the documentary. I can’t believe how many people have watched it. I didn’t watch it. There is no need to watch it to find out what’s in it. I have to hand it to Meghan that she figured out how to keep her Netflix money without having to have anything to say.


      • page
        page says:

        Penelope I find it amazing that you are so DOWN on a documentary that you havent watched? So very very sure that there is no value there, and amazed that so many have watched it. I watched it purely BECAUSE you put it down- I thought, what is it all about? Primarily , I would say, it is a slap against the media culture that chases down and is relentless towards whatever individual targeted. And there is absolutely nothing that can be done about that. You come away from it, thinking that there is something really really wrong with this ‘new day’ of communication. Perhaps the pain is not evenly distributed ,but people whose children committed suicide because they couldn’t take it anymore, yeah, they are just weak kids,right? Someone else’s casualty? This documentary is about a helluva lot more than the old guard- and gossip. It is about a modern couple, both of whom are civilly motivated to help others, and how they navigate in a media bent on tearing them down and apart. It is SICK. And it needs to be looked at. Bravo Harry and Meghan for such an in depth look at this. Remember clooney ,when he tried to combat it ? He gave up too.

  8. page
    page says:

    What shocks me is that you completely skipped the most important element of the series. That it is legal in this country and every other country ,to hound people to DEATH. I am not a royal watcher, or a news reader [much] these days. I started watching just to check it out. I felt a visceral helpless RAGE at this system we live in, and that no one can stop it!! I cried. No normal person can imagine a 24/7 exposure to the public. It’s not about not reading stuff about you, but having helicopters and drones and strangers creeping up your dress. Jesus. People are so disgusting. But worse. It’s LEGAL.

  9. Zoz
    Zoz says:

    As a brit I feel pretty offended by the documentary. I couldn’t care less about the Royals but can absolutely say the general consensus in our society was one of warmth and goodwill towards her. Most people were excited to have a mixed race woman join the ranks and thought about it was about time. You can even see that in the clips of the people in the documentary (and they’re not the brightest bunch who turn out to greet them on their wedding day)

    In any society you’re going to get a few racist nutters and it seems they’ve trawled the internet and press articles to find the few rare negative comments rather than emphasise the general overwhelming goodwill and based the documentary around that. In the documentary it found most of the racist twitter hate was coming from 83 twitter accounts linked to Samantha Markle and friends.

    Our tabloid press is vicious and they are both mad to take it on, I think it’s cultural difference that made them want to and Harry’s own trauma from losing his Mum to the press. All the Royals have been subject to hideous press in the past they used to secretly tape and expose in the tabloids Prince Charles private late night phone calls with Camilla for toe curling, front page news. He was the most hated man in the press after his affair and the death of Diana in fact the whole Royal family were for many years.

    Kate Middleton faced sooo much criticism when she first came on the scene from the press as her Mum was born in council house (Social Housing) and they were always questioning her suitability. Meghan had a much more positive start in the press than Kate. I think her father and half-siblings not joining her at the wedding turned the tide a bit and the press capitalised on that and how cold hearted it seemed to deny half of your family.

    To make it all about race was a distortion and a dangerous one, Martin Luther Kings daughter or granddaughter was talking about it the other day and said she’s conflated cultural differences with racism which it was not. The way Harry and Meghan accuses the palace of not protecting them from the negative press seems bizarre as they aren’t able to protect any other members of the family from negative press. No one in their right mind does take any notice of the tabloid press in the way you don’t take any notice of what’s in the National Enquirer, they could have ignored it like all the other Royals have to and carried on regardless making an impact in important matters.

    We are a tolerant multi-cultural society and I feel documentaries like this set back race relations by about 60 years. To brand a whole nation racist on the basis of a few nutters is wrong and doesn’t leave room for growth or redemption. It’s a form of race-baiting in it’s own right.

    The black and white picture they showed of the chimp leaving the hospital with it’s parents was posted by a left-wing comedian who was mortified at the race connotations and took it down within 10 minutes of being up. It was his terrible joke at the media circus that was surrounding the upcoming birth and how much of a fanfare there was in the press, he in no way was even thinking along the lines of race when he posted it. He posted a statement 10 minutes after it went up saying people have pointed out to me how this could be perceived and i’ll take it down immediately, my mind doesn’t work that way because it’s not broken he hadn’t even considered it along the lines of race it was all about the media circus around the event.

    I genuinely think part of the problem is Meghan life was so much more interesting and free prior to meeting Harry, I feel genuinely sorry for the Royals it’s a boring life of duty and turning up to non-glamourous events in the arse end of the UK and talking banal crap to strangers. I couldn’t withstand a day of it. I’m glad they’ve found their freedom but this could have been handle so differently.

    • page
      page says:

      It seems like Zoz also did not watch the entire series, which, if you want to know why, then it’s important to do. It’s not about how much shit the tabloids print. It’s about going out in the public and having strangers scream at you the lies that have been written. It’s about strangers looking in your windows with telephoto lens. Jesus. It seems the consensus is, that you should’ get over it’. It comes with celebrity. Bullshit!! How about if children were killing themselves due to be hounded by their classmates on social media? What if they were encouraging haters to go to your kids house and beat him up? If we put ourselves in others shoes, we would change these laws !! No money for personal pics of people, period . For a start. Obama said in an interview, and he was cool about it, resigned you could say, but he said, ” Anonymity is not something you think about before you lose it”

      • Zoz
        Zoz says:

        I did watch the whole series which informed my view. No one is saying what the press does is right but is it right to tear down a country and an institution in the name of racism at your treatment when other Royals have received far worse treatment at the hands of the press like Diana. They have conflated the two issues in a dangerous and destructive way.

  10. susan
    susan says:

    Ahhh. I thought the story they were trying to bury was the Prince Andrew + Jeffrey Epstein + teen girl story. But yeah this makes more sense because the prince already lost a bunch of titles and didn’t walk astride Charles and Princess Anne during the funeral procession. They have already acknowledged it really. They don’t want the new gen tarnished. It’s protect William at all costs. Huh.

  11. Lynne
    Lynne says:

    Well – you were right about the book having the better revelations – although not sure it’s landing the way Harry hoped it would. He seems a little unhinged with some of the stuff,

    However, it’s all juicy gossip for the rest of us and I bet Netflix is furious! They didn’t get anything decent at all for six hours of footage!

  12. Judy
    Judy says:

    Late here, but in your summary of your past announcements (correct or not- Reddit, Hillary, etc.), you forgot the one about Sheryl Sandberg’s husband’s death. You thought he “leaned in” to suicide as did many others but he actually just fell and hit his head. Everyone was thinking what you were thinking but you got roasted for that post pretty badly.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      First, let’s be clear that I was right when I said immediately that Sandberg’s husband did not die by falling and hitting his head. Here’s the link to that.

      But I was also right that Sandberg lied about where she was when her husband died. I have impeccable sources on that. My sources who were with her at the time have no idea why she lied. But we do know that she started lying immediately when she heard he died.

      I also feel that I should get a little vindication here, that now it commonplace to hate Sheryl Sandberg. But I hated her way before Plan B bullshit and Facebook firing her.


      • Joe E
        Joe E says:

        I hear you.

        I am always a li’l sus when somebody (especially a wealthy or powerful somebody) dies at a resort in Mexico.

        And I, too, disliked/distrusted Sheryl from the get-go.

        Can’t prove anything, but I still *feel* I am right.

  13. samantha scully
    samantha scully says:

    andrew and virginia giuffre also very much a thing and timely with meghan being asked what she wanted to focus on in her royal ‘outreach.’ a beautiful mixed race american actress, surprise surprise she said, ME TOO! i think that’s somewhere in the netflix series. it got buried fast. and boom, things started to go very wrong with meghan and the royals. am sure they fed press about meghan and harry to press to deflect from attention andrew and jeffrey epstein who most likely had a wider role in handling royal finances than has been reported–secrets to be kept. for all their awkwardness and embarrassing narcissism, it’s an important moment and in a weird way meghan and harry are both, imo, underdogs and heroes. love to you, beautiful penelope.

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