The Sussexes’ biography will cover ‘their last few years’ up to their royal exit

The moment I saw the People Magazine cover story in February 2019, I knew what the Duchess of Sussex had done. She had been victimized, abused and smeared for months prior to that moment, and she was tired of being voiceless in a white, colonialist, antiquated institution. She was also tired of being told that she couldn’t say or do anything to clap back at her father’s months of abuse in the press, all of the paid interviews he had done with Piers Morgan and the Daily Mail and the Sun. So of course Meghan organized the People Mag cover and authorized her closest friends to speak out. As soon as one anonymous friend mentioned Meghan’s letter to her father, I could see the plan and how Meghan had set up a rare win-win for herself. And so it was. While she now denies setting up the People story, I… uh, just don’t see how that can be true. The information about the letter was so obviously a bait by Meghan, and honestly, she should sign her work. I still see the beauty and elegance of the strategy.

Why bring this up? Because Meghan – and Harry too – wants to implement another media strategy. Omid Scobie has long been one of Meghan’s favorite journalists, and now that the Sussexes are running their own communications office (with help from some LA people), Scobie and Harper’s Bazaar are still on the favored list. Scobie was one of the handful of journalists to get the information about the Sussexes’ video-call with the Queen just last week. Scobie is still seen as “friendly,” that’s my point. Which means if he had gone off to write a book about the Sussexes without Meghan and Harry’s approval, they would have removed him from the Friendly List. Meaning, the Sussexes have authorized this book. Once again, I’m not saying that it’s off-side or wrong or anything – William, Kate, Charles, Camilla, the Queen, they’ve all quietly authorized biographies from friendly journalists. The question becomes, how much will a royal figure “cooperate” with their authorized biographer? Thus far, one journalist claims that Meghan & Harry did not *officially* give an interview for the book. But Vanity Fair (surprisingly not Katie Nicholl) has more exclusive info about the book:

The book: Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand have written a “biographical look at their last few years, provisionally called Thoroughly Modern Royals: The Real World of Meghan and Harry.” According to the Mail on Sunday, Meghan and Harry sat for interviews with Durand and Scobie before they announced their exit in January. The book was reportedly set to come out in June, but its release date has been pushed to August due to the coronavirus crisis.

What the book will cover: According to a source with knowledge of the deal, the book will cover the period from Meghan and Harry’s introduction to their royal exit in March, including details about her deteriorating relationship with the Markle family. It will approach those years from the perspective of the couple and cast Meghan in a more flattering light than many tabloid stories have. Their cooperation tracks with some of their motivations from stepping back from the royal family earlier this year.

The comparison to Princess Diana: In 1992, Princess Diana had cooperated with Andrew Morton, a tabloid veteran, on Diana: Her True Story, which documented her difficult days in the palace and the affair between Prince Charles and his future wife, Camilla Parker-Bowles. At a moment when Diana was attempting to negotiate her own exit from the family, the book’s publication strained her already rocky relationship with the Queen. But it also endeared her to an international audience and helped her maintain popularity despite the messiness of a royal divorce. Meghan and Harry’s choice to go public doesn’t seem to have as much to do with their feelings about the family’s state of affairs. When they stepped back as senior royals, Meghan and Harry were hoping they could find a more progressive role within the family, but were only able to achieve that by leaving their roles behind entirely. Participating in a book might be the most forceful way they are able to make that change without deliberately agitating their relatives.

The Sussexes won’t go scorched earth: In charting their careers outside of the royal family, the couple have reportedly taken pains to stay on the monarchy’s good side. There’s no reason to believe that Thoroughly Modern Royals will drop any information that will leave the queen fuming, though there’s a chance that their choice could backfire. But by working with Durand and Scobie, two British journalists who write for American outlets, they’re making a point about who this book is aimed at. Meghan and Harry don’t seem to be trying to set the house on fire—just looking for an opportunity to get a few things off their chests.

[From Vanity Fair]

The fact that it was supposed to be published in June says to me that the original pre-corona plan was to package everything into a series of announcements over the course of a few weeks/one month in May and June: the announcement of a foundation/charity, the launch of a new Instagram, a production deal (probably with Netflix), and the authorized book as a way to frame their new post-royal life. Corona really f–ked that up. And while Scobie and Durand likely won’t quote from any “exclusive” interview with Meghan and Harry, my guess is that – much like Diana did with Andrew Morton – the Sussexes will be providing the “background” on their own stories. We’ll have to wait and see if Thoroughly Modern Royals brings the monarchy to its knees like Diana’s authorized biography did.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid.

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