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Daniela Elser: Harry and Meghan doco expose the royal family's secret tactics



COMMENT: This is a surprising week, with Sussex releasing explosive documents. But by doing that, the Princes have betrayed the rogue royal habits.

There are many misconceptions about the royal family.

That everyone gets a tiara – unfortunately only married women do it and they can't maintain it. That the Queen is a wry cat – she is certainly very funny. And, that at all times they behave politely and play by the rules.

If there is one thing this week that has been proven, the last point is rash as evidenced by the media dispute that is taking place in London.

This is how you do it.

After Harry's broadcast and the documentary Meghan earlier this week, "a source close to William" told The Times that he was worried about Harry after the royal couple expressed toll public scrutiny and media attention to their mental health.

Harry and Meghan's tour in Africa was filmed in doco, revealing personal moments shared between the couple and the people they met throughout the tour. Photo / ITV
Harry and Meghan's tour in Africa was filmed in doco, revealing personal moments shared between the couple and the people they met throughout the tour. Photo / ITV

Later, a Kensington Palace source told the BBC that William felt Sussex was "in a fragile place".

Then yesterday, a source close to Sussexes told CNN that "the institutions around the British royal family were full of people who were afraid and inexperienced about the best way to help exploit and spread the value of the royal couple who, they said, had one handed over the monarchy in a modern way ".

"Another source close to Harry" told The Sun: "Harry returned to Frogmore Cottage and has never been stronger. This is an institution full of panicked people, they may be potentially untouched and ultimately blamed for lack of support."

Ouch.

Everything reads like a tit-for-tat media volleyball with sources throwing quotes back and forth on the internet.

And herein lies a rather dirty truth about the Windsor clan – they, sometimes, leak like filters, using newspapers to achieve their own goals. (Keep in mind, the three sources above are news organizations that are very credible and cannot be dismissed because evil tabloids spread nonsense).

This does not mean M.O. new with occasional strategic whispers in Fleet Street's right ear which had long been part of the royal arsenal. While the queen may be a big fan of her stiff upper lip, her family seems to have no difficulty trying to form a narrative at certain times.

Harry's honesty and the raw emotion he displayed in parts of the Sussex family documents provided a very personal insight into the couple's life. Photo / ITV
Harry's honesty and the raw emotion he displayed in parts of the Sussex family documents provided a very personal insight into the couple's life. Photo / ITV

This might contradict the image of the royal family as a vanished, haughty creature but Windsors are very sensitive to the way they are seen in public.

Retreated to the early 90s and Charles and Diana each used sympathetic newspapers to reveal damaging information about the other and to throw themselves in the reddish light during the poisoned, drawn car poisoning which was the twilight years of their marriage.

The royal biographer, Tina Brown, wrote that Sarah Ferguson believed that Diana told the paparazzi that she was sheltering in a villa in southern France with her financial adviser John Bryan, who produced some of the most sensational tabloid front pages in this decade.

Who can forget – Princess Wales started Chernobyl leak when he was secretly working with journalist Andrew Morton in his 1992 explosion, Diana: Her True Story.

Prince Charles is not on the same tactic. In 1998, The Sun carried a detailed account of Prince William's first meeting with Camilla Parker Bowles, to what he had drunk (G&T, natch).

In 2015, the former newspaper royal correspondent Charles Rae told a documentary that Prince Bolland's press supremo Mark Bolland had provided information to the newspaper (Bolland had denied the claim.)

A similar situation occurred when it was reported in 2002 that Prince Harry had spent a day at the rehabilitation center after Charles learned that his youngest son had smoked marijuana.

How does the media know? Biographer Penny Junor alleges that "Agreement was reached, the order of events was reversed. It was split into a good story about Charles who admitted his son had gotten off track and did something about it."

Diana, Princess Wales and her ex-husband often use the media to tell stories that people want to hear. Photo / AP
Diana, Princess Wales and her ex-husband often use the media to tell stories that people want to hear. Photo / AP

In both of these examples, Harry and Wills are said to be angry because intimate details about their lives find their way to the front yard, which is thought to improve their father's image.

Earlier this year, five of Meghan's friends anonymously spoke to People and discussed (among other things) her messy relationship with her father and how he was abused by the media. It is almost impossible to imagine that given the close relationship of Megan's cadres, they would undermine his beliefs and speak in a magazine without his consent. (The Guardian reports that from quotes from Meghan's friends, "the royal household has never denied being authorized by a nobleman.")

So, back to this week. Contemplate seriously who or the flunkie from which the royal family is suspected of expressing what began to sound more like a special housewife's reunion than a dignified event from the ruling family.

What we know for certain is this: The impact of Harry and Meghan's powerful revelations will continue to be felt for a long time to come.

And, given family history, there will be a 'source' and 'insiders' popping up in the news for a long time.

The reporter only asked,
The reporter only asked, "Are you OK?" and Meghan gave a heartbreaking response. Photo / ITV

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