Kamala Harris did not step off of her private plane on her way to visiting the scene of a devastating California wildfire so much as she bounced. The vice presidential nominee did so in Timberland boots, drawing a wave of online cheers and boos, in what might be the first true sartorial scandal of the Biden/Harris campaign. Kamala Harris Gave a Voice to American Women’s Silent ScreamsOn one side came the praise, heaped on by liberals who are already pushing hard for a Democrat victory in November. “THE TIMBS THO,” Meena Harris, Kamala’s niece wrote on Instagram. The nominee—or perhaps just her campaign—had turned her into a GIF.> View this post on Instagram> > THE TIMBS THO> > A post shared by Meena Harris (@meena) on Sep 15, 2020 at 9:19pm PDTWas it the shoe choice itself or just Harris’ assured manner that sold the look so hard? Perhaps a mixture of both. That jaunty strut? A construction boot made popular by New York rappers? Mike Pence could never. > The @KamalaHarris de-planing videos & her completely appropriate self-confidence every time are quickly becoming one of my favorite things about this campaign.🙌 https://t.co/rPxas1KRkj> > — Mimi Rocah (@Mimirocah1) September 15, 2020> The Timbs. > pic.twitter.com/1Bikv6B4l5> > — Karine Jean-Pierre (@K_JeanPierre) September 15, 2020> Mrs. Vice President. pic.twitter.com/wvmrgFLmoa> > — Jill Biden For FLOTUS (@Jillbiden46) September 15, 2020As some noted, the scene recalled Melania Trump’s 2018 visit to McAllen, Texas, where she met with families who had been separated at the border, wearing an infamous Zara cargo jacket that read, “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” Harris wore a similar style, with no words on the back, plus skinny jeans. Where Trump has made a habit of wearing her Louboutin stilettos to disaster scenes—to much mockery—the former attorney general’s boots are workwear at its most obvious. The intended message: I am here to get things done. But given that one of the biggest criticisms of Harris is her record as a San Francisco prosecutor—the phrase “Kamala is a cop” has come to haunt her campaign—many saw the boot choice as merely gestural.Though Timberlands were originally made for New England workers, the '90s saw the nubuck shoes gain popularity in the burgeoning New York rap scene. The Notorious B.I.G. wrote about them; Wu-Tang Clan, Tupac, and Aaliyah all wore them. Timbs have an undeniable association with hip-hop culture; many thought Harris might be pandering with her footwear.> i might not have health insurance at the end of the year so it's nice to see kamala harris wearing timbs and joe biden dancing to despacito that's very reassuring> > — jordan (@JordanUhl) September 16, 2020> i want to understand the mind of a person who legitimately gets excited seeing kamala harris wearing timbs or chucks. what happens there?> > — hasanabi (@hasanthehun) September 16, 2020> was kamala harris wearing timbs when she prosecuted the families of kids with bad attendance> > — 👽𝐧𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐯𝐢𝐝𝐮𝐚𝐥👽 (@nice_logan) September 16, 2020Harris has worn her Timbs—like her Converse Chuck sneakers—plenty of times in the past. Is she doing so to make a lame attempt at “cool” branding or flex her wardrobe? Is it just because they’re comfortable and worthy of such a somber, dusty day? Maybe it could be a mix of everything. Perhaps she just likes them. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
When she and Prince Harry officially quit the royal family in March, Meghan Markle reportedly tearfully told a friend: “I gave up my entire life for this family. I was willing to do whatever it takes. But here we are. It’s very sad.”“The powers [of the institution] are unfortunately greater than me,” she is also reported to have said. She likened tabloid criticism to “death by a thousand cuts.”Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Sue Paparazzi Over Pictures of ArchieMeanwhile, Prince Harry “felt at once used for their popularity, hounded by the press because of the public’s fascination with this new breed of royal couple, and disparaged back within the institution’s walls for being too sensitive and outspoken. He and Meghan didn’t want to walk away from the monarchy; rather, they wanted to find a happy place within it.”The explosive details of Harry and Meghan’s departure from the royal family are revealed in the first extract from the tell-all biography Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family, by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, which has been published by the Times of London.The extract was published the day after Harry and Meghan launched a new lawsuit over an alleged paparazzi intrusion at their home in Los Angeles, in which photographs were taken of their son Archie.The book says that Harry felt “unprotected” by his family, and “as though he and Meghan had long been sidelined by the institution and were not a fundamental part of its future.” Harry feels “that there were so many occasions when the institution and his family could have helped them, stood up for them, backed them up, and never did,” a source told the authors.“Fundamentally, Harry wanted out,” a source close to the couple revealed. “Deep down, he was always struggling within that world. She’s opened the door for him on that.”“The courtiers blame Meghan, and some family do,” another source said of the couple leaving the royal family.Harry likened the negotiations around his and Meghan’s royal exit to “standing in front of a firing squad,” the book claims.At one point, as Harry scrolled through negative comments online about his and Meghan’s behavior, he is reported to have said: “It’s a sick part of the society we live in today, and no one is doing anything about it. Where’s the positivity? Why is everyone so miserable and angry?”After their final royal engagement, the book reveals, Meghan got the first flight back to Canada. “Meg just wanted to get home,” a friend said, the authors describing Meghan as “emotionally bruised and exhausted.” The friend added, “At that point she couldn’t imagine wanting to set a foot back into anything royal again.”Prince William, a Kensington Palace source told the authors, remained upset that Harry and Meghan made “private” family matters public, presumably as when Harry and Meghan talked about their discontent to ITV journalist Tom Bradby. “It’s not anger,” the source said of William’s feelings. “It’s hurt.”Harry and Meghan had taken as a significant sign the absence of a photo of them with baby Archie in the background of the queen’s 2019 Christmas Speech, in which there were visible photos of William and Kate and their children, Charles and Camilla, Prince Philip, and a black-and-white image of George VI. While Saturday’s excerpt—more are planned for Sunday and Monday—does not contain any references to long-rumored allegations of racism within the palace experienced by Meghan, in a separate interview with The Times, Scobie, who is of Iranian and British heritage, said: “She was a biracial woman stepping into the House of Windsor. That was going to ruffle feathers. We only need look at the Duchess Difficult narrative. What is ‘difficult’? Difficult is pushy, aggressive. It’s all the things that we throw on Black women as a society regardless of what their actual personality is.”Some of the key claims in the book are that Harry believed that some of the old guard “simply didn’t like Meghan and would stop at nothing to make her life difficult,” and that senior courtiers in other households felt that the global popularity of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex “needed to be reined in” because the royal “establishment” feared that the popularity of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex “might eclipse that of the royal family itself.”At the Commonwealth Service in Westminster Abbey, their final official royal engagement, Harry and Meghan were left out of the procession of senior royals, which “more than disappointed” Harry.Then there was the scant recognition between Harry and Meghan and William and Kate in the Abbey. “It should have been the one public moment where the royal family put their arms around the couple for a show of support,” a source close to Harry and Meghan told the authors. “They purposefully chose not to put them in the procession and not to be welcoming. It was most unpleasant.”Having negotiated their exits from the royal family, the queen reportedly told Harry over a private roast lunch—”just granny and grandson,” as the authors put it—that she would always support him and he and Meghan could return to their traditional royal roles if they ever chose to. “It’s been made very clear they can come back whenever they want, when they’re ready,” a source involved with the negotiations told the authors.Scobie tells the Times that Harry and Meghan did not speak to him and Durand on or off the record for the book, adding, “I think that you can tell from the reporting, my time around the couple is enough for me to know my subjects.”A spokesperson for the couple told The Daily Beast: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not interviewed and did not contribute to Finding Freedom. This book is based on the authors’ own experiences as members of the royal press corps and their own independent reporting.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
> If you love The Daily Beast’s royal coverage, then we hope you’ll enjoy The Royalist, an all-new members-only series for Beast Inside. Become a member to get it in your inbox on Sunday.Meghan Markle has said that she was “unprotected by the institution” of the British monarchy and was “prohibited from defending herself” in the face of savage media attacks on her when she was part of the royal family, in bombshell new court documents filed as part of her legal battle with the Mail on Sunday.Meghan has also doubled down on her claim that she did not authorize or collaborate with five of her friends who gave a lengthy interview to America’s People magazine, in which one of them mentioned that Meghan had sent a letter to her estranged father, Thomas.Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Face Day One of Their Tabloid Court BattleMeghan is suing the Mail on Sunday for breach of copyright and invasion of privacy after it published excerpts of that hand-written letter to her father.The Mail’s defense hinges on their claim that Meghan authorized or arranged for her friends to tell People magazine about her letter to her father. The publishers of the Mail on Sunday, Associated Newspapers, argue that because she allowed her friends to discuss the letter, she effectively gave up her privacy rights.Meghan’s team were furious Wednesday night after the Mail published excerpts from the paperwork filed by Meghan (issued in response to a request from Associated for further information) before it had been made public by the courts. In their court filing, Meghan’s team also named the five friends who gave the interview, raising the tantalizing prospect that they may be called to give evidence. However, to protect their anonymity for now, they are referred to in the documents as Friends A, B, C, D, and E.In the course of an extensive series of responses, Meghan’s lawyers make a number of jaw-dropping claims that lift the lid on just how unhappy she was in the UK.It says that her friends independently decided to talk to the media following a “large number of false and damaging articles by the UK tabloid media,” which, “caused tremendous emotional distress and damage to her mental health.” The filing adds, “As her friends had never seen her in this state before, they were rightly concerned for her welfare, specifically as she was pregnant, unprotected by the Institution, and prohibited from defending herself.”In a swipe at the Kensington Palace communications team who represented her, Meghan’s lawyers say, “It was mandated by the KP Communications Team that all friends and family of the Claimant should say ‘no comment’ when approached by any media outlet, despite misinformation being provided to UK tabloids about the Claimant. “This shared frustration amongst the Claimant’s friends left everyone feeling silenced, as it appeared that other so-called sources were able to disseminate false statements about the Claimant, while the people who knew her best were told that they needed to remain silent. The Claimant believes that it is probably because of this reason, as well as concerns about the press intrusion by the UK tabloids, that a few friends chose to participate and they did so anonymously.”In the paperwork, Meghan admits telling Friend A that she was writing “a letter to her father at the time of penning it, which was seven months prior to the People magazine publication. The Claimant and Friend A discussed the existence of the Letter (but not the contents) again in September, when the Claimant received a reply from her father, and again discussed the existence of the Letter (but not the contents) in December as the Claimant’s father continued to give interviews to UK media falsely claiming he had not heard from his daughter.”Meghan says that she “did not know about the interview having been given, and only found out about it, and any reference to the Letter, after the People magazine article was published… The Claimant did not know that her Letter to her father would be referred to.”Meghan argues that Friend A’s inaccurate description of the letter to People shows she had not briefed her friend to discuss it.The papers add that Meghan “did not know which of her friends had been involved and only found this information out some considerable time later.”In one heartbreaking section of the filing, Meghan’s team describe the hopeful and loving preparations she made for her father’s visit to England for her wedding, saying she “made arrangements for her father to have complete custom outfits for the wedding week, including a morning suit and dinner suits, which entailed arranging an appointment with a professional tailor in Los Angeles for her father’s measurements to be taken (which he attended) and then for professional tailors in London and Canada to make the suits (at her expense) so that they would be ready for him when he came over for the wedding.” The papers add that Meghan “took care to consider and to organize everything her father may need from all clothing items for each scheduled event, to accommodations, all transports, and a dedicated assistant on the ground to be with him during his time in the UK.”Of course, as students of royal history know all too well, Meghan’s father did not attend the wedding after having a heart attack in the days preceding it. A source close to Meghan told The Daily Beast via email: “This case centers on a private and hand-written letter from a daughter to her father that was published by the Mail on Sunday. This gross violation of any person's right to privacy is obvious and unlawful.“The Duchess’ rights were violated; the legal boundaries around privacy were crossed. Throughout this process, the extremes to which the Mail on Sunday used distortive, manipulative, and dishonest tactics to target The Duchess of Sussex have been put on full display.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Sources at Buckingham Palace have told The Daily Beast that there is no truth to rumors circulating online that a new picture of Prince Philip, who celebrates his 99th birthday today, and his wife, Queen Elizabeth II, has been digitally altered.Prince Philip ‘Doesn’t Want’ Royal Family to Visit Him in Hospital—and ‘Wants to Live to 100’The picture, released today, shows the couple standing outside at Windsor Castle with the imposing stone edifice looming in the background.However, the image became the source of much online debate Wednesday after some people said that various quirks of the photograph made it look as if the picture had been digitally altered.However a senior courtier told The Daily Beast that the picture was “not altered” and insisted that “there was nothing done to the picture.” The source said the slightly unusual aspect that some Philip-truthers have detected was due to the location where the picture was taken, one of Windsor Castle’s famous quadrangles, which are large lawns surrounded on four sides by the walls of the ancient buildings. The pop-out appearance of the queen and her husband is due to “the contrast to the sun in the quadrangle and the shadow they are standing in.Philip is said to have wanted a “no fuss” celebration of his birthday, with celebrations limited to a “simple lunch” with the queen at Windsor Castle, where they have been isolating together for the past three months. It is thought to be the longest they have spent together under one roof in their 73 years of married life. Philip had been living at a farmhouse on Her Majesty’s Sandringham estate since his retirement from public duties two years ago, where he has spent his days reading and painting.In the photograph, Philip wears the tie of the Welsh Guards and a Grenadier Guards boating jacket that, according to Sky News, is decorated with buttons from the era of each reigning monarch going back to King William IV.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are concerned for their family’s safety following multiple incidents at their Hollywood Hills home, where drones have flown as low as 20 feet above their property to snatch photographs of the couple and their young son, Archie.A source has exclusively told The Daily Beast that the couple has been coping with “unimaginable” levels of press intrusion at their temporary new home, which is reportedly owned by their friend Tyler Perry. It is not known whether the couple is paying rent for the property or not.Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and Baby Archie Move Permanently to Los AngelesThe source also claimed that reports that Prince Charles is paying for Harry and Meghan’s security are untrue.The couple has now told friends that when they do hire their own security team, they will pay for any such service out of their own money. “They are not asking for any special treatment, and have not received any,” the friend said.At least five drone-related incidents have been reported to the LAPD’s non-emergency line. The Daily Beast has been informed that there have been drone-related incidents at their home on May 9th, 19th, 20th, 21st, and 25th, which were all reported to the authorities.The drones are believed to be operated by paparazzi photographers. However, Harry and Meghan, who have faced repeated racist abuse and trolling, are forced to also treat incoming drones as potential terrorist threats, the source said.“They see these drones coming in at them, and they guess that they are being operated by photographers, but they can’t just assume that. Meghan received racist death threats at the time of her wedding, so the terror threat is very real for them,” the friend said.“But, aside from that, imagine if you were in their shoes facing that, how that would feel? To have drones buzzing around 20 feet above your head when you are trying to play with your son?”“It’s like people forget they are real people. But this is a real family. They are not asking for any special treatment; they are just asking for the safety and security we all expect in our own homes to be respected.”A spokesperson for the LAPD said the May 20 incident was reported at 11:12 am, with the incident report reading: “Unknown suspects were flying a drone in the area and they were last seen on Coldwater Canyon.” A report for the Memorial Day attack said that “a drone was flying over residences” and that it is “an ongoing drone issue.”The Sussexes have been buzzed by drones at least four times in the past week, with the most recent incident taking place on Memorial Day, when the couple were playing with Archie poolside at the house they are living at temporarily.While there is some debate surrounding the legality of publishing pictures taken by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, it is unequivocally illegal to fly a UAV over people, or beyond your line of sight, unless you are a registered drone pilot.However, commercially available drones costing as little as $1,000 can be operated from several miles away and frequently go un-registered with the FAA. Live footage is streamed back to the user’s cellphone, while GPS enables the drones to navigate with pinpoint accuracy.Highly intrusive photographs and videos of Harry and Meghan playing with their dog by the pool, believed to have been taken by illegally flown drones, have been published by numerous gossip publications and sites in recent days.Harry and Meghan are also becoming increasingly concerned by the antics of paparazzi in cars pursuing them to take photographs, the friend said.“They were out driving in the last month in Los Angeles and were noticed by paparazzi,” the friend said. “They were then tailed, followed and chased by two cars, which were being driven very erratically. When they parked up, one of the cars following them, which had been in an outer lane, cut across two lanes of traffic to park themselves. The photographer’s car was five meters away from causing a T-bone crash. It was incredibly dangerous, shocking and scary. They were rattled, but they handled it the best way they could.”“But the reality is people are following and tailing them every day. They are trying not to let the aggressiveness get to them. Protecting their family is their top concern.”The friend said baby Archie was not with them at the time as they were delivering food for the Project Angel charity.The claim that the couple is being habitually chased by cars will inevitably recall the fate of Princess Diana, who was killed in a car crash as her driver attempted to outrun paparazzi in a Paris underpass. Prince Harry said last year that he is reminded of his mother’s death whenever he sees camera flashes.However, being besieged by drones when they try to play with their son outside around the pool of their luxury Hollywood home, which is not being named by The Daily Beast, is causing them more concern on a daily basis.The friend said that Meghan and Harry felt violated by a media “hunt” to find out and publicize where they were living, and by “wild speculation” in the media about their security arrangements.The friend said that fresh reports that Prince Charles was paying for their security were untrue, saying: “Charles is not paying for security costs.”It is understood that the couple has yet to hire a permanent security team and is currently being protected by the private team already in place at the house they are residing at.The issue of funding their security blew up in March after Donald Trump said U.S. taxpayers would not contribute to protecting the Sussexes. Harry and Meghan’s spokespeople said at the time that “privately funded security arrangements have been made.”The couple is also believed to be upset by suggestions that they have “invited” press intrusion into their lives by moving to L.A. However, many unsympathetic critics have argued that life in L.A. was bound to be characterized by such activity.Even Lindsay Lohan is among those to have questioned the likelihood of the couple being able to live a peaceful life in Southern California. Lohan, interviewed on Sirius XM’s Andy Cohen Live in March, let out a laugh when the host said the royal couple had moved to Malibu to seek out a more peaceful life, and said it was hard to picture, “Unless they own another, a different private beach. You can’t go to those beaches without being [photographed]—you can’t even surf out far enough. It’s just really hard to do anything publicly there.”However, Meghan and Harry’s friend hit back at such charges and said: “It’s absurd to say they are inviting this because they are in California. When they were in a totally remote location in Canada, they still had swarms of paparazzi photographers descending on them from all over the globe.” “No one would expect that in rural Canada, but it happened, just as it has now happened in L.A. They have absolutely not tried to bring any attention onto themselves.”The friend said there had been a “hunt” to “pinpoint the family’s location,” and obtain details on their security arrangements.“It’s relevant to all of us,” the friend said. “We expect to be safe and secure at home, especially when we are doing something like playing with our kids.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Moments after President Donald Trump shockingly declared that he has been taking the controversial anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as preventive treatment for the coronavirus, Fox News host Neil Cavuto warned viewers that the drug could literally kill them.“All right, that was stunning,” Cavuto gasped after Trump’s remarks concluded. “The President of the United States just acknowledged that he’s taking hydroxychloroquine, a drug that is really meant to treat malaria and lupus. The president insisted that it has enormous benefits for patients either trying to prevent or already have COVID-19.”The veteran Fox News anchor went on to note that while the president in the past has said “what have you got to lose” regarding taking the drug, several recent studies showed that vulnerable people do “have one thing to lose—their lives.”Cavuto highlighted the results from clinical trials and extensive studies that revealed no noticeable efficacy in treating COVID-19, including a recent government-funded Veterans Affairs study that found more deaths associated with coronavirus patients who took the drug as a treatment.“The VA study to which the president alluded wasn’t a loaded political one, it was a test on patients there,” Cavuto declared. “And those who took it in a vulnerable population including those with respiratory and other conditions, they died.”“I want to stress again, If you are taking this as a preventative treatment to ward off the virus or in a worst-case scenario, you are dealing with the virus, and you are in this vulnerable population, it will kill you,” the Fox host strongly stated. “I cannot stress that enough. This. Will. Kill. You.”After pointing out that the Food and Drug Administration has warned against the use of the drug due to serious side effects such as “serious heart rhythm problems in patients with COVID-19,” Cavuto brought on a doctor to discuss Trump’s announcement, who said he was “very surprised” by Trump’s revelation.“As far as our treatment of COVID-19 patients, whether you are slightly ill or very ill, we have seen no effect whatsoever with this drug,” St. Joseph University Hospital Chairman Dr. Bob Lahita said, expressing additional concerns about the potential for fatal arrhythmia.While Cavuto was issuing a dire warning to Fox News viewers about the drug, Fox News host Laura Ingraham has continued to promote the drug as a potential “game-changer” nightly, even as her other colleagues quietly stopped touting hydroxychloroquine in late April after several studies laid doubt as to its efficacy.Fox News Host Hits Trump for Attacking Chris Wallace: You’re ‘Not Entitled to Praise’Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry sent a series of increasingly desperate messages to her father, Thomas, ahead of their royal wedding in 2018—but received no reply, barring one missed call at 4:57 a.m. on the day of the wedding.Meghan’s legal team has submitted a series of texts from their phones to the High Court as part of their response in her claim against the Mail on Sunday for publishing what Meghan says was a copyright-protected letter to her father.The submission includes a series of private texts Harry sent to Thomas Markle in the days before the wedding. Harry can be seen begging Thomas to make contact with him after Thomas was exposed by a story in the Mail on Sunday for collaborating with a photographer to stage fake candid photos.The couple have said that their decision to cut off all contact with four major U.K. tabloids Sunday night was because Meghan’s privacy case against the Mail on Sunday will take a new step in High Court this week.The first of the newly published messages, which were first posted on the Twitter feed of ITV royal correspondent Chris Ship, read: “Tom, it’s Harry and I’m going to call you right now. Please pick up, thank you.”This is followed by another, reading: “Tom, Harry again! Really need to speak to u. U do not need to apologize, we understand the circumstances but ‘going public’ will only make the situation worse. If you love Meg and want to make it right please call me as there are two other options which don’t involve u having to speak to the media, who incidentally created this whole situation. So please call me so I can explain. Meg and I are not angry, we just need to speak to u. Thanks”A third message appears to be a warning, which said: “Oh any speaking to the press WILL backfire, trust me Tom. Only we can help u, as we have been trying from day 1.”A text sent four days before the wedding reads: “I’ve been reaching out to you all weekend but you're not taking any of our calls or replying to any texts. Very concerned about your health and safety and have taken every measure to protect you but not sure what more we can do if you don’t respond … Do you need help? Can we send security team down again? I’m very sorry to hear you’re in hospital but need you to please get in touch with us….What hospital are you at?”It is understood that this message was sent after Thomas Markle gave a statement to TMZ stating he had had a heart attack—without telling Harry and Meghan first. Indeed, Meghan says she learned about her father’s hospitalization from the TMZ report.A report in the Guardian adds that after Thomas allegedly refused the offer of security guards to protect him from press intrusion, the court documents say Meghan messaged him again: “Harry and I made a decision earlier today and are dispatching the same security guys you turned away this weekend to be a presence on the ground to make sure you’re safe … they will be there at your disposal as soon as you need them. Please please call as soon as you can... all of this is incredibly concerning but your health is most important.”The documents state that Meghan was not able to talk to her father in the days before her wedding, although she did receive a missed call from him in the early hours of the morning of her wedding.The documents also confirm that Meghan and Harry have not spoken to Thomas Markle since the wedding.In a letter made public last night, Harry and Meghan said there would be “zero engagement” with four U.K. tabloids. Harry’s hatred of the press stems from his belief the media effectively killed his mother.In one of the bluntest interviews he has ever given, in a BBC documentary about Diana, Harry said: “I think one of the hardest things to come to terms with is the fact that the people that chased [Diana] into the tunnel were the same people that were taking photographs of her while she was still dying on the backseat of the car.“William and I know that. We’ve been told that numerous times by people that know that was the case. She’d had quite a severe head injury but she was very much still alive on the back seat, and those people that caused the accident … instead of helping, were taking photographs of her dying on the back seat and then those photographs made their way back to news desks in this country.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Fox News contributor Bill Bennett insisted on Monday morning that the novel coronavirus that has killed over 22,000 Americans in roughly a month isn’t a pandemic at all, instead comparing it to the seasonal flu.Appearing on Fox & Friends, Bennett—who previously served as education secretary under President Ronald Reagan—argued that the threat of COVID-19 has long been overstated and that strict social-distancing guidelines have been unnecessary.Referencing a recent op-ed he wrote in which he compared the current death toll from coronavirus to those of drug overdoses and diabetes, Bennett noted that a current model projects 60,000 Americans will die from COVID-19.“61,000 is what we lost to the flu in 2017 and 2018,” Bennett declared. “The flu. Now, we all regret the loss of 61,000 people, if that’s what it turns out to be. I’m going to tell you I think it’s going to be less.”“But if you look at those numbers and see the comparable, we’re going to have fewer fatalities from this than from the flu,” he added. Bennett went on to grouse that “we scared the hell out of the American people” and put a “major dent in the economy” over the virus before asserting that the disease’s impact shouldn’t have caused mass closings and physical-distancing restrictions.“This was not and is not a pandemic, but we do have panic and pandemonium as a result of the hype of this and it’s really unfortunate to look at the facts,” he proclaimed.Co-host Brian Kilmeade, for his part, did respond that “it is labeled a pandemic” while also agreeing with Bennett that COVID-19 has a high survival rate. Currently, the mortality rate from coronavirus in the United States is at 4 percent and medical databases show one in ten middle-aged hospitalized coronavirus patients do not survive. The seasonal flu, meanwhile, has a fatality rate of 0.1 percent.Fox News came under fire last month for severely downplaying the threat of the virus prior to President Donald Trump declaring a national emergency in mid-March with opinion hosts and commentators repeatedly comparing the deadly virus to the flu, saying that was the “worst-case scenario.”While Fox News brass has taken the pandemic seriously as several of its employees have been diagnosed with COVID-19, pro-Trump Fox News stars have pivoted back to minimizing the crisis while calling for the president to quickly re-open the country and economy.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci left the hosts of Fox & Friends disappointed and frustrated Friday when he threw cold water on their insistence that the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine is a game-changing cure for the coronavirus.Citing a recent poll showing that 37 percent of doctors around the world feel the drug is currently the most effective treatment of COVID-19, co-host Steve Doocy added that frequent Fox News guest Dr. Mehmet Oz recently touted a small Chinese study that found the drug had some efficacy in treating the virus.Doocy went on to play a clip of Dr. Oz wondering whether Fauci was impressed with the results of that study. The Fox host asked the top physician to respond to the TV doctor.“That was not a very robust study,” replied Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force. He also pointed out that while there’s still a possibility of a “beneficial effect,” the scale and strength of the evidence is not “overwhelmingly strong.”“But getting back to what you said just a moment ago that ‘X percent’—I think you said 37 percent—of doctors feel that it’s beneficial. We don’t operate on how you feel. We operate on what evidence is, and data is,” he continued. “So although there is some suggestion with the study that was just mentioned by Dr. Oz—granted that there is a suggestion that there is a benefit there—I think we’ve got to be careful that we don’t make that majestic leap to assume that this is a knockout drug.”Co-host Brian Kilmeade, meanwhile, pushed back against the disease expert, claiming a large percentage of doctors in other countries are now prescribing the drug to treat coronavirus. He then speculated as to whether those taking the drug for other conditions were prevented from infection of COVID-19.Seth Meyers Exposes Fox News’ Sean Hannity Over Huge Coronavirus ‘Hoax’ Lie“I would be very curious, doctor, to see if anyone who was taking this for lupus or arthritis has gotten the coronavirus, that would be one way to go the other way to see about this study,” Kilmeade wondered aloud.“I mean, obviously this is a good drug in many respects for some of the diseases you mentioned, and the one thing we don’t want to happen is that individuals who really need a drug with a proven indication don’t have it available,” Fauci responded, adding that it doesn’t matter if a large percentage of doctors “think that it works.”Co-host Ainsley Earhardt then jumped in, suggesting that “Democratic leaders” are preventing patients from receiving hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the disease and asking Fauci what could be done to make sure we’re giving it to everyone in need.“Well first of all, this is an approved drug for another indication, and doctors can, and the FDA has made it very clear that doctors can prescribe it on what we call off label,” he explained. “There’s no inhibition for that. So a considerable amount of drug was made available, as you remember, just a few days ago. But the FDA was very clear that they’re not going to be inhibiting anyone from doing an off label prescription of the drug. So they’re free to do that if they want to.”While President Donald Trump and many Fox News personalities have been bullish on the possibility that the drug is a miracle cure for the virus, Fauci has repeatedly attempted to temper expectations, noting that the benefits have largely been anecdotal and that there are other studies showing no noticeable effects at all.This isn’t the first time that pro-Trump Fox News hosts have tried to get Fauci to boost hydroxychloroquine. Laura Ingraham, who has been at the forefront of touting the drug, asked the doc last week if he would take it if he were stricken with the virus. Fauci, for his part, said only if it were part of a clinical trial.Dr. Anthony Fauci: I Don’t Want to ‘Embarrass’ TrumpRead more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
If you love The Daily Beast’s royal coverage, then we hope you’ll enjoy The Royalist, a members-only series for Beast Inside. Become a member to get The Royalist in your inbox every Sunday.Prince Andrew made a habit of seating his potential conquests on the Queen’s throne at Buckingham Palace as part of a routine to woo them, The Daily Beast understands, after a friend of the model Caprice said Andrew allowed her to sit on the throne as part of a date. Another woman told The Daily Beast last year that when invited to dinner with Andrew in his private quarters (a modest one bedroom apartment) at Buckingham Palace she was invited to sit on the throne and also led on to the balcony where she was encouraged to wave to imaginary crowds. Prince Andrew: I Didn’t Have Sex With Virginia Roberts Giuffre. I Was Eating Pizza.A source subsequently told The Daily Beast it was one of Andrew's signature moves when wooing. The new account comes courtesy of a “friend” of the model, Caprice Bourret, who told The Sun on Sunday: “He took her to Buckingham Palace twice, and on one occasion she sat on the Queen’s throne. She spotted a bowl she liked and asked Andrew if she could steal it and [mail] it to her mom. She claims that he let her, and her mom loved it!”Although the relationship did not progress, the friend says: “As an American, she was thoroughly entertained at the notion he was a part of the Royal Family. Plus all the secretive rendezvous, although unnecessary, were a great family dinner conversation point.”Prince Harry, who was 16, was reportedly jealous of his uncle because he “had Caprice’s calendar on his bedroom wall” at his boarding school, Eton College.In July last year, The Daily Beast reported that Andrew invited a friend of Ghislaine Maxwell to an intimate dinner for four at his apartment at Buckingham Palace.Our source recalled that, “it was clear immediately that I had been brought to the dinner as a sex object. Andrew sat next to me on the sofa and kept reaching over to hold my hand.“I said as a joke, ‘I’d love to go on a tour of this place’ and next thing I knew, I was walking hand in hand with Prince Andrew through Buckingham Palace. As a joke, he took me out on the balcony and I waved to the non-existent crowd.”The woman also told The Daily Beast she had been invited to sit on the throne, but we did not report this detail in the story at the time, which was about the connections between Andrew, Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. However when discussing the story with a well-placed source subsequently, the insider told The Daily Beast: “Everyone thinks they are the only person to get to sit on the throne. He does it to everyone he is trying to pull.”The Throne Room at Buckingham Palace is one of the most recognizable spaces in the palace as it is often used as the venue for investitures and other ceremonies. It has two adjacent thrones on a raised dais. One is for the monarch and one is for their partner; our source said Andrew invited them to try both out. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are being urged to be “more gracious” about the terms of their departure from the royal family after they issued a bitter and petulant statement over the weekend, following the Queen’s decision that they are to be banned from using the name “Sussex Royal.”“Let’s just hope they feel they have got whatever they want to get out of their system,” insiders told the Daily Mail: “It was their decision to do this and the family is clearly trying their best to facilitate it. But it inevitably requires sacrifices on both sides and the Sussexes need to be rather more gracious about it. Sniping from the sidelines doesn’t help anyone.”Prince Harry and Meghan Go to War With the Royals—and Sabotage ThemselvesThe statement posted by Harry and Meghan appeared to complain of unfair treatment compared to other royals, saying that their trademark applications only mirrored those gained by William and Kate and seemed to reference Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie when it said, “While there is precedent for other titled members of the royal family to seek employment outside of the institution, for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, a 12-month review period has been put in place.”Officials are now reportedly keen for there to be no escalation or “war of words” between family members. Meanwhile, it has been reported that while the Queen has been publicly supportive of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to step down as senior royals, she “generally doesn’t want to talk about it,” according to a source quoted by Vanity Fair.The source said: “The Queen has been keen to get this resolved because she sees it is damaging to the monarchy and on a personal level I think this has been rather hurtful for her. “She has got to the point where she doesn’t want to think about it anymore, she just wants it over and done with.”There will be a series of awkward final public appearances for the couple later this month in the U.K.Harry is due to attend a recording session at the legendary Abbey Road studios in London with Jon Bon Jovi. On March 5, Meghan and Harry are both due to attend the Endeavor Awards in London, on March 6 Harry opens a motor museum, on March 7 the couple are due to attend a London musical gala, on March 8 Meghan is expected to mark International Women’s Day in London and the trip will culminate with the couple joining the royal family at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on March 9. It is expected that this uncomfortable family gathering will be the couple’s last outing as senior working members of the royal family. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Thomas Markle went on British TV on Monday morning and lifted the lid on a novel strategy he has developed as part of his quest to be reconciled with his daughter: Giving a media interview every 30 days until she speaks with him.Given that this naked threat to pour humiliation and bile on his daughter, whom he professes to love, appears unlikely to motivate Meghan to lift the phone, this raises the existential question of who will get bored of the bitter ravings of Thomas Markle first: him, the viewers, the executives signing the checks, or Piers Morgan, Britain’s Meghan-baiter in chief who has become his favored confessor and conducted today's effort.Thomas Markle Sells Out His Daughter Meghan Again And AgainThe live TV interview this morning came after a 90-minute documentary Markle recorded with British TV network Channel 5.Thomas Markle Accuses Daughter Meghan and Prince Harry of ‘Cheapening’ Royal FamilyIn the interview this morning, Markle ran through many of the grievances mentioned in that program, while adding his new threat, saying, “After this interview, if I don’t hear from someone in 30 days then I will try again. I don’t want to sit in silence in my living room for the rest of my life waiting for someone to get back to me.”While it seems unlikely that anyone except increasingly unenthusiastic journalists and TV producers will be ringing his condo in Mexico, Markle appears to remain convinced that he holds some leverage over the couple, telling Prince Harry: “Man up and fly down and see me and we will talk… I feel he can still reach out to me, they are making this a big drama for the world every day, it’s a family problem and should be solved as a family problem.”Markle appears to have found a natural conversant and kindred spirit in Piers Morgan, apparently agreeing with all of Morgan’s well-known views about his daughter. Was British coverage of Meghan racist? No. Was the couple’s use of private jets hypocritical? Yes. Are Meghan and Harry an embarrassment to Queen and country? Absolutely.Asked about the possibility of meeting Meghan and Harry in court as part of her legal action against Associated Newspapers, owner of the Mail on Sunday (Meghan is suing the newspaper for publishing a personal letter she sent to him in August 2018) Mr. Markle said: “If it comes to meeting them in a courtroom, that’s great. At least I’d finally get to see them.”He went on to say he did not want a “battle.”Markle has already agreed to be a witness and pledged to expose what he said were lies about him.Asked what he would say to Meghan if she was watching the show this morning, he said he would tell her: “I love you, let’s sit down and work this out.”Well-briefed observers of this sorry saga can’t help but be reminded of Meghan’s simple request in the letter she wrote him about his media campaigns: “If you love me, as you tell the press you do, please stop.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
In the midst of promoting three of his latest starring turns, Adam Driver sat for an interview with NPR’s highly influential talk show Fresh Air. But listeners will never hear it.Sources at NPR told The Daily Beast that Driver walked out of an interview earlier this month with Fresh Air host Terry Gross after expressing displeasure at the idea of listening to a clip of himself singing “Being Alive” from the musical Company. Driver’s character sings the song late in Noah Baumbach’s new Netflix film Marriage Story. According to one source, Gross’ team was aware that Driver prefers not to listen to recordings of himself and encouraged him to remove his headphones while any clips played back.Danny Miller, Fresh Air’s executive producer, confirmed that Driver left during a break in the interview “while we were playing back a clip from the film.” The star actor recorded his end of the interview from NPR’s New York studios, while Gross was in Fresh Air’s base at WHYY-FM in Philadelphia.“We don’t really understand why he left,” Miller said in an email. “We were looking forward to the interview—Terry thinks he’s a terrific actor, he was a great guest when he was on [Fresh Air] in 2015—so we were disappointed that we didn’t have a new interview to share with our listeners about Marriage Story.”Before airing a rerun last week of an earlier interview with TBS late-night host Conan O’Brien, Gross briefly mentioned that the show “had promised you an interview with actor Adam Driver today, but unfortunately, we weren’t able to do it as planned.”Adam Driver Is the Year’s Best Actor...TwiceWhile his abrupt exit from this month’s chat may seem odd, Driver has routinely expressed displeasure with listening to or watching his own performances—including on Fresh Air in 2015. In that interview, more than four years ago, Gross and Driver had a fairly cordial exchange, but at one point, Driver declined to listen to an audio clip of himself—a point Gross inquired about.“I don’t want to hear the bad acting that probably was happening during that clip,” Driver joked in response at the time.“Does it throw you off to hear yourself?” Gross asked.“Yeah, no, I’ve watched myself or listened to myself before, then always hate it,” Driver said. “And then wish I could change it, but you can’t. And I think I have, like, a tendency to try to make things better or drive myself and the other people around me crazy with the things I wanted to change or I wish I could change.”And in a New Yorker profile in October 2019, interlocutor Michael Schulman described Driver’s reluctance to watch himself as a “phobia.” The actor himself recalled feeling nauseous during a première of Star Wars: The Force Awakens; and hiding out in a greenroom during a screening of BlacKkKlansmen.Marriage Story, which was released on Netflix earlier this month, follows a young married couple (Driver and Scarlett Johansson) as they navigate an increasingly contentious divorce. The release of the latest Baumbach film on the streaming platform has fueled praise for Driver and interest in some of the film’s key moments: Critics have analyzed and lauded the actor’s performance of “Being Alive,” while clips of a major blow-up between the two leads have become a popular meme format. Driver has been on a press binge promoting three major, nearly simultaneous movie releases: On Friday, he’s set to close out the Star Wars sequel trilogy as the villain Kylo Ren in The Rise of Skywalker; and he’s received overwhelmingly positive reviews for his starring role in Marriage Story and as a dogged investigator in the re-telling of the U.S. Senate report on Bush-era torture in Amazon’s The Report. In walking out on Gross, the actor joins an eclectic group of famous (and occasionally prickly) celebrities who have spurned the iconic Philadelphia-based radio host, who has long held the reputation as one of the most renowned U.S. radio journalists and interviewers. Gross recalled in the early 2000s that rock icon Lou Reed stormed out of an interview after just a few questions. Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner didn’t like what Gross asked about magazine subscriptions, while former Fox News host and accused sexual harasser Bill O’Reilly famously hung up on Gross during a 2003 interview, arguing that her tough questions were unfair. —Lloyd Grove and Marlow Stern contributed to this story.Adam Driver: ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ Is ‘Remarkable’ Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Chris Jackson/GettyBritain’s royal family descended into an undignified war of tit-for-tat briefings reminiscent of the era of Princess Diana on Wednesday, as royal sources accused Harry and Meghan of “paranoia” and angrily refuted claims made by Team Sussex that Meghan and Harry were “singlehandedly responsible for modernizing the royal family.”A source, said to be a “well-placed royal insider,” told the Daily Mail it was “just plain wrong” for Harry and Meghan to claim they had “single-handedly modernized the monarchy.”Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Reveal Just How Much They Hate Their Royal LivesThe insider added: “Modernization is an ongoing process led by Her Majesty the queen. No one has ownership of it. It is not a competition.“None of this is remotely helpful to the monarchy as an institution. It is promoting discord and taking attention away from the good work senior royals do across the board.”The strikingly formal syntax suggested that the briefing was authorized at the highest levels of either Buckingham Palace or Kensington Palace, however nobody at either court was willing to confirm or deny the sentiments expressed to the Daily Beast.Last night, Meghan received an ecstatic welcome at the official opening of the 2019 One Young World (OYW) summit at London’s Royal Albert Hall.She was cheered to the rafters as she took to the stage, where she was introduced as “a global champion for the rights of women and girls, activist and philanthropist.”In a careful modernizing touch, Meghan, with her hair down and wearing a stunning purple long-sleeved ‘Babaton Maxwell’ dress by Aritzia, physically stopped OYW co-founder Kate Robertson from curtseying, hugging her joyfully instead. The reception by the youthful crowd appeared to bear out comments made by journalist Tom Bradby today, who said that the Sussexes were connecting with a younger demographic: “For the under 35s the reaction has been almost universally positive and the older you get the more mixed it gets,” he told ABC.Just hours earlier a source close to Team Sussex had suggested to CNN that the newlyweds had “single-handedly modernized” the British royal family, and suggested they were not getting appropriate recognition or support for this task, and were surrounded by “inexperienced and fearful” staff.This was widely perceived to be a retaliatory strike for comments William’s camp made, telling a journalist from the BBC that he was concerned for his “fragile” brother in the wake of the bombshell ITV documentary in which Harry and Meghan spoke at length about their unhappiness (which, if you are keen to see the whole thing, screens on ABC tonight, Wednesday, at 10pm EST).Tom Bradby, who conducted the interview, admitted to Good Morning America that he and Harry had had “a couple of private heart to hearts” before the cameras started rolling. He “found a couple that seemed bruised and vulnerable.”Today’s astonishing attack recalled for many observers the so called “War of the Waleses” in the 1990s when Diana and Charles used the press to launch a series of astonishing and deeply damaging attacks on each other. The bitter campaign culminated in Diana’s Panorama interview in which she both accused Charles of adultery and confessed to her own.In the comments made today to the Mail, the insider went on to say that Meghan and Harry have a mentality of “us against the world,” which they described as “a real shame.”Meghan and Harry have appeared to be fully focused on trying to spin the documentary as a great triumph in recent days—although many have questioned the wisdom of speaking about their own unhappiness when visiting landmine victims and other underprivileged people in some of the poorest regions of the world—while also refuting the negative claims made about them. The Sun for example reported that Harry was “stronger than ever” saying, “Harry is back at Frogmore Cottage and has never been stronger. This is an institution full of people panicked they may potentially look out of touch and ultimately to blame for a lack of support.”The cover of the 310th anniversary edition of Tatler, the British society magazine, was also unveiled Wednesday, featuring a picture of Meghan on its cover. The coverline of the December issue reads: “The Meghan Issue: Does she conquer or divide?” The society magazine has apparently conducted an “exclusive nationwide poll on the country’s opinions on Meghan,” and engaged leading writers like Lynn Barber and Lionel Shriver to hold forth too.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Chris Jackson/GettyThe Royal Family is now officially at war with itself, with the rival courts of Princes William and Harry engaged in an ever more vituperative war of words after Sunday night's explosive ITV documentary which aired Harry and Meghan Markle's many grievances with the press and their royal life.In a fresh salvo fired today, a source described as being “close to” Harry and Meghan suggested to CNN that the newlyweds had “single-handedly modernized” the British royal family, and were not getting appropriate recognition or support, and were surrounded by “inexperienced and fearful” staff.Prince William Is ‘Worried’ For ‘Fragile’ Prince Harry and Meghan MarkleThe comments make sense of the fact that for much of the past year, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have bypassed their own press officers and advisors as they have taken a series of unprecedented decisions and shifted much of their communications to Instagram.Now we know why; they think that the Buckingham Palace establishment are doing a bad job when it comes to maximizing their image and impact.On Tuesday night, Meghan again stole the headlines, making a solo appearance in London at the One Young World Summit in a stunning purple long-sleeved ‘Babaton Maxwell’ dress by Aritzia. She wore her hair down, and she looked happy.Meghan’s public appearance came after William let it be known that he was concerned for his “fragile” brother in the wake of the ITV documentary in which Harry and Meghan spoke at length about their unhappiness—and after an extraordinary attack by the couple’s court on Tuesday on the establishment at Buckingham Palace, accusing them of failing to properly “harness” the value of Meghan and Harry. The source also claimed they had “single-handedly” modernized the monarchy.A source described as being “close to” the Sussexes, and widely assumed to be a senior figure in their office speaking with authorization, made the comments to CNN reporter Max Foster.Foster said that his source “added that the institution around the British royal family is full of people afraid of and inexperienced at how to best help harness and deploy the value of the royal couple who, they said, have single-handedly modernized the monarchy.”A spokesperson for Harry and Meghan told The Daily Beast the couple had no comment to make about the reported comments—which, far from a ringing denial of them, might rather be seen a tacit rubber-stamp of their veracity.The war of words and briefings is a far cry from about 20 years ago when Prince Charles acquired a run down 900-acre estate near the border of England and Wales, which it was widely rumored, was intended as a base for his second son.Charles planted forests for shooting, rebuilt the big house, and restored the walled garden, dreaming of the day his “darling Harry” would settle down to the life of a country gentleman.However, after Sunday night’s extraordinary documentary, in which Meghan suggested the royal family had abandoned her and Harry spoke freely about the distance that had opened up between him and his brother, saying they had “difficult days”, it now seems more certain than ever that, despite the two decades of heartache and bucketloads of cash Charles has spent bringing Harewood Park back to its former glory, it will not be for the benefit of his son. Harry and Meghan have made it clear they have zero interest in conforming to any vision that any one else might have for their future.* * *Many observers now believe they have burnt so many bridges both inside and outside the family (in an ominous rebuff, reminiscent of the dark days of counter-briefing against Princess Diana in the War of the Waleses, courtiers at Kensington Palace told the BBC that William and Kate were worried about the “fragile” Sussexes) that it is just a matter of time until an announcement arrives into the inbox of royal correspondents announcing they are leaving British shores. But where to? Although it was Africa that was mentioned in the documentary (by Harry) as a potential future home for them, reports that the couple may be planning to take six weeks off work (a “well-earned break,” as palace sources describe it) and spend much of it near Meghan’s mom in Los Angeles have rekindled suggestions that ultimately the Sussexes might be heading west.Meghan never gave up her passport, and therefore could easily apply for dual citizenship for Archie, smoothing the transition.And their recent move to engage an American PR company, Sunshine Sachs, has been interpreted as the laying of foundations to construct an American power base.For Prince Charles, the departure of Harry and Meghan threatens a serious disruption of his vision for the future of the royal family.Having spent much of the past decade ruthlessly cutting back dead wood, having long thought that a bloated royal family living off the public purse represented a mortal threat to the continued existence of the Monarchy, Charles might now regret the haste with which he pensioned off Her Majesty’s grandchildren, Eugenie and Beatrice.They were horrified when they were first informed by Charles’ office that they would henceforth have no public role or funding and that their police protection was also to be withdrawn. However, after the initial shock, both have adjusted well to life in the outside world. They both got jobs while continuing with their charity work, Eugenie married last year and Beatrice is now engaged. When the Daily Mail runs stories about how many vacations they have been on, they can shrug them off, arguing that they are now private citizens entitled to do whatever they want with their time. It seems unlikely they would want to go back to more public roles, but Harry and Meghan’s one-hour film has blown Charles’ succession plans sky high.Meghan and Harry’s friend, the journalist Tom Bradby, appeared to question whether or not Harry and Meghan would ultimately carry on being full time royals in the closing seconds of the film.He would not have made these comments without the consent of his most valuable contacts.One can’t help wondering, therefore, whether Harry and Meghan intended the remark to be a veiled threat to William and Charles; start treating us nice, or we will walk away, causing unimaginable instability at the very heart of your beloved institution.Of course, the Sussexes may genuinely feel they will have little choice but to put clear blue water between themselves and the Monarchy. Harry confirmed that relations are not good between him and William now; so how will that play out when William becomes king in, say 20 years (if Charles lives to 90)?William has many qualities, but forbearance is not one of them. Harry may be able to get away with undercutting and overshadowing his big brother at the moment, with the queen, weakened by age and her astonishing indulgence, unable to stop him.The writer Lady Colin Campbell, a friend of Princess Diana, her biographer and the author of a new book, People of Color And the Royals, says: “When the two boys were very young the queen was concerned that their mother allowed them too much freedom and did not discipline them to the extent that she thought they should be disciplined. “William she was able to take under her influence, as an apprentice, and this has had a very positive influence on him. He understands and accepts and performs true to the constraints required of a responsible monarch in waiting. Harry on the other hand has not had the benefit of this nurturing. Such nurturing as he had was from a mother who used to tell him, ‘Do whatever you want and as long as you don’t get caught it’s fine.’”The queen may not be up for a fight with Harry, but the idea that William would tolerate a documentary like this without reprisals if he was actually king beggars belief.The comparison with Prince Andrew is interesting. Andrew has felt for a long time that being part of the British royal family has negatively impacted his life, but his relative penury has left him with few options. He has to toe the line to continue receiving the handouts that sustain his lifestyle.Harry is in a very different situation. He is independently wealthy; thanks to Diana’s financial legacy he is estimated to have private investments and wealth totalling well over £30m.But, what’s he really getting out of being a royal at this stage? Mental health problems and abuse.His financial firepower makes his threat to walk away entirely credible, and it will be fascinating to see if they use the six week vacation to play at being a non-royal couple.Harry and Meghan’s office have not responded to requests for an official comment on their rumored break, but the suspicion is growing that this may be more than just a holiday. It could be a trial run for a more permanent arrangement.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Chris JacksonIt was, according to one journalist who has long reported on the royals, a landmark documentary that would “intensify questions about whether Prince Harry and Meghan Markle can cope with the pressures of life as high-profile members of the Royal Family.”In the extraordinary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, which screened on British TV on Sunday and is due to air in America on Wednesday, Harry confirmed a rift with his brother, said that the flashes of camera guns caused him to flashback to the worst moments of his mother’s life, ruminated on moving to Africa, and said his own mental health had suffered a setback.In the same program, Meghan revealed that her friends had warned her not to marry her husband, whom she calls “H”, because tabloids would destroy her life, fought back tears as she confirmed she was “not doing OK,” and said that those who envied her life of wealth and fame had “no idea” and were simply falling into the trap of thinking the “grass is greener.”Prince Harry’s Bombshell: Meghan and I Would Love to Move to AfricaThe candor was nothing short of explosive, and came the same day it was reported that Harry and Meghan would be taking a six-week break at the end of the year, much of that time to be spent in America. Just what kind of royal future do Harry and Meghan want? The documentary was presented by Harry’s pal Tom Bradby, and as a result felt rather like a particularly long video clip on Harry and Meghan’s Instagram feed. Bradby, who brings to the art of cross-examination the ferocity of a pet sheep, will no doubt be delighted at his role in creating what was arguably the most nakedly emotionally-manipulative piece of royal television served up to British viewers since Diana met Martin Bashir for the notorious edition of BBC's Panorama, in which she spoke of the “three people” in her marriage to Prince Charles (the third being Camilla Parker Bowles).For Harry, the trauma of Diana's death runs visibly deep. In the documentary he even appeared to be attempting to weaponize her memory. In a segment widely reported before Sunday, Harry said that every time a camera flashes it reminds him of her tragic fate.Asked by Bradby if he felt at peace about his mother’s death in 1997 or if it is “still a sort of wound that festers,” Harry said, “I think probably a wound that festers. I think being part of this family, and this role, and this job, every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash, it takes me straight back.“In that respect... it’s the worst reminder of her life as opposed to the best. The last time I was here was in 2013. But being here now, 22 years later, trying to finish what she started, yeah will be, will be incredibly emotional.“But everything that I do reminds me of her. But, as I said, with the role, with the job and the ... sort of the pressures that come with that I get reminded of the bad stuff unfortunately.”His father Prince Charles, by contrast, was not mentioned once. Bizarrely, however Chazzer popped up during one of the commercial breaks, in a trailer for a forthcoming TV show about his country estate. Charles was pictured chuckling along with a jolly and toothless son of the soil who appeared absolutely honored to be being thus patronized, against a backdrop of rolling English countryside and livestock, a strange reminder of what royalty used, not very long ago, to be.Then we were back to the new royals, new Angolan minefields and Harry talking, yes, once again, about his mother.“I will not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mum,” Harry declared at one point, as a roaring camp fire blazed.While some of the documentary was indeed given over to Harry and Meghan's work in Africa, we swiftly cut back to the tear-jerking interviews with kids who had lost limbs to land mines, intercut with guess-who-yes-that’s-right-Diana having the same conversations 22 years ago. We even had a reunion between a young land mine victim who had met Diana for a famous photo in 1997 and now had five children herself, one of whom, we were informed with astonishing predictability, was called Diana.The centerpiece of the film was, however, Harry's fireside interview with Bradby. It really seems like Harry is going through a particularly bad patch right now. He did at one stage talk about the need for “management,” of his mental health problems, saying, “I thought I was out of the woods and suddenly it all came back.”It was extraordinary TV, and there were as an overwhelming sense that Harry had just decided to say all this stuff without consulting any communications professionals. For instance at one stage Bradby asked him if the rumors of a rift with his brother were true. Harry conspicuously failed to deny it and instead replied: “Part of this role, and this job, being part of this family and the pressure this family is under, inevitably stuff happens, but we are brothers, we will always be brothers, we are certainly on different paths at the moment, but I will always be there for him as I know he will always be there for me.”Crikey. It seems things are even worse than we thought, an impression that was confirmed as Harry continued: “We don’t see each other as much as we used to because we are so busy… but you know as brothers, you have good days, you have bad days.”There was time for a quick cut to a clip of 15-year-old Harry talking about how he hoped to make his mother proud which appeared to be there for no other reason than to make us cry, which it did.And then it was day nine and in a slight alteration to the official program, Harry launched legal action against the Mail on Sunday and denounced the press as liars and relentless propagandists. Bradby gave the first truly impartial assessment of the situation saying, “The media thought they had gone mad,” before quickly realizing the error of his ways and gravely informing us that actually this was part of a “moral mission to not be bullied.”Right. After all this it was time for Meghan to be brave and give a heartfelt, fiveminute interview in the grounds of the embassy to Bradders. The stand-out fact for me was that she calls Harry “H.”Asked about how the last year had been, Meghan said, “It’s hard… I had no idea—which probably sounds difficult to understand here—but when I first met my now-husband my friends were really happy because I was so happy, but my British friends said to me, ‘I’m sure he’s great. But, you shouldn’t do it because the British tabloids will destroy your life.’ And I very naively—I’m American we don’t have that there—said, ‘What are you talking about? That doesn’t make any sense.’ I didn’t get it. So, it’s been complicated.”Bradby, untroubled by the bizarre claim that the home of the National Enquirer boats a tabloid-free media landscape, asked about her mental health. “Any woman, especially when they’re pregnant, you’re really vulnerable, and so that was made really challenging. And then when you have a newborn, you know. And especially as a woman, it’s a lot. So, you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a newlywed.“Thank you for asking. Not many people have asked if I’m OK, but it’s a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes,” she said.When Bradby asked Meghan if that meant she wasn’t OK, she replied, “Yes.”Bradby then asked he if she could “put up with it” and “continue” to which Meghan replied: “I’ve said for a long time to H—that’s what I call him—it’s not enough to just survive something. That’s not the point of life. You’ve got to thrive, you’ve got to feel happy. I think I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip. I tried. I tried. But I think what that does internally is probably really damaging.”Bradby seemed rather aghast mumbling off camera that a stiff upper lip “had its advantages,” but Meghan was not to be swayed.“I thought it would be fair,” Meghan said. “And that’s the part that’s really hard to reconcile.”Fair? What gave you that idea Meghan? The murder of the princes in the tower? The beheading of Anne Boleyn as a witch? The vast unfathomable wealth of you, your children, and your children’s children? Surely Meghan had seen, or had knowledge of, the long and vexed relationship between the royals and the British media. Meghan finally lost her patience with Bradby when he raised the whole unimaginable wealth thing. “I think the grass is always greener. You have no idea. It’s really hard to understand what it’s like. I know what it seems like it should be, but it’s a very different thing,” she snapped.Bradby called an end to proceedings at this point, telling Meghan she must be exhausted.Bradby then really showed his affinity with Harry and Meghan by claiming that the African tour had been “by any conventional measure a success,” which I suppose you would only disagree with if you think that alienating the entire media corps with whom you are going to have to work with for the rest of your life represented a great triumph. In which case, yup, well done guys, way to go. The coming weeks and months will see how far the reverberations of this interview ripple out—and what kind of royal life Harry and Meghan really want, and whether the royal family and media will welcome it.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.