Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, dropped bombshells on Buckingham Palace when they sought to reclaim the narrative surrounding their reported feuds and scandal with the British Royal Family.
Appearance-wise, the dramatics were flat for a couple who are seemingly hellbent on crafting a new public persona independent of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and the rest of the Royal bunch.
At the core, Harry and Meghan’s tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey was a public relations ploy. The two are pitched in the hour and a half sit down as victims of the suffocating protocol of life as a Royal and wanting to break their silence. The interview isn’t anything more than an attempt to sway the public to their side.
And if this is about swaying the public, the look, the feel, the tone, the aesthetics of the interview could have actually fit the words Harry and Meghan were speaking rather than working to their disadvantage.
It is obvious Meghan wants to draw parallels between herself and Harry’s mother — Diana, Princess of Wales. When Diana gave her famous interview to Martin Bashir in 1995, she torched the Royal Family for their supposed seeing her as a “threat.” It was drama, elevated.
Diana wore a black blazer with broad shoulders, giant gold earrings that matched the gold buttons on her blazer’s sleeves and the room’s opulent decor, her hair fanned in its usual style, and black stockings with a short black skirt.
Her legs crossed during the interview, Diana was a knockout — yet, approachable — even when she was telling the most terrifyingly depressive thoughts that raced through her mind years before.
There is something to be said about the mega glossy, glowing interviews of the 1980s and 90s. They captured the realism in their subjects while revealing a glimpse into the fantasy that only they and a handful of others have lived.
Of course, this is not to compare the content of Harry and Meghan’s interview to that of Diana’s. She was explaining to the public a behind-the-scenes look into a very public separation and what her future would be in the Royal Family. At the end of the day, she was aesthetically convincing.
Harry and Meghan, on the other hand, are quite blatantly trying to explain themselves after years of bad press and criticism of their famous exit from the Royal Family. Did they accomplish that? Could their get-up have better boosted their case?
For starters, Meghan chose a black silk georgette dress by Georgio Armani, black Manolo Blahnik stilettos, and a necklace with three metals strung together as if to represent herself, Harry, and their son Archie.
Meghan’s hair was loosely pulled back into a bun with only tendrils framing her face. She looks stunning because when you’re born this beautiful, your worst day is most people’s best day.
But if we’re talking about winning over the public against a longstanding institution, a dress in the same silhouette but in a shade of lavender or blush would have been most fitting. This Diane Von Furstenberg number in pleated chiffon or even this embellished Fendi midi dress would have taken this interview from gloomy to glow.
A black dress feels out-of-step when you’re pitching my word against theirs palace tales to the public. It’s like Meghan is mourning the loss of her Royal Family connections and we’re just here to watch.
The set for the interview could have more resembled the life that Harry and Meghan are accustomed to. The backdrop is a breathtaking Santa Barbara, California, landscape with gardens plucked from Alice in Wonderland.
The furniture, unlike the interviews of the 1980s and 1990s, is drab. The chairs, for instance, look comfortable but they’re not nearly grand enough for a couple that is so renowned worldwide that this interview is airing in countries across the globe.
The farmhouse coffee table, little purple shrub, and woven Berber rug are like staples from the TJ Maxx back right corner aisle that has all the cheap rugs, pillows, and candles. Great for my back patio, odd for a Royal duo airing out their dirty laundry.
This gets me to Harry, who came into the shot about halfway through the interview. A grey suit with charcoal suede derby shoes was a great choice though Harry’s body language — slouched over, feet crossed — seemed overly casual for such shocking allegations. Meghan, on the other hand, was much more appropriately poised than both Harry and Oprah.
Harry and Meghan’s interview, truthfully, is a depiction of what’s wrong with the general state of our celebrity interviews over the last decade or two.
The photographic technology that has afforded us clearer, more vivid pictures has its cons. Gone are the days of glossy, color pallette-centric camera shots. Remember Courtney Love’s 1995 interview with Barbara Walters?
Courtney, with all her rumored drug and alcohol abuse, radiated throughout the interview, dressed as if she were the First Lady. Her skin was like porcelain and she sat next to a bouquet of flowers, even if this was not the lifestyle she was actually living. That’s some good public relations.
If the story that Harry and Meghan are trying to sell us is that they’re only wanting to correct the record about their time in Kensington Palace and Frogmore Cottage, they’ll need to glam up the drama. That is, after all, why many of us follow these otherwise boring people, isn’t it?