Royal experts label Harry and Meghan ‘out of touch’ as they dig into old Netflix bag of tricks

For the cameras. Harry and Meghan take a Netflix crew to the polo at Palm Beach over the weekend.

For the cameras. Harry and Meghan take a Netflix crew to the polo at Palm Beach over the weekend. Photo: AAP

The last time the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a Netflix documentary series about their lives, it became the most-watched subscription TV show of 2022, hitting 4.5 million viewers during its first week.

Their tell-all about quitting the British royal family and moving to California to escape bullying, the tabloid press and the public spotlight attracted almost 1.7 billion viewing minutes in the US after premiering in December, according to data from Nielsen.

Fast forward two years, and after two marginal Netflix series Heart of Invictus and Live to Lead, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are working on rounding out their $US100 million ($155 million) Netflix deal with two new “his and her’s” non-fiction series.

One unscripted show will explore “the joys of cooking, gardening, entertaining and friendship”, which Meghan will produce. The other will give “unprecedented access to the world of professional polo” and the US Open Polo Championship in Florida, Netflix says on its Tudum website.

Former BBC royal correspondent Michael Cole didn’t pull any punches in a podcast chat with the UK’s Radio Times.

“If the Sussexes are trying to be more inclusive, and bring more people in, regardless of ethnicity, race, religion and sexual predilections … then I think polo would probably be the last thing I would think of,” Cole said.

“I don’t think that in the southern districts of Los Angeles, Watts and Compton … they play much polo down there. They play … perhaps basketball … polo is one of the most expensive and exclusive sports in the world apart from ocean racing.”

“They are now having to sing for their supper,” he said, adding Harry and Meghan must come good on their five-year deal, which expires next year.

The idea for Meghan’s show has been questioned by royal biographer Ingrid Seward.

Speaking to royal editor Matt Wilkinson on The Sun’s new show, Royal Exclusive, she said: “It’s a bit desperate [but] I think it is wrong to criticise it before we see it.’’

Meghan demonstrated her culinary skills in the past, having famously cooked a roast chicken for Harry on the night he proposed at his home in Kensington Palace.

As for gardening and friendship?

“I am more sceptical about Meghan because I don’t know she knows anything about gardening,’’ Wilkinson said.

“As for her talking about friendship, that does make me feel a bit sceptical. She’s really known for losing friends rather than gaining friends.

“To hear her talking about friendships I think that might go down a little strangely.”

Meghan Markle with tennis champion Serena Williams at the polo in Florida last weekend. Photo: Getty

Inside the sport of polo

The shows will be made by Harry and Meghan’s Archewell Productions, and both are in the early stages of production with titles and release dates to be announced in coming months.

“Known primarily for its aesthetic and social scene, the series will pull the curtain back on the grit and passion of the sport, capturing players and all it takes to compete at the highest level,” Netflix said.

Harry, 39, will reportedly have a cameo role throughout the series.

Stage management of the polo series began in Florida last weekend, when the former Suits actor Meghan, 42, walked on stage and presented the winning trophy to Harry’s Royal Salute Sentebale team, which beat Figueras’ squad 3-1.

She awkwardly gestured another woman who came onto the podium to not stand next to Harry, so Meghan could remain at the centre of the main photo.

“Do you want to come over here?” the duchess asked the woman, while pointing for her to move. “Do you want to go over here?”

Elsewhere, the UK’s Mirror reported the couple – who were trailed by a Netflix film crew – looked like film stars as Meghan planted a celebratory kiss on Harry’s lips.

She later walked alongside famous friend and tennis grand slam champion, Serena Williams, who also happened to be at the event.

“Meghan has a very astute brain. She’s been trained in Hollywood. She knows how the system works and what she’s doing now is she’s curating their image, making sure that the way they come out … is the image they want the world to see,” adds Cole.

Will it attract a similar audience to their explosive Harry & Meghan series?

The United States Polo Association has only 5400 registered members and the UK has an additional 1700, according to Tatler.

But bringing on board director Milos Balac, who made Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s Welcome to Wrexham, anything’s possible.

The next Martha Stewart?

Meanwhile, the lifestyle series will be directed by Michael Steed (My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown), and is likely to value-add from Meghan’s recently launched American Riviera Orchard website.

Harper’s Bazaar reports trademark applications lodged last month include home decor and kitchen products including decanters, napkin rings, cutlery, table linens, placemats and napkins, cookbooks and “healthy edible options”.

Speculation is this last series in the package deal will resemble the duchess’s former lifestyle blog, The Tig – which was disbanded after she joined the royal family – to take on the US’s most famous lifestyle queens.

“From what I understand, I think Meghan will take on Martha Stewart, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ina Garten and play them at their own game,” one industry insider told PageSix.

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.