What does it mean to be an A-list Hollywood power couple? Celebrity, yes, but also respect. Look at George and Amal Clooney, a high-powered heartthrob and his equally high-powered human-rights-lawyer wife. Or look at Beyoncé and Jay-Z, hip-hop royalty and dedicated philanthropists. You and your partner can buy a mansion in the right zip code, hang out with the right people and say the right things at the right charity events, but that doesn’t make you a Hollywood power couple. Modern-day stardom is about more than name recognition. It takes charisma, dedication and charm. For all their striving, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle just don’t have it. Britain has realised this — and Hollywood is starting to realise it too.
Every streaming-service deal has invited quiet sniggers, every ill-judged interview and profile-raising event now brings with it a mixture of pity and irritation. These corporations are learning that they are getting little bang for their buck. Over the last few months there have been whispers of Spotify growing more frustrated with Duchess Dolittle after the $25 million deal that went public in December 2020 only yielded one 33-minute Christmas episode. It seems like a stern word may have worked, as we recently saw the much-awaited launch of Meghan’s new podcast Archetypes. Meghan calls the podcast a place ‘where we investigate, dissect and subvert the labels that try to hold women back’; her first special guest was the notably downtrodden Serena Williams. Listeners were offered little more than the Meghan show, with the Duchess managing to talk for 11 minutes straight before her guest got a word in edgeways.
Next we were delivered a 6,500-word interview in New York magazine, which covers the Duchess’s views on the monarchy, the British press and racism, in case — somehow — you didn’t know them already.