Prince Harry’s ‘A-list activism’ torn apart by feminist TV critic: ‘Creeping distrust’


    Prince Harry’s documentary reveal discussed by expert

    Harry and Oprah’s series, ‘The Me You Can’t See’, was released on Apple TV+ last week — and it immediately caused a stir. The Duke of Sussex revealed new details about his mental health struggles over the years, and explained how he could not cope with life in the public eye. Harry was not the only famous face to appear on the series; Oprah, popstar Lady Gaga and celebrity chef Rashad Armstead are among the other celebrities who reveal their own internal battles throughout the five episodes.

    But it was the Duke’s astounding honesty about his own past which particularly captured the public’s interest.

    Not only does he touch on his concerns and “helplessness” about his mother’s safety when he was growing up — and his subsequent fears about Meghan Markle — but he reveals his own sense of panic when faced with the enormity of his royal role.

    He also tore into the Royal Family, claiming they failed to address his overwhelming grief after Princess Diana’s death and alleging that his relatives told him to “just play the game” when his life became too much.

    Examining the series as a whole, TV critic Lucy Mangan’s review was headlined: “Oprah, Harry and the perils of A-list activism.”

    In her scathing two-star piece, she described ‘The Me You Can’t See’ as “a well-meaning but sanitised TV series on mental health”.

    Prince Harry's'A-List activism' torn apart by feminist TV critic:'Creeping distrust'

    Prince Harry’s ‘A-List activism’ torn apart by feminist TV critic: ‘Creeping distrust’ (Image: Getty)

    Harry giving a speech for Vax Live in California

    Harry giving a speech for Vax Live in California (Image: Getty)

    She wrote: “The opening episode is titled Say It Out Loud, and within a few minutes the average viewer may well find themselves asking, ‘oh, must you?’.”

    While acknowledging that there are “rare moments of jagged authenticity”, she described the series as “cloying” overall.

    Ms Mangan also pointed out that, despite the series being filled with celebrities, only Harry is interviewed by Oprah; others are interviewed by an anonymous figure behind a camera, who is never seen.

    Writing in The Guardian, she noted: “The two-tier system makes the creeping distrust of the enterprise harder to ignore.”

    She conceded that the experiences discussed in the series are important, and genuine, with “no bad actors” in this celebrity-filled venture.

    READ MORE:  William follows Queen’s example by shunning BBC and Bashir

    Prince Harry stars in The Me You Can’t See trailer

    However, she said: “[This] is all well and good and necessary but does absolutely nothing to address how ordinary people are supposed to achieve this when the waiting lists for the services they need to access stretch to infinity.”

    The TV critic also scrutinised the absence of any mention of deeper forms of mental illness which are still heavily stigmatised.

    Ms Mangan, a proud feminist like both Harry and Meghan, has previously supported the Sussexes in their lives outside the Firm.

    Writing in Stylist last year, she praised it as a “quite magnificently baller move”.

    She added: “It is the greatest act of boundary-setting in living memory and an example to all of us whose lives are habitually more dictated by the wants and grabby demands of others than our own needs.”

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    Harry and Meghan have spoken negatively about their time in the royal fold

    Harry and Meghan have spoken negatively about their time in the royal fold (Image: Getty)

    Harry and Meghan broke away from the Firm last year

    Harry and Meghan broke away from the Firm last year (Image: Getty)

    This echoes the message Harry conveyed in his new series, that he and Meghan “did everything we possibly could to stay there and carry on doing the role and doing the job”, but they were struggling – and the Firm allegedly met their requests for help with “total neglect”.

    He said: “Eventually when I made that decision [to leave] for my family, I was still told, ‘You can’t do this.’

    “And it’s like, ‘Well, how bad does it have to get until I am allowed to do this?'”

    This makes Ms Mangan’s criticisms of the new series surprising, but Harry has been faulted by others for being out of touch in his other ventures recently, too.

    During his appearance on Dax Shepard’s podcast, Armchair Expert, he said if he carries out one good deed in the morning, he can go home and then “put my feet up and have a really good day”.

    He was heavily criticised both online and by royal commentators Ann Gripper and Russell Myers for not acknowledging how most people have to go to their day jobs and cannot afford to put their feet up.

    Harry and Meghan speaking to Oprah Winfrey in March

    Harry and Meghan speaking to Oprah Winfrey in March (Image: Getty)

    Harry made a similar blunder during his interview with Oprah back in March, when he complained that his family had completely cut him off — financially — when he exited the Firm a year ago.

    However, he and Meghan are both millionaires in their own right.

    Even before the couple’s lucrative deals with Netflix and Spotify, Harry was estimated to be worth £30million through items he inherited from Diana.

    Meghan was believed to be worth £4million at the time of their marriage in 2018, through her long stint on the legal drama Suits.

    Yet, others have praised the Duke’s new TV venture for lifting the lid on such a stigmatised issue.

    The Telegraph’s Anita Singh claimed: “To label this [series] as the follow-up to Oprah’s sensational sit-down with Meghan would be to do the programme a disservice.”

    She added: “The programme tries to offer solutions and to demonstrate that it’s important to let all this out rather than bottle it up.”

    While speculating that Harry’s complaints about his family “should be kept to the therapist’s office”, she concluded: “We should finally allow Harry the privacy he craves, if only he would keep up his side of the bargain.”


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