Eight months ago, Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, appeared on television in prime time to drop bomb after bomb during an Oprah Winfrey special. The interview became almost an international event after they detailed how they had been abused as part of the royal family, to the point where Meghan said she had suicidal thoughts and that the palace did not help her.
The story gripped the internet for days, and then it disappeared, as most controversies do – and for the most part, Harry and Meghan did too. They fell out of the public eye as stories and rumors swirled around them, keeping a very low profile until June, when they announced that Meghan had given birth to their second child, a baby girl named Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor. Unlike when their son Archie was born in 2019, they released no photos or videos.
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In the months that followed, they occasionally reappeared to attend philanthropic-focused events: the Global Citizen Live event in New York to promote coronavirus vaccines, a gala to raise money for a museum, a visit to Afghan refugees at a military base. In August, to celebrate her 40th birthday, Meghan recruited her husband and celebrity friend Melissa McCarthy for a video announcing a mentoring program for women who were forced out of the workforce during the pandemic. Obviously, everything the couple does attracts attention, but choosing these types of activities is a pretty good strategy if you want to emphasize that you are a celebrity who is engaged in public service and not, we do not repeat, seeking the type of brutal tabloid attention that they say almost destroyed them.
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On Thursday, Sussex’s attempt to remain as low-key as possible continued with Meghan’s surprise interview on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” her first American talk show appearance in years. The show broke the news Wednesday morning and released a few clips that led to her appearance. But considering that the teasers – which usually have something juicy – included Meghan sharing anecdotes about driving a smashed car to years of auditions at Warner Bros. Square, and how her kids did not really like Halloween this year, it clear that this interview might be a little boring.
That was it, in fact. And that’s far from an insult, because that could be exactly what Meghan is after: after years of being pulled by the tabloids and British media, she just wants to show that she’s as normal as it can get. Choosing DeGeneres’ show – and ignoring all the outrageous headlines about DeGeneres and claims about her show’s “toxic” work environment, leading to the firing of three producers – respects a basic Hollywood practice. If you are a celebrity who is friends with a co-star, it is common to ignore all criticism of them and continue as usual.
This is one of the things the audience learned in Thursday’s episode: She and DeGeneres have been friends for a long time. In fact, in a story they have shared before, DeGeneres persuaded Meghan to adopt one of her dogs years ago, before the royal life, when Meghan was an actress best known for the American drama “Suits”.
“You just looked at me and said, ‘Are you getting that dog? … You have to take it home,'” Megshan told the audience, recalling that the two bumped into each other at a shelter. “And I said, ‘Well, if Ellen says I should take it home, I’ll get this dog.'”
Other anecdotes: Meghan, who grew up in Los Angeles, had her own scrunchie business in elementary school. She and Harry, who now live in Malibu, love the California weather. When she and Harry were lovers, he came to visit her in Toronto with his cousin Princess Eugenie and her husband, and the four of them took incognito to a Halloween party. Archie was reluctantly a dinosaur for Halloween. Baby Lili is getting teeth now. Archie loves being a big brother, but has some trouble adjusting.
“Someone told H and I, when you have a child, it’s a hobby and two children are parents,” Meghan said. She also said she hopes the United States will introduce a mandate, federally paid parental leave program. “The fact that we are not offering this is something that now, as a mother of two, I will do everything I can to make sure we can implement it for people,” she added.
After deGeneres congratulated Meghan on making her and Harry two of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people this year, she got into the real purpose of the show: to promote her new children’s book, “The Bench.” Meghan said it originally started as a poem she wrote to Harry for Father’s Day, and “it was about my observation that he and he were father, which was the most beautiful thing to see.” But some friends commented on how much they were connected to it, so Meghan decided to turn it into a book and made sure the story and illustrations were inclusive and representative: “I remember as a little girl you did not always see anyone “that looked like you and I thought it was really important,” said Meghan, who is biracial.
Then, of course, Meghan had to go through the ritual celebrity humiliation (humiliation?) By joining DeGeneres’ show: Pull a “prank” on an unsuspecting ordinary person. This time, Meghan wore an earring and went to a salesman on the Warner Bros. lot when DeGeneres instructed her to make strange noises and sing and eat hot sauce and refer to herself as “Mommy” several times. Then they both redeemed themselves in the next segment, giving a total gift of $ 40,000 to a single mother from Nashville who runs a nonprofit group.
Eventually, it ended with a classic talk show surprise: DeGeneres and Meghan announced that DeGeneres’ audience in the studio would return to the show’s famous “12 Days of Giveaways” holiday episode, where they will receive all sorts of free gifts. The audience went wild and finished a section that will make some people very happy, but which will be almost instantly forgotten by the rest of the audience – which, for the Duchess, is quite the point.
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