Here's What Palace Insiders Are Saying About Prince Harry's New TV Series With Oprah
"This certainly could have waited until after the baby is born."
As if there wasn't enough going on in Prince Harry's life, it was just announced that the father-to-be has joined forces with none other than Oprah Winfrey to produce a docuseries for Apple TV set to premiere next year that will focus on "mental illness and mental wellness, inspiring viewers to have an honest conversation about the challenges each of us faces."
The news was announced on Harry and Meghan Markle's new Instagram account, @SussexRoyal, which quoted the prince as saying: "I truly believe that good mental health—mental fitness—is the key to powerful leadership, productive communities and a purpose-driven self."
Harry has been very candid about his own struggles with mental health after the 1997 death of his mother, Princess Diana. It was one of the reasons he joined forces with his brother and sister-in-law, Prince William and Kate Middleton, to start Heads Together, a charity created to de-stigmatize mental health, in 2017.
According to the statement, Harry and Winfrey have been developing the series "for several months." Shortly after the announcement, Winfrey appeared on her longtime friend Gayle King's morning talk show, CBS This Morning. She revealed that she and Harry have had "secret meetings," and that she has flown to England several times with the production crew, which could mean that Harry also appears on the series.
All of this comes at a time when interest in the prince and duchess has reached fever pitch; the world is counting the days until their first child, "Baby Sussex," arrives. "I find the timing rather curious," one royal insider told me. "We hear so much about the prince and the duchess wanting their privacy, but they just can't seem to step away from the media spotlight. This certainly could have waited until after the baby is born."
Another source at the Palace noted, "After the People magazine article where Meghan's friends spoke out anonymously against the unfair coverage she received in the press, followed by her very Hollywood baby shower—which showcased her close ties to A-list celebrities, [including new friend, King]—one would have thought that they would ease up on drawing attention to their celebrity connections, even if it is for a very good cause."
One sourced added: "However well-intentioned the prince may be with this, there is a feeling among some staff in the Palace that's this is a bridge too far. It is one thing to advocate for mental wellness. It is quite another to work with a huge celebrity on a television project."
The source continued: "Everyone knows they are set on modernizing the monarchy, but giving the appearance of having 'gone Hollywood' may turn out to be very ill-advised." And for more on everyone's favorite royal, here are 30 Little-Known Facts About Prince Harry That Will Make You Love Him Even More.
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.
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