Picture the scene: Spotify headquarters in LA. Executives assembled, coconut matcha lattes in hand. Edgy artwork on the walls, colour-block sofas in creative shades of blue and orange.
Enter the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. That familiar Etonian lope, hand extended in greeting: ‘Hi, yah, hi, hi, good to meet you, I’m Harry.’
Beside him the Duchess, with those doe eyes, that slightly grudging smile, the elegantly turned ankle in Aquazzura heels.
Coffee, water, tea, kombucha? Let’s get down to business. We’re so excited, everyone is so excited, the whole world is excited, the excitement is off the scale.
Tell us, guys, talk us through your vision. Sir, perhaps you would like to go first?
‘So, yah, so like we – sorry, I’ve – got some raaally great ideas, isn’t that right, M?’
The Duchess nods, adjusts her dress, places a reassuring hand on his thigh. ‘Yah, so I thought that, given how respected I am for my truth-telling and all that kind of stuff, I thought I could sit down with people like Vladimir Putin or the Pope and have an open conversation with these dudes about, you know, their traumas.’
The Pope, you say? ‘Yah.’ God’s representative on Earth?’ ‘Yup.’
Putin? ‘Sure.’ Putin’s trauma? ‘Yah.’
Right. Sorry, sir, I hate to be presumptuous, but do you know either man?
‘Er… no, but I know Elton John and he totally knows EVERYONE, and Oprah said she might have an in with Vlad.
‘But in any case, it’s not like I would have to meet them, if that’s what you’re worried about. You can just do it for me and then I will record myself asking the questions later, isn’t that right, M?’
Silence. ‘If you don’t fancy that, M’s got this brilliant idea for a show about powerful women…’ Cue collective groan.
If Prince Harry weren’t so spectacularly annoying, it would almost be quite sweet. You can’t knock someone for having ambition. And if he had gone off and put the work in, written letters, spoken to intermediaries, brokered deals, made the calls – in other words, done some actual work – it’s possible that he might have landed one of these big fish. But he didn’t.
As always in Harry’s world, he thinks he simply has to show up and spout a few platitudes, throw around a few ideas. He seems to have no concept of the work it takes to produce these shows.
His modus operandi on all these projects has been described as consistently disappointing.
Or as ‘subpar’ by the Wall Street Journal, in a long article on the couple’s failures, which suggested the latest talk is of a Netflix show called Bad Manners, based on Dickens’ Miss Havisham, in which the character is cast not as a victim but as a ‘strong woman living in a patriarchal society’.
To be fair, you can’t blame Harry. He was raised as a Royal, someone for whom merely existing is a career.
He’s used to giving orders and having the little people take care of the details. Also, as a Royal, money and status are a given.
Many go the extra mile – and that’s what earns them love and respect.
In Harry’s case, he not only grew up Royal, but as a favourite Royal – Diana’s sweet little boy whom we all adored and felt rather protective about. Trouble is, he’s not a Royal any more.
By renouncing his Royal status – not to mention attacking the institution of monarchy – and pursuing an independent life, he has also renounced the privileges that come with it.
One of which is never having to work for a living, or worry about what your boss thinks of your slightly naive, pie-in-the-sky ideas – or indeed, delivering value for money as an employee.
It’s a brutal world, and Harry, poor love, is finding out the hard way that if you take someone’s money (in this case £15million of Spotify lolly), you must come up with the goods.
Otherwise it’s so long, sayonara, arrivederci.
That is why Spotify has dropped the Duke and Duchess, and Netflix is reportedly not far behind.
The couple made the mistake of thinking they could have their cake and eat it, that organisations and businesses would automatically treat them with deference – and pay through the nose for the privilege.
Even though they weren’t themselves prepared to go the extra mile. Or an inch, even.
Unlike the Sovereign Grant and the Privy Purse, Spotify and Netflix don’t pay out regardless of whether you’ve had a good year or an annus horribilis.
That is the reality of life as a ‘civilian’.
Life as a Royal may have its frustrations and intrusions, but at least you’ll never have to worry about mortgage payments on your mansion or the children’s school fees.
In the real world, you have only your talent, hard work and wits to rely on. Prince Harry seems remarkably short of all three.