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Why this was the year that the Sus­sexes’ sanc­ti­mo­nious bub­ble burst

Can it be really be almost a year since Prince Harry's autobiography Spare was published?

It became the fastest-selling non-fiction book ever, with more than 3.2 million copies shifted in the first week. At the time, the Sussexes, with a reported £88 million Netflix deal, must have felt on top of the world.

Especially after their performance on Oprah Winfrey's show had been hailed as the most successful interview in royal history.

How public perceptions have changed. This month, as they were doubtless decorating their eco-friendly Californian Christmas tree, their world came crashing down.

The respected bible of showbiz, The Hollywood Reporter, declared them 'two of the biggest losers in Hollywood' in 2023.

They were singled out for their 'whiny Netflix documentary, whiny biography (Spare — even the title is a pouty gripe) and their inert podcast', Archetypes, which was dropped by Spotify after just one season.

Spotify's head of podcast innovation and monetisation, Bill Simmons, derided them as 'grifters' when their £16 million multi-year deal with the company was cancelled.

We have also discovered their expensive six-part Netflix Harry & Meghan docuseries failed to make the company's top 200 shows, languishing in 211th place of most-streamed programmes. The Hollywood Reporter take-down was merciless: 'The Harry and Meghan brand swelled into a sanctimonious bubble just bursting to be popped — and South Park was the pin.'

The magazine was referring to the U.S. cartoon show which ridiculed the Sussexes' 'World-Wide Privacy Tour' with Harry feverishly promoting his book Spare while pleading for his and Meghan's privacy.

Pilloried and parodied in their chosen home America, cancelled by Spotify, put on the back-burner by Netflix . . . could it get any worse?

Alas it did. We learned that donations to their charitable foundation Archewell had fallen £8.7 million to £1.6 million a year.

There is no doubt Harry's victory yesterday, winning 15 claims in his case accusing Mirror Group Newspapers of unlawfully gathering information about him, will be a filip for the Prince and Princess of Montecito.

But there is no escaping the fact The Hollywood Reporter is right. This was the year the sanctimonious Sussex bubble finally burst.


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