MAUREEN CALLAHAN: Harry and Meghan are winning the PR battle… but they’ll lose the war

A full-blown royal war has erupted on US soil. And it’s spectacular.

As William and Kate make their first stateside visit in eight years, Harry and Meghan’s melodramatic Netflix trailer dropped smack in the middle of their whirlwind three-day tour.

Shots fired.

Amid speculation today’s release is far from accidental, Harry and Meghan’s faithful lackey Omid Scobie seemed to encourage that notion, tweeting: ‘If tomorrow is Prince William’s Super Bowl then here’s your halftime show. . .’ If it’s true that the Sussexes were responsible for the timing, then how utterly vengeful, petty and childish.

Make no mistake: this is spoiling, sullying and pulling focus from William and Kate’s first trip to the US as Prince and Princess of Wales.

As William and Kate make their first stateside visit in eight years, Harry and Meghan dropped their melodramatic Netflix trailer smack in the middle of their whirlwind three-day tour

At one point Meghan is weeping with an Hermès Avalon blanket (starting price $1,625) folded behind her just so

At one point Meghan is weeping with an Hermès Avalon blanket (starting price $1,625) folded behind her just so

For now, Harry and Meghan are winning the battle. But they’re not great long-term strategists. Mark my words: They are going to lose this war.

Most reasonable people would agree: The race-row at Buckingham Palace isn’t on William and Kate, who weren’t even there. The palace acted swiftly and decisively, with spokespeople for King Charles and Prince William issuing statements decrying the incident.

Yet with deadly timing, this incendiary trailer, with its black-and-white imagery of Meghan weeping against a plaintive, ominous score, screams a simple message: Those vague, unfounded accusations of racism that H&M hurled during their Oprah interview? Look! It’s worse than anyone knew! Witness poor Meghan suffering, weeping and weeping and weeping, at one point an Hermès Avalon blanket (starting price $1,625) folded behind her just so.

Harry, meanwhile, utters his hackneyed cri de coeur: ‘I had to do everything I could to protect my family,’ he says. ‘No one sees what’s happening behind closed doors.’

Except that Netflix camera crew.

Then we cut to a still of stern-faced William and Kate. Subtle.

Suddenly, William and Kate’s earnest, unglamorous US trip in service of Prince William’s Earthshot Awards — the most PC event imaginable, huge sums of money given to innovators saving the environment — has been overshadowed by the rival court in Montecito.

The message appears to be: No one puts Harry and Meghan in a corner, not even the future King and Queen of England. It’s as if Harry and Meghan have nothing better to do than go through the royal schedule and figure out ways to screw the family over. And they’re banging on about the environment… while the Netflix teaser ruins William’s Earthshot initiative.

All anyone’s talking about now is the royal rift, the wound that Harry and Meghan keep re-opening, salting and re-infecting with their enmity.

As for William and Kate, this trip — meant as both victory lap and tone-setting for a more modern, streamlined, and frankly with-it monarchy — is already a public relations nightmare.

Caroline Kennedy and John Kerry, who were both expected at an Earthshot event Wednesday night, did not show. Although Kerry is recovering from COVID and Kennedy said bad weather made her late to Boston, the optics are terrible.

In the trailer Meghan weeping against a plaintive, ominous score

The trailer shows Meghan weeping against a plaintive, ominous score

The Netflix documentary features the couple at their British home of Frogmore Cottage

The Netflix documentary features the couple at their British home of Frogmore Cottage

Harry and Meghan's faithful lackey Omid Scobie gleefully tweeted: 'If tomorrow is Prince William's Super Bowl, then here's your Halftime Show...'

Harry and Meghan’s faithful lackey Omid Scobie gleefully tweeted: ‘If tomorrow is Prince William’s Super Bowl, then here’s your Halftime Show…’

A smattering of boos and chants of ‘USA’ greeted William and Kate at Wednesday night’s Boston Celtics game. A video dropped by the Welsh — just minutes before Harry and Meghan’s — only reinforced how awkward and out-of-place the young royals seem among regular folk. Kate was even attacked for clapping too slowly. All this after William and Kate were introduced at an earlier event by a Black female reverend who castigated the impact of ‘the legacy of colonialism and racism’ on the environment.

Yes, so far for William and Kate, this trip has been an unmitigated disaster.

Harry and Meghan are surely feeling victorious right now. And they should savor it, because this win won’t last long. Sure, we’ll all be watching their Netflix ‘docuseries,’ but really we’ll be rubbernecking at the sight of two aging, immature, self-pitying losers who once sucked from the teat of King Charles’ bank account, attempting to thread a dangerous needle: Claiming the royal family is deeply racist and didn’t care that a pregnant Meghan was suicidal, all the while clinging to those royal titles and nagging Charles until their American-born children are given titles as well.

William and Kate watched the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat in Boston

William and Kate watched the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat in Boston

Oh, and let’s not forget: Harry and Meghan have been silenced. Oh, have they been silenced.

‘When the stakes are this high,’ Meghan asks in the trailer, ‘doesn’t it make more sense to hear our story from us?’

Hmmm. . . where have we heard that before? Oh, right: The Oprah interview, Harry on the Apple mental-health docu-series ‘The Me You Can’t See,’ Harry on ‘Today’ and James Corden and at any number of paid speaking engagements, Meghan on Ellen and in cover stories for The Cut and Variety, their tell-all book ‘Finding Freedom,’ Meghan’s Spotify podcast, Harry’s forthcoming memoir. . . yes, if only these two had some kind of platform or access to mainstream media to tell their story.

Here’s the plain truth: These two have nothing new to say. They exist only in opposition to the royals. They have nothing to offer — nothing ‘additive,’ in Meghan’s parlance. Their only selling point is as Royals in Exile, which by definition means they’re cut off, without access to family dynamics or interpersonal relationships or anything of emotional or intellectual substance.

Nothing new to peddle on the open market, as it were.

This is why Harry and Meghan, winners at the moment, will ultimately lose the war they’ve started. They’ll continue to betray Charles and Camilla, William and Kate, until there’s nothing left to say, their relationship with the Palace burned to the ground, a weary and disgusted public no longer buying what they’re selling.

All in the name of what Harry and Meghan claim is most sacred to them now: Privacy, of course.

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