Harry, Meghan Book Will Be 'Suffocated Out' in U.S. Despite Bombshells

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle face a flurry of bombshell claims in a new biography but the saga "is not going to be a decapitating moment for their brand," a reputation expert tells Newsweek.

Feared British biographer Tom Bower is due to publish his long-anticipated new book about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the war between the Windsors, on Thursday, July 21.

Extracts published in U.K. broadsheet The Times paint a grim picture of the couple, particularly Meghan who is described as the "meanest person" by an advertising shoot director she worked with.

Revenge suggests she triggered palace fury with a Vanity Fair interview while a guest editorship of British Vogue, according to the book, descended into a "conflict" about "control."

Harry too is described as having "contempt" for Prince William and Kate Middleton, while friends struggled to understand why he "became incandescent" after spotting a paparazzi photographer in the bushes at a friend's wedding.

However, perhaps most explosive of all, Revenge claims Queen Elizabeth II was relieved Meghan did not attend Prince Philip's funeral.

A palace source disputed the account, telling Newsweek it was "unlikely" the 96-year-old monarch had been focussing on anything other than her late husband before the April 2021 service.

That rebuttal inevitably raises the prospect legal action could be considered, though those who have tried to sue Bower in the past have not necessarily been successful.

Tom Bower's Biography Will "Get Suffocated Out"

Perhaps more to the point, Eric Schiffer, chair of Reputation Management Consultants, told Newsweek the revelations will not cut through with U.S. audiences due to the book's reliance on anonymous quotes.

He said: "If Harry and Meghan were coming to me and asking how they should handle this, there's not a lot of new data here.

"These are stories that have been said and likely uncorroborated or without anyone going on the record in particular. So there's nothing new.

"It won't play at all. Very little if at all in America. It's going to get suffocated out by far more relevant news to American's daily lives. It would be one thing if there were significant new revelations but these are recycled with anonymous quotes."

There are reasons Camp Sussex might be nervous, with three big releases expected to drop soon.

First up will likely be Meghan's Spotify podcast Archetypes, slated for summer 2022, while Harry's own memoir was originally scheduled for late 2022.

The prince also took Netflix cameras to the Invictus Games in April, for his first project with the streaming giant, titled Heart of Invictus, which is yet to be released.

Harry and Meghan at United Nations
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the United Nations in New York, where the Duke of Sussex gave a keynote speech marking Nelson Mandela International Day, on July 19, 2022. A reporter shouted a question about Tom Bower's biography as they arrived. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

Piers Morgan Says His "American Friends" Are "Completely Done" With Harry and Meghan

All the while, they continue to come under attack in the media, with regular critic Piers Morgan suggesting in an interview with Bower that Americans are going off the Sussexes.

He said: "Are they in trouble now though? Is the Sussex brand on the downward slope? A lot of American friends of mine are completely done with them, which they weren't even a year ago."

Bower replied: "And this book may hasten the downward trend, over which I wouldn't be sad at all because they pose a real threat to the royal family."

The author—seemingly—did not think his own excoriating memoir of future king Prince Charles posed a similar threat to the monarchy, despite it being so critical one reviewer for The Mail on Sunday nicknamed him the "undisputed Witchfinder General of contemporary biographers."

At the same time, Bower's book gate-crashed Harry's appearance at the United Nations on Monday, July 18, to discuss the legacy of Nelson Mandela, when a reporter shouted a question at him.

As flash guns fired, a female voice can be heard shouting: "Prince Harry are you worried that Tom Bower's new book is going to widen your rift with the Royal Family?" The prince did not reply.

However, Schiffer suggested Bower's revelations are unlikely to have a major impact on the couple's commercial work: "This is not going to be a decapitating moment for their brand nor will it create any kind of catastrophic effects on the success of the podcast.

"Royal relations are immensely improved and the royals know this is old news. It may bring up some old wounds and cause some personal pain because it would cause some within the Monarchy to reflect on comments that were made.

"But I think they would also move past it and recognize that things have moved forward."

Revenge Author Tom Bower
Tom Bower, author of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry biography 'Revenge', is pictured at the Spear's Book Awards 2011, in London, England, on June 27, 2011. Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

Lawsuits and the Streisand Effect

At the same time, court cases—even when they are won—can be difficult for stars like Harry and Meghan and come with a built-in problem, known as the "Streisand effect."

Legal action can serve to draw more attention to the allegations themselves which are then picked over in detail by lawyers, and new revelations can emerge through disclosure of evidence, as Meghan discovered during her privacy and copyright lawsuit against The Mail on Sunday.

The duchess won the case after a three-year saga which at points had her fearing she would experience a miscarriage brought on by stress and accusing the publisher of using a privacy lawsuit to exploit her privacy.

Private emails and text messages revealed she and Harry had authorized their former communications secretary to co-operate with another biography, Finding Freedom, which the couple's legal team had previously denied.

In the early stages of that case, U.K.-based attorney Mark Stephens, of law firm Howard Kennedy, told Newsweek: "She's had an invasion of privacy and she feels strongly about it but the reality is she has only got a downside here.

"The more that she protests about wanting to protect her privacy, the more that people are going to investigate how she has curated the Streisand effect of amplifying the positive PR and negativizing the other PR."

Bower has also been sued for libel before, by Richard Desmond, former owner of U.K. tabloid the Daily Express and its sister titles, but the newspaper tycoon lost at the High Court, in London, in 2009.

Schiffer suggested the Sussexes have a bright future without letting Bower's book weigh too heavily on their minds in the coming months.

He said: "I think they should be focussing on putting together the best possible content so that they can be seen as effective producers of content that gets ongoing traction.

"They will also find ways to inject themselves into the international attention of Gen Z and Millenials in ways that show benevolence for the greater good of humanity."

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