Now that the Dusseldorf Invictus Games are over, one of the few surprises (for me) is that Prince Harry didn’t give any interviews to American media. He made an appearance on a German sports show and there was American coverage of the games, but there was no sit-down with Gayle King or the Today Show or anything. Maybe Harry feels like he said his piece earlier this year, when he promoted his memoir. Or maybe he was just showing preference to the German media in attendance, because it does feel like the Games and the Sussexes got wall-to-wall positivity in the German media. According to Katie Nicholl at Vanity Fair, Harry did speak – seemingly halfway off the record? – to a German reporter for ZDF, Ulrike Grunewald. Nicholl then interviewed Grunewald about the German media’s reaction to the Sussexes:
Meghan Markle’s decision to fly to Germany and support Prince Harry at the Invictus Games has “wiped out” rumors of any marital rift and earned the Duke and Duchess of Sussex a new fan base in Germany. According to one leading royal commentator, Prince Harry, who turns 39 on Friday, has received a hero’s welcome at the multi-sport event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women. Royal correspondent for German network ZDF, Ulrike Grunewald, met with Harry and said he has been in “excellent form” and is “even happier” now that his wife is by his side.
According to Grunewald, “The German tabloids have been speculating for a while about the Sussexes’s marriage, it has been all over the popular press that the marriage might be in trouble, but this visit has changed all of that. Now that Meghan is here, he is over the moon. They have been holding hands, cheering competitors on at various matches and games. They seem intimate and very close. Either that or they are very good actors. From where I’ve been watching, they seem very in love.”
The correspondent also said that Harry has won a new fan base both among the military community and the public. “For most Germans, Harry is still Prince Harry and very popular. Certainly here at the games he has been very warmly welcomed. He’s done a lot for the military community in Germany and people really respect him for that. When it comes to the Invictus community, they are cheering for him. He has the support of the Germans and the Ukrainians. They have acknowledged what he has done for them, and they are very grateful.”
She also said that Harry was relaxed and happy to be at the competition. “It felt like the old Harry was back. He talked to all of us. We had some little toys that we gave for Archie and Lilibet. He said he was enjoying Germany and has a lot of German in him, he was obviously referring to his family heritage.”
However, Harry only agreed to the interview if he was not asked about his family. “The agreement was that he wasn’t going to talk about his family,” Grunewald said. “His whole attitude was ‘this is about them, the competitors.’”
There have been reports that Harry’s fallout with his family has overshadowed the games and divided opinion within the Invictus Community. Reports in the Daily Telegraph have suggested that Harry has received a mixed response from the Invictus Community who feel a divided loyalty between Harry and the royal family. However, sources close to the prince insist he feels welcome and at home with his many friends at Invictus. “He was very relaxed when he arrived for the opening ceremony,” said one insider. “He’s pleased with the coverage and while some might think that his family affairs have overshadowed things, Harry’s focus is firmly on the games and the amazing men and women taking part.”
[From Vanity Fair]
It’s insane, to me, that there were people in the German media who believed that the Sussexes’ marriage was in trouble when there was literally no evidence to suggest that – it was all an unhinged campaign by the British media to convince a British audience of that as a distraction for what’s happening in Will and Kate’s marriage. While we joke around about the “niche” British media and their toxic bubble, the storylines they create (out of thin air) are repeated all around the world. As for “Harry has received a mixed response from the Invictus Community who feel a divided loyalty between Harry and the royal family” – the way that Telegraph article has been twisted is crazy too. Victoria Ward at the Telegraph was actually extremely shady about the Windsors and how bad it looked for the royals that they were too petty and self-centered to acknowledge Team Britain.
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Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images, Backgrid.
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