MEGHAN MARKLE invented one of her most famous and affectionate nicknames, the Markle Sparkle, when she was just a teenager, according to a royal biographer.
Meghan and Harry were allegedly always locked in battle with the Palace over how they used their platform when they were still operating as part of the royal machine. Since leaving the Royal Family’s frontline, the couple have made the best out of being able to manage their own PR. They have signed up to the same high-profile public speaking agency as the Obamas, have secured their own Netflix deal to produce mini-series and documentaries, and are on the cusp of launching their charitable venture, Archewell.
It’s a far cry from the struggles for independence they had with the Palace over the Sussex Royal Foundation last year.
While Harry was more accustomed to the slow workings of the Palace, Meghan had become adept at developing her own platform and public image during her years in Hollywood.
Newly-released pro-Sussex biography, Finding Freedom, even revealed Meghan would occasionally contact the paparazzi to let them know where she would be when she was still acting on ‘Suits’.
But there’s one key element of her public image which she first devised when she was just a teenager and which has stuck with her as her fame grew, according to biographer Sean Smith.
Writing in his new book, ‘Meghan Misunderstood’, he explained how the future Duchess coined a nickname for herself as a teenager at a summer drama camp, which would become associated with her as an adult.
He explained: “Meghan was one of 13 or 14 young teenagers, alongside a pocket of pre-teens and a group of little children.
“Another girl was known as Meg so Meghan adopted her own special jingle: ‘Meghan Markle with a Sparkle’ and everyone called her that.”
The Duchess of Sussex was regularly referred to as having the ‘Markle Sparkle’ effect within the media when she first started dating Harry.
This phrase described the furore which surrounded Meghan when she first stepped onto the royal stage.
It referred to anything from the connection her fans felt towards her to an obsession with her fashion.
For instance, search platform Lyst reported in January 2019 when she wore something, the brand would see a 200 percent increase in search demand over the next week.
However, Meghan’s ability to manage her own public image was soon scrutinised by royal fans, as her relationship with the media became more tumultuous.
Reports from last year claimed that she had informed her Hollywood PR company, Sunshine Sachs, she wanted to “break the Internet”.
She was working with them on the release of her guest-edited September issue of British Vogue at the time.
The Sun’s source alleged: “Meghan is creating a team that is not bogged down by the traditions and regulations of the Palace to work for her and Harry on passion projects.
“She was incredibly hands-on with the strategy and in one meeting told the staff: ‘I want to break the Internet.’”
They added that while that was a “shocking” thing for a royal to say, she was already of celebrity status before she joined the Firm.
They explained: “I mean, in reality, she is a celebrity. She’s very familiar with magazines and social media and PR — she prides herself in the knowledge she has.”
The PR company had represented Meghan when she was acting on Suits, too, and reportedly has a reputation for understanding the “dark arts” of reviving a celebrity’s reputation.
Meghan and Harry had endured a difficult year in terms of their public image at the time.
They were criticised for taking numerous private jets while espousing a ‘green’ message, Meghan’s rift with her father and ongoing reports of trouble with the Cambridges.
PR expert Mark Borkowski even told the Daily Mail that Meghan was attempting to build a global brand last year.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex now manage their own public engagements, and received an astounding level of attention for posting photographs of them commemorating Remembrance Sunday at the weekend.
Many have accused them of trying to steal the Royal Family’s limelight as they carve out their future brand.
EXCLUSIVE: The Kardashian clan entrepreneur is already worth £526million and her range with Dr Seuss’s ultimately lovable grouch is likely to make her even richer
Cosmetics queen Kylie Jenner has teamed up with The Grinch and they are likely to steal Christmas – with sales of her make-up range.
The beauty mogul, 23, looked stunning posing in a shimmering emerald outfit and red bikini as her Kylie x The Grinch Christmas collection was launched on Thursday.
They will certainly have to sell a lot of lippy to keep up with this Kardashian. Kylie is already worth £526million and her range with Dr Seuss’s ultimately lovable grouch is likely to make her even richer.
Every year in the UK alone, the beauty industry is worth £28billion and the average woman spends £400 on cosmetics.
More than half of sales are determined by brand name and 23 per cent by an influencer’s status.
Fashions change and the beauty brand has taken over from celebrity scents by stars such as Britney Spears or Beyoncé. And A-listers are cashing in on the trend for make-up musts such as nude lip kits and heavily pigmented eyeshadow pallets.
Neil Saunders, of GlobalData’s retail division, said: “People look to celebrities as role models and try to emulate their style through their make-up. Kylie’s Christmas collection will do well because her collections always do.
“She has a very strong fanbase and her cosmetic ranges are held in high regard.” Social media gives the likes of Kylie direct access to adoring fans. Many are youngsters spending hours in their bedrooms, perfecting intricate looks to post online.
Mr Saunders says: “The Grinch is a fun character. Those things capture attention and drive sales. It’s a brand in itself so it’s an interesting one to drop over the holiday season.”
Kylie Cosmetics is thought to have the largest Instagram reach of any cosmetics company, with 25 million followers. In November last year, beauty giant Coty announced it was paying £450million for a 51 per cent stake in the brand.
Kylie, just 10 when she was first on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which ends next year, used £188,000 of her own money to start the business with 15,000 lip kits – a combination of lipstick and lip liner – that cost £22.
The entire stock sold out online in less than a minute. In February 2016, she relaunched the company as Kylie Cosmetics, with products made in China and California. Sales have been astronomical, with revenues of about £113million in 2019.
Annie Brown, senior consultant at Brand Finance, said salon closures due to Covid-19 have driven demand for home treatment products such as hair dye and nail care.
She said with less clubbing and more people working from home, the casual, no make-up style as opposed to colour cosmetics is the hottest look this season.
She said: “Kylie in particular fits into that colour cosmetics category, so I wouldn’t be surprised if sales have been slow so far this year compared with historic years.”
But she believes such products may make a comeback over the holiday season and be popular as gifts.
She said: “Kylie has teamed up with The Grinch – both confusing and exciting her followers. Some have quipped the partnership is sure to help her steal Christmas.”
Ms Brown said ranges such as singer Rihanna’s Fenty, which launched more than 40 tones for foundation, speak to a wider audience than most cosmetics lines and feel authentic, which resonates with consumers.
But she said Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown did not “quite hit the right chord” with her Florence by Mills line as she posted videos showing how to apply the products – without using the products.
PR expert Mark Borkowski said: “Instagram has matured gradually over the past five years, allowing people to develop their own brands – especially the Kardashians.
“There is a story and an authenticity behind their look. It allows people to buy into not only the celebrity lifestyle but also what they wear, and make-up is a huge part of that.”
He’s yet to concede the US election, but outgoing President Donald Trump has allegedly planned his next move.
But many believe Mr Trump’s first step post-presidency will be to launch a media empire of his own in a bid to bring down the “fake news media” that he’s continuously bemoaned over the course of his administration – and use his army of fans to help him make it happen.
“He’s just got 72 million to vote for him. The enthusiasm for Trumpism is just mega.”
Mr Farage, who spoke at a Trump rally in Arizona last month, said the President’s “biggest success” in the past two decades was television.
I personally believe he’ll launch his own thing,” Mr Farage said.
“If there was a prime time evening show with Donald Trump, the ratings would be off the charts.”
Public relations specialist Mark Borkowski agreed that Mr Trump was in pole position to build some form of media company.
“He’s set up this dialogue about the ‘fake news media’. He could easily set up something that is an extreme Fox (News) and a newspaper group – and he would get the backing to do it.
“Donald Trump has always defied people, but if he’s going to lose his status on Twitter, this man is a fighter. He could raise significant money to create a whole new media universe.”
A report last week from Axios suggested that the President was already working on a plan to build his own digital media channel to “clobber Fox News and undermine the conservative-friendly network”.
The channel would reportedly be launched for online streaming purposes, charging a monthly fee to fans and aiming to “replace” the Fox Nation streaming service.
“He plans to wreck Fox. No doubt about it,” a source with knowledge of Mr Trump’s intentions told the publication, adding he’ll now “spend a lot of time slamming” the network.
Following his own “train wreck” interview with the President in early August, Axios’national political correspondent, Australian reporter Jonathan Swan remarked that Mr Trump was “obsessed with media”.
“The thing you’ve got to understand about this President is he is obsessed with media and driven by media in a way that, no matter what you read about him, it still doesn’t fully explain about the level of obsession with media,” Swan told ABC’s Radio National Breakfast broadcaster, Fran Kelly.
“He is a media creation. He’s created himself through television, through media.
“He’s obsessed with it. He knows programming, he watches an inordinate amount of television.
“He’s obsessed with ratings. He knows the nuances of different shows, he knows the hosts.
“If you cover him, he is aware of you in an intense way, and particularly if you are not only covering him in print but appearing on television.”
In the lead up to the election, Mr Trump joked that if he lost, he’d leave the US.
“What am I going to do? I’m going to say I lost to the worst candidate in the history of politics,” he said at a rally in Macon, Georgia in October.
“I’m not going to feel so good. Maybe I’ll have to leave the country.”
While many laughed off the comments, CNN’s national security analyst Juliette Kayyem argued it wasn’t surprising that a plan to flee the country had crossed Mr Trump’s mind.
“He always says the quiet part out loud – I am sure the thought has crossed his mind as he’s facing both federal and state investigations that he won’t be protected from,” she said.
Johnny Depp has lost his libel case against the Sun newspaper over an article that called him a “wife beater”.
Mr Depp, 57, sued the paper after it claimed he assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard, which he denies. The Sun said the article was accurate.
Judge Mr Justice Nicol said the Sun had proved what was in the article to be “substantially true”.
He found 12 of the 14 alleged incidents of domestic violence had occurred.
Mr Depp’s lawyer called the ruling “perverse” and said the Hollywood actor intends to appeal.
A spokesperson for the Sun said it had stood up for domestic abuse victims for decades, and thanked Ms Heard for “her courage in giving evidence to the court”.
The trial was heard over 16 days in July at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
Ms Heard’s lawyer in the US, Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, said the judgement was “not a surprise”.
“Very soon, we will be presenting even more voluminous evidence in the US,” she said.
Mr Depp is suing Ms Heard, 34, in the US in a separate case, over an opinion piece she wrote in the Washington Post. Mr Depp says the article implied he was violent towards her.
The allegations of violence spanned the period between 2013 and 2016, when the couple split.
The judge highlighted three incidents where he said Mr Depp had put Ms Heard in “fear for her life”.
In one of those incidents, in Australia in 2015, Mr Depp was allegedly physically and verbally abusive towards her while drinking heavily and taking drugs. Mr Depp accused Ms Heard of severing his finger, but the judge said he did not accept Ms Heard was responsible.
“Taking all the evidence together, I accept that she was the victim of sustained and multiple assaults by Mr Depp in Australia,” said Mr Justice Nicol.
“It is a sign of the depth of his rage that he admitted scrawling graffiti in blood from his injured finger and then, when that was insufficient, dipping his badly injured finger in paint and continuing to write messages and other things,” the judge said.
“I accept her evidence of the nature of the assaults he committed against her. They must have been terrifying.”
Of the 14 alleged incidents of domestic violence, there were two the judge did not rule as having occurred.
They were an alleged incident in December 2014, which the judge said he was “not persuaded… constituted a physical assault”, and another in November 2015, which the judge said could not be proven because it was not put to Mr Depp in cross-examination.
Mr Justice Nicol said that “a recurring theme in Mr Depp’s evidence was that Ms Heard had constructed a hoax and that she had done this as an ‘insurance policy’,” and that Ms Heard was a “gold-digger”.
But he added: “I do not accept this characterisation of Ms Heard.”
Speaking outside court on the last day of the trial in July, Ms Heard said the case had been “incredibly painful” and she just wants to “move on her with her life”.
Jenny Afia of Schillings law firm, who represented Mr Depp, said: “This decision is as perverse as it is bewildering.
“Most troubling is the judge’s reliance on the testimony of Amber Heard, and corresponding disregard of the mountain of counter-evidence from police officers, medical practitioners, her own former assistant, other unchallenged witnesses and an array of documentary evidence which completely undermined the allegations, point by point.”
“The judgement is so flawed that it would be ridiculous for Mr Depp not to appeal this decision,” she added.
A spokesperson for the Sun said: “Domestic abuse victims must never be silenced and we thank the judge for his careful consideration and thank Amber Heard for her courage in giving evidence to the court.”
Charity Women’s Aid said everyone who experiences domestic abuse “deserves to be listened to and believed”.
“This also applies to survivors who do not fit the image of the ‘perfect’ victim – and regardless of the high profile of the alleged abuser. There is no excuse for domestic abuse.”
What next for Johnny Depp?
By Ian Youngs, BBC News arts & entertainment reporter
A decade ago, with three Oscar nominations under his belt, he was Hollywood’s best-paid actor. Now, this ruling, and the revelations from the trial, have done huge damage to Johnny Depp’s reputation and career.
Will film fans want to watch him play the heavy-drinking US photojournalist W. Eugene Smith in his next movie, Minamata, which is due for release in February? Will it still come out?
Will viewers want to see him in the new Fantastic Beasts movie – or, given that it started filming relatively recently, might Warner Bros decide he should be dropped? Those are his only two new credits listed on IMDB – will there be any more?
Reputation management lawyer Mark Stephens said the ruling was “immensely damaging”, and the only way he can find forgiveness in Hollywood and among the public is to admit his problems and get treatment.
But it is “very difficult to see how children’s authors like JK Rowling or children’s entertainment companies like Disney” can stand by him, Mr Stephens said.
This wasn’t a criminal trial, and Mr Depp still has a substantial fan base who have made themselves heard on Twitter since the ruling.
Dressed in chinos and plaid shirts and spilling profundities about climate change with an accent thicker than treacle, Prince Harry is the polar opposite of the classic reality star.
But those on the inside say Harry isn’t typically hostile with the media.
Numerous pap shots have surfaced during his short time living in California already, and they’ve shown the prince looking relaxed in front of the camera.
He’s been going about his day job; campaigning and volunteering with charities such as Baby2Baby, which helps children in poverty.
“They may have had all these lofty ideas about producing epics highlighting environmental causes and the poverty gap, but Netflix obviously want their pound of flesh,” a source reportedly told the newspaper.
“It will all be very tasteful, and not Katie Price and Peter Andre-style reality TV, but they want to give people a glimpse into their lives and see all the charity work they do.”
Addressing the rumours, a representative for the couple said in a statement: “The Duke and Duchess are not taking part in any reality shows.”
Of course, ‘reality TV’ is a broad term. The representative’s statement appears to confirm the couple won’t be followed by cameras in the typical reality show format, but part of the couple’s Netflix deal could be a documentary-style project featuring them in front of the camera.
We already know that Harry and Meghan have founded a production company and signed a deal with Netflix to create new documentaries and feature films.
“Our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope,” the couple have said. “As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us.”
So what might they produce?
Experts that spoke to HuffPost UK believe it’s likely that any docu-film project that the couple put out with Netflix will be focussed more on their campaigning work than the couple themselves, and will be similarly as controlled as their photoshoots showing them conducting charity work in California.
“I would imagine such a reality show would revolve around causes and charity work close to Harry and Meghan’s heart,” says Samir Hussein, a royal photographer who has snapped Harry since 2010. He believes the idea of the couple being in front of the camera isn’t so far-fetched.
“Provided the reality show was on [Harry’s] terms then he will come across as comfortable,” Samir says.
A show where Harry and Meghan go about their activism in Los Angeles is certainly easier to imagine, even if it’s the inside of their home – and lives – that we really want to see.
Paul Braund, a TV producer who has developed ideas for documentaries in conjunction with royal palaces including Kensington Palace, agrees.
“All you really want to see is what they’re really like together, what the dynamics are, does Meghan really wear the trouser?” says Paul. “But I’d be very surprised if they did anything reality-like. It’d be amazing if they did, but I can’t imagine anything fly-on-the-wall-esque.”
Majesty Magazine editor and royal expert Ingrid Sewart says Harry has always been comfortable in front of the camera.
“As Prince Harry is probably one of the most photographed people in the world – because he was in front of the camera from the moment of his birth when he was carried by his mum out of hospital 36 years ago – I think he will be good,” predicts Ingrid.
“He does, however, need to loosen up a bit and not be so serious. But if he is being followed by a camera rather than speaking directly into a lens, he should manage this well.”
But producing a good TV show takes more than just a comfortable performance in front of the camera: it requires the perfect team behind it too, reminds PR expert Mark Borkowski.
“They’ve hardly got the talent to be producing,” he says. “If you think of something like Obama’s great hit on Netflix, think of all the people who got involved to make it: he was a figurehead who bought in lots of people. I’m not seeing any trade news at all so I would assume they’re still playing around with the hype.”
Mark believes that when it comes to the Netflix deal, the devil will be in the detail.
“The question about what he will become is dependent on who advises him,” he says. “Some of the biggest names in Hollywood get submerged in their own ego and hubris and are suffocated rather than listening and being challenged by critical people who keep them on message.”
Providing Harry finds the right team, what does it take to produce a show featuring the most talked-about couple in the world?
“There’ll be so many ideas,” says Paul Braund. “It would be a huge team that would come up with a bunch of wild ideas and a few would get pitched to the couple.”
Countless independent production companies and their development teams would be drumming up new ideas, he says.
“It would need to be something really credible,” says Mark. “Commissioners always ask, ‘Why now?’ ‘What’s the reason for doing this show now?’ I’ve been in the industry ten years and I’ve pitched 500 channels. You need the right time, the right access, the right talent involved, and a really unique idea no one’s heard of before.”
With the right packaging, photographer Samir believes a production crew should embrace the fact that Harry will probably want to focus the show on his charity work. That will “help him not be too preoccupied with the cameras,” and “allow him to focus on what he cares about in a natural way,” he says.
When shooting passion projects, such as last year’s ITV documentary, Harry is easy to work with: “It would be rare for him to issue special requests,” says Samir.
Whatever the final product, Harry’s establishment upbringing will result in the couple “wanting final say and a lot of creative input,’ believes Paul.
“You always see a guy who didn’t want to get on with the life he was born into,” says Mark Borkowski, who believes Harry can make a strong success of a career in TV. “He can easily become a campaigner in some sense: not quite an Attenborough, but someone who understands the issues of mental health.
More than a trusted and familiar voice on climate change and equality, Mark believes the prince could go one further, positioning himself as a modern kind of national treasure – one that feeds his home nation as well as the US.
“He could become the ultimate agony uncle as he gets older,” he suggests.
The question left unanswered, of course, is what the contents of the Netflix deal means for Harry and Meghan away from the world of entertainment. Will public opinion soar with the couple allowing us into their lives, and could the shows they produce bring some of their tabloid detractors on side?
They may not care what other people think – but there’s no denying that when these documentaries drop they’ll be some of the most talked-about pieces of entertainment around, defining a new era for the royal family and Harry and Meghan alike.
MEGA-BUCKS Meghan Markle could have made £500k for 15-minute Power Women Zoom chat – that’s £33k a minute
MEGHAN Markle could have earned as much as half a million for her Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Zoom chat, an expert has claimed.
PR expert Mark Borkowski says that the Duchess of Sussex could have raked in £33,000 a minute at the 15-minute at the £10k-a-head event on Tuesday.
Speaking exclusively to Fabulous Digital he said: “There is curiosity in anything she does and has to say, her earning potential is very high.
“I would say she would get anywhere in the region of £250,000 to £500,000 for doing something like that.”
Borkowski doubts that Meghan’s earnings would have been linked into a revenue share with every participant taking part.
As well as it being a “giant networking opportunity” and publicity for Meghan, Borowkski says it also acts as “payback” for the Sussexes.
He continued: “They (Harry & Meghan) still need high levels of publicity, both for their brand but more importantly to send a signal to the British royal family – they ain’t going nowhere.
“There’s a certain amount of gamesmanship going on, I think their ego wants to say ‘look who we are, we’re not the 3rd or 4th choice in the royal pecking order. We’re still more than relevant.’
“They had to stand in line to William and Kate, Prince Charles and the Queen and this shows their potency to the royal family – this is their little bit of payback.”
However, while Meg may be earning megabucks at the moment Borowski says that she needs to strike a balance with events in order to keep her value high.
He added: “The more you do, the less your value
“You’ve got to strike a balance, you’ve got to develop traction and media and at the same time you have to keep your value high.
“They are absolutely in the perfect place for them to do this – Brexit Britain is a backwater and Meghan is a high watt bulb.”
The Duchess spoke at the virtual summit from the Santa Monica mansion she and Prince Harry bought last month.
In the chat, Meghan – who has come under fire over her use of private jets while promoting environmental causes in the past – insisted she is “not controversial” and said “what ends up being inflammatory is people’s interpretation”.
I hope the whole subject of storytelling and conversation emerges with relatively clarity from our activity with Joey and Dexter, so I won’t keep banging on about it. You can fill in the gaps and keep the thesis in the mind, I’m sure. This is a tale of a racing driver, a parrot, and Frank Windsor’s badly bitten ear. It’s a tale which shows how improvisation in PR will always ensure that tomorrow’s fish and chip paper can be exploited to make more fish and chip paper for the day after tomorrow and more fish and chip paper for the day after that.
This was straightforward show business PR (a campaign to promote Treasure Island at the Mermaid Theatre) rather than show business being used as a vehicle to promote product. If there’s one thing guaranteed to make the UK media go gaga (apart, of course, from whoever’s tits or fanny fell out whilst they were getting out of a cab at ritzy club) it’s anything to do with animals. I know – as you do – that the media loves a skateboarding goldfish, a football playing ferret, an alcoholic cat, a snake in a skirt, or a window-cleaning hamster. Whatever. Treasure Island comes ready-packaged with its own animal star in the shape of Captain Flint, Long John Silver’s “Pieces of Eight”-shouting parrot. I persuaded the producers to allow me to stage a stunt. There was competition in the West End. Frank Bruno was playing Aladdin in a big shiny panto. It needed a stunt, and I alighted on Flint as the vehicle for PR’ing the show. I decided to recycle a successful idea.
In a previous life I staged a crocodile audition for a new Charles Strauss musical. Nothing wrong with recycling when something really really works, and he knew that this would really really work. The Mermaid Theatre’s production was going to use a genuine parrot, rather than a piece of stuffed felt with a beak. I decided to hold open public auditions for the part. “We’re desperate to find Captain Flint! Please help! Pop along with your parrot and he could soon be a west end superstar! With a superstar salary to boot!” The press release was dispatched, the media responded exactly as expected and excitedly informed readers of the when, the where, the why and the how with, of course, extensive references to The Mermaid and Treasure Island throughout.
Since all pet owners are besotted with their furry or feathery friends, and captivated by what they perceive to be their pet’s unique, amazing and adorable talents and qualities, this simple request was virtually guaranteed to pull in a crowd of A-list oddities. At the appointed hour, under the watchful eyes of assorted TV crews and print-media camera-folk, the A-list oddities congregated at the Mermaid (against a backdrop of Treasure Island posters for full brand-awareness brownie points). So that was story two. Of course, there had never been any intention of appointing any common or garden pretty Polly to the part: the casting had long ago been signed and sealed by the Mermaid with some hard-bitten professional from a performing animal agency in Norfolk.
In due course, to keep the story rolling, we announced the identity of the successful candidate. Sadly, for the enthusiastic parrot owners who’d flocked to the auditions, none of them had secured the hoped-for prize. Never mind – they’d had their fifteen minutes of fame. And no, it wasn’t the professional parrot either. We were saving that for later. The parrot selected for the part, after weighty consideration by the director, was Humbert, a particularly beautiful specimen owned by one James Hunt. James Hunt was a then very famous World Champion Formula 1 driver and (genuinely) Humbert was his parrot. I had great memory for Fine trivia. I managed through a mate to get an audience with Hunt in his Wimbledon home. Over a game of pool I persuaded Mr. Hunt to get involved in this piece of tomfoolery. The fee, of £550 was to be paid in bird seed. I now had our THIRD story for the price of one as the papers rushed to print pictures of the dashing star of British motor-racing with his feathered friend. I don’t think I’d fully worked out at this point how to extricate myself from this situation: one way or another, Humbert would have to be removed and replaced by our (pre-agreed) professional, and however it was to happen, it had to make a fair bit of media noise.
We set to the task of improvising some not-quite-too-far-fetched media-friendly guff to get ourselves off the hook. In time-honoured fashion, this involved sitting around with our feet on a board-room table, staring into space and chewing over some vaguely on-topic crap about panto, parrots, theatres, and Frank Windsor. Inspiration emerged, as inspiration usually did when we subjected ourselves to the rigours of this arduous creative process. It turned out that Humbert, with his acute and astonishing powers of mimicry, had started swearing on stage. He’d picked up some particularly robust language from the stage crew, which he vented at random during rehearsals. Worse still, gripped by some major luvvie tantrum, Humbert had bitten Frank Windsor’s ear.
The story was duly released, and Frank Windsor was fully briefed on the tragic injuries he’d suffered thanks to Humbert’s violent tendencies. Frank happily headed off to a number of chat shows with an Elastoplast prominently attached to his ear-lobe. Amidst much rueful head-shaking at his co-star’s misdemeanours, he elicited the sympathies of the nation. Oh. And finally (as they preface all the best animal stories) there was still the vexed issue of who was to play the parrot. It was the usual, last-minute cliff-hanger. Could the producers save the show? Well of course they could. Step forward the professional parrot from Norfolk. Anyone in the media with any kind of critical faculty might have stopped to wonder why on earth the producers hadn’t thought of consulting an animal agency in the first place. But what’s the point of letting a few obvious facts or practical considerations get in the way of a good story?
As a post-script, whilst I was writing this, out of simple curiosity I googled “parrot bit Frank Windsor’s ear”. Top of the list was a story from the Weekly World News of February 6th, 1990. Under the headline “Big Mouthed Parrot Blows His Chance to Be a Star” I read (with a growing sense of wonderment) that during the first PUBLIC performance of the show, Humbert had not only bitten Frank’s ear, he’d also shouted “shut up” during a particularly critical speech, and then followed through by shitting on the actor’s jacket. Ridiculous. That can’t be true. It’s all very well having this swearing, shitting and ear-biting happening in the heads of the show’s publicists, but there’s no chance it’d actually happen live. There wasn’t a hope in hell of getting the parrot to misbehave to order. So, I can only conclude that the tale took someone’s fancy and they simply decided to embroider it slightly for their own entertainment and for the amusement of the wider world.
It’s only fair to point out that Weekly World News is possibly not the most reliable source of accurate, high-quality investigative reporting on matters of global import. Other stories in that week’s edition include “Chain Smoker Kicks 30 Year Habit … then chokes to death on wad of nicotine gum!”, “Bulldog rips Mercedes to shreds – shocked owner watches in horror as hungry mutt eats new car for lunch”, and the frankly less-than-credible “Liberace was a stallion – not a sissy!” (“Fancy pants pianist Liberace may have looked like a sissy-boy, but behind closed doors
Harry was in talks with Goldman Sachs to bolster one of his charities, not Sussex Royal Brand: Royal insider
Even before Megxit happened, Harry reportedly wasted no time in striking lucrative deals with an investment bank that would pave the way to riches for him and Meghan Markle in the future when they were no longer a part of the British monarchy.
In order to do that, Harry reportedly entered into talks with American global banking giant Goldman Sachs, who experts believe can get the value of their brand, Sussex Royal, skyrocketing in just a few years. “They’re going to earn fortunes, whether through speeches or ambassador work – these are £1billion handshakes,” Renowned PR agent Mark Borkowski told Daily Mail.
Although Kensington Palace declined to comment, a royal insider called the assumption about bolstering their brand “categorically untrue”, adding, “It was one of The Duke’s charitable patronages that was in discussion with Goldman Sachs.
Talks with the investment banking company reportedly started November last year when Harry and Meghan were supposedly spending their winter holidays in Canada along with their son Archie. While on one hand, they finalized the details of their plan to step down as senior members of the royal family, on the other hand, Harry’s team reached out to Goldman Sachs to strike a deal.
Celebrities like David Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow have famously aligned their brands with the investment bank, attending multiple events organized by the company to give speeches. Harry, too, privately delivered such a speech at one of their events. While the stars do not get paid for the said speeches, sources said that appearances like that “pave the way for the Sussexes to forge a lucrative future relationship” with the bank. The firm was accused of playing a role in the 2008 financial crisis.
According to the report in the Daily Mail, Goldman Sachs declined to comment.
The report comes just days after Harry and Meghan were slammed by critics for choosing to speak at JP Morgan’s Alternative Investment Summit in Miami as their first public engagement post-Megxit.
The couple, who have rallied against “fossil fuel emissions. jeopardizing” the Earth and spoken of a “ticking clock” to save the planet, making a speech at the event — funded by JP Morgan, which has allegedly pumped over $78 billion into companies behind fracking and Arctic oil and gas exploration — for which they reportedly received more than half a million dollars was a “tacky” choice, according to experts.
“This shows how difficult it is going to be. They’ve got to make a lot of money and they are going to slip up on the way,” Borkowski told Daily Mail. “The worry is how many of these types of gigs are there going to be? For JP Morgan, it’s an extraordinary ‘get’. They clearly have the money to afford them, but Harry and Meghan need to avoid being perceived as tacky.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry ‘have agreed to star in fly-on-the-wall Netflix reality series with cameras following them for three months’ as part of $150m deal
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are said to have agreed to star in a fly-on-the-wall Netflix reality series with cameras following them for three months.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are hoping to ‘give people a glimpse into their lives and see all the charity work they do’, according to a source.
It comes after the royal couple signed a £112million Netflix deal to make TV series, films and children’s shows for the streaming service.
Harry and Meghan will be followed for three months but it is not clear whether cameras will be allowed into their home in Montecito, California.
A source told The Sun: ‘They may have had all these lofty ideas about producing epics highlighting environmental causes and the poverty gap, but Netflix obviously want their pound of flesh.
‘It will all be very tasteful, and not Katie Price and Peter Andre-style reality TV, but they want to give people a glimpse into their lives and see all the charity work they do.’
According to the source, much of the series will be about their philanthropic work rather than what they get up to behind closed doors.
But they added: ‘It will still be a fascinating insight and Meghan hopes viewers will get to see the real her.’
Ingrid Seward, Editor of Majesty magazine, said the couple were ‘hypocritical’ for agreeing to the reality series after they left the UK for the US for greater privacy. It is extraordinary. This is exactly what they said they wouldn’t do,’ she said.
And PR executive Mark Borkowski told The Sun: ‘Viewers will be interested to see what they are up to but there needs to be authenticity. They have laid out a grand plan and are fulfilling it. They are doing this all on their own terms.’
etflix has said it already has several projects in development but declined to offer more information on the new series.
A Netflix spokesman said: ‘The couple already has several projects in development, including an innovative nature docu-series and an animated series that celebrates inspiring women but we are not disclosing any of the programming slate at this time.’
Harry and Meghan stepped down as working royals at the end of March for personal and financial freedom.
The couple have set up a production firm to create their films and documentaries and are committed to diverse hiring practices for its key roles, Netflix has indicated.
The duchess has already started her life in the commercial world, narrating a Disney film about a family of elephants and their journey across Africa that was available to stream in April.
The co-founder of Netflix promised earlier this month that the films and TV shows produced as part of the couple’s deal would be Netflix’s ‘most viewed’ content next year.
Reed Hastings said the couple had been ‘smart’ in ‘shopping’ their programme-making talents around ‘all the major companies’ before signing with Netflix.
Mr Hastings dismissed critics who questioned whether the former royals’ desire to create ‘impactful content that unlocks action’ would be good entertainment.
He told American news channel CNBC: ‘It’s going to be epic entertainment. I’m so excited about that deal.
‘They’re smart, they were shopping it around across all the major companies and I think we really put together the best complete package.
‘We’re going to do a wide range of entertainment with them. I can’t tell you anymore than that about it at this point, but I think it will be some of the most exciting, most viewed content next year.’
It is understood the couple may appear on camera in their documentaries but Meghan – who was starring in legal drama Suits when she met Harry – is said to have made it clear she has no plans to return to acting.
Asked about the subject, Mr Hastings said: ‘The real focus for them is on being producers and on building that production capacity.
‘That’s the key thing. They’ve developed a great eye for story and we’ll be working with them on that basis.’
The lucrative deal already appears to have helped the couple further sever ties from the Royal Family, as it was announced that they reimbursed taxpayers in full for the £2.4million used to renovate their Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage.
Last week, the Duke and Duchess were accused of ‘over-stepping the line’ after a thinly-veiled swipe at Donald Trump as they urged Americans to get out and vote in the upcoming election.
In the couple’s most high-profile intervention in the US presidential election, Harry urged voters to ‘reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity’ – all qualities critics associate with Mr Trump.
In a TV appearance to mark Time magazine’s 100 most influential people roll call, Meghan – who has made no secret of her antipathy towards the president – described November’s vote as the most important election of her lifetime.
Meanwhile, Harry complained that he had never been able to exercise his democratic right to vote because of the convention that, as a member of the British Royal Family, he should remain politically neutral.
It was been reported that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will appear on camera in a new Netflix series.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will reportedly feature in a new reality series that will show a ‘glimpse into their lives’.
The couple are thought to have signed a £112million deal with the streaming service, where it was originally thought they would work behind-the-scenes – but a new report from The Sun has claimed that they will also feature on screen.
A source said that Meghan wants the public to see the ‘real her’, adding: “It will be tasteful. They want to give people a glimpse into their lives.”
The report suggests that they will be followed for around three months, but that it is unclear whether cameras will be allowed into their homes.
They added: “Much of the docuseries will be about their philanthropy rather than what they get up to behind closed doors.
“But it will still be a fascinating insight and Meghan hopes viewers will get to see the real her.”
PR expert Mark Borkowski added: “Viewers will be interested to see what they are up to but there needs to be authenticity.
“They have laid out a grand plan and are fulfilling it. They are doing this all on their own terms.
“Their determination to have their voice heard sustains them.
“The big hits on Netflix are ones based in reality so it makes sense.”
Speaking about their deal with Harry and Meghan, Netflix said: “The couple already have several projects in development, including an innovative nature docuseries and an animated series that celebrates inspiring women.
“But we are not disclosing any of the programming slate at this time.”
THE ONLY WAY IS SUSSEX Prince Harry and Meghan Markle agree to film Netflix reality series despite ‘media intrusion’ moan
PRINCE Harry and Meghan have agreed to be filmed for a fly-on-the-wall reality series.
They added: “It will be tasteful. They want to give people a glimpse into their lives.”
The Sussexes moved to the US after moaning about alleged media intrusion.
Former Suits actress Meghan, 39, and Harry, 36, had said they wanted to “shine a light on people and causes around the world”.
A source said: “They may have had all these lofty ideas about producing epics highlighting environmental causes and the poverty gap, but Netflix obviously want their pound of flesh.”
They will be followed for three months but it is not yet known if cameras will be allowed into their £11.5million, nine-bedroom home in Montecito.
The source said: “Much of the docuseries will be about their philanthropy rather than what they get up to behind closed doors.
“But it will still be a fascinating insight and Meghan hopes viewers will get to see the real her.”
However Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty Magazine, said: “We were told they had gone to California for greater privacy so it all appears rather hypocritical.
“It is extraordinary. This is exactly what they said they wouldn’t do.
“The more they talk about themselves the more people will want them to do just that and won’t be interested in anything else they have to offer.”
PR expert Mark Borkowski was more supportive.
He said: “Viewers will be interested to see what they are up to but there needs to be authenticity.
“They have laid out a grand plan and are fulfilling it. They are doing this all on their own terms.
“Their determination to have their voice heard sustains them.”
He added: “The big hits on Netflix are ones based in reality so it makes sense.”But this is something the Royal Family will find hard to stomach.”
Netflix said: “The couple already have several projects in development, including an innovative nature docuseries and an animated series that celebrates inspiring women.
“But we are not disclosing any of the programming slate at this time.”
New research suggests the public want to see a different approach from the usual seasonal extravaganzas from brands, with a greater focus on real stories and a move away from big-budget blockbusters.
PRWeek asked some creative comms experts to gaze into their crystal (snow)balls and predict some of the main trends in Christmas campaigns for the Covid-19 era:
Show that you matter – Mark Borkowski, founder and chief executive, Borkowski PR
“As we inch towards a new normal, we’re prioritising what we need over what we want. This is bad news for those reliant on a collective sense of hysterical consumerist abandon (ie: most brands, most Christmases). Top Christmas PR tips this year: 1) Show that you matter, and 2) Don’t rub it in for those who have struggled. Most brands will understand this basic premise but overegg the nog by adopting a sombre, worthy tone. Don’t expect the equivalent of John Lewis’ Edgar the dragon in a mask, or a social-distanced Sainsbury’s ‘plug boy’. The challenge for PRs out there is to reinvent Christmas as something other than cheesy, sentimental consumerism… but not many will be brave enough to aim that high.”
Read more at: https://www.campaignasia.com/article/swerve-socially-distant-santa-focus-on-joy-pr-pros-on-christmas-2020/463090
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry could be affected by the upcoming Presidential election if the Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins, according to a tax expert.
Meghan recently confirmed that she would be voting in the 2020 Presidential elections. Although she did not say who she would be voting for, royal fans have assumed she will be supporting the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden. The Duchess of Sussex was vocal in her opposition to Donald Trump when he was running for President in 2016 and she claimed he was “misogynistic” and “divisive”.
While members of the Royal Family are not expected to vote in order to remain apolitical, Meghan and Harry’s decision to leave the royal frontline means they no longer represent the Queen.
As a US citizen, Meghan will be able to cast her vote but Harry will not — unlike his wife, he was not born in the States.
Still, the couple’s new lifestyle in the US could be seriously affected if Mr Biden takes the presidency.
Tax expert David Lesperance recently told Express.co.uk that a change in presidency would “absolutely” affect tax laws, and agreed that Meghan and Harry’s current tax situation could therefore change significantly in the event of a Democrat win.
He said that if the Democrats won all three houses, at a minimum what they would promise is they would “increase capital gains tax to ordinary tax relief”.
Mr Lesperance continued: “If the Democrats ‘do a sweep’ there will be a jump in capital gains tax from that 23 percent up to the 47 percent.”
Capital gains tax is paying tax on the profit of the sale of the item — and Meghan and Harry have just bought their first house together in Santa Barbara, California.
They paid a whopping $14.7million (£11million) for a lavish mansion, with a $9.5million (£7million) mortgage.
As the Tax Foundation website explained, Mr Biden’s plan would only affect “filers in the top long-term capital gains bracket”, but he would nearly double capital gains tax for big earners like the Sussexes.
Mr Biden also plans to raise the payroll tax to income over $400,000 (£318,000), which is likely to cover Meghan and Harry.
The Tax Foundation website claims that the former Vice President wants to revert the top individual income tax rate for taxable incomes above $400,000 from 37 percent to 39.6 percent.
Indeed, Meghan and Harry have recently signed on to the same high-profile speaking agency as Barack and Michelle Obama, meaning they are likely to earn more than $400,000 per year.
Some sources have claimed that Harry could already have made more than $750,000 (£596,800) for completing a speech at a JP Morgan event earlier this year.
Mark Borkowski, a PR expert even speculated recently that the pair could earn more than $1million (£795,000) for each occasion.
The Sunday Post
Our new normal will include big changes for the world’s biggest stars as we inch in and out of lockdown, say experts.
Celebrity watchers and public relations professionals burnishing the image of the world’s biggest stars believe the pandemic might be ushering in a new kind of superstar. As countries around the world went into lockdown, and coronavirus changed our daily lives, our adoration shifted from the celebrity elite to the key workers and frontline staff helping to keep us safe.
Our applause was reserved for nurses, doctors and other key workers every Thursday night, and even our glossy magazines featured everyday heroes, with fashion bible Vogue picturing a train driver, supermarket worker and community midwife on its front cover in July.
So, why has the Covid-19 pandemic changed who we admire?
Leading publicist Mark Borkowski, who has written on the history of public relations, believes the shift started years ago with reality television, and later the birth of Generation Z – young people who now expect more from their celebrities, and won’t settle for anything less than authenticity.
He explained: “What we’re beginning to see is a generation who, arguably, can be described as the woke generation. They’re more aware, politically, of what’s happening in the world, especially in terms of climate change, LGBTQ+ rights, trans issues, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“And this time, this moment of Covid, has exploded that change. We’re beginning to see sacrifice, we’re beginning to see who has true value, who has true purpose, and who is actually contributing.
“Instagram stars heading off to Ibiza to show off their glamorous lifestyle has no value. Value is the people who can keep you alive, so naturally Vogue puts a nurse on the front cover.”
Mark agrees that readers, listeners and viewers now want to see more “real” celebrities, and points to the likes of Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford, who graced the cover of Vogue’s September issue as one of the title’s “faces of hope”.
He said: “The people we are looking up to, going forward, are real people – the Greta Thunbergs, who have real values and stand for something.
“We’re slap bang in the middle of a very hot culture war. There’s a massive generational shift I don’t think we’ve seen since the 1950s.”
For celebrities who want to remain relevant, being relatable on social media is vital – but it’s tricky to get right, as Ellen DeGeneres proved when she likened quarantine in her Californian mansion to “like being in jail”.
Meghan Markle is set to become one of the most in-demand public speakers in the world after she delivered her first major speech since the royal split.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been in Los Angeles, California for several months now after stepping down as senior royals in March.
Since then, Meghan and Prince Harry have occasionally been pictured out and about on various charitable causes.
But some royal analysts have recently said they have yet to start a profitable venture.
Now, PR expert Mark Borkowski has told The Sun Meghan Markle could be set to earn a substantial income as a public speaker, praising her “remarkable delivery”.
Mr Borkowski said the Duchess of Sussex, 38, could earn “many hundreds of thousands of pounds” per speech, helping the royal couple realise their goal of financial independence.
Meghan has spoken out on a range of powerful topics in recent weeks, most recently making an appearance at the virtual Girl Up leadership summit.
Mr Borkowski told the paper that Meghan is “on the message” with important topics such as mental health and the Black Lives Matter movement.
He said: “In the short, immediate term she could be the most sought-after speaker in the world.
“Brands want to learn from high-profile people, so having someone like that in the room, it can boost publicity and draw delegates.”
The expert claimed the Duke and Duchess should think about the number of speeches they make, however, as appearing at too many could lower demand.
Mr Borkowski added: “You choose one to four key moments a year to make a speech, then everyone is hanging on your words.”
According to reports, the Duke and Duchess recently joined the Harry Walker Agency – a public speakers agency claiming to work with some of the most high-profile speakers in the world.
These include Bill and Hillary Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Matthew McConaughey and others.
Mr Borkowski added: “In the short term, this is a billion dollar brand.”
London (AFP) – Johnny Depp walked into the hallowed halls of London’s High Court three weeks ago seeking to expunge the stain of being branded a “wife beater” by The Sun tabloid.
But the 57-year-old will still have to win in the court of public opinion even if he comes out victorious once the star-studded trial ends Tuesday.
“I think the damage is done,” said London PR agent and crisis consultant Mark Borkowski. “Even if he wins, it’s going to be a Pyrrhic victory.”
Heard has enjoyed a less lucrative career but has potentially even more to lose.
The 34-year-old’s allegations emerged just as the #MeToo movement began exposing a history of sex abuse in film and media industry as a whole.
“She becomes a totem, an icon,” said Borkowski. “She becomes a significant figure in the ongoing culture wars.”
The judge must read through a dozen volumes of evidence and is expected to take some days before delivering his verdict.
But Borkowski said he has already drawn his own conclusion from the case.
“To me it says one thing, both for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard and the whole process: Fame is toxic,” said the legal expert. “Fame is a monster.”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have sparked a publishing spree — but the Royal Family have always shifted books
There are not many hardback, non-fiction books that can generate 170 separate newspaper articles in the space of a week. But Finding Freedom by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand has done just that.
In case you have been living in Tuvalu, the book is a biography of Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, due to be published on 11 August, which has been serialised across The Times and The Sunday Times. It has prompted another bout of what has become a regular feature of the British press since at least 1870, when the Prince of Wales stepped into the witness box in a divorce case: intense speculation over the private lives of our Royal Family.
According to Scobie, his book is different from the usual tittle-tattle. “For the first time we get to hear what’s been going on in their minds,” he has said. It is a bold claim and one that has fuelled the belief that the Duke and Duchess have given interviews to the authors, even though this has been hotly denied by the authors and the Sussexes themselves.
“That’s crazy. Everyone will raise their eyebrows that there’s been no contribution,” says Mark Borkowski, a public relations expert, who advises celebrities. “Maybe they haven’t sat down and given a formal interview, but there’s been amazing access. It’s what we in PR call ‘putting your own story forward’.”
Royals rarely emerge with dignity from airing their dirty linen in public. But those who do the laundry can end up winners.
Mark Borkowski points out that the real beneficiaries of this summer’s publishing bonanza are unlikely to be Harry and Meghan, but their biographers, Scobie and Durand. “It’s going to make two relatively young journalists megastars, just as Andrew Morton became a megastar. There isn’t the money in publishing that existed in the 90s, but there’s a lot more opportunity to take your content and make money out of it.”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle moved to Los Angeles just before the coronavirus lockdown, where they have been working hard to support those affected by the pandemic through video calls and delivering food to the vulnerable.
Their decision to split from the royal family just before the Covid-19 outbreak means that their roles in the public eye are yet to become clear, although one expert believes that Meghan is set to become the ‘most sought-after speaker in the world’ following the success of her speech at the virtual Girl Up leadership summit earlier this month.
At the event, Meghan said: ‘Your generation is often referred to as digital natives, and you understand that our online world has the power to affirm and support as much as it does to harm.
‘We are not meant to be breaking each other down; we are meant to be building each other up.’
The speech has been become one of the most popular talks from the summit, and PR expert Mark Borkowski told The Sun that due to her ‘remarkable delivery’, the Duchess could be on track to becoming one of the most in-demand public speakers.
Meghan Markle’s popularity has been going through the roof ever since the royal exit, despite the immense scrutiny she faces.
After signing on to Harry Walker Agency, the Duchess of Sussex is all set to become one of the most in-demand public speakers all across the world.
Praising her “remarkable delivery”, PR expert Mark Borkowski told The Sun that this gift could help the duchess milk a hefty income as a public speaker.
He said the 38-year-old could earn “many hundreds of thousands of pounds”, which would help the Sussex pair get the financial freedom they had initially desired.
Jeffrey Epstein Investigation: Prince Andrew Doesn’t Have ‘Exit Strategy,’ But Experts’ Advice Could Indicate Future
Prince Andrew has continued to be connected to the ongoing investigation surrounding Jeffrey Epstein due to the friendship the two shared prior to the financier’s death. Now, following the arrest of Epstein’s former associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, some experts are offering advice to the Duke of York as he looks ahead.
Leading up to Maxwell’s next court appearance to face charges on four counts in connection with the trafficking of a minor for criminal sexual activity and two counts of perjury, British public relations agent Mark Borkowski is sharing what he believes Queen Elizabeth II’s son needs to do moving forward.
After stating that the member of the British royal family is “inextricably linked with the story,” Borkowski told NBC News that he doesn’t believe there is a proper “exit strategy.” As a result, he indicated that he thinks Andrew should either remain silent about the investigation or invite U.S. authorities to the United Kingdom so that he can explain his relationship with both Epstein and Maxwell.