Harry and Meghan are auctioning off their “dirty laundry” to the highest bidder, German newspapers said as the world’s media reacted to the couple’s ‘explosive’ new Netflix show.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were accused of “undying vacuousness” and greed, as newspapers picked over the fallout from the first episodes of “Harry & Meghan”.
The respectable Süddeutsche Zeitung in Germany accused the pair of making the same mistakes as Harry’s late mother Princess Diana.
"In auctioning off their dirty laundry to the highest bidders while commiserating that their private life is being cannibalised, they are also reaffirming the unwritten celebrity contract that killed Lady Diana," the broadsheet said.
"It seems as if Harry is caught in a real trauma, as if he sees in Meghan a second chance to save his mother,” Der Spiegel said, referring to Diana’s death while being pursued by paparazzi in Paris.
“Why he is telling this story on the very platform that is currently exploiting his mother's sad life as entertainment in the mega hit series ‘The Crown’ remains unclear. Perhaps it has to do with a lot of money," it added.
US offers damning review
In Meghan’s native USA, Variety’s review was damning.
“The Sussexes surprise us yet again, with just how narrow their vision of their fame is, how pinched and unimaginative their presence on the world stage has become,” the entertainment magazine said.
“There’s an air of duty about the entire enterprise of “Harry & Meghan,” as if they’re honour-bound to keep reciting their personal story until we eventually lose interest.”
“These penguins are the last straw!” raged Slate's Laurent Sagalovitsch in France. “Not only are we likely to freeze to death this winter without any water or electricity, with strikes all over the place and forced to get our face masks out of the cupboard again, but on top of all this we're going to have to put up with the endless tale of these lovebirds whose intellectual horizons if they exist, are limited to what font to use on Instagram.”
“They are nothing but a vague actress and a fallen prince, both united behind the idea of selling to the highest bidder the story of their undying vacuousness.”
“As always, the number one enemy is the British press,” France's Libération wrote. “It goes over the 'invisible contract' that links the Windsors, funded by the taxpayer, to the tabloids, which have the right to document their every move and easily descend into harassment.”
But it said "for now", the documentary "hasn't directly attacked the Windsors". Instead it simply evokes "their silence on questions of feminism, their unconscious bias and their desire to remain apolitical whenever possible".
'Not living up to Oprah interview'
"Harry & Meghan, all that fuss for what?", La Parisien wondered. "This documentary series, for now, isn't living up to the devastating potential that the couple's interview with Oprah Winfrey unleashed," it said.
“Shouldn't dirty laundry be washed inside a family?" asked regional daily Sud Ouest.
Madame Figaro blasted the first episode as "treacly and bland" and "nothing to write home about". "Meghan and Harry complain that their story has been taken out of their hands, that the media scrutinises their every move and all they do is to feed the media beast," it said.
Le Monde said the series so far will have "exasperated even more those people (numerous in the UK) who think that the couple won't stop digging up the past and casting damaging but baseless accusations against the monarchy".
The Netflix documentary was as "explosive" as expected, with the Royal family the "sacrificial victim" of a show that was both "intimate and global", Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper reported.
The Royals will be "trembling" at the prospect of more to come, the daily said. "We are not even half-way through the storm for poor King Charles III. The second part of the film, which will go to air next Thursday, will be even more devastating because it will document Harry and Meghan's two last tumultuous years inside the Royal family."
"Mission accomplished - if the intention of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex was to conquer the front pages of every British newspaper, then they've succeeded and then some," said Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy's leading financial daily.
'Self-reflection is non-existent'
Belgium’s Le Soir focused on Harry’s confession that he no longer had any memory of his late mother, apart from her laugh.
The Prince said he had blocked out everything that was painful for him as a boy but still remembered the paparazzi he blames for his mother’s death in 1997.
After three hours of Harry and Meghan, Het Niuewsblad was left with a “bitter feeling”.
“Self-reflection is non-existent. There’s more self-pity,” the Dutch-language Belgian newspaper said.
Will Meghan save some “venom” for the end?” mused De Telegraaf in the Netherlands.
The Israeli media took particular interest in Harry's admission that dressing up as a Nazi was one of the "worst mistakes of my life". It noted that the Board of Jewish Deputies in the UK had accepted his apology at the time.