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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Time’s ‘world’s 100 most influential people’

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are the cover stars of Time Magazine’s 2021 list of the 100 most influential people on the planet in a feature that includes an ‘awkward’ photoshoot and a gushing tribute from a close friend who praises them for ‘giving a voice to the voiceless’ and ‘running toward the struggle’ rather than living a quiet life in their California mansion.

The US publication released a glossy and heavily-airbrushed cover on Harry’s 37th birthday showing the Duke of Sussex stood behind his wife with his arms on her right shoulder in the ‘icons’ section of the annual line-up alongside Naomi Osaka, Dolly Parton, Britney Spears and Alexei Navalny.

One critic claimed the cover photo reflected the power dynamic in the relationship, because Meghan is in front of her husband, tweeting: ‘Wow, this photo speaks volumes. There is no hiding who’s in control’.  But Time’s picture editor, Dilys Ng, who made the final decision on the cover image, said today that the portrait captures the Sussexes’ ‘powerful dynamic as equal partners’.

The glossy photos of the Sussexes are accompanied by a profile, branded sycophantic by critics, written by their friend and chef José Andrés, whose charity World Central Kitchen is loved by the Sussexes and supported financially by their Archewell foundation in India and the Caribbean. 

He wrote: ‘In a world where everyone has an opinion about people they don’t know, the duke and duchess have compassion for the people they don’t know. They don’t just opine. They run toward the struggle.’ Mr Andres said the couple are ‘blessed through birth and talent, and burned by fame’, adding: ‘It would be much safer to enjoy their good fortune and stay silent. That’s not what Harry and Meghan do, or who they are’.

On the cover Harry is dressed in all black and Meghan in all white on a terrace at their $14.65million mansion and then in green smiling at eachother and holding hands while walking through their estate in Montecito, California.

In another image they are in matching grey office-style clothes next to a window in outfits chosen by celebrity stylists Clare and Nina Hallwroth, who have recently dressed Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, in pictures taken by Serbian Pari Dukovic. But one critic, a fellow photographer, tweeted: ‘Terrible retouching job. They look CGI’.

Others wrote: ‘This photo looks photoshopped. Also, the way they are positioned is very revealing: it’s the Meghan show and Harry is just the supporting actor’. One critic said: ‘Harry looks completely awkward peering behind his wife like this’. 

Harry and Meghan have agreed to be the cover stars of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people – with this new image released accompanied by a gushing profile

Harry and Meghan smile as their walk through their Californian estate in a photoshoot branded 'awkward' and 'photoshopped'

Harry and Meghan smile as their walk through their Californian estate in a photoshoot branded ‘awkward’ and ‘photoshopped’

In another image they are in matching grey office-style clothes next to a window in outfits chosen by celebrity stylists Clare and Nina Hallwroth, who have recently dressed Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston

In another image they are in matching grey office-style clothes next to a window in outfits chosen by celebrity stylists Clare and Nina Hallwroth, who have recently dressed Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston

The Time 100 stars listed with Harry and Meghan 

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Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex

– The couple ‘turn compassion into boots on the ground through their Archewell foundation’, according to chef and the founder of World Central Kitchen Jose Andres.

Naomi Osaka

– Tennis star won last year’s US Open and participated in protests in Minneapolis before prioritising her mental health.

Alexei Navalny

– The Russian opposition leader was jailed last year and has been a thorn in Vladimir Putin’s side for decades.

Britney Spears

– ‘She’s survived more than a decade of trauma and abuse from her conservatorship’, writes Paris Hilton, yet still ’embodies joy’.

Sherrilyn Ifill

– A lawyer whose ‘advocacy creates paths for the unconvinced to understand things they have overlooked—and that may be the real genius of her leadership and skill,’ writes Bryan Stevenson.

Dolly Parton

– Country music star has ‘diligently celebrated the queer community’, says Miley Cyrus, as well as donating $1million to Covid-19 vaccine research.

Shohei Ohtani

– A Japanese baseball pitcher who has been described as the best player this year.

Cathy Park Hong

– A poet who has published three volumes focusing on mixed language including English, Spanish, French and Korean.

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara

– A Cuba-born performance artist who has openly criticised the government and its policies.

Nasrin Sotoudeh

– An Iranian human rights lawyer who has represented opposition activists and politicians.

Manjusha P. Kulkarni, Russell Jeung and Cynthia Choi

– The Stop AAPI Hate co-founders work together to combat a rise in Asian hate speech.

Muna El-Kurd and Mohammed El-Kurd

– 23-year-old siblings who have become social media stars with more than two million followers.

 

Mr Andres describes the famous incident when Harry was serving in Afghanistan for the British Army, when he was forced to run to his Apache helicopter when his airbase came under fire.

He wrote: ‘That same sense of urgency drives Meghan, now the Duchess of Sussex, who has long been an active humanitarian and a powerful advocate for women and girls around the world. Springing into action is not the easy choice for a young duke and duchess who have been blessed through birth and talent, and burned by fame. That’s not what Harry and Meghan do, or who they are. 

‘They turn compassion into boots on the ground through their Archewell Foundation. They give voice to the voiceless through media production. Hand in hand with nonprofit partners, they take risks to help communities in need—offering mental-health support to Black women and girls in the U.S., and feeding those affected by natural disasters in India and the Caribbean.

‘In a world where everyone has an opinion about people they don’t know, the duke and duchess have compassion for the people they don’t know. They don’t just opine. They run toward the struggle’.

There is no mention of Harry and Meghan’s rift with the Royal Family or the series of bombshell interviews including the one with Oprah where they accused a mystery royal of racism towards Archie and said aides ignored Meghan when she was pregnant and suicidal. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle celebrated their third wedding anniversary in May by revealing plans to build a disaster relief centre in India to help battle Covid-19 and ‘heal’ the virus-ravaged nation in their tie up with José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen.

The building in Mumbai will be based on the blueprint of one the couple’s Archewell foundation has already built on the Caribbean island of Dominica, where locals can get free food and medical care including a coronavirus vaccination.

Harry’s family put their problems aside as the Queen sent best wishes to Prince Harry on his 37th birthday, sharing a selection of photos highlighting her grandson’s charity efforts while he was a working royal. 

The Duke of Sussex, who has quit royal duties and is currently living in an £11m mansion in California also received birthday greetings from the Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Poignantly, Prince Charles shared throwback photos with his younger son, amid a rift that Harry made public during his bombshell interview with Oprah.  

Meanwhile, Prince William and Kate Middleton kept their message simple, posting a solo portrait of the Duke with the caption: ‘Happy birthday Prince Harry,’ and a red balloon emoji. 

It’s not known how the Duke will celebrate his birthday, but Meghan recently marked her 40th with her own endeavor – the 40×40 project – in which she asked high profile people to commit to giving 40 minutes of their time to support women going back to work.    

The birthday wishes come after Finding Freedom author Omid Scobie – who penned the biography with Carolyn Durand and released an updated version last month – said Duke and Duchess of Sussex are ‘making very little progress’ in reconciling with the royal family.

He said Prince Harry and Meghan were ‘desperate to get their story out there’ when they gave their explosive Oprah Winfrey interview earlier this year. 

Appearing on Good Morning America today, Omid claimed the couple and the royal family both want all involved to take ‘accountability and ownership’ for their role in the rift.

Meghan and Harry appeared on Oprah to drop 'truth bombs' on the Royal Family

Meghan and Harry appeared on Oprah to drop ‘truth bombs’ on the Royal Family

Prince William and Kate Middleton kept their message simple, posting a solo portrait of the Duke with the caption: 'Happy birthday Prince Harry,' and a red balloon emoji

Prince William and Kate Middleton kept their message simple, posting a solo portrait of the Duke with the caption: ‘Happy birthday Prince Harry,’ and a red balloon emoji

The Queen has led birthday wishes to Prince Harry on his 37th birthday, sharing a selection of photos highlighting her grandson's charity efforts while he was a working royal

The Queen has led birthday wishes to Prince Harry on his 37th birthday, sharing a selection of photos highlighting her grandson’s charity efforts while he was a working royal

The Royal family shared a picture of Harry visiting a school in Nottingham in 2019, where he as on an away-day to meet young people at community projects aimed at improving mental well-being

The Royal family shared a picture of Harry visiting a school in Nottingham in 2019, where he as on an away-day to meet young people at community projects aimed at improving mental well-being

The Queen also shared a portrait shot of Harry, who is 'making very little progress' in reconciling with the royal family according to Finding Freedom author Omid Scobie

The Queen also shared a portrait shot of Harry, who is ‘making very little progress’ in reconciling with the royal family according to Finding Freedom author Omid Scobie

The Royal Family shared a picture of Harry meeting a child in Botswana in September, 2019 during a visit to the Kasane Health Post, run by the Sentebale charity, in Kasane

The Royal Family shared a picture of Harry meeting a child in Botswana in September, 2019 during a visit to the Kasane Health Post, run by the Sentebale charity, in Kasane

The Queen posted an image of Harry and Meghan at the Invictus Games in 2018 in their last engagement in Australia before heading to New Zealand

The Queen posted an image of Harry and Meghan at the Invictus Games in 2018 in their last engagement in Australia before heading to New Zealand 

Prince Charles and Camilla also wished the duke a Happy Birthday amid a rift that Harry made public during his bombshell interview earlier this year

Prince Charles and Camilla also wished the duke a Happy Birthday amid a rift that Harry made public during his bombshell interview earlier this year  

Poignantly, Prince Charles shared throwback photos with his younger son, amid a rift that Harry made public during his bombshell interview with Oprah - including a portrait of his son

Poignantly, Prince Charles shared throwback photos with his younger son, amid a rift that Harry made public during his bombshell interview with Oprah – including a portrait of his son 

The Prince of Wales is pictured with Prince Harry leaving their mark in cement, at the Dukuduku village school in South Africa in 1997

The Prince of Wales is pictured with Prince Harry leaving their mark in cement, at the Dukuduku village school in South Africa in 1997

The Duke of Sussex and his father are pictured sharing a sweet moment at the Invictus Games Opening Ceremony in September 2014

The Duke of Sussex and his father are pictured sharing a sweet moment at the Invictus Games Opening Ceremony in September 2014

He explained: ‘When we speak to sources close to the couple and also sources close to the royal family, there is this feeling that very little progress is being made.’

Meanwhile Scobie also suggested allegations of Meghan’s bullying behaviour made by a senior Palace aide before the Oprah Winfrey interview were ‘revenge’ from The Firm for the Duke and Duchess’ actions.

The Sussexes were accused of leaving behind a ‘lot of broken people’ with ‘young women broken by their behaviour’ and a source describing one member of their staff as ‘completely destroyed’ by the ordeal. 

Scobie said: ‘For me, it’s impossible to come to any other conclusion that this is some sort of revenge from the institution that we saw pulled into action just before the Oprah interview came out.’ 

The Queen launched an unprecedented inquiry into allegations that Meghan and Harry bullied their staff earlier this year – leaving royal employees ‘shaken’ by ‘unhappy memories’ being brought up about a ‘toxic period’ before the couple emigrated.

Devastating claims that the Duchess of Sussex inflicted ’emotional cruelty’ on underlings and ‘drove them out’ were ‘very’ concerning, Buckingham Palace said.

Prince Charles’ birthday wishes come after a source claimed that Duchess of Cornwall is unlikely to ever forgive her stepson Prince Harry for their actions since stepping back as senior royals in March last year. 

Harry has addressed his relationship with his father in several interviews throughout the year – after first opening up about it in a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in March where he claimed he has been ‘let down’ by Prince Charles. 

The Duke, 37, and Duchess of Sussex, 40, are 'making very little progress' in reconciling with the royal family, the author of Finding Freedom has claimed

The Duke, 37, and Duchess of Sussex, 40, are ‘making very little progress’ in reconciling with the royal family, the author of Finding Freedom has claimed

Speaking to The Telegraph, royal expert Camilla Tominey reported that a source close to Camilla has said that even though Buckingham Palace is conveying the message that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are still loved by the family, the Duchess of Cornwall will struggle to move on. 

Another source claimed that Prince Charles was deeply affected by the reported fall out with Prince Harry and that it had been ‘really hard for him.’  

Meanwhile Prince William and Harry are said to have barely spoken and have an ‘incredibly strained’ relationship after two years of rows over Harry’s wife and her alleged treatment of staff, the couple’s decision to emigrate to America and the ‘truth bombs’ the Sussexes have dropped in TV interviews watched by tens of millions of people around the world.

Harry and Meghan believe they were abandoned by the Royals, even accusing them of racism towards Archie and ignoring their cries for help when the Duchess of Sussex felt lonely and suicidal while pregnant in London.

An updated edition of Harry and Meghan biography Finding Freedom also made a string of other fresh claims that are likely to trigger debate about the state of their relationship with the Royal Family.

Richard Fitzwilliams believes Harry could launch a charitable initiative on his upcoming 37th birthday - and has warned the royal to 'watch what he says' on his birthday

Richard Fitzwilliams believes Harry could launch a charitable initiative on his upcoming 37th birthday – and has warned the royal to ‘watch what he says’ on his birthday 

A leaked version of the epilogue claimed the couple had considered naming the royal they alleged had made a racist comment about their son, Archie; that some royals were ‘quietly pleased’ the Duchess of Sussex missed Prince Philip’s funeral and that Prince William was ‘furious’ about their interview with Oprah.

The new edition also said the Sussexes had ‘no regrets’ about quitting their royal roles and that Meghan found her explosive Oprah interview ‘cathartic’ and ‘liberating’.

Meghan plunged the monarchy into crisis after telling Oprah Winfrey that an unnamed royal had expressed ‘concern’ about Archie’s skin before he was born.

The epilogue reveals that a source told authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand that the Sussexes had considered naming the family member – but had ultimately decided not to.

It also claimed that ‘sources close to the Sussexes’ had said that the Royal Family’s reaction to the allegations made by the couple ‘was not positive’.

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