With huge heads and tiny brains, they lumber through a desert of pain… but enough of her endangered elephants, if only Meghan cared as much about the Royal Family’s preservation: JAN MOIR watches Meghan on US TV
They move slowly across the landscape, lumbering and flat footed, but tenacious.
Their primordial mission is to safeguard the past, then furnish and burnish the future anew.
Look at them! Their heads are huge and their brains are perhaps not so huge – but their path is straight and true.
They trudge onwards through the desert of pain, onwards through the ache-y breaky veldt of despair where no one ever asks how they are, forever onwards towards the glory of coast to coast American television and a guest appearance on a show watched by more than five million people.
The plight of the endangered elephants will have to wait. For it is the fate of the imperilled Duke and Duchess of Sussex that concerns us here.
As much as the couple hate publicity, Meghan Markle kindly found it in her heart to give an interview to American television, the first to be broadcast in her post-Windsor world.
Meghan Markle is pictured on Good Morning America to talk about her new Elephant film
Sandwiched between adverts for Advantix (used to repel fleas in your pet) and a toothpaste that promises to ‘remove ten years of yellow stains’, she popped up on Good Morning America on the ABC network to explain why we should all be watching Elephant, Disneynature’s show for which she provided the voiceover.
‘I’ve been very lucky to be able to have hands-on experience with elephants in their natural habitat,’ said the duchess in a pre-recorded interview.
‘When you spend time connecting with them and other wildlife you really understand we have a role to play in their preservation and their safety.’
Such a shame she did not feel the same way about the British Royal Family, with whom she also had hands-on experience in their natural habitat, but elected not to help in their preservation or safety. Rather the opposite. Why? There were clues here, if you looked for them.
As Meghan burbled on about how super, great and cool these animals were, one could see she had really connected – her favourite word – with the elephants in a way she never could with Prince Philip and the gang.
‘These creatures are so majestic and at the same time so sensitive and so connected,’ she said. ‘We see in this film just how remarkable they are. Their memories are amazing, the close connection of the herd, the protection of the herd. They are a lot more like us than they are different.’
Another still from Meghan’s Good Morning America appearance when she discussed her new elephant documentary with Disney
Are they really? Wearing a white shirt and the easy smile of the seasoned elephant-watcher and instant expert, our girl was assured and confident, back where she belonged at last.
‘Our first look at Meghan Markle’s return to the small screen,’ Good Morning America anchor Amy Robach had trumpeted earlier in the programme.
The ABC network is owned by Disney, which explains the exclusive interview – but not that the breakfast show’s hosts didn’t always know how to address their guest.
Sometimes it was Duchess Meghan Markle – like the unicorn, she doesn’t exist – sometimes it was Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and sometimes it was just ‘the royal’, which went uncorrected every time.
As the last short item on the two-hour broadcast, the duchess was not exactly top billing, but these are early days.
There was a bigger fuss about a Chicago Bulls basketball documentary starring Michael Jordan and much on Beyonce’s impassioned speech during the Together at Home broadcast about the impact of Covid-19 on black people. Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher launching their charity Quarantine Wine were also given more airtime.
Harry and Meghan measuring an elephant in an Instagram picture shared on Sussex Royal
Yet what the anchors called Meghan’s ‘passion project’ did get a nice little plug.
We learned these particular elephants live in the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa and make yearly migrations from a flooded delta to the edge of Victoria Falls – an endless search for nourishment and validation with which the Sussexes might identify.
Thank goodness there was no talk of elephantine body positive images or their mental health issues.
And of course no one addressed the real elephant in the room which is if, and how much, Meghan got paid for this – even if all the profits from the proceeds are going to Elephants without Borders.
Still, children and royal watchers alike will enjoy this documentary. All the elephants have names, and there is much talk of succession and dynasty, which is quite fun if your husband is – still! – sixth in line to the throne.
During her Good Morning America appearance, Meghan aired her hope that viewers will ‘realise how connected we are and if we had more awareness about the obstacles we’re facing I think we’d take care of each other, this planet and animals in a very different way’.
That reminded me of a candid moment in the documentary. ‘Oh, dear,’ said the duchess in voiceover, after an elephant’s rear quarters vibrated like cymbals following a thunderclap of plant-based flatulence. Oh dear, indeed.
Meghan and Harry are pictured in London together on March 5 before they quit as senior royals
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