The Sussexes’ Christmas Card is here

Meghan and Harry released their Christmas card and there are so many things in it to dissect!!!!!! Let’s get going in one second, but I’m gonna give you a spoiler and tell you my favourite reaction to the card that was sent to me was: “It looks like a Christmas themed acid trip.” Well said.

Meghan and Harry have released their annual Christmas card/photo. I guess I shouldn’t even be calling it a Christmas card, because it’s not a card – it’s a Photoshop filtered Jpeg image of a photo that Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland, took, that was released to a charity to garner press for the Sussexes.

First of all: This photo was not released by the Sussexes themselves. It was released by the Mayhew animal welfare charity in London, of which Meghan is still a patron. It was released on the Mayhew website with the following headline in large letters: “Warm Christmas wishes and a generous gift from our Patron,” with a photo of Meghan looking charitable beside it. It also gives the text from Meghan’s (PR assistant’s) card, which says that she and Harry have made donations to Mayhew and two other charities, in the spirit of the holidays. It doesn’t say how much Meghan and Harry donated.

The article refers to Harry and Meghan’s royal titles four times. It also refers to Meghan as the patron of Mayhew an unnecessary 10 times. Did you know Meghan is a duchess? AND a patron? AND she donated money to worthy causes? Hit me over the head with it, I didn’t get it during the first nine mentions!

Here are some other stray observations and questions about the photo/card:

  • I totally understand why Meghan and Harry used a filtered image of an actual photograph, one that doesn’t really show any of the people (or dogs) clearly. It’s so they can argue in any current/future legal proceedings re: alleged breaches of their privacy that they didn’t give a real photo of themselves and their child to the press for Christmas, but only a computer-generated printing/stained glass image of themselves and their kid. This is a legal argument for privacy. Is it a logical argument for privacy? I personally don’t think so.
  • Why do they even need to release a Christmas card? Aren’t they private citizens? Answer: they don’t! But they also didn’t want to be upstaged by the Cambridges or even Her Majesty The Queen come the day of her annual Christmas broadcast (T-2 days). Can’t wait to see HMTQ’s desk and the photographs she chooses to put there for the broadcast! (I’m a petty person.)
  • Harry and Meghan are said to have released this photo after final printing deadlines for the UK tabloids to print it in the papers tomorrow, on Christmas Eve. And they obviously won’t be on the front pages on Christmas Day, as there will be authorised photos from the Queen’s Christmas broadcast to put on the front page.
  • This is me having been on royal social media for too long, but is there anything to say that this is a filter of a real picture? Because if it is, it’s pretty interesting placement of one of the dogs covering most of Meghan. Also, who’s to say that’s even Archie? I think it likely is, but…if they’re so serious about family privacy, it’s not out of the realm. Social media is already talking about how that doesn’t look like the same baby in the Sussexes’ previous Christmas card and year-end slideshow.
  • Both of the dogs’ faces are getting more privacy than Archie’s. Lmao.
  • The Twitter account UK Royal Tea makes an amazing point – having it be a filtered image of a photograph keeps the value of the first authorized (non-photoshopped) photoshoot of the family high, high, high. Word on the street is that a People spread was either going to come this Christmas or around Archie’s second birthday.
  • It feels sweaty. It feels like there were meetings about how to look the most authentic, which completely negates the authenticity of it.
  • UK royal reporter Emily Nash says that Archie chose the tree and the ornaments for the tree. Come on. He’s an 18 month old. He chose the tree and ornaments like I chose Best Picture at the Oscars last year. If we’re being generous, he witnessed the decision when the tree and the ornaments were selected. This try-hard stuff is what makes people go even harder (in a bad way) for M&H. Just say it’s a Christmas card. It’s barely a Christmas card, but I would let them get away with that. But the whole “we’ve donated to three charities and released it to an animal welfare website and Archie chose the tree and and and and…” is banana pancakes. The Cambridges are like “here’s a picture of us on some stacks of firewood.” Not “Prince Louis cut and ranked the wood himself, and the wood will be donated to cold families, and then Charlotte directed the photoshoot and gave her director’s fee to a charity special to her.” Calm down. Not everything has to be the most incredible, meaningful thing. (I’m salty today, I’m sorry!)
  • The font choices are similar to last year’s card, though not identical.
  • It looks sort of Norman Rockwell-y. Wonder if that’s an intentional choice on their move to America.
  • It’s also the first time Harry and Meghan have released a Christmas card in colour. The previous three were 99% black and white. Their lives have colour now that they’re in California? Life was very grey when they lived in the UK? Who knows.
  • They didn’t write who they are on the card! Are they Harry and Meghan? The Sussexes? Some random people who live in a house with 16 bathrooms? Close friends of their neighbour O (yes, that O)? No matter their intentions, it sort of looks like a crisis of identity after nine months of limbo and three months out from their official Buckingham Palace review. I wonder if they kept names off the card because they don’t know what they’ll be allowed to write on the card next Christmas after the review.

If you’ll indulge me, I also want to jump in the time machine and go back to Christmas last year. Harry and Meghan had shocked the world with their interview with Tom Bradby for his An African Journey documentary in October. They had launched lawsuits aimed at the tabloid press during an otherwise successful tour of several African countries. They took six weeks off from royal life and flew to Canada. If anything says personal crisis, it’s flying to British Columbia for six weeks when you don’t actually have any ties to British Columbia. No offense to British Columbia.

Then they put out a Christmas card from Victoria. The card was sent electronically, complete with a moving sparkle effect.

An objectively cute card, although some parts were strange. The composition of the text wasn’t super pleasing to the eye. The design looked like something any of us could mock up on Vistaprint with a spare 20-30 minutes. And it had been sent electronically. It was odd.

So we had lots of breadcrumbs telling us that Harry and Meghan were going through something. But December 25, 2019 is when I really noticed the wheels come off. And what made me realize it? Behold.

This is the image that the Sussexroyal Instagram account posted on December 25, 2019.

On my personal Instagram account, I posted a story with this image from the Sussexroyal account with the caption, “Welcome to my brain, where I see that Meghan and Harry photoshopped a pixely Santa hat on their royal monogram and scream, ‘WHY ARE THEY LIKE THIS???????'” (That’s actually what it said. I love question marks and exclamation points, what can I say?)

To me, this pixelated Santa hat, combined with the couple’s virtual Christmas card, encompassed everything Sussex: a nice idea, done thoughtlessly, carelessly, and without consideration for other people or public perception. Let’s go through all of the reasons why these two 2019 Christmas images are a cry for help:

  • Not sending a physical card might seem like a good idea in theory, but as senior members of the royal family (at the time), with official patronages, you’re supposed to send physical cards with actual signatures on them. Then the charities can display those cards and hopefully gain clout (and donations). Sending an e-card doesn’t really give the same advantages to charities.
  • The composition on the Christmas card is so bad. It definitely looks like something I would have done on a Christmas card website, decided it was terrible, and then didn’t order any copies of.
  • The virtual Christmas card was also in gif/moving image format, which meant that no one could get a perfectly still/clear image of the card for the papers/social media. They might think that was a middle finger to the papers, but it was also a middle finger to the charities they represent (see above).
  • The Santa hat…looks like I did it. And I have no background in Photoshop. I have a medium background in Microsoft Paint. And I don’t make a Buckingham Palace communications staff salary. So to see something done as poorly as I would have done it…it was jarring!
  • All design elements of both of these images came directly from Meghan.
  • You can tell that Meghan, and I say with love, is so incredibly basic. She doesn’t want to be a princess. She wants to curate an Instagram page! She wants to wear matching pyjamas on Christmas morning! She wants to sell Arbonne products to her high school classmates! I actually love this version of Meghan and I wish she would just live it 100%. Be authentic. Live your best basic life, Meghan!

Okay, that’s enough for today. Let me know what you think about the Sussex Christmas card! And sign up to my newsletter for a fun Christmas surprise in a couple of days. I’m not saying it’s a political analysis of the royal kingdom of Genovia from the Disney movie The Princess Diaries, but I’m also not saying that it’s not that.

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Thank you so much for reading. The idea that people I don’t even know are reading this, let alone commenting with their own thoughts and opinions and theories about the royals, warms my heart. You don’t know how much it means. Thank you. xo.

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One thought on “The Sussexes’ Christmas Card is here

  1. Hi, is me again. So I see this image in the story from The Sun like 10 minutes ago, and I’m thinking my eyes are deceiving me, and I had to come to your blog immediately to verify, and there it is. And all I can think about is “wth are they thinking?” This is like a painted version of a photo, like modern art type of version, and not particularly atractive. You gave excelent points for the possible reasons that this exists, and I had no idea about the things surrounding last year’s card. Like you said, they are not obliged to do this, so why? And also, those details about their child and charities, I think the word to describe their trying too hard in all is “unauthentic”, and people feels it (except their fans that are starting to sound a little trumpian in social media tbh). No idea if they wanted to stick it to the UK media but they sure are making a lot of enemies judging by some interviews.

    Liked by 2 people

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