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King Charles to honor Ted Sarandos despite Harry, Meghan and The Crown

It’s easy to imagine the speculation and conspiracy theories swirling around this strange royal news: King Charles III is set to honor Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos with a prestigious British award.

This news should definitely raise some eyebrows. After all, Sarandos runs the streaming giant that produced “The Crown” and paid Prince Harry and Meghan Markle millions of dollars to spread royal gossip and criticize the monarchy in their hit docuseries “Harry and Meghan “.

Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos arrives for the 39th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California on February 25, 2024. (Photo by Valerie MACON / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

Fans and detractors of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex might wonder if the royal family is playing some kind of long PR game by awarding Sarandos an Honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) “for his services to the creative industries”. » as reported by Variety and the Daily Mail. The CBE is one of the highest honors that can be awarded in the United Kingdom, just one step below a knighthood, according to the UK Gazette. These British honors, including honorary knighthoods and damehoods, have been bestowed on other famous Americans in the past, including Angelina Jolie, Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates, and Presidents Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush.

Sarandos’ name was on an “honors list” released by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last month, the Associated Press and Daily Mail reported. “Oppenheimer” director Christopher Nolan and his producer wife Emma Thomas are also on the list after their hit biopic about J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb,” swept the awards season cinematographic. Nolan and Thomas were made a knight and dame respectively.

King Charles III inspects the 200th Sovereign's Parade at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
CAMBERLEY, ENGLAND – APRIL 14: King Charles III inspects the 200th Sovereign’s Parade at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on April 14, 2023 in Camberley, England. The parade marks the end of 44 weeks of training for 171 cadets. This is the first time King Charles III has inspected the Sovereign’s Parade at Sandhurst since becoming monarch. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Twice a year, the king announces a list of winners, indicates the Gazette. The Daily Mail reported that the Prime Minister’s Office advises on winners, as does the British Foreign Office, which recommends awards to non-British citizens. It is the job of the king or another member of the royal family, such as Prince William or Princess Anne, to present the honors in person at a gala ceremony at Buckingham Palace. However, it is not known when such a ceremony will take place.

It’s easy to imagine the speculation behind Sarandos achieving this honor. Perhaps the royal family and British government want to get on the media mogul’s good side and make him less likely to support future Netflix projects that paint a negative picture of the monarchy or rehash painful past events.

In Harry and Meghan’s 2022 Netflix series, the California-based couple accused the royal family of dismissing their concerns about the harsh, sometimes racist, treatment of Meghan by the British tabloids. The renegade royal couple also described Harry’s big brother, the future king, as short-tempered and accused him of conspiring against Meghan, while claiming that Kate Middleton was not very friendly when she met Meghan for the first time.

Meanwhile, later seasons of “The Crown” portrayed Charles as plotting to encourage his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, to abdicate and as being jealous of Princess Diana’s star power. The series also dealt extensively with Charles and Diana’s tumultuous marriage, showing Charles’s sometimes callous treatment of his young wife and his affair with future Queen Camilla while he was still married. At least the most recent season presented Charles in a more positive light – as a forward-thinker who wants to modernize the monarchy and as a caring, well-meaning father to his sons William and Harry.

Dominic West as the future King Charles in Netflix's 'The Crown'.  (Courtesy of Netflix)
Dominic West as the future King Charles in Netflix’s ‘The Crown’. (Courtesy of Netflix)

The news of Sarandos’ CBE comes after “The Crown” wrapped its final season in November and, as a report last month, described how Harry and Meghan are “wearing out their welcome” in Hollywood. Industry news site The Wrap reported that the couple wasted opportunities with Netflix, Spotify and other media companies because of their sense of entitlement, need for control and lack of experience, while failing to deliver on their initial promise of producing blockbuster films and an award-winning documentary. witty series and podcasts.

The Wrap report also suggests that the couple’s $100 million deal with Netflix may be running out of steam, even though Bela Bajaria, the streaming company’s chief content officer, said in February that they were working on “some unscripted things”.

The Sussexes’ Netflix deal primarily spawned “Harry and Meghan,” which was a “legitimate” hit, The Wrap said. It set a record for the biggest debut of a Netflix documentary with a total of 81.6 million hours watched in its first four days of availability, representing more than 28 million households that watched it. watched, The Wrap said.

Unfortunately, production on “Harry and Meghan” was “difficult,” The Wrap reported. A source said dealing with the couple was “a nightmare” because they were fiercely protective of how their story was told. “Harry and Meghan made the process of working together very difficult, to the point where there was no collaboration at all,” the source said.

Netflix also produced the less popular but generally beloved “Heart of Invictus,” which focused on Harry’s International Games for wounded service men and women. But other projects have been scrapped or are far from being in production, The Wrap said.

“Taking on Harry and Meghan was a big coup for Netflix,” Mark Borkowski, a UK-based PR and branding expert, told The Wrap. “It probably got a lot of attention and subscriptions, but they (Harry and Markle) never delivered on their promises.”

While in the audience at the Golden Globe Awards in January, Sarandos was put in the hot seat over Netflix’s relationship with Harry and Meghan. In her monologue, host Jo Koy said that best actress nominee Imelda Staunton did such a good job playing Queen Elizabeth II in “The Crown” that Harry called her to ask her to money.

Sarandos was also filmed laughing and shaking his head uncomfortably, when Joy joked: “Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will still be paid millions of dollars for doing nothing – and that’s just from Netflix.” »

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