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Prince William Strikes New Blow in Harry and Meghan Rivalry



Prince William’s Earthshot Prize charity has announced the appointment of former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as a trustee. This development comes four months after Ardern appeared to distance herself from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle over their Netflix docuseries “Live to Lead,” which featured an interview with her.

Ardern was previously thought to be close to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as highlighted in the 2020 book “Finding Freedom” by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand. The appointment of Ardern to William’s charity is seen as a potential blow to the reported rivalry between the two royal brothers and their wives.

Jacinda Ardern, the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, has been appointed as a trustee of the Earthshot Prize, a charity founded by Prince William aimed at identifying and scaling up global environmental initiatives. This announcement was made by Kensington Palace on Tuesday. In a press release highlighting Ardern’s “commitment to sustainable development and climate action,” Prince William stated, “It is an honor to welcome Jacinda to The Earthshot Prize team. Her lifelong commitment to supporting sustainable and environmental solutions, along with her experience as Prime Minister of New Zealand, will bring a rich infusion of new thinking to our mission.” This appointment recognizes Ardern’s dedication to promoting sustainable practices and addressing climate change during her tenure as Prime Minister.

The recent announcement regarding Jacinda Ardern’s involvement with The Earthshot Prize sheds light on her longstanding association with the initiative. Four years ago, even before the Prize had been officially named, Ardern was one of the first individuals consulted by Prince William, and her guidance played a pivotal role in the Prize’s early achievements. Prince William has expressed profound gratitude for Ardern’s support as she embarks on the next phase of her career.

In a reciprocal statement, Ardern conveyed her humility in joining the Earthshot team, which includes notable figures such as Jason Knauf, the former Kensington Palace communications secretary, who had previously accused Meghan Markle of bullying palace staff in a leaked 2018 email.

Jacinda Ardern’s association with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle traces back to 2018 when she hosted the couple during their tour of the South Pacific region shortly after their wedding, further strengthening her connections with the British royal family. Notably, the couple had announced Meghan’s first pregnancy during that tour, and before their visit to New Zealand concluded, Ardern commended the duchess for fulfilling her royal duties while expecting. “It’s just increased my respect for the role that she’s playing at such an often tiring time,” she stated. “I have real empathy and I think she’s incredible.”

The visit reportedly fostered a close bond between the prime minister and the royal couple. In their book “Finding Freedom,” authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand shed light on this friendship, stating that the couple and Ardern “stayed in regular contact” following the 2018 tour. They mentioned that “Exchanging emails and even meeting up again at Kensington Palace on January 21, 2019” was part of their ongoing communication. Additionally, the authors noted that “Meghan regularly wears the earrings Ardern gifted her in New Zealand—a pair of simple gold studs with a feather engraving on each by the Kiwi musician and jewelry designer, Boh Runga.” Furthermore, Meghan included Ardern as one of her “Forces for Change” during her guest editorship of British Vogue’s September 2019 issue, featuring a portrait of the politician alongside other inspirational women on its cover.

Live to Lead and Public Distancing: An Informative Overview

In December 2022, the public’s perception of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had evolved since their visit to New Zealand. The couple had made a dramatic split from the British monarchy and openly discussed their grievances with the royal family in a high-profile interview with Oprah Winfrey. This move appeared to impact their popularity, with a decline observed among British and American audiences, although they maintained a strong and loyal global fan base.

During the same month, Harry and Meghan released their first docuseries, titled “Harry & Meghan,” as part of a multi-million-dollar content creation deal with Netflix. This move came after their decision to leave Britain and establish a new life in America. The docuseries provided an in-depth look into their love story and the reasons behind their departure from the monarchy.

The release of Harry and Meghan’s docuseries was swiftly followed by the announcement of a new show they would be hosting, titled “Live to Lead.” This new series featured previously recorded interviews with prominent leaders such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Greta Thunberg, and Jacinda Ardern. Harry and Meghan took on the role of hosts, introducing each leader’s segment.

According to the press release, “Live to Lead” drew inspiration from Nelson Mandela’s iconic legacy and aimed to highlight “the fundamental values, daily disciplines, and guiding principles that leaders employ to motivate others and create meaningful change.” The show was supported by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

However, it emerged that the interviews were filmed long before the conception of a docuseries, and in the wake of their controversial first series, the participants did not work closely with Harry or Meghan on the show’s production.

The release of the documentary series “Live to Lead” on Netflix on December 31, 2022, has garnered attention due to its association with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. On December 20, ahead of the release, Jacinda Ardern’s office issued a statement clarifying her involvement in the project.

The statement outlined that in 2019, Ardern participated in an interview for the series, which was initially organized by the Nelson Mandela Foundation. In March 2021, the Foundation informed Ardern’s office that they had secured an agreement with Netflix to broadcast the interviews, including Ardern’s.

It was not until May 2022 that Ardern’s office was notified that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would introduce the series, nearly two and a half years after Ardern’s interview was recorded and permission for its use had already been granted to the Mandela Foundation.

The statement emphasized that all communication regarding the project was with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and there had been no direct communication with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

This statement appears to be an effort by Ardern’s office to provide clarity on her involvement in the project and distance her from any direct association with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who have been the subject of significant media attention.

Ardern and Earthshot

Jacinda Ardern’s decision to collaborate with Prince William’s Earthshot Prize initiative has brought attention to her previous connections with the British royal family. Although there has been no official confirmation or demonstration of any conflict between Ardern and Prince Harry or Meghan Markle, her new role with Prince William’s organization has highlighted her past royal relationships, particularly in light of Prince Harry’s recent memoir, “Spare,” which contains criticisms of his brother.

In his book, Prince Harry outlines several issues with Prince William, including allegations of jealousy, rivalry, and a physical altercation in 2019 over Meghan’s alleged treatment of palace staff. Despite these revelations, royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told Newsweek that Ardern’s decision to work with Earthshot is not unexpected, as she likely aims to build a career outside of politics.

The statement suggests that the former leader’s association with the Earthshot Prize, founded by Prince William, is an expected move. The Earthshot Prize is a prestigious global initiative focused on identifying and supporting innovative solutions to combat climate change and protect the environment. Newsweek has reached out to representatives of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for their comments on the matter, but has not received a response at the time of reporting.

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