Maxim Behar on 7/8 TV about Prince Harry's book

PR expert Maxim Behar appeared on “Slavi’s Show” to comment on the release of Prince Harry's book “Spare”, in which he shares details about the royal family, his mental health and the reasons why he is giving up his royal privileges. Behar shares his views on the backlash Harry faced from the British society, as well as the future of the monarchy.

Host: Prince Harry’s tell-all memoir “Spare” and the Netflix documentary “Harry & Meghan” caused some drama in the UK. Will the words of the prince disturb the trust in the royal family? Maxim Behar will elevate on this topic.

Host: I haven’t read the book but watched a bit of the documentary. To me, it isn't very comfortable to turn against your family, against your grandmother, against your father like that. Don’t you think so?

Maxim: I’ve been following him for two years. Before that, there was an interview with Oprah Winfrey, a few other interviews, the book, etc. The interview with Colbert was especially significant because Colbert is very classy. However, this situation is like a Hollywood scene, with a touch of Bollywood elements and Brazilian duration.

Host: However, it does feature real characters.

Maxim: Real characters are involved, of course. Maybe they are unhappy with everything that happened. A lot of money is also involved. I have a theory that will come true in the future. This whole story of Hollywood, Bollywood, whatever you want to call it, is a Buckingham project.

Host: Why?

Maxim: What are Harry and Meghan saying in all these confessions of theirs?

Host: That they are the victims, that they are uncared-for.

Maxim: Yes, however, they say, “Our family is like any other family,” while the British Empire, the Royal Court stands very tall and untouchable. Until now, especially during the time of the late Queen Elizabeth, everything was inaccessible and hidden. No one knew what was going on with Prince Andrew, who had some awful things happen to him. Much more unpleasant than Harry’s. Or with Charles, or with the others? Suddenly, some people appear in front of an audience of hundreds of millions and say, “We are just like you — we fight, we are a normal family. My father told me this and that, and this is how it happened…my mother died, and we experienced it like that…” The interviews I think are better than the book, because they are the essence of what is written in it. Moreover, in the interview, you have two-way communication. Questions can be asked, especially some interesting ones that can make him not so uncomfortable. All this tells a multi-million audience, “We are just like you; we are ordinary people, just like the people from the center of Sofia.

Host: So, you think that this scandal makes the royal family more relatable?

Maxim: Definitely.

Host: Okay, but couldn’t this be done in a less humiliating way?

Maxim: It wouldn’t have been as popular with such a good storyline. Since you work here with very experienced writers, you know how important it is to set up a good script to have a show effect. One suffers, the other cries, one is a victim, etc. That’s why I say it has a Bollywood element — I see this in America for the first time, with so many tearful outpourings. After all, they are two brothers who fought with each other. This happens in 99% of families with two children — they fight, they pick at each other. And suddenly, this turns out to be a global story.

Host: However, there were much more severe accusations, like racism.

Maxim: Yes, that phrase has been around since the Oprah Winfrey interview two years ago, maybe two and a half. This is a phrase they have “interpreted” to themselves — a phrase of the Queen, God bless her. They interpreted it as racism. I don’t believe it. There is no way a member of the royal family would be racist. There are remarks about Camilla, the King’s wife. There are all sorts of remarks; however, in the book I counted, up to where I was reading, more than 110 times it is said how good Prince Charles is, how Charles called Harry “my son,” “my treasure,” “the best boy” etc. You close the book and say, “King Charles III is a very good man, and what a cool guy Harry is. He goes around, talks, and reveals secrets. He’s a superstar.” It’s all positive. Yes, there are a lot of people who blame Harry. This saga is going to be continued with Meghan. I expect her to come out with a book, too.

Host: She hasn’t opened her mouth yet.

Maxim: Surely there will be a new book which, perhaps, will be called “Next to Spare” or something like that — or “Spare Spare.”

Maxim: Then, after that, Harry will probably write something again. This will go on for years. All these people have been saying, “The monarchy is obsolete, it is unnecessary” — I just want to add that some of these statements are true about the monarchy now if it doesn’t evolve and doesn’t modernize. For all these people to say, “These are good people, they’re not snobby or arrogant, they are just like us”. The dramas that Harry describes are pretty childish. It is not something extraordinary; it happens in every family.

Host: Is this story going to have a happy ending? After everything Harry has said, the royal family is quiet for now. Is it possible? Charles hasn’t said anything. But what can he say? He is King; he has many other things to worry about.

Maxim: What can he say? “They fought once, and Harry fell and cut himself on the dog bowl.

Host: But is it possible, after all the harsh words that have been said, that they will forgive each other at some point and have a happy ending?

Maxim: Yeah, there will be a happy ending for sure. It depends on the story's Brazilian element—how long will it last? Part of this whole campaign, no matter how much they bash Harry and how much they don’t like Meghan, is for all these readers to say, “King Charles III is a perfect man. Oh, how he loves his children, how he cared for them when their mother died. How he has spoiled them and how many opportunities he has given them”. In the end, the people, the readers, especially those in the UK, will be left with positive feelings towards Harry and Charles. The royal court will become a little bit closer to the people and more open and accessible.

Host: How do you explain this massive interest in what is happening in the royal family? Is it just because people tend to be nosy about other people’s business, or does it have more to do with the interest in the life of the royals?

Maxim: Voyeurism is part of the human nature. The more social media and communications develop, the more the feeling of being a voyeur and sticking your nose into everyone’s business grows. The interest is driven mainly by the fact that there is a new king. The new king is unpredictable. Nothing was known about him; he never really gave interviews.

Host: Yes, he was a private person.

Maxim: I understand Harry and Meghan here. They said the most challenging thing for them is living surrounded by many tabloids attacking them from all sides. However, the British tabloids have been like that forever, no surprise. The tabloids suddenly saw an excellent opportunity for content for the readers. Not only them but also the publishers and the TV producers. And everyone has played their cards very well so far. The people in Buckingham are playing their cards well, too. They’re saying, “Let him talk.” After all, Harry’s not saying bad things, and he hasn’t revealed any big secrets. Yeah, they fought once, and he fell on the ground, but his daddy helped him get up and said, “You’re my good boy.” It’s not that big of a drama, and there is too much hate from the Bulgarian side and the Bulgarian social media…

Host: We Bulgarians always have strong opinions about everything.

Maxim: I open Facebook and Instagram, and suddenly, everyone’s a royal court specialist. You’ve seen it too, I suppose.

Host: It’s like everyone personally knows their relationship.

Maxim: “How can he do that? He’s rude, so and so…” But he works with a group of PR experts and scriptwriters.

Host: It’s a money-making machine.

Maxim: Not just a money-making one. It’s a machine for building images. He’s going to make a lot of money. Maybe 100 million, of which he’ll probably give 50 million in taxes and another 10–15–20 million to everyone around him. He’ll be left with a few million. I’ve been in this business for 30 years — the conclusion is that the whole situation is positive for both sides.

Host: There are many monarchies in Europe. Norway is a monarchy, Sweden is, the Netherlands is, Belgium… Why is the interest focused only on the British royal family? You can ask anything about what’s going on in the Norwegian royal court… everything is calm there, everything is normal, and nobody is bothering them. Maybe even the tabloids don’t harass them.

Maxim: Great Britain is an imperial power. It is a giant country with traditions. It is the country that created the United States that made Australia with its people, traditions, and way of governing. They have many colonies around the world. The Queen was the longest-reigning monarch in the world, except for one African monarch. The Queen built a stable institution such as the British royal dynasty, and the interest there was much more significant. Take Spain, for example — their king abdicated, something unheard of until then, so he could give the throne to his son. Belgium — King Albert II abdicated for the same reason. These are monarchies that are very flexible. These are relatively small countries that adapt to their people. They can’t live somewhere in the high heavens and have everybody look at them like they are God. It’s quite the opposite in the UK. Take Diana’s story — the melodrama of how they got married, but she wasn’t of noble birth, but Charles liked her, and they loved each other, but they divorced…

Host: They became part of pop culture.

Maxim: Yes, the royal family has been supporting pop culture and pop music all this time. All those people — Paul McCartney, Elton John, of course, David Bowie, God bless him, Mick Jagger. They all have royal titles. It’s an undeniable part of Britain. However, the monarchy is going, sooner or later, to be abolished. That type of government will go.

Host: There were rumors like this after World War II, but some monarchies still survived.

Maxim: They survived, but they did radically change. Monarchies will go away. Britain will be the last one to go.

Host: Has there been any change in the British royal court since Charles took the crown?

Maxim: Well, yes, of course, Harry’s book, the interviews, and the streaming Netflix documentary.

Host: Apart from Harry’s book?

Maxim: I haven’t noticed. From time to time, I keep in touch with friends of mine who are around Charles, and I try to convince him to pay attention to Bulgaria. It is unlikely that he will, but one day, in this studio, I may be able to share some good news regarding the royal court.

Host: This is very interesting.

Maxim: No change is visible from the outside, which makes sense. Charles lived his life like a king all these years. He is 70 years old. He has lived as an heir to the throne, preparing his whole life for this moment. Apart from his sporadic appearances and the fact that he distanced himself from all the charities that the heir to the throne took over. There has been no visible change, and there probably won’t be. Let’s see how Harry and Meghan’s saga plays out.

Host: Will Charles remain in the shadow of his famous mother, Elizabeth?

Maxim: No. There are no people who are that unforgettable. He will try to modernize the British monarchy and make it more open. In my opinion, and this is not some imaginary theory, even the Harry project is part of this modernization that shows “We are normal people like you. We fight, we divorce, and we’d be delighted to rule you because we know how.” Indeed, this year, when he becomes officially king, I bet you that Harry and Meghan will be invited to the coronation, although there are plenty of rumors that they won’t do it; they hate them…but why not ask them? They have done them nothing but good for them. All this fuss is good for the monarchy. Suitable for the young family, too. Let them love each other in Los Angeles. I don’t see much drama other than the interest of finding out what happened in the royal family. How come they’re fighting, hitting, shoving, etc.?

Host: You said you tried to draw King Charles’ attention to Bulgaria. Why is this important for our country?

Maxim: It is essential for investment, business, and the self-confidence of people in Bulgaria. I had the same argument 20 years ago when I invited Prince Charles to Bulgaria, and he came. We had a very long conversation with him, and I was telling him about Bulgaria and about the king, who was prime minister at the time, and how important it was for him to come. After two weeks, the British Ambassador, Ian Suter, called me and said, “Do you want to drink tea at the embassy? Right now.” I went there. He took me by the hand and led me out into the garden and said, “They’re listening here, I want to tell you something in the garden” and he stopped and said, “He’s coming”. I couldn’t understand who he was talking about because I didn’t believe it. I said, “Who?” he said, “His Majesty”. There are no impossible things. I’m sorry I couldn’t make it, and I have a big folder of correspondence with his mother, her private secretary, and all the people around her. I’m sorry she couldn’t come to Bulgaria. I was there in Poland when she arrived; it was a national holiday. In Warsaw everything was closed, the streets were full of people. That raises the national self-esteem. But, you know, it also brings Bulgaria into the media spotlight.

Host: That’s right.

Maxim: After 2–3 years, a British investor came to me after Prince Charles came here. He left in Bulgaria somewhere around 30–40 million dollars or pounds. We finished the conversation and I asked him “Why Bulgaria?”. He said, “I saw Prince Charles on TV praising Bulgaria.” I remember then Prince Charles came with a plane of journalists. Between 30 and 35 thousand Brits in Bulgaria now have property here. This is a consequence of the big fuss about when Prince Charles came here in 2003.

Host: They found out that such a lovely country exists.

Maxim: Yes, because all these journalists were coming up and saying “Oh, what a nice and cheap country”. A few years ago, I was in Vidin. There was a match in the evening in some pub, and I went in to watch it, eat two kebabs, and drink a beer. A guy came up to me and asked, “Can I?” in English, I said “Yes, sit down” and asked him “What are you doing here?”. He said, “I’m from England, and Bulgaria is very nice and cheap. I arrived in Sofia yesterday, took a taxi, and came to Vidin. Just hours ago, I bought a house on the Danube, and I am very happy”. Can you imagine? That can’t happen anywhere with anybody else. Or a Bulgarian going to England by plane to buy a house? No way. That puts Bulgaria on the map of Europe. It’s essential for people to come here and we go there. I was in America for three weeks. Yesterday, I came home and found a big difference in how Bulgaria is recognized.

Host: What is the difference?

Maxim: When you mention Bulgaria in Los Angeles or Vegas and they say “Oh, we know where Bulgaria is”. Only 10–15 years ago, there were questioning looks. Back then, I had sentences ready, and I would say, “North of Greece, north of Turkey.”

Host: Now they know.

Maxim: Now more people know. Of course, communications are different. A British royal family member coming to Bulgaria will benefit the country. If the King of Belgium or Spain came, that would also be great. Bulgaria should have a lot of international relations because it is not open to the world yet; it is still closed. We all know what a mess the politicians are here. People still say, “Should we leave our money here? Should we invest?” so we must overcome that. And the whole story about the euro is that we have to make our currency to become actual members of Europe and European business.

Host: Absolutely. I don’t understand why it is still a question.

Maxim: When it happens, better times will come. I know we are all very let down, and we are all watching the news on TV and saying, “Why are these people fighting? Who are these fools?” Political party bosses can’t get along. One election, second election, third election. However, better times will come. Bulgaria being better represented abroad is one of the reasons that these times will arrive faster.

Host: Let’s hope so. Thanks for this interview, Maxim Behar!


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