Royal parodist Gary Janetti explains why he no longer 'piles on' with Instagram jabs at Meghan Markle

Evening Standard 3 weeks ago

Royal parodist Gary Janetti says he has changed his approach to the Duchess of Sussex on his Instagram account, which re-imagines Prince George as a sassy, precocious six year old with a lot of opinions on the Royal Family. 

Following a backlash over negative media attention on Meghan Markle and her revelation that she was "not okay" in Sunday night's ITV documentary, Janetti revealed he had changed his account's stance to avoid a “pile on”.

Fans of Janetti’s Instagram might have noticed a shift in how his fictional Prince George speaks about Meghan. Initially, Janetti (who is a television writer and producer on shows including Family Guy and Will & Grace) had the future heir to the throne make sly digs at the Duchess, particularly making fun of Meghan’s son Archie being below him as seventh in the line of succession.

But Janetti’s recent posts have been more sympathetic to the former Suits actor, with one post last week showing his fictional Prince George having a crisis as he asked, “Do I like her?”

Another showed a news headline which described Meghan and Prince Harry as ‘vulnerable and bruised’. The screengrab was accompanied by a photo of Prince George, Meghan and Archie walking towards a car, with Janetti captioning the photo, “This is our Uber. I’m taking us on a spa day.”

Janetti has said in the past that he finds Meghan "super appealing" and that the account was "all meant with affection". He admitted that he hadn’t seen the recent ITV documentary about the Sussexes but said, “I do know it feels like [the Sussexes are] having a rough go of it - I think that’s the gist.”

“The way I see it, in my world, she is family, they are family, and George rallies around family,” he continued. “Now he sees that people and the press have piled on her, he doesn’t like it, and he’s rallying around the family. As of now, Meghan — he wants to take her under his wing. Now we’re seeing George might secretly like her. You know, he does not like to kick somebody when they’re down.”

Meghan and Prince Harry both discussed the impact media coverage has had on them in ITV documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey. Meghan revealed she “never thought it would be easy” but believed the coverage would be “fair”, at one point appearing to hold back tears as she revealed to interviewer Tom Bradby that she was struggling and that it was “a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes”.

She is currently suing a newspaper for publishing a private, handwritten letter she sent to her father Thomas Markle. 

She also told Bradby that while she initially tried to "adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip", she didn't see it as "the point of life". She said, "I’ve said for a long time to H (that’s what I call [Harry]), it’s not enough to just survive something, right? Like, that’s not the point of life. You’ve got to thrive, you’ve got to feel happy."

Janetti continued that Prince George’s character development was “like a story turn, if you think of it as a long-running series.” He said, “Stories can take turns. The turn, right now, is that he wants to be [Meghan's] champion. It’s not fun to pile on. George can afford to be generous, and where that goes, we will see.”

Janetti continued, “Infrequently, there are moments when he feels like, ‘Okay, even I like this,’ or, ‘Okay, this isn’t bad — good for her.’ Recently, because the press in Britain can be so tricky, I think he now is like, ‘She’s family, and I want to support my family.’ And it gives him an opportunity play the hero, in George’s eyes. So he’s still getting all the attention, the way he would see it.”

Janetti has previously touched on why his fictional Prince George was initially dismissive of Meghan, telling The Hollywood Reporter that she had stolen his limelight.

He said to the outlet, “The spotlight had been on George since he was born. Everybody was so consumed with George as the star of the show. Then, here comes this beautiful American woman, and he's relegated to the sideline in his mind. He's eaten alive by jealousy, that's how I see it. The fact that she is so appealing and winning is what's so galling to George.”

The account also touches on Prince George's fictional thoughts about other royals, with Janetti firing off zingers about everyone from Prince William through to Princess Beatrice's new fiance Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi​.

The account also touches on pop culture moments, including Jennifer Lopez's recent Versace appearance and Harry Styles' song Lights Up.

He also edited footage of Renee Zellweger's recent Judy Garland biopic, cutting in a video of Prince George applauding hysterically.

Janetti’s account currently has over 839,000 followers and he’s expanded his cast in recent months, re-imagining Prince Louis as a grump and including the occasional appearance from his sister Princess Charlotte.

Janetti has also released a book called Do You Mind if I Cancel? (Things that Still Annoy Me), a collection of essays about “the period in my life before [he] had anything figured out” as a gay man in New York.

The book is currently available on Amazon, with a Kindle version priced at £11 and a hardcover copy at £22. 

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Meghan Markle: The Duchess of Sussex - In pictures

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