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Meghan and Harry resurface after car chase in joint video: 'Contrived' or 'loved up'?

Yahoo UK explores the reaction to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's first joint public appearance since May.

Meghan and Harry spoke on the phone to the inaugural cohort of recipients of their Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund. (Duke and Duchess of Sussex)
Meghan and Harry spoke on the phone to the inaugural cohort of recipients of their Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund. (Duke and Duchess of Sussex)

What's happening? Meghan and Harry announced the first year's recipients of their Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund (RTYPF) by releasing a video of them calling some of the cohort.

Between them, $2m (£1.68m) has been awarded to 26 youth leaders and their initiatives that endeavour to make online spaces safer and more accountable.

In the video, Meghan and Harry make calls to the excited beneficiaries of the fund and although recorded it marks the first time the Sussexes have appeared publicly together since 26 May at the Ms Foundation's Women of Vision awards — the night of which a "near catastrophic" car chase with the paparazzi took place afterwards.

Watch: Meghan and Harry speak with recipients of the RTYPF

Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund Announcement from RT Youth Power Fund on Vimeo.

Since then the couple have been plagued by rumours after mutually parting ways with Spotify — who they brokered a multi-million pound deal with in 2020 for audio content — about their financial future and there has been seemingly endless speculation about the state their relationship behind closed doors, most of which has been debunked by their reps as "not true" or "complete garbage" by sources close to the couple.

Yahoo UK breaks down how people have reacted to the couple's latest appearance.

'Best surprise of the summer'

The recipients that were awarded funds from the RTYPF this year had positive feedback about their calls with the Sussexes.

Emma Lembke, founder of the Log Off movement and co-chair of Design it For Us a coalition of activists campaigning for safer social media, said it was the "best surprise of the summer" on Twitter. She told Vanity Fair: "It was a complete surprise. I had no idea I would be speaking with them [...] The duke and the duchess, and all of their work, have been pivotal in moving so many social issues forward and bringing visibility to a lot of important areas, and specifically responsible tech.”

Another inaugural recipient of the fund who spoke to Harry and Meghan is Trisha Pabhu, who wrote on Twitter of the experience: "It was an honor [sic] to receive a call from Prince Harry and Meghan [...] I'm so grateful to the Fund for its support - together, we will build a better internet."

Read more: Prince Harry and Meghan Make Rare Video Appearance to Help Young Leaders (Harper's Bazaar, 4 min read)

Harry and Meghan were filmed speaking to Emma Lembke, who called it the
Harry and Meghan were filmed speaking to Emma Lembke, who called it the "best surprise of the summer". (Duke and Duchess of Sussex)

'I found it contrived, very fake'

Not everyone was so impressed with the Sussexes most recent appearance together, with commentators on GB News discussing the video in pretty negative terms.

"My sources are excellent," said Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine, "[their] marriage is fine, that's what I understand, but the professional side of their life is not so good.

"If they're not seen, in Hollywood people forget you very quickly."

Lady Victoria Hervey — an ex-girlfriend of Prince Andrew — said in the segment about the short clip of the Sussexes, "Meghan's always got to have the last word. It's always got to be about her, she has to finish his sentences.

"So, you know, I found it very contrived, I found it very fake [...] I think it's a PR stunt, just to get them some better press because obviously it hasn't been great for them recently".

Harry said to one recipient that his children, Archie and Lilibet, were grateful to the activists for working to make digital spaces safer. (Duke and Duchess of Sussex)
Harry said to one recipient that his children, Archie and Lilibet, were grateful to the activists for working to make digital spaces safer. (Duke and Duchess of Sussex)

What is the Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund?

Harry and Meghan are co-founders of the Responsible Technology Youth Fund, which is made up of 14 organisations overall.

The initiative has raised $2m so far to be awarded to youth or intergenerational led organisations working to encourage accountable and responsible technology and safer online and digital spaces.

The fund lists safeguarding human rights in technology, ensuring accessibility to the benefits of technological advances, addressing "social, cultural, political, or environmental problems" through platforms and mitigating any harm caused by technology to certain communities as its main aims.

This inaugural year saw grants from $25,000 (£19,753) to $200,000 (£158,000) be handed out across 26 initiatives led by young people.