Did Harry and Meghan stage paparazzi style pictures of them in Montecito?

Harry and Meghan need some positive media coverage quickly or risk long-term damage to their brand, according to US journalist Kinsey Schofield.

It comes after Meghan's public opinion fell to a record low with seven in 10 people having a negative view of her, polling suggests.

Some 68% have said they have a negative view of her and 21% have said they have a positive view of her, with 11% answering “don’t know”.

Speaking to TalkTV, Ms Schofield, who hosts the To Di For Daily podcast said the royal couple are being perceived by commentators as promising a lot but delivering little after their lucrative deals with Spotify and Netflix fell apart.

"The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and Rolling Stone magazine are all saying that Harry and Megan are in their 'flop' era," she said.

"People are realising the Sussexes have a hard time executing. They promise a lot, but deliver very little and this is probably very damaging for their egos and for potential opportunities.

"If you're in charge of a corporation like Spotify or Netflix and flipping through Rolling Stone magazine and you see headlines like these, you're going to hesitate to work with them.

"They have to change the narrative and do it quickly because it seems there is a media pile-on. They've got to get some good news out or the negative headlines will continue."

Rolling Stone magazine suggested the royal couple should reinvent themselves to improve their brand image, in a manner similar to Kim Kardashian.

Ms Schofield said: "That's gotta sting because we know they consider themselves on a much higher platform than the Kardashians."

Some newspapers claim Harry and Meghan blame Buckingham Palace for manipulating the media to damage their image.

Quoting sources, the papers also say the couple put their professional failures partly down to the Covid pandemic and the Queen's death. Ms Schofield said if these claims are untrue the couple should say so.

"Sources say they did not believe Prince Phillip was as ill as was reported and that the palace was simply diverting attention from their Oprah Winfrey interview.

"We know now that Prince Philip was on his deathbed when they did Oprah. Sources now say that Harry and Megan blame his ill health for the negative reaction the interview received.

"They blame the Queen's death as the reason Meghan's podcast Archetypes failed to take off and they blame COVID-19 for their lack of productivity. This is ridiculous and very callous.

"If it's not true, I would hope they would release a statement to say so. Because people are reading these headlines and thinking: Oh, I see who they really are now.

"And that is not what you would want as a brand; to look so cold, so callous. And so cruel."

Ms Schofield claims the couple could also be attempting to manage their media profile by staging paparazzi-style pictures of them in Montecito.

"This happens all the time in LA," she said. "If a celebrity doesn't like the headlines they're getting they call a photographer and say: just catch me coming out of this gym, I'm going to look amazing.

"Whoever publishes this photo will talk about how great they look and people are suggesting Harry and Megan had these pictures taken to shift the narrative.

"They were holding hands and smiling, and looked blissful and at peace. It changed the narrative they're in the middle of this chaotic brand breakdown.

The photographer that took these photographs is Carl Larsson who states he's friends with Meghan.

So it's odd a friend of hers would get candid photographs of her. It's convenient, right?"