The Duchess of Sussex may have turned down an invitation to a party coinciding with Oprah Winfrey’s 69th birthday over fear of “further public scorn”, a PR expert has told Express.co.uk. It comes after the couple received “unexpectedly negative backlash” over the release of Harry’s bombshell memoir and their tell-all Netflix series, which aired late last year. Earlier this week, headlines emerged about a party for Oprah in Meghan and Harry’s adopted hometown, Montecito, which also celebrated cosmetic company Anastasia Beverly Hills’ 25th anniversary.
But Mario Almonte, president of Herman & Almonte PR, said widespread reports of a snub may not be the case.
Almonte told Express.co.uk: “The absence of Prince Harry and Meghan from Oprah’s recent birthday celebration may say more about the couple’s current state of mind than Oprah’s opinion of them or the royals.”
A-listers gathered on Saturday to celebrate in the California celebrity enclave.
Kim Kardashian, Sharon Stone and Jennifer Lopez made up the star-studded invite list, but Harry and Meghan – despite living close by – were noticeably absent.
Almonte said: “To be fair, most attendees at Oprah’s party were celebrities, known mostly as performers and entertainers. The party was also for ‘the 25 most influential women’ so Harry’s presence wouldn’t have been appropriate.
“None of the attendees were purely ‘public official’, as one might categorize Harry and Meghan.
“But even discounting those factors, the couple – or, at least Meghan – may have decided not to attend out of concern for their public image.”
The public suspects the couple are exploiting their relationship with the Royal Family, the PR expert claimed.
He said: “Assuming Meghan had been invited and she declined, she may have felt that attending Oprah’s celebrity-filled celebration would have opened them up to further scorn by a public that already questions their authenticity.
“From a public relations perspective, they may have felt it was better to lay low for a while, stay out of the public eye, and not draw any publicity on themselves that could potentially turn negative.”
Another royal expert claimed the couple may have chosen not to attend the party after deciding to keep their friendship with Oprah on the “down-low” to avoid angering Harry’s father, King Charles, anymore.
Author and journalist Christopher Andersen told Fox News Digital this week his “reading of the situation” is that both Oprah and the Sussexes realise it is a very delicate moment for the couple as the King’s coronation nears.
He said: “Appearing at such a glitzy, high-profile event with Hollywood A-listers to honour Oprah is not what the Sussexes need right now.”
However, on Thursday night, Harry and Meghan are believed to have attended Ellen DeGeneres 50th birthday party, which ended in a surprise vow renewal for herself and wife, Portia de Rossi.
The Sussexes were spotted in a video at the event by eagle-eyed royal fans.
It was the couple’s first public appearance together since the release of Harry’s bombshell memoir, Spare, last month.
*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.