LONDON — The British monarchy prepared to drop more bombs on the palace gates on Thursday as Netflix released the first three episodes of a series that promises to tell the “whole truth” about Prince Harry and Meghan’s estrangement from the royal family.
Touted with two dramatically edited trailers hinting at racism and a “war on Meghan,” the “Harry & Meghan” is the couple’s latest effort to tell the world why they stepped away from royal life and moved to Southern California nearly three years ago. He is expected to expand on his criticism of the royal family and the British media in a series of interviews over the past 18 months.
Netflix released the first three hour-long episodes on Thursday, with three more due on December 15. The documentary includes video diaries recorded by Meghan and Harry, apparently on their phones, in March 2020, amid the couple’s bitter separation from the royal family and move to the United States.
Harry says in the pictures that it is “my duty to uncover the exploitation and bribery” that is going on in the British media.
“No one knows the whole truth,” Harry adds. “We know the whole truth.”
In the documentary, Harry recalls the intense media interest in his late mother, Princess Diana, that clouded his childhood, saying: “To see another woman in my life who I loved go through this feeding frenzy, that’s hard”.
Harry and Meghan tell how they initially tried to follow the palace’s advice to keep quiet about media coverage, even when they saw the treatment of the biracial Meghan as racist.
Harry said other members of the royal family thought “everything she was going through, they had been through too”, and questioned why Meghan should be protected.
“I said ‘the difference here is the race element,'” Harry said.
A caption at the beginning of the series says that the royal family declined to comment.
The series comes at a pivotal moment for the monarchy as King Charles III tries to show that the institution still has a role to play following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, whose personal popularity dampened criticism of the crown during her 70-year reign. . Charles argues that the House of Windsor can help unite an increasingly diverse nation by using the early days of his reign to meet with many of the ethnic groups and religions that make up modern Britain.
Harry’s 2018 marriage to the former Meghan Markle, a biracial American actress, was once seen as a boost to the royal family’s efforts to enter the 21st century, making it more representative of a multicultural nation. But the fairy tale, which began with a star-studded ceremony at Windsor Castle, soon turned sour amid stories that Meghan was self-centered and harassed her staff.
Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have stepped back from their royal duties and moved to California, alleging racist attacks by the British tabloid media. Harry’s criticism of the media was tinged with anger over the way the press treated his mother, Princess Diana, who died in a 1997 car crash while she was followed by photographers. The couple’s new life in the United States has been financed by lucrative deals with Netflix and Spotify.
Race became a central issue for the monarchy following Harry and Meghan’s interview with American talk show host Oprah Winfrey in March 2021. Meghan alleged that before her first child was born, a family member royal commented on how dark the baby’s skin could be.
Prince William, the heir to the throne and Harry’s older brother, defended the royal family after the interview, telling reporters: “We are not a racist family.”
But Buckingham Palace faced fresh accusations of racism last week when a black advocate for domestic abuse survivors said a senior member of the royal household questioned her about her origins during a reception at the palace. Coverage of the issue filled the British media, dwarfing the long-awaited visit of William and his wife Kate to Boston, which the palace hoped would highlight their environmental credentials.
Media attention was also diverted by Netflix’s decision to release the first trailer for “Harry & Meghan” in the middle of the trip.
The streaming giant has promised an “unprecedented and in-depth docu-series” in which Harry and Meghan “share the other side of their high-profile love story.”
The show will be closely watched in the UK, where even the teasers were criticized for offering misleading images to support the emotional narrative alleging misogyny, media unfairness and racism.
In one section of the images, paparazzi clips are stitched together with vintage footage of Princess Diana being followed by the media as Harry says in a voiceover: “The pain and suffering of women who marry in this institution, this feeding frenzy. … I was terrified, I didn’t want history to repeat itself.”
However, one of the clips used to illustrate his words appears to show reporters and photographers waiting for TV star Katie Price to arrive outside Crawley Magistrates Court, Sky News reported.
The second trailer also includes an accusation about the way palace officials use the press, which Harry described as “foul play”.
“There is a hierarchy in the family,” Harry says, over an image of the royal family standing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. “You know, there are leaks, but there are also sowing stories.”
That is followed by a photo of a photographer perched on another balcony as Harry and Meghan walk their young son Archie downstairs. While the scene suggests the photographer was covertly taking photos of a private moment, the photo actually shows a credited press photographer covering the couple’s meeting with Desmond Tutu in 2019.
Regardless of what the series reveals, palace officials hope to head off the storm by portraying William and Kate as forward-thinking young royals tackling tough issues like climate change and early childhood education, in contrast to Harry and Meghan. , whom critics describe as simply celebrities selling their story to the media.
The BBC and the Daily Telegraph, one of Britain’s most influential newspapers, took up this theme in their coverage of William and Kate’s three-day trip to Boston, where they presented environmental awards, met anti-violence activists and attended a basketball game.
“While Prince Harry and Meghan continued to paint themselves as victims, heads in hands, pulling their hair out over the injustice of it all, the Prince and Princess simply carried on with their work,” the Telegraph wrote.