The United Kingdom was captivated for an entire morning by the Netflix documentary about Harry and Meghan. It is not entirely clear whether the British royal family watched, but the rest of the world certainly did.
Millions of people saw how the Duke and Duchess of Sussex lashed out particularly heavily at the press. An overview.
A few minutes after 9 o’clock, it was time. The first three episodes of the much-discussed documentary ‘Harry & Meghan’ were released on Netflix. And that immediately attracted many curious people from all over the world. In the United Kingdom, Netflix even became overloaded for a while. On social media, people complained that they couldn’t load the episode.
The British press also watched the first episodes with great interest. Almost all major news sites had started a live blog to report the first three parts live. The BBC even watched all three episodes at once, with commentary from a well-known royalty watcher. Tabloid newspapers such as The Daily Mail, The Mirror and The Sun also played the documentary extensively on their website.
The first images of the documentary already tried to set the tone. The intro was in line with the dramatic trailers that were released earlier. “A friend suggested we document ourselves during this period to counter all the misinformation being spread,” explains Harry. “It’s tough to look back and say how we got here.” But for Harry – Haz or H for his friends, we soon learn – only one thing takes precedence, he says. “My family’s safety.”
In the first two episodes, the focus is mainly on the life story of Harry and Meghan and their relationship. This is heavily criticized by the intrusive British media, which also accuses racism between the lines. Harry talks about “the exploitation and bribery in the media”. This was an important motivation for their decision to separate from the British royal family. In the documentary, Harry says that he had trouble with the media attention at a young age: “I was forced to laugh by the paparazzi. I felt uncomfortable with that since the beginning,” he says. “I remember thinking, how am I ever going to find someone willing and able to carry all the baggage that comes with being with me?”
For that reason, Harry and Meghan kept their relationship private for as long as possible. “I thought: the only way to ensure this lasts is to keep it a secret for as long as possible.” So when news of their relationship finally came out, the two were heavily tabloid. “I felt I had to protect my family, especially after what happened to my mother,” says Harry, referring to the 1997 car crash that killed Princess Diana in a chase by paparazzi. “Seeing another woman in my life go through this was hard,” says Harry.
Meghan also suffered from the media attention: “When our relationship first became known, my house in Toronto was surrounded. Journalists waited in the car for me to do something. They knocked on the neighbour’s door and sometimes even paid them to put cameras in their backyard.”
Royal family more or less spared
It was expected that the documentary would shock the British royal family, but it remained silent for the time being. So, for now, Harry and Meghan’s expected criticism of the royal family is limited. It is not until the end of episode 2 that Meghan’s (complex) integration into the British royal family is discussed for the first time. Among other things, she talks about her first meeting with the Queen. “It was surreal,” says the Duchess of Sussex. “I only knew a few moments before that I would meet her. Harry asked me if I knew how to bow after all. I thought he was joking.”
The first meeting with “Will and Kate” also did not go smoothly. Meghan was wearing ripped jeans and was barefoot. “I was a hugger, always have been. But I didn’t know that was so shocking to so many British people. I was surprised that the formality of the outside carries over to the inside,” says Meghan.
Still, Harry says his family was “immediately impressed with her.” “They thought she was a beautiful and intelligent woman. But the fact that she was an American actress created prejudice. They thought it wouldn’t last.”
In episode three, there is the first careful hint at “racism” in the royal family. Harry talks about “unconscious bias”. “In this family you are sometimes part of the problem rather than part of the solution. The problem with unconscious bias is that it’s no one’s fault. It has to do with education and awareness.”
A British journalist from the BBC called the series “a psychological drama rather than a documentary”, but royalty fans can also enjoy the never-before-published images on display. For example, we see lovely photos from the wedding of Harry and Meghan and a cute picture of son Archie’s birthday is also shared with the world.