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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wed in a 2018 ceremony that broke several royal traditions (from the lack of a classic “balcony kiss” to Meghan’s American citizenship), and since then, the couple has continued to make headlines due to reported family tensions, racially-biased treatment, and pushing back against royal protocols. Some of these headlines have been supportive, but many were not — the Duke of Sussex ended up having to sue British publication Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) for libel after they alleged that he kept secrets and manipulated public opinion to reinstate his family’s police detail.
Thanks to mass public interest and media coverage, speculation has been one of the common themes of the many narratives surrounding Harry and Meghan. The couple has since chosen to take back their voice and speak out against the challenges of their time as senior members of the Royal Family — first in their shocking two-hour interview with Oprah, and now in their upcoming documentary with Netflix. Since its initial debut on December 8, Harry & Meghan has become the biggest documentary debut in Netflix’s history, according to Deadline, and there’s still three more episodes left to debut. Here, we break down everything we know about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s docuseries, Harry & Meghan.
What is the Harry & Meghan documentary about?
Although Harry and Meghan’s lives have been widely covered and discussed over the past five years, the series promises an “unprecedented” look at the couple’s love story and what happens to them behind closed doors from the Sussexes’ early courtship to their decision to shed their HRH titles.
Episode 1 of Harry & Meghan covers the early days of their relationship. The documentary revealed that they actually met over Instagram, of all things. Harry explained, “I was scrolling through my feed and someone who was a friend had a video of the two of them, like a Snapchat. With dog ears. That was the first thing. I was like, who is that?” Following that post, a mutual friend emailed Meghan, saying, “Between you and I, thought you might want to know this being newly single and all. I put our Snapchat on Instagram and Prince Haz follows me (he’s a friend) he called me last night dying to meet you. Hehehe, I might just have to set you up.”
Meghan poked fun of Harry for being late for their first date, although she was late for their second date. “He was just so fun, just so refreshingly fun. And that was the thing. We were like childlike together,” Meghan reminisced.
Episode 2 covers what happened when Harry and Meghan’s relationship went public and the mass scrutiny that came with that, while Episode 3 focuses on what their engagement and post-engagement life looked like, as tabloids descended upon their relationship and Meghan’s family.
Some adorable deets about the proposal itself are revealed in the docuseries: “Because I had to ask permission from my grandmother I couldn’t do it outside of the UK,” Harry explained. “I did pop a bottle of champagne while [Meghan] was roasting a chicken, and that kinda slightly gave the game away. She goes, you don’t drink champagne, what’s the occasion? And I was like, I don’t know, just had it lying around here, whatever!”
Harry popped the question in the garden near his Kensington Palace cottage on a picnic blanket surrounded by candles. The documentary shows a video of Meghan talking to a friend on the phone while saying, “Oh my god, Jess, Jess, Jess, Jess. It’s happening, it’s happening, it’s happening. Oh my god, he told me not to peek. Oh my god.”
In another portion of the series, Harry reflected on what it’s been like as a father to mixed-race children. “My son, my daughter, my children are mixed race, and I’m really proud of that,” he said. “When my kids grow up and they look back at this moment and they turn to me and say, ‘What did you do in this moment?’ I want to be able to give them an answer. I think it’s such a responsibility as human beings that if you bring a small person into this world, that you should be doing everything you can to make the world a better place for them.”
Who is producing and directing the series?
Harry and Meghan signed a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract with Netflix back in September 2020, which gives the media company permission to create original content, including but not limited to, documentaries, movies, and children’s programming.
Liz Garbus, Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning director, sat at the directorial helm of Harry & Meghan, with support from executive producers Erica Sashin, Mark Monroe, Dan Cogan, Ben Browning, Chanel Pysnik, Jon Bardin, Mala Chapple, and Angus Wall. The series was initially going to be directed by Garrett Bradley, who left due to creative differences.
When is the Harry & Meghan release date?
The highly-anticipated series will be released in two separate installations. Part 1 premiered on December 8 and Part 2 debuts on December 15, despite rumors that the show would be delayed due to the Queen’s death and backlash from the most recent season of The Crown.
Is there a trailer?
Yes! Netflix debuted a new trailer for Harry and Meghan on December 5, and it racked up hundreds of thousands of views by the hour. The trailer opens with Prince Harry narrating, “It’s really hard to look back on it now and go, ‘What on earth happened?’”
While the video opens with adorable shots of Harry and Meghan throughout their relationship when they were dating, things take a drastic turn once the couple tied the knot. Magazine covers and televised news clippings appear as the couple, along with royal experts, discuss the threats Meghan faced and how similar they were to those of Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana. “I realized, ‘They’re never going to protect you,’” Meghan said before Harry added, “I was terrified. I didn’t want history to repeat itself.” The trailer ended with Harry saying, “No one knows the full truth. We know the full truth.”
On December 1, Netflix debuted the first teaser. “Why did you want to make this documentary?,” a voice asks at the beginning of the minute-long clip. “No one sees what’s happening behind closed doors,” Harry said. “I had to do everything I could to protect my family.” The trailer gives us a glimpse into the intimate docuseries, with clips of Meghan crying on the phone, as well as the Sussexes enduring an emotional moment on a couch together.
At the end of the trailer for the docuseries, which is described as unprecedented and explosive, Meghan Markle asks in a solo interview, “When the stakes are this high, doesn’t it make more sense to hear our story from us?”
Is there a trailer for Part 2 of the documentary?
Also yes. Following the premiere of Part 1, Netflix released the official trailer for Part 2. In the approximately one-minute-long clip, the couple details the “institutional gaslighting” they endured and the decisions that led to their departure from the UK. “I wonder what would’ve happened to us had we not got out when we did,” Harry says at the beginning of the video, as Meghan reveals that their security detail was taken away and their daily whereabouts became known to the entire world.
“I wasn’t being thrown to the wolves. I was being fed to the wolves,” she then explains. Harry goes on to say that the Royal Family was “happy to lie to protect my brother.” But “they were never willing to tell the truth to protect us,” he added. The trailer includes an interview with Tyler Perry, who “applauded” Meghan and Harry’s decision to leave the UK and denounce their royal titles, and opened his Los Angeles home to the couple when they arrived in the United States. Snapshots of Meghan and Harry’s happier, more carefree California life begin to roll, as Meghan says, “It gave us a chance to create that home that we had always wanted.”
“I’ve always felt as though this was a fight worth fighting for,” Harry adds. Check out the full trailer below.
How has the Royal Family responded?
A message at the beginning of the documentary that read, “Members of the Royal Family declined to comment on the content within this series,” was contradicted by statements from Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace. They claimed that they were not approached for comment. However, Buckingham Palace confirmed that it’ll not be commenting on the docuseries at this time.
Journalist and royal expert Christopher Andersen told Us Weekly that he believes the Royal Family is “holding their breaths and waiting for the other shoe to drop.” A senior royal source explained to the Mirror, “There is a completely united front from the King and his family concerning the numerous attempts to privately make peace with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, which sadly have once again resulted in the other side wishing to air their repeated grievances to the world.”
As for William and Kate, an insider noted to the Express that “The Prince and Princesses’ team will wait to see what’s in the Netflix series before deciding what to do, but you can see the direction of travel.”
What other projects are Meghan and Harry currently working on?
After leaving their senior royal roles behind, the couple moved to Montecito, California, and started Archewell Productions. They are currently raising Archie (3) and Lilibet (1), as well as focusing on individual projects, such as Meghan’s Spotify podcast Archetypes and Harry’s upcoming memoir, Spare. The book arrives on shelves on January 10, 2023.
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