Exactly three months after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan have unleashed a new tirade of accusations against the royal family in their hotly anticipated, $100 million Netflix documentary series.
The couple, who left the royal “firm” in 2020 and now reside in Montecito, Calif., start the series with a solemn statement claiming the royal family “declined to comment” on the contents of the series.
Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace were quick to fire back, saying they had not been contacted through official channels by the couple’s Archewell production company or Netflix, who produced the show.
As Harry, 38, and 41-year-old Meghan’s give their version of events, viewers are treated to a flood of previously unseen photos and videos of the couple, starting from the early days of their relationship and culminating in snaps of their family life in California with children Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 18 months.
While Prince Harry, 38, praises his late mother, Princess Diana – going so far to compare her “‘compassion’” and “‘warmth’” to that of his wife – he has fewer kind words to say about his father, now King Charles III.
“I think it’s such a responsibility as human beings that if you bring a small person into this world, you should be doing anything you can to make the world a better place for them,” he says of his own journey with parenthood, noting that he did not want to repeat the “same mistakes” of his parents.
Harry also claimed he was “literally brought up” by his so-called “second family” in Africa, where he retreated for weeks and months at a time in the aftermath of his mother’s death in 1997.
Describing the family’s initial reaction to his romance with Markle, Harry unpacked the royal household’s “unconscious bias” around race.
The revelation came as the documentary noted that Princess Michael of Kent wore a controversial Blackamoor brooch to Meghan’s first royal Christmas – considered to be a racist emblem.
Though Harry did not discuss the jewelry gaffe directly, he admitted that “in this family, sometimes you’re part of the problem rather than part of the solution.”
“The thing with unconscious bias,” he continued. “Is it’s actually no one’s fault, but once it’s been pointed out or identified within yourself, you then need to make it right.”
Harry also appeared to take a swipe at his estranged older brother, Prince William, and his wife Duchess Catherine — The Prince and Princess of Wales.
“I think for so many people in the family, especially obviously the men, there can be a temptation or an urge to marry someone who would fit in the mold as opposed to somebody who you perhaps are destined to be with,” Harry told the cameras.
“[It’s] the difference between making decisions with your head, or your heart. And my mom certainly made most of her decisions, if not all of them, from her heart. And I am my mother’s son.”
Harry’s jab was followed by Meghan’s awkward memory of her first meeting with William and Kate, who she hinted didn’t take to her natural warmth.
Without describing exactly how the now-heir to the throne and his wife reacted to her presence, Markle said that “I was a hugger and have always been a hugger. I didn’t realize that that was really jarring for a lot of Brits.”
“I guess I started to understand very quickly that the formality on the outside, carried through on the inside…And that was surprising to me,” she lamented.
Harry and Meghan also describe struggling to cope with the media frenzy around their relationship, with Harry implying he recieved little support from his family when he aired his grievances.
“As far as a lot of the family was concerned, everything that [Meghan] was being put through, they’d been put through as well,” he explained.
“And some of the members of the family were like, ‘But my wife had to go through that, so why should your girlfriend be treated any differently? Why should you get special treatment? Why should she be protected?’ And I said the difference here is the race element,” he continued, with the documentary showing various inacurrate headlines about Meghan’s background.
For her part, Meghan said that she was never “treated…like a black woman” before moving to the UK.
The couple took issue with a particular Daily Mail headline that said Harry’s then-girlfriend was “(almost) straight outta Compton.”
“I was like, ‘Woah,’” Harry said, while Meghan stressed that the headline was “factually incorrect” and she never lived in Compton.
But while the couple lobbed several criticisms at the royal family, they also didn’t hold back when it came to Meghan’s relatives, particularly her father, Thomas Markle Sr.
Describing herself as a “daddy’s girl” growing up, Meghan– who split her time between her father and her mother, Doria Ragland, who divorced when she was six– remembered feeling “lonely” as a child and wanting “more people around.”
She thought she found that in the royals after she was invited to Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas lunch and spent Christmas Day with the family shortly after the pair announced their engagement in 2017.
“It’s just like a big family like I’ve always wanted,” Meghan said in the docu-series. “There was just this constant movement and energy and fun.”
Her entry into royal life was complicated, however, by repeated scandals involving her father. After a series of public gaffes and a last-minute medical emergency, Markle Sr. was unable to attend his daughter’s wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018.
Meghan subsequently wrote her father a letter begging him to stop speaking to the media, before apparently cutting him out of her life.
“She had a father before this, and now she doesn’t have a father,” Harry lamented. “And I shouldered that. If Meg wasn’t with me, then her dad would still be her dad.”
The “Archetypes” podcast host also defended herself against accusations by her half-sister, Samantha Markle, who famously dubbed her “Princess Pushy.”
Claiming that she had not seen Samantha, 58, for “over a decade,” Meghan shot down claims they were formerly close.
“I hadn’t had a fallout with her,” she insisted. “We didn’t have a closeness to be able to have that. And I wanted a sister!”
Meghan’s claims were backed by Samantha’s own estranged daughter, Ashleigh Hale, who said her mother felt “resentment” toward Meghan.
“You know, some people you just can’t reason with,” Ashleigh said of Samantha.
Harry and Meghan’s accusations about both of their families, however, paled in comparison to their excoriation of the media.
Harry, in particular, stressed the trauma he suffered being harassed by the press his whole life.
“Paparazzi used to harass us to the point where we had to be forced into smiling and answering questions to their traveling press pack,” he said of his early memories. “And that made me feel really uncomfortable from the get-go.”
As he and Meghan became more serious, Harry was haunted by the memory of his mother, who famously died in a car crash while being hounded by paparazzi in Paris.
“I was terrified of [Meghan] being driven away by the media,” Harry admitted.
But while the first three episodes of ‘Harry & Meghan’ certainly set tongues wagging, royal watchers will have to wait until next week for the second half of the series.
While the first portion detailed the couple’s life in and around the royal family, the second half is reportedly focused on their life after their infamous decision to step down as senior royals in Jan. 2020, upon which they were stripped of ther Royal Highness titles.
In the lead up to the drop, Harry and Meghan will reportedly make their talk show debut on ‘The Tonight Show’ on Dec. 13.