The public now has their first look behind the scenes at Harry and Meghan’s life from their perspective — and they are addressing everything you could imagine. From how they met and began their relationship to Meghan’s crash course in her service to the British Monarchy, viewers are getting honest opinions, from both Meghan and Harry, on it all.
Let’s get to it — here’s what you need to know from the first installment of Harry & Meghan:
Harry details his upbringing with his mother, Princess Diana.
Harry recounts his life in the spotlight and how he was inherently bombarded by paparazzi since he was a young boy. He explains how peculiar and jarring it was to be in front of cameras and most notably, witnessing the toll it took on his mother, Diana.
“My mom did such a good job of trying to protect us. She took it upon herself to basically confront these people,” Harry shared.
The footage shows Diana approaching paparazzi while on holiday at a ski resort, where she very kindly and respectfully asked them to leave, saying, “As a parent, could I ask you to protect my children’s space?”
Harry revealed that he was instructed by his family and was told, “Not to react. Don’t feed into it,” but admitted it was difficult for him to watch his mother struggle with it behind the scenes.
“There was always public pressure, with its fair share of drama, stress, and also tears. And witnessing those tears. I always see it on my mum’s face. And I guess those were the moments when I thought, ‘Hang on a little. What am I?’”
He also referenced the famous interview Princess Diana did for BBC’s Panorama in 1995, expressing, “I think we all now know that she was deceived into giving the interview, but at the same time, she spoke the truth of her experience.”
The Duke of Sussex went on to share his experience with grief after the passing of his mother in 1997 and felt that he had no room or time to mourn her death properly. He recounts having to immediately be available for funeral arrangements and the civic duty of addressing the public, having to shake hands and smile as a boy, and repressing the trauma that was occurring.
Meghan feels Prince William And Kate Middleton were cold with her.
According to Meghan, meeting Prince William and Kate for the first time was very formal.
“Even when Will and Kate came over, and I'd met her for the first time,” Meghan began, “they came over for dinner, and I remember I was in ripped jeans, and I was barefoot... like I was a hugger; I've always been a hugger; I didn't realize that that is really jarring for a lot of Brits. I guess I'd started to understand very quickly that the formality on the outside carried through on the inside... That that formality carries over on both sides.”
She goes on to explain her experience with taking on her Royal duties and admits she was not actually groomed for her role. In fact, she shares that she had to figure most of it out herself, and it was all through trial and error. She jokes that she was not shown how to wave or taught the British National Anthem, which she learned through Google. She did, however, share that there were guidelines to be followed, like not wearing the same color as her Majesty or other senior members of the family while out at events.
The documentary interviews other members of the press and media to discuss the relationship between the media and the British Monarchy, which Harry and Meghan insinuate to be the source of their grief during their royal reign. “The Tabloids have an unwritten contract with the Royal Family” where the understanding is, “We pay, you pose,” the first episode shared.
It then describes the “The Royal Rota” as a group of certain media chosen to cover the family as royal correspondents and all royal news. “If you’re part of the royal rota, you have priority over the story, over everybody else,” Harry said. They also list members of the Royal Rota, identifying The Sun, Daily Express, The Times, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, London Evening Standard, and The Telegraph.
“It all comes down to control. It’s like this family is ours to exploit. That trauma is our story and our narrative to control,” Harry continued.
The “invisible” contract was said to be intact for the last 30 years, making Prince Harry and Prince William the first “born into a contractual relationship with the British Media.”
The history of slavery within the British Monarchy and the parallel to Meghan’s race was discussed, a lot.
The entire third episode is pretty much dedicated to the discussion of Meghan’s race and the controversy of her being the first member of the royal family of mixed descent. With this topic, there is a robust delve into the history of Britain and “the deep south in the Caribbean” and how it was “airbrushed out of Britain’s story.”
Markle also insinuated that the British tabloids deliberately attempted to expose unruly behavior or drama from her maternal side, which happens to be Black.
“The UK Media, I truly believe, wanted my mom’s side of the family to be the ones that all this drama could be stirred up with. And suddenly, you just had my mom, who’s classy and quiet in there, and you had the other side of my family that is just acting differently.”
Harry himself admitted to the “unconscious bias” he was raised with, saying, “There is a huge level of unconscious bias. The thing with unconscious bias 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. It’s education. It’s awareness.”
The final installment of Harry & Meghan airs on December 15th, on Netflix.