UK royal war: Harry and Meghan’s new Netflix episodes to land

December 15, 2022 - 1:14 PM
Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, leave after the National Service of Thanksgiving held at St Paul's Cathedral as part of celebrations marking the Platinum Jubilee of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, in London, Britain, June 3, 2022. (Reuters/Dylan Martinez/File Photo)

The final three episodes of Prince Harry and his wife Meghan’s Netflix documentary series air on Thursday, with more criticism expected to be directed at the British royals just as King Charles and his family gather for a Christmas carol service.

In the first tranche of episodes released last week, Harry and Meghan again launched fierce attacks on the media over their treatment, some of which they said had been racist, but the royals themselves escaped relatively unscathed.

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Trailers for the final shows indicate some more damning commentary on the Windsors, however, with Harry referring to “institutional gaslighting”, and saying unspecified people had been “happy to lie to protect my brother”, Prince William, who is now heir to the throne.

“They were never willing to tell the truth to protect us,” Harry says.

Meghan’s lawyer, Jenny Afia, and a friend were both shown in another trailer, saying how Buckingham Palace had briefed negative stories to the press about the couple to avoid unfavorable stories about other royals being printed.

“There was a real kind of war against Meghan,” Afia said. Meanwhile newspapers have described the documentary series as the couple’s war on the royals.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as Harry and Meghan are officially known, stepped down from royal duties in March 2020, saying they wanted to forge new lives in the United States away from media harassment, which the couple said had threatened to destroy their mental health.

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“I wonder what would have happened to us had we not got out when we did,” Harry says in a trailer. “I said ‘we need to get out of here’,” he adds, describing their exit as the “freedom flight”.

Hostile press

While the couple have won awards and plaudits from some across the Atlantic for their charitable and human rights work, back in Britain a hostile press accuses them of seeking to make millions from their royal status while constantly attacking the monarchy.

Newspapers have also cited former unnamed royal aides challenging the couple’s narrative in the documentaries, saying there were inaccuracies in their accounts.

Both Buckingham Palace and William’s office, Kensington Palace, have said they would not be commenting on the documentaries.

A royal source also said neither the palace nor representatives of William or other royals had been approached for comment for the series itself, contradicting a Netflix statement that said they had declined to comment.

According to initial figures cited by the BBC, some 2.4 million viewers in Britain watched the first episode on the day it was released, although the senior royals themselves have steered clear, royal sources have told newspapers.

Hours after the final three episodes are made available at 8 a.m. in Britain, Charles, his wife Camilla, Prince William and his wife Kate along with other royals will attend a carol service at London’s Westminster Abbey to “recognize the selfless efforts of individuals, families and communities across the UK”.

The service will also be dedicated to the late Queen Elizabeth, whose funeral was held in the Abbey in September.

—Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Alex Richardson