In their new Netflix documentary, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry share intimate details about their lives, love story and treatment in the royal family.
“These are two people who really love each other and who have respectively given up everything at different points to be together,” says a source close to them. “There’s a lot of beauty in that.”
But sweet family moments — from their first date selfie to Harry’s garden proposal — are only one aspect of the documentary, which largely focuses on what Harry calls the “dirty game” between the press and the palace.
“There’s a hierarchy of the family,” Harry, 38, says. “You know, there’s leaking, but there’s also planting of stories.”
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Such allegations, shared with a global audience by a senior member of the family, come as Harry’s relationship with his father, King Charles, 74, and brother Prince William, 40, remains strained.
“It will take a long time before there is harmony between the brothers. There is a lot of anger there,” says a source close to the royal household.
Netflix Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
A palace source confides that William and his wife, Princess Kate, 40, are avoiding the series and having aides watch instead.
As for Charles, the royal household source adds, “The door [to reconciliation] is always open where the King is concerned, and he would certainly rescue the situation if he could. He would love this to stop.”
Palace officials had braced for the worst, still burned by Harry and Meghan’s departure from royal duty and move to California in 2020, and then, a year later, their explosive allegations in an Oprah Winfrey interview of racism within the royal family, which Charles and William vehemently deny.
As evident in the new trailers that have been released this week, the final three episodes, premiering Dec. 15, will turn directly to Harry and Meghan’s issues with the relationship between courtiers in the palace and the U.K. media.
“They were happy to lie to protect my brother,” Harry says. “They were never willing to tell the truth to protect us.”
Addressing racist headlines in the U.K. media and the couple’s concerns for their own safety— all of which, Harry says, were overlooked by the palace—amounted to “institutional gaslighting,” he says.
The documentary places the couple “in the wider [conversation] around racism and the culture wars that they’ve become inextricably bound up with,” says royal biographer Catherine Mayer, author of Charles: The Heart of a King. “There are people in communities of color and young people who are going to take from this the message of institutional failure. And that is really powerful.”
Courtesy of Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Given all that has transpired during the tumultuous past few years, “the collateral damage to the institution is not insignificant,” says another source close to the royal household, who also acknowledges, “It’s an organization that’s behind the times in terms of corporate responsibility and structure.”
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Adds royal biographer Ingrid Seward, “There is always a way for reconciliation if both sides want it.
As for Charles, who as head of the family and the institution is tasked with protecting both—a challenging duality that his mother, Queen Elizabeth, previously wrestled with—”the King can’t do anything more than play a waiting game,” says Seward, “and let it ride.”