I didn’t have high hopes when I started Netflix’s six-part docuseries Harry & Meghan – and episode one, a treacly look at the early days of their relationship, didn’t fill me with hope that this would be must-see TV.
How wrong I was. Six hours later, as the California sun set on their story (for now) after explosive tales of royal family espionage, press intrusion and legal battles, I was eagerly rooting for the couple to win.
And then it occurred to me: They already have.
If you didn’t make it all the way to episode six, let me give you a spoiler-free look at their Happily Ever After: Harry, Meghan and their two young children live a beatific existence in their Montecito manor, tending to their animals, taking Zoom meetings and watching as little Archie and Lilibet play with Grandma (Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland) on the lush lawns outside.
It’s all a long way from life in the UK, working and living within the strict confines of “The Firm”. The sense of freedom is palpable.
Sure, they’re largely estranged from Harry’s family – but as they see it, that fracture is an opportunity to create their own, non-blood family in LA (among that close-knit group, none other than Meghan’s longtime friend Serena Williams).
And if there’s any truth to what Harry alleges in the doco’s final episode – that his brother William really did conspire against Meghan in her legal case against the Daily Mail – then what a blessing to be out of that family.
As Meghan herself put it in one interview, as an outsider she was shocked to witness just how much the demands of the family and the family business were in direct conflict.
Sure, there were a few cringe-worthy moments across the six hours. Harry’s insistence towards the end of the series that he and Meghan had “moved on” from the dramas of the past few years made me do a spit-take (following an Oprah tell-all with a six-part Netflix tell-all does not scream “over it”, Haz).
And there were some head-scratching moments as they detailed their war with the media: Negative tabloid headlines were dredged up as evidence of unfavourable treatment, but then positive headlines from those tabloids were used to illustrate all the good the couple felt they were doing.
Harry gave the impression members of the royal family obsessively monitor their own news clippings – in leaving the fold, he’d do well to break that habit.
And then there’s Meghan’s continued insistence that she had no idea what she was getting herself into, marrying into the royal family. It still feels like studied naivety: You really didn’t expect people would line the streets when you married a Prince? Really?
But to focus on those moments is to ignore the bigger picture painted across the series.
Harry and Meghan’s connection was immediate, their attraction palpable (what a rarity among the couples in the royal family).
After much turmoil and distress, they made the decision to leave the royal family, to forge their own path – surely an option that should be afforded to anyone born into such an all-consuming life.
And with help from a $100m-plus Netflix pay cheque, they’ve told their story. Let’s hope – once Harry’s memoir Spare is released in January – that they really can “move on”, and enjoy this new life they’ve built for themselves.
Originally published as Meghan and Harry’s Netflix series shows they’ve already won the royal war