Netflix has released the first three episodes of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s documentary, titled Harry and Meghan.
In September 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle signed a multi-million dollar deal with Netflix, shortly after stepping down as working members of the royal family. The partnership – in collaboration with the royal couple’s production company, Archewell Productions – is set to include documentaries, docuseries, feature films, scripted shows and children’s programming.
Harry and Meghan’s docuseries is the most highly anticipated project to be borne from the multi-year Netflix deal. However, details about the show have remained somewhat scarce.
Now, volume one of Harry and Meghan has been released, with the couple sharing revelations about their first date, Meghan’s first meeting with the royal family, and her experiences of racism in the UK.
“It was long-distance from the beginning,” Meghan says in the first episode about their early relationship. “Everything was just texts and Facetimes and we’d just talk for hours, and it just felt exciting, which is so weird because it wasn’t exciting in the way that I think people would assume that it would be.
“It was just relaxed and easy. We just got to know each other. Truly like any other couple where you’re figuring out like ‘What do you like to eat? What do you like to cook? What kind of movies do you like?”’
The Duke of Sussex also said he was “terrified” that Meghan would be “driven away by the media”.
Speaking in the first episode, he said: “The same media that had driven so many different people away from me.”
“I knew that the only way that this could possibly work was by keeping it quiet for as long as possible,” he added.
Here is everything we know leading up to the series’ release.
When will it be released?
Volume one of the six-part series was released on Thursday 8 Decembe at midnight PST, 3am EST and 8am GMT.
Volume two will be released the following week, on Thursday 15 December.
In November 2022, it was reported the then-untitled docuseries would be released on Netflix in December 2022. But the streaming giant reportedly delayed its release to 2023 following backlash to The Crown season five, until now.
What is it about?
The series is described by Netflix as follows: “In an unprecedented and in-depth documentary series, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex share the other side of their high-profile love story.”
“Across six episodes, the series explores the clandestine days of their early courtship and the challenges that led to them feeling forced to step back from their full-time roles in the institution.
“With commentary from friends and family, most of whom have never spoken publicly before about what they witnessed, and historians who discuss the state of the British Commonwealth today and the royal family’s relationship with the press, the series does more than illuminate one couple’s love story, it paints a picture of our world and how we treat each other.”
In an interview with The Cut last August, the Duchess of Sussex hinted that the docuseries may focus on her “love story” with Prince Harry. She dispelled rumours the two were filming a reality show, but maintained that there’s a difference between a “historical documentary and a reality docuseries”.
“The piece of my life I haven’t been able to share, that people haven’t been able to see, is our love story,” she said, before referencing a quote from the end of a speech she gave at her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018 – “resounding knowledge that, above all, love wins”.
“I hope that is the sentiment that people feel when they see any of the content or the projects that we are working on,” she said.
But when pressed further on whether the documentary is about their relationship, the duchess said she is “not trying to be cagey” but is unsure what she is allowed to disclose.
“When the media has shaped the story around you, it’s really nice to be able to tell your own story,” she said.
Who is the director?
The docuseries is led by Oscar award-winning filmmaker, Liz Garbus. The director has worked on a number of documentaries about public figures, including Love, Marilyn; What Happened, Miss Simone?; and Bobby Fischer Against the World.
“I don’t read any press. So I don’t know what’s confirmed,” Meghan told The Cut. “I will tell you Liz Garbus is incredible. Liz Garbus also worked on Pearl,” she said, referencing an animated series created by Meghan for Archewell Productions, which has since been dropped by Netflix.
Garbus was reportedly a replacement for the project’s original director, Garrett Bradley.
When did it start filming?
The docuseries is said to have begun filming in September 2021. At the start of the first episode, on-screen text reads: “All interviews were completed by August 202”.
Last fall, the couple were seen during a trip to New York City with a videographer and photographer, prompting speculation that the pair were recording their work.
According to Page Six, a cameraman captured the pair before they toured the 9/11 Memorial, and during a visit to the famous Harlem soul food restaurant Melba Friday.
In May, film crews were reportedly given permission to film the couple at their home in Montecito, California, and were also spotted following Harry and Meghan in April at the Invictus Games in The Hague, Netherlands.
How will the British royal family be featured?
In volume one of Harry and Meghan, Meghan Markle said she was “surprised” about the formality of the royal family.
Speaking in episode two of the six-part Netflix docuseries, she said: “When Will and Kate came over, and I met her for the first time, they came over for dinner, I remember I was in ripped jeans and I was barefoot.”
The duchess also recalled an “amazing” first Christmas spent with the royal family at the Sandringham Estate, where she sat next to Prince Philip at Christmas dinner.
However, Meghan referred to her 2017 engagement interview with Prince Harry as an “orchestrated reality show”.
“It was rehearsed,” Meghan said. “We did the thing out with the press, then we went right inside, took the coat off and did the interview. So it’s all in that same moment.”
Royal commentators and fans alike have speculated the Netflix series could frame the royal institution in more hostile terms, while some reports have suggested Harry and Meghan wished to soften its portrayal of the royal family after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Sources have claimed that Harry and Meghan wanted to edit their docuseries to soften its portrayal of the royal family – specifically King Charles II, the Queen Consort, and the Prince and Princess of Wales, per Page Six.
“A lot of conversations are happening,” one source said. “I hear that Harry and Meghan want the series to be held until next year, they want to stall. I wonder if the show could even be dead in the water at this point, do Harry and Meghan just want to shelve this thing?”
A Netflix source added: “Netflix has been keen to have the show ready to stream for December. There’s a lot of pressure on [Netflix CEO] Ted Sarandos, who has the relationship with Harry and Meghan, to get this show finished.”
The pair’s decision to edit the documentary reportedly comes after spending time with the royal family in the UK after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies