The first three episodes of Harry & Meghan, a Netflix “global event” (their words) chronicling Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s tabloid-ravaged love story, from the royal couple’s first date to their nuptials, offered few surprises. We dug into their personal histories—Meghan’s early years negotiating her mixed-race upbringing in the Valley; Harry’s trauma over the loss of his mother, Princess Diana—and the Suits actress’ discomfiture when it comes to royal customs. So little was gleaned from the docuseries’ first three hours that the only tendril loyalists to The Firm could seize on to criticize their favorite punching bag was an out-of-context clip wherein Meghan jestingly reenacted her first go at curtseying.
Perhaps the only intriguing revelations were Harry admitting his great shame concerning that Nazi uniform he wore to a costume party as a teenager, and Markle’s estranged father Thomas hawking photos to the British tabloids whilst ghosting Meghan and Harry in the lead-up to their royal wedding. Some inclusions in filmmaker Liz Garbus’ doc, like Meghan casting her lifestyle website as a thriving, boundary-pushing enterprise, or her continued insistence that she knew absolutely nothing about Prince Harry prior to their coupling strain credulity. And the whole project feels like it’s arrived a year and a half late given that blockbuster Oprah interview, those floundering Spotify podcasts, and Harry’s little-seen Apple TV+ mental health docuseries The Me You Can’t See.
Where is the tea? Would Harry and/or Meghan finally unmask the mystery royal who questioned how dark their child’s skin might be, or King Charles III and Prince William’s attitude toward Meghan, or the gossiped-about feud between Meghan and Kate Middleton, or whether the palace scapegoated Meghan to mask Prince Andrew’s Epstein scandal, or those royal affair rumors in its final three episodes, dropping Dec. 15? Is this really worth six-plus hours of your precious time?
Sort of. After a wave of Meghan-friendly PR, including highlighting her work with Grenfell Tower fire victims and talking heads lauding their ability to “speak so effortlessly to a different generation,” Harry & Meghan digs into the relentless tabloid attacks on Meghan—ripping her supposed “diva” behavior,” calling her a “gangster,” baselessly alleging links to terror suspects, comparing her unfavorably to Kate Middleton, and showering her in angry Black woman tropes.
“It was like, all of this would stop if I’m not here. And that was the scariest thing about it—is it was such clear thinking,” Meghan says about her suicidal ideation.
Her mother, Doria Ragland, fights back tears recalling how Meghan came close to taking her own life and the sense of helplessness she felt. According to Meghan, the royal family wouldn’t allow her to get treatment because of the way it would look, and Harry expresses deep regret for prioritizing his royal role over that of a loving husband.
“Looking back on it now, I hate myself for it,” he says.
In the fifth episode, Harry recalls a heated summit between Harry and Meghan and the rest of the royal family at Sandringham House on January 13, 2020, where they discussed their decision to not only move to Canada but be “half-in, half-out” as far as royal duties were concerned.
“It was terrifying to have my brother scream and shout at me, and my father say things that just simply weren’t true, and my grandmother just quietly sit there and take it all in,” Harry laments.
Harry further accuses his older brother and The Firm of putting out a joint statement from the royal brothers pooh-poohing reports that William was guilty of “bullying” Harry and Meghan out of the royal family—without Harry’s approval.
It’s hard to feel too sorry for Harry and Meghan as the docuseries covers the famous couple hiding out in Tyler Perry’s enormous California mansion with its rolling hills, walking trails, and outdoor pool at the height of the coronavirus pandemic—“there’s people that are dying,” to quote Kourtney Kardashian. (Perry also reveals himself to be godfather to Harry and Meghan’s daughter, Lilibet.) Meghan’s miscarriage, which the couple blames in part on stress from her messy lawsuit against the Daily Mail, is heartbreaking.
We learn that Beyoncé texted Meghan the day after the couple’s big Oprah interview with Meghan recounting, “She said she wants me to feel safe and protected. She admires and respects my bravery and vulnerability, and thinks I was selected to break generational curses that need to be healed.”
In one rather tense scene, Meghan confronts Harry and accuses William of knowing about leaked text messages between her and her former comms person regarding a personal letter she wrote to her father, which was at the center of the Mail lawsuit.
Overall, though, Harry & Meghan sees the semi-royals take the high road—refusing to address much of the drama and family infighting that’s led them to Santa Barbara, thousands of miles away from Buckingham Palace. Maybe good ol’ Harry is saving it for the memoir.