LONDON, Dec 8 (AP): Britain’s monarchy is bracing for more bombshells to be lobbed over the palace gates Thursday as Netflix releases the first three episodes of a series that promises to tell the “full truth” about Prince Harry and Meghan’s estrangement from the royal family.
Promoted with two dramatically edited trailers that hint at racism and a “war against Meghan,” the series “Harry & Meghan” is the couple’s latest effort to tell the world why they walked away from royal life and moved to Southern California almost three years ago.
It is expected to expand on criticism of the royal family and British media delivered in a series of interviews over the past 18 months.
“No one knows the full truth,” Harry says at the end of the latest trailer. “We know the full truth.”
The series comes at a crucial moment for the monarchy as King Charles III tries to show that the institution still has a role to play after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, whose personal popularity dampened criticism of the crown during her 70-year reign.
Charles is making the case that the House of Windsor can help unite an increasingly diverse nation by using the early days of his reign to meet with many of the ethnic groups and faiths that make up modern Britain.
Harry’s 2018 marriage to the former Meghan Markle, a biracial American and onetime actress, was once seen as boosting the royal family’s effort to move into the 21st century, making it more representative of a multicultural nation. But the fairy tale, which began with a star-studded ceremony at Windsor Castle, soon soured amid stories that Meghan was self-centred and bullied her staff.
Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, stepped back from royal duties and moved to California, alleging racist attacks by Britain’s tabloid media. Harry’s criticism of the media was tinged with anger over the way the press treated his mother, Princess Diana, who died in a car accident in 1997 while being followed by photographers.
The couple’s new life in America has been funded by lucrative contracts with Netflix and Spotify.
Race became a central issue for the monarchy following Harry and Meghan’s interview with American talk show host Oprah Winfrey in March 2021. Meghan alleged that before their first child was born, a member of the royal family commented on how dark the baby’s skin might be.
Prince William, the heir to the throne and Harry’s older brother, defended the royal family after the interview, telling reporters, “We’re very much not a racist family.”
But Buckingham Palace faced renewed allegations of racism only last week when a Black advocate for survivors of domestic abuse said a senior member of the royal household interrogated her about her origins during a reception at the palace.
Coverage of the issue filled British media, overshadowing William and his wife Kate’s much-anticipated visit to Boston, which the palace had hoped would highlight their environmental credentials.
Media attention was also diverted by Netflix’s decision to release the first trailer for “Harry & Meghan” in the middle of the trip.
The streaming giant has promised an “unprecedented and in-depth documentary series” over six episodes in which Harry and Meghan “share the other side of their high-profile love story.”
The first three episodes will be released on Thursday, with the second batch to be posted December 15.
The programme will be watched carefully in the UK, where even the teasers were criticised for offering misleading images to back up the emotive narration alleging misogyny, unfair media treatment and racism.
In one section of the footage, clips of paparazzi are spliced together with old footage of Princess Diana being followed by the media as Harry says in a voiceover: “The pain and suffering of women marrying into this institution, this feeding frenzy. … I was terrified, I didn’t want history to repeat itself.”