- WASHINGTON POST
5 standout revelations from Volume 2 of Netflix’s ‘Harry & Meghan’
13:29 JST, December 16, 2022
The second half of the limited series “Harry & Meghan” landed with a bang. While the
first three episodes set the groundwork for royal drama, the latter three, released Thursday on Netflix, dive right in.
The series, produced under the Archewell Productions banner as part of the couple’s Netflix deal, discusses Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry’s ongoing battle with British media – particularly as it relates to Meghan’s lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday, which published a private letter she sent to her father. In addition to those claims, as well as looks into complicated family power dynamics that allegedly spurred fights, the series also includes intimate glimpses of Harry and Meghan’s home life with their children, Archie and Lilibet, painting a fuller picture of their family today.
Here are five takeaways from the latter half of the limited series, which both Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace have refrained from commenting on.
– Harry and Meghan suggest the palace fed negative stories about Meghan to British tabloids.
Despite the support Harry received from his father in planning a storybook wedding, as well as the relationship Meghan felt she fostered afterward with Queen Elizabeth II, Harry believes his family responded negatively to his wife’s rising popularity with the press. The series paints Harry and Meghan’s high-profile tour of Australia and the South Pacific in 2018 as a turning point for how British media treated them. After that, it posits, the palace aimed to seize back power by planting negative stories about Meghan to let the rest of the family off easier.
The couple’s attorney, Jenny Afia, states in the series that she has “certainly seen evidence that there was negative briefing from the palace against Harry and Meghan to suit other people’s agendas.”
Harry at one point notes that “the issue is, when someone who’s marrying in [and] should be a supporting act is then stealing the limelight or doing better in the job than the person who’s born to do it, that upsets people.”
– Meghan says she wasn’t allowed to seek help to better her mental health.
In last year’s sit-down television interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan said that the constant barrage of negative press contributed to her experiencing suicidal thoughts. She expresses the same sentiment in the Netflix series, in which she also states that palace officials, who exercised great control over her day to day, denied her the ability to seek help because they were concerned how it would reflect upon the “institution,” or the palace and royal family.
Meghan confided in her mother, Doria Ragland, about what she was going through. Ragland tears up in the series as she recalls the moment: “I knew that it was bad, but to be constantly picked at by these vultures, just picking away at her spirit, that she would actually think of not wanting to be here – that’s not an easy one for a mom to hear,” Ragland says. “And I can’t protect her. H can’t protect her.”
While Meghan has maintained that Harry was supportive of her in this time, he stated that he has some regrets because he feels he “dealt with it as institutional Harry as opposed to husband Harry.”
“What took over my feelings was my royal role,” he says. “I had been trained to worry more about, ‘What are people going to think if we don’t go to this event? We’re going to be late.’ And looking back at it now, I hate myself for it.”
– Harry recalls Prince William yelling at him over his desire to step back from royal duties.
In an effort to regain control of his life, Harry expressed to his father that he wished to move his family to another country and step back from royal duties in some capacity. Tabloids caught wind of a plan for Harry and Meghan to move to South Africa, which was then scrapped. Eventually, they thought of permanently relocating to Canada.
Harry recalls meeting with his brother, father and grandmother at Sandringham, a country estate where they used to spend holidays, to discuss his future in the family. The conversation didn’t go as well as he hoped.
“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 quietly sit there and sort of take it all in,” he says. “But you have to understand that from the family’s perspective, especially from hers, there are ways of doing things and her ultimate mission, goal-slash-responsibility, is the institution.”
When rumors spread that William had “bullied” Harry and Meghan out of the family, the palace issued a statement attempting to squash the idea. Harry says he was never informed of the statement, and laments that “they were happy to lie to protect my brother and yet for three years, they were never willing to tell the truth to protect us.”
“The saddest part of it was this wedge created between myself and my brother, so that he’s now on the institution’s side,” Harry says of the situation. “And I get that. Part of that, I get. I understand. That’s his inheritance.”
– Harry believes Meghan experienced a miscarriage due to stress over a tabloid story.
Even after her wedding, Meghan’s estranged father, Thomas Markle, continued to speak negatively to the press about his relationship with his daughter. Meghan says senior members of the royal family encouraged her to write him a letter, which she cautiously sent to a business manager in Los Angeles who would then route it to Markle. The contents of this letter became public anyway and were published in the Mail on Sunday tabloid.
The palace discouraged Harry and Meghan from suing the Mail for publishing excerpts from the private letter, so the couple sought “separate legal advice” and went ahead with the help of Afia, their attorney. Meghan notes that “everything changed after that,” and says “that litigation was the catalyst probably for all of the unraveling.”
The proceedings went on for years, stretching into when Harry and Meghan moved to Santa Barbara in 2020 while she was pregnant with their second child. She suffered a miscarriage on their first day in the home, an experience she later wrote about in a New York Times column.
“I believe my wife suffered a miscarriage because of what the Mail did,” Harry says in the series. “I watched the whole thing.”
Meghan eventually won the case at the end of last year, writing in a statement that it was “a victory not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what’s right.”
– Tyler Perry took Harry and Meghan in after they lost their security detail.
After Harry and Meghan stepped back from their royal responsibilities and relocated to Vancouver Island, located off Canada’s Pacific Coast, the palace stripped them of their security detail. They were still experiencing widespread harassment and death threats – even receiving suspicious packages, according to the couple. The moment their rental property’s location was published in the tabloids, they knew they needed to relocate quickly.
Meghan thought back to a note she received years before from actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry, a stranger at the time who had been inspired to tell Meghan he was praying for her after seeing how her father spoke of her in the press. (Perry says in the series that some of his family members changed, too, after he became famous.) She and Harry left Vancouver Island early in the pandemic and stayed at Perry’s property in Beverly Hills for six weeks.
When their daughter, Lilibet, was born, Harry and Meghan asked Perry to be the godfather. He agreed, on the condition that he wouldn’t have to attend a christening in England with the royal family in attendance.
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