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Harry & Meghan: The Biggest Revelations From Netflix's Docuseries

The doc is filled with intimate confessions about their romance and their complicated relationship with the royal family.
  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (Photo: Netflix)
    Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (Photo: Netflix)

    In the 20 months since their blockbuster interview with Oprah, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have largely remained out of the spotlight, preferring to let their harsh condemnation of the British monarchy, “the Institution,” speak for itself. But the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s period of peace ends today with the premiere of Netflix’s Harry & Meghan, a six-part docuseries from Emmy-winning director Liz Garbus (What Happened, Miss Simone?).

    Released in two parts — the final three episodes drop Thursday, December 15 — the Harry & Meghan documentary is an intimate account of the couple’s love story, and for the first time, they reveal details about their clandestine courtship, their years-long battle with the British media, and the drama surrounding their May 2018 wedding.

    From Harry and Meghan’s Instagram meet cute to her fraught relationship with her father, Thomas Markle, these are the six biggest takeaways from Part 1 of Harry & Meghan on Netflix:

    1. It All Started With a Doggy Filter

    Photo: Netflix

    Harry & Meghan doesn’t paint as damning a picture of the royal family as the Oprah interview (that sound you hear is Buckingham Palace officials breathing a sigh of relief), but it does offer a bit more insight into the royals’ personal life, particularly the early days of their relationship.

    In the first episode, Harry reveals that they met on social media: As he tells it, he saw a video of Meghan in a goofy Snapchat dog filter and immediately wanted to know more about her. The mutual friend who posted the video reached out to Meghan to set them up, and after checking out Harry’s now-confirmed private Instagram page — his feed is filled with animal photos and sunset pics, in case you were curious — she agreed to meet him in London. A few drinks and a dinner later, and they were all in: “It just hit me. I was like, this girl... this woman is amazing,” says Harry. “[She’s] everything that I’ve been looking for.”

    2. Harry and Meghan’s Third Date Was in Botswana

    After two dates in early summer 2016, Harry and Meghan’s relationship developed primarily over text and FaceTime. Each had just one free week in their busy summer schedules, and when they happened to line up, Harry invited Meghan along on a conservation trip to Botswana. For five days, the two lived together in a tent, an experience that was initially “awkward” — “I just remember he handed me a chicken sandwich,” says Meghan — but brought them even closer. “We could both just be completely ourselves,” she explains. “Thankfully, we really liked each other.”

    Harry explains that their trip to Botswana afforded them an opportunity to “get to know each other before the rest of the world and the media joined in,” but unfortunately, their bliss would be short-lived. In October, the British tabloids caught wind of their romance, forever altering the course of their relationship, both with each other, and with the media.

    3. The Royal Family Had a “Big Problem” With Meghan’s Acting Career

    Photo: Everett Collection

    While Harry does admit that there’s a “huge level of unconscious bias” among the royals when it comes to race, he and Meghan claim that it was her acting career that proved to be “the biggest problem” for his family. “The fact that I was dating an American actress was probably what clouded their judgment more than anything else in the beginning,” he says. “‘Oh, she’s an American actress. This won’t last.’”

    “There was a big idea of what that looks like from the UK standpoint, Hollywood,” adds the former Suits star. “It was just very easy for them to typecast that.”

    Though they decline to offer specifics about this tension, Meghan implies she wasn’t particularly close with other members of the royal family, news that won’t surprise viewers who have been following the alleged rift between Princes William and Harry. Her first time meeting William and Kate Middleton, Meghan explains, she was barefoot and wearing ripped jeans, and she recalls their surprise when she went in for a hug. “I started to understand very quickly that the formality on the outside carried through on the inside,” she says.

    4. Harry and Meghan’s Post-Engagement Interview Was “Rehearsed”

    Harry & Meghan includes intimate, raw footage of Harry’s proposal at Kensington Palace, which is contrasted with the sleek interview they conducted with the BBC after publicly announcing their engagement. At the beginning of Episode 3, Meghan calls the BBC interview an “orchestrated reality show,” claiming it was “rehearsed” beforehand under the careful eye of Kensington Palace officials. “We weren’t allowed to tell our story because they didn’t want [us to],” she says.

    “We’ve never been allowed to tell our story,” replies Harry. “That’s the consistency.”

    On Thursday morning, the BBC journalist who conducted the November 2017 interview, Mishal Husain, addressed Meghan and Harry’s claim. “We know recollections may vary on this particular subject, but my recollection is definitely very much: asked to do an interview and do said interview,” he said, per Deadline.

    5. Harry Discusses His Nazi Officer Halloween Costume For the First Time

    Beyond its focus on his relationship with Meghan, the Netflix docuseries also includes a few interesting moments in which Harry reflects on his past.

    Episode 3 attempts to place Harry and Meghan’s marriage in the larger context of Britain’s racist history, and though Garbus primarily relies on historians and cultural commentators to fill this role, Harry acknowledges that he was once “part of the problem, rather than part of the solution,” a reference to his decision to wear a Nazi uniform to a Halloween party in 2005. “It was probably one of the biggest mistakes of my life,” he says. “I felt so ashamed afterwards.”

    In his attempt to “make it right,” Harry spoke with the chief rabbi in London and a Holocaust survivor in Berlin. “[It] had a profound effect on me ... I could’ve just ignored it and gone on and probably made the same mistakes over and over again in my life,” says Harry. “But I learned from that.”

    6. Meghan Learned Her Father Wouldn’t Be Attending Their Wedding Through the Tabloids

    Photo: Netflix

    Unlike Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland, who opens up for the first time in Harry & Meghan, Meghan’s father Thomas Markle has spent the past four years in the headlines. In the weeks leading up to their 2018 wedding, reports surfaced that Thomas had sold photos of himself to a British tabloid, and Markle recalls that he began acting “cagey” about what really happened. Just days before he was supposed to walk her down the aisle, Thomas revealed that he would no longer be attending the wedding — news Meghan says she learned about through the tabloids.

    Thomas cited a heart attack as the reason he had to miss the wedding, but he stopped responding to calls or texts, and Meghan and Harry weren’t able to get any additional information about his condition. In Meghan & Harry, Markle claims that when he finally replied, his message was out-of-character and suspicious: He called her by her full name, not “Meg,” which is how he’s always referred to her.

    “I was like, ‘That’s not my dad,’” she says. “We knew that his phone had been compromised.”

    Part 1 ends on a somber note, as Harry reflects on all Meghan has lost by being with him. “It’s incredibly sad what happened. She had a father before this. And now she doesn’t have a father,” he says. “I shouldered that. Because if Meg wasn’t with me, then her dad would still be her dad.”

    Harry & Meghan Part 1 is now streaming on Netflix. Part 2 premieres Thursday, December 15.

    Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.

    TOPICS: Harry & Meghan, Netflix, King Charles III, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Queen Elizabeth II