By Michele Yeo
“It never needed to be this way,” laments Prince Harry in the second and final volume of the Netflix documentary, Harry and Meghan. While the first three episodes were full of revelations about their love story and their issues with the British media, these final three episodes, now streaming, are full of revelations into what it was like dealing with the royal family before, during, and after their infamous departure from the UK and step down as senior royals. Here are 15 revelations from episodes four, five, and six.
Harry and Meghan’s Initial Popularity Was Not Appreciated
Shortly after announcing they were expecting their first child in 2018, Harry and Meghan set out on a tour of Australia and New Zealand where they took part in dozens of engagements. The response and press was overwhelmingly positive which didn’t seem to go over well with the rest of the family. Things intensified when, back in the UK, all the senior royals attended a function together but all the press seemed to be about Meghan and Harry who were featured solo on the front page of The Sunday Telegraph the next day. “The issue,” Harry said, “is when someone who is marrying in and should be a supporting act is then stealing the limelight or doing the job better than the person who is born to do this.” Harry described it as the moment “the first penny dropped” for Meghan.
Meghan’s Controversial Letter To Her Father Was The Royal Family’s Idea
After Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, infamously began speaking to the media, Meghan says she was at a loss over what to do and sought counsel from the royal family. “Ultimately, it was suggested by the Queen, the Prince of Wales, that I write my dad a letter,” she told the doc. The letter, where Meghan pleaded with her father to stop speaking to the press, was then notoriously published in The Daily Mail. “It was horrendous,” said Meghan who then suggested the royal family take legal action against the paper for unlawfully publishing it. After weeks and weeks of inaction, the Duchess took legal action herself.
The Royal Family Planted and Leaked Stories About Harry and Meghan Including The Letter to Her Father
“There’s leaking but there’s also planting of stories,” said Harry, adding there is “constant briefings about other members of the family, about favours, inviting the press in, it’s a dirty game,” he added, “they’ll trade and give you something about someone else’s principal…to remove a negative story about their principal.” Meghan’s lawyer weighed in saying, “there was a real kind of war against Meghan. I’ve certainly seen evidence that there was negative briefing from the Palace against Harry and Meghan to suit other people’s agendas.” During her lawsuit against The Daily Mail for publishing her letter to her father, one tabloid editor claimed he met with members of the royal household who supplied him with drafts of the letter. Harry said he and his brother once promised each other to never engage in such activity when they were younger, “William and I both saw what happens in our dad’s office and we made an agreement that we would never let that happen to our office,” he said. “To see my brother’s office copy the very same thing we promised the two of us would never ever do, that was heartbreaking.”
Leaving the UK Was Not a Spontaneous Decision Nor Was it Meghan’s Decision
Harry and Meghan told the documentary talks of leaving the UK initially began in 2018 with plans to relocate to New Zealand followed by a 2019 plan to move to South Africa. “The palace signed off on us moving to South Africa, my father’s office knew about it, my brother’s office knew about it, my grandmother’s office knew about it,” revealed Harry adding, “it was very much an internal document then it was leaked to The Times newspaper.” At that point the plan was scrapped because, as Harry said, “it had become a public debate.” Canada then became the next destination of choice.
As for the decision to step back, Harry says it was entirely his, “it was my decision, she never asked to leave,” he said. Meghan added, “he wouldn’t have been attracted to me or interested in me if he wasn’t already on his own path.” Of the press dubbing their departure “Megxit” Harry said, “it’s misogyny at its best.” “They need to blame me,” Meghan added, “because if you can blame me, then you have no fault.”
The Queen Was Not “Blindsided” By Harry and Meghan’s Exit
Despite what the headlines may have claimed, Harry says the Queen nor any of the other senior royals were caught off guard by his and Meghan’s January 2020 announcement that they were stepping back from senior duties and leaving the UK. “By the time I was speaking to my father from Canada,” explained Harry, “the family and their people knew that we were trying to find a different way of working for a minimum of two years.” After Canada became the new desired destination, Harry says Charles asked him to put the details in an email. Harry says he initially declined fearing putting it in writing made him vulnerable to a leak. He eventually complied and sent his father emails on January 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. After spending Christmas on Vancouver Island, Meghan and Harry planned to return to the UK on January 6th for a one-on-one meeting with the Queen. As they were boarding their flight they got word they were no longer to meet with Her Majesty. “I was like, ‘wow’” said Harry. “This is when a family and a family business are in direct conflict,” said Meghan.
Return to UK Was Bittersweet, Awkward
After their exit strategy was announced in January of 2020, Harry and Meghan returned to the UK in March for a series of engagements and for what they referred to as their “farewell tour.” While the public appeared happy to see them, the same could not be said for members of the family. The first time the couple was set to see the fellow royals was at a Commonwealth event at Westminster Abbey and Harry admits he was nervous, “it’s like living through a soap opera where everybody else views you as entertainment.” Harry said he felt a definite distance from the family at the event, “which was really interesting because so much of how they operate is about what it looks like rather than what it feels like and it looked cold,” he said. “But it also felt cold.”
Meghan Was Intentionally Kept Out of Royal Meeting
After their chilly reception at Westminster Abbey, Meghan immediately left London to return to Archie in Canada. Harry stayed behind for a meeting with his family at Sandringham where the exit strategy would be discussed in further detail. Meghan believes she was intentionally left out of the meeting. “Imagine a conversation, a round table discussion about the future of your life when the stakes are this high, and you, as the mom, and the wife and the target in many regards, aren’t invited to have a seat at the table.” Harry agreed it was intentional, “it was clear to me that they planned it so that you weren’t in the room.”
William Screamed at Harry During the Sandringham Summit
Tensions were high at the meeting in Sandringham, a place that held a special place in his heart as it’s where he spent many Christmases as a child. “And now I was back under very different circumstances,” he said. Tensions eventually boiled over with, according to Harry, William yelling at him. “It was terrifying to have my brother scream and shout at me and my father say things that simply weren’t true and my grandmother sit there and sort of, take it all in,” he said.
Harry added, “the saddest part of it was this wedge created myself and my brother…he’s now on the institution’s side and part of that I get, I understand, that’s his inheritance…his responsibility is the survivability and the continuation of the institution.” After rumours swirled that William “bullied” Harry and Meghan out of the royal family, a joint statement refuting the claims was issued with William and Harry’s names attached to it. “I couldn’t believe it,” said Harry, “no one had asked me, no one had asked me permission to put my name to a statement like that.”
Harry Blames Media Stress for Meghan’s Miscarriage
As Meghan Markle first revealed in a November 2020 Op Ed for the New York Times, she suffered a miscarriage in July of that year. What volume two of the Netflix documentary revealed is, Harry places the blame squarely on the shoulders of The Daily Mail. “I believe my wife suffered a miscarriage because of what the Mail did.” Harry told the doc, adding, “now do we absolutely know the miscarriage was caused by that? Of course we don’t, but bearing in mind the stress that that caused, the lack of sleep…I can say from what I saw, that miscarriage was created by what they were trying to do to her.”
Beyonce Texted Meghan After The Oprah Interview
“I still can’t believe she knows who I am” was Meghan’s reaction after receiving a text from Beyonce the day after the controversial primetime Oprah interview aired in March of 2021. Queen Bey told the Duchess she wanted her to “feel safe and protected,” that she “admires and respects” Meghan’s “bravery and vulnerability” adding that Meghan was “selected to break generational curses that need to be healed.” Harry’s reaction to the Beyonce text is pretty hilarious, btw.
William Texted Harry After The Oprah Interview
Netflix cameras were still rolling the day after the Oprah interview when Harry received a text from his brother. While the contents of the text are not revealed, it seems as though Prince William’s text to Harry was less effusive than Queen Bey’s message to Meghan. Harry tells his wife, “I wish I knew what to do,” upon receiving his brother’s text, to which Meghan responds, “I know. Let’s take a breather, get some air and then decide.”
Returning to UK For Prince Philip’s Funeral Was Difficult
Harry was not looking forward to returning to the UK following the death of his grandfather, Prince Philip in April of 2021 and it wasn’t just because of mourning. Harry knew seeing his brother and father again would be awkward at best and acrimonious at worst. “None of us really wanted to talk about it at my grandfather’s funeral,” he said. “But we did, and I’ve had to make peace with the fact that I’m probably never going to get genuine accountability or a genuine apology.”
Tyler Perry is Lilibet Diana’s Godfather
“Woah.” That was the reaction from Tyler Perry when Harry and Meghan called him and asked him to be their daughter’s godfather. “I had to take a minute to take that in,” he said before declaring, “I’d be honoured. I’d absolutely be honoured.” After hanging up, Tyler called back to inquire if accepting the offer meant he had to travel to the UK to take part in any kind of church ceremony, “Cause I don’t want to do that,” he said. No such obligations were required.
Prince William Accused Of Approving Aide Involvement in Meghan Lawsuit
After winning her case against The Daily Mail for publishing her letter to her father, the publication appealed the decision. Meghan’s lawyer said it was at this point, Jason Knauf, a senior aide of Prince William, came forward to give a witness statement that was not required of him. Lawyer Jenny Aifa said, “sadly there’s just no way he could have done that without the authority of his bosses.” Harry simply responded with, “that’s why I’m now living in a different country.”
Harry Thinks the Monarchy Fucked Up
Harry believes his family messed up in not supporting Meghan more and allowing them to depart, telling the doc that Meghan could have been essential in helping to modernize the monarchy and endear the royal family to members of the Commonwealth. “Anyone inside that system, whether it’s my family, whether it’s staff, whether it’s PR, whoever it is, have already missed an enormous opportunity with my wife and how far that would go globally.”