LONDON (AP) — Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, are sticking to a familiar script in a new Netflix series that chronicles the couple’s estrangement from the royal family, chastising British media and societal racism that it says them, fueled coverage of their relationship.
The first three episodes of ‘Harry and Meghan,’ airing Thursday, unravel the symbiotic relationship between the tabloids and the royal family and examine the history of racism across the British Empire and how it persists.
The narration is based on interviews with the couple, their friends, and race and media experts. The series does not include dissenting voices and there is no response from any of the media outlets mentioned.
“In this family sometimes, you know, you’re part of the problem rather than part of the solution,” Harry says in one of the episodes. “There is a huge level of unconscious bias. The problem with unconscious bias is that it’s actually nobody’s fault. But once it has been pointed out or identified within yourself, then you must correct it.
The media’s treatment of Meghan – and what the couple felt was a lack of sympathy from royal institutions over the coverage – were at the heart of their complaints when they walked away from royal life there. almost three years old. and moved to Southern California. Lucrative deals with Netflix and Spotify helped fund their new life in the wealthy enclave of Montecito.
Promoted with two dramatically edited trailers that hinted at a ‘war on Meghan’, the Netflix show is the couple’s latest effort to tell their story. y after a series of interviews with American media, including a two-hour meeting in 2021 with Oprah Winfrey.
The first three episodes shed little new light on the royal intrigue, leading a UK-based analyst to conclude that the main audience Harry and Meghan are trying to reach is in the US.
The series is an effort by Harry and Meghan to cement their place in American society, where fame and wealth await them, says David Haigh, managing director of Brand Finance, which has analyzed the monarchy’s value to the UK economy. .
“They’re trying to become the next Kardashian family. And they’re using the fame and notoriety of the monarchy as a springboard to get there,” he said. to another if they were not strongly associated with the British monarchy.”
The series comes at a crucial time for the monarchy. 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 argues that the House of Windsor can help unite an increasingly diverse nation by using the early days of his reign to meet many of the ethnic groups and faiths that make up modern Britain.
Harry’s 2018 wedding to former Meghan Markle, a biracial American actress, was once seen as a public relations coup for the royal family, boosting the monarchy’s efforts to enter the 21st century by making it more representative of a multicultural nation. But the fairy tale, which began with a star-studded ceremony at Windsor Castle, quickly soured amid British media reports that Meghan was self-centered and bullied her staff.
The new series seeks to refute that narrative in three-hour episodes released Thursday. Three more are expected on December 15.
It opens with video diaries recorded by Meghan and Harry – apparently on their phones – in March 2020, amid the couple’s acrimonious split from the Royal Family.
It is “my duty to uncover the exploitation and corruption” that occurs in the British media, Harry says in an entry.
“No one knows the whole truth,” he adds. “We know the whole truth.”
The couple then recount the story of their dating and the initial excitement that greeted the relationship. But the tone changes as Harry recounts the intense media scrutiny Meghan faces, reminding her of how her mother, Princess Diana, was treated before she died in a car accident while being followed by photographers.
“To see another woman in my life that I loved go through this binge eating – it’s hard,” Harry says.
“It’s basically hunter versus prey.”
Harry and the other narrators in the series say the palace is partly responsible for this treatment because it granted privileged access to six newspapers who believe they have the right to learn intimate details about members of the royal family. since British taxpayers fund their lives.
Harry and Meghan said they initially tried to heed Palace advice to remain silent on media coverage as other senior royals said it was a rite of passage. But the couple said they felt compelled to tell their story because there was something different about the way Meghan was treated.
“The difference here is the racing element,” said Harry.
This bias has deep roots in the history of the British Empire, which grew rich from the slavery of black people and the extraction of wealth from colonies in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, said historian and author David Olusoga on the show. It is only since the Second World War that large numbers of blacks and Asians have settled in Britain, changing the face of the nation.
These changes are not reflected in the British media. While black people make up around 3.5% of Britain’s population, they make up just 0.2% of journalists, Olusoga said.
“We have to recognize that this is a white industry…” he said. “So the people who publish these headlines do so in an almost all-white newsroom, and they can decide if something has crossed the line of racism.”
King Charles III was asked if he watched the series as he carried out an engagement in London on Thursday. He did not answer.
Race became a central issue for the monarchy after Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021. Meghan alleged that before the birth of their first child, a member of the royal family commented on how the the baby’s skin could be dark.
Prince William, heir to the throne and Harry’s older brother, defended the royal family after the interview, telling reporters: “We really aren’t a racist family.”
But Buckingham Palace only faced new allegations of racism last week when a black lawyer fo Domestic abuse survivors said a senior member of the royal household questioned her about her background during a reception at the palace. Coverage of the issue filled the British media, overshadowing the much-anticipated visit by William and his wife Kate to Boston, which the palace had hoped would highlight their environmental credentials.