The first three episodes of The Harry & Meghan, the documentary that tells the personal story of Prince Harry of the United Kingdom and his wife Meghan Markle, a former US television actress. The documentary, which is highly anticipated not only in the UK, consists of six episodes, with the other three to be released on December 15th. Those released Thursday tell the beginning of the romantic relationship between Harry and Markle, the relationship between the prince and his mother, Princess Diana, who died in 1997 in a car accident, and the growing difficulties of the couple both with the English tabloid press and with the rest of the royal family.
The documentary is directed by Liz Garbus, two-time Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning American director, and consists of a series of interviews filmed before last August. Before, therefore, the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
As already anticipated by the teaser released last week, the documentary aims to tell the story of the couple “in their version”: the disclaimer at the beginning describes it as “a first-hand account of the story of Harry and Meghan, made with materials personal archival archives never seen before», adding that «members of the royal family have refused to comment on its contents».
The first three episodes of the documentary contain no particularly harsh criticisms of members of the royal family, nor particularly surprising details about their history. Among other things, Harry and Meghan tell how they met – on Instagram through a mutual friend – and how was their first appointment, in London, to which Prince Harry arrived half an hour late because he had found traffic. The couple then tells other anecdotes, such as their first trip to Botswana and their engagement party.
A large part of the first three episodes is devoted to the couple’s relationship with the tabloid press, which is portrayed as excessively intrusive in their daily lives. Prince Harry says he has had to deal with it since childhood, told by dedicating ample space to the memory of his mother Diana. In one of the most taken up and commented passages of the documentary, Prince Harry claims that Markle reminds him a lot of her mother, for “her attention and her compassion”.
As in the interview given by the couple in March 2021 to the TV presenter Oprah Winfrey – also in that case much awaited and resumed – also in this documentary Prince Harry claims to have feared “that history would repeat itself”, implicitly alluding to the death of her mother and the fear that something similar would happen to Meghan. At one point in the documentary, referring to his mother’s death, Prince Harry says: “No one knows the whole truth. We know the whole truth.”
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The documentary then focuses a lot on the accusations of racism made by the couple against British society and a part of the royal family itself. Markle, whose mother is African-American, says both she and her mother experienced racist abuse in their lives, but that this problem worsened after joining the royal family. Moreover, the historian David Olusoga and the journalist and author Afua Hirsch also appear in the documentary, who make a brief digression on the history of British colonialism.
As these first three installments show, Prince Harry feels his family hasn’t done enough to protect his wife from media racism. At one point, Harry says that the family was, at times, “more part of the problem than its solution”. Also in this case, these are allegations that the couple had already addressed to the royal family during the interview with Winfrey, in which Markle had said that, when she was pregnant with the couple’s first child, a member of the royal house had shown concern for the skin color that the child would have had, Markle being the daughter of a white man and a black woman.
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