Things have been so hard for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle since their wedding in 2018 that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex decided to sign deals with Netflix and Spotify worth a reported $120 million in part to tell their side of the story about being victimized, exploited, and how the press won’t leave them alone.
One outgrowth of Archewell, the quasi-media empire that they’ve been building since leaving royal life behind in 2020, is director Liz Garbus’ new Netflix series Harry & Meghan — Part 1 of which is comprised of three episodes and is now streaming.
Harry and Meghan Netflix series
The first three episodes track the couple’s early romance — it actually started over Instagram — through their relationship going public and first attracting public scrutiny. The romance is greeted with a mix of joy and cynicism, and Episode 3 finds Meghan working through the intricacies and annoyances of royal protocols as well as the invasiveness of British tabloids.
We’ll get into the substance of the docuseries in just a moment, but this is probably going to be one of the streaming giant’s most divisive releases of 2022.
The series, among other things, threatens to reopen the rift between Buckingham Palace and the Duke and Duchess, which seemed to be patched up (at least temporarily) following the death of Queen Elizabeth. There are also parts that Harry’s brother Prince William will certainly regard as a slap in the face, such as the inclusion of footage from the highly controversial BBC “Panorama” interview with Princess Diana.
Harry and Meghan have their fans — but their critics, too, are legion. Already, for example, the couple’s Netflix docuseries has earned itself a super-low 18% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing. And the YouTube comments attached to the series’ official trailer from Netflix are in a class of entertainment all their own.
‘I love the part where Meghan alienated two entire families’
Depending on how far down you scroll in the comments section for the trailer embedded above, you’ll see the vast majority of them are constructed with an “I love the part where” framing, many of which add the meme-y comment about the series bringing “a tear to my left eye.”
The Duchess of Sussex, takes selfies with Invictus athletes during the Invictus Games in Dusseldorf. Image source: Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023
Among the most striking zingers: “And I absolutely love the part how they managed having 3 people in their marriage, Harry, Meghan and their professional photographer. It brings a tear to my left eye.”
Adds another YouTube commenter: “I love the part where Meghan alienated two entire families, hers and Harry’s, which was in no way her fault, people are just mean to her. It brought a single tear to my left eye.”
It doesn’t let up. “I LOVED the part where Meghan just wanted so desperately to get away from media attention that she only created a podcast, went on Oprah, pitched to do voiceover work (for) all the main media outlets and made a Netflix documentary.” And one more — “I love the part where Harry bravely denounces the exploitation of his mother’s death while simultaneously taking millions of dollars from Netflix who are exploiting his mother’s death. Such a loving son.”
Here, meanwhile, is how Netflix itself summarizes the Harry and Meghan limited series:
“In an unprecedented and in-depth documentary series, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex share the other side of their high-profile love story. Across six episodes, the series explores the clandestine days of their early courtship and the challenges that led to them feeling forced to step back from their full-time roles in the institution.”
Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Image source: Courtesy of Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex
The summary continues:
“With commentary from friends and family, most of whom have never spoken publicly before about what they witnessed, and historians who discuss the state of the British Commonwealth today and the royal family’s relationship with the press, the series does more than illuminate one couple’s love story, it paints a picture of our world and how we treat each other. From the critically-acclaimed, two-time Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning director Liz Garbus, Harry & Meghan is a never-before-seen look at one of the most-discussed couples in history.”
Part 2 of the Harry and Meghan series (episodes 4-6) will drop on Netflix on December 15.