Royals refuse war of words over Harry and Meghan Netflix series
Keep calm and carry on as royals face yet more claims
The royal family will not engage in a war of words over the Harry and Meghan Netflix documentary which is “all about themselves”, sources have told the Evening Standard.
Senior royals are braced for more bombshell claims in the second instalment but an insider said they would “continue to serve others as the late Queen and our King have done all their lives”.
The insider added: “The least said about this documentary the better. It is certainly not about serving others, it is all about themselves”.
Official spokesmen for King Charles and the Prince of Wales have stated that they will not be making any comment on the controversial Netflix series, in which the Duke of Sussex accused his family and the institution of monarchy as having a huge unconscious bias on race. The first three episodes of the series were released yesterday, with the final three due to air on Thursday. It is believed that these episodes, which will chart Harry and Meghan’s wedding, the birth of their son Archie and their departure from Britain, will be far more critical.
However, a former member of the Royal Household, said: “The royal family have faced crises in the past and they will face them in the future. They will let this take its course and carry on.
“Personally, I felt the one-sided claims made against the Commonwealth being an extension of empire were unfair and unfounded. It was an insult to the memory of Her Majesty. It was her legacy after all.”
After the first episodes aired yesterday, a row broke out over whether the royal family and the palaces were given the right to reply.
A senior palace source said Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and members of the family were not approached for comment on content in the series. However, a Netflix source said the communications offices for the King and the Prince of Wales were contacted in advance and given the chance to react to Harry and Meghan’s claims.
Both Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace confirmed they did receive an email purporting to be from a third-party production company carrying an unknown organisation’s address and attempted to verify its authenticity with the Sussexes’ Archewell Productions and Netflix, but did not receive a response.
Meanwhile, the couple were branded an “irrelevance to the UK” by a government minister as they faced a call to be stripped of their royal titles.
Harry has been criticised for attacking important institutions in Britain during the couple’s tell-all documentary.
He accused the royals of having a “huge level of unconscious bias” and Meghan claimed that the media wanted to “destroy” her. Conservative MP Bob Seely said there was a “political issue” with Harry’s comments, since he quit as a senior working royal more than two years ago. Mr Seely said he plans to bring forward proposed legislation that could eventually strip the Duke and Duchess of Sussex of their royal titles.
The Isle of Wight MP asked why Harry was continuing to use his title of duke, while “at the same time trashing the institution of monarchy and his family”.
Meanwhile employment minister Guy Opperman said the couple were “utterly irrelevant” to the progress of the UK and the royal family. He told BBC’s Question Time: “I think they are clearly a very troubled couple, which I think anybody looking at them can say is a sad state of affairs.
“That having been said, I agree that they are utterly irrelevant to this country and the progress of this country and the royal family that we all, I believe, support.” He added: “I don’t think it has a fundamental impact on the royal family. I certainly won’t be watching it.
“I would urge everyone to boycott Netflix and make sure that we actually focus on the things that matter.” The documentary caused controversy after Meghan described her first meeting with the Prince and Princess of Wales, saying she was surprised at the “formality” of the royal family behind closed doors.
In what was perceived as criticism of the King’s parenting of Harry, the duke also told of trying to cope with the loss of his mother Diana in a Paris car crash in 1997, “without much support or help or guidance”. He said he was brought up by “a second family” in Africa, adding that they were “friends who literally brought me up”.
The third episode referred to an event in 2017 when Princess Michael of Kent wore a blackamoor-style brooch, which was deemed to be racist.
Harry said: “In this family, sometimes you are part of the problem rather than part of the solution. There is a huge level of unconscious bias. The thing with unconscious bias, it is actually no one’s fault. But once it has been pointed out, or identified within yourself, you then need to make it right. It is education. It is awareness. It is a constant work in progress for everybody, including me.”
He also said members of his family challenged him on why Meghan should get “special treatment”, with attention from the media seen as a “rite of passage”. Harry and Meghan signed deals, thought to be worth more than £100 million, with Netflix and Spotify, after quitting as senior working royals in 2020 following family rifts and struggles with royal life.
The “unprecedented and in-depth” docu-series, directed by Oscar-nominated Liz Garbus, is billed as a Netflix global event, with the couple sharing “the other side of their high-profile love story”.