“I was terrified. I didn’t want history to repeat itself.”
You are cordially invited to an intimate, royal affair — one that will probably really peeve the so-called “senior” royals. The official trailer for Netflix’s Harry & Meghan dropped this morning, to the delight and disdain of viewers everywhere. (More on that last bit later.) The six-episode docuseries will chronicle the pair’s life together, from the early days of their courtship to their historic exit from senior royal-dom — and all the happy and messy moments that preceded each milestone.
“It’s really hard to look back on it now and go, ‘What on earth happened?’” Harry says in a voiceover in the opening scene of the trailer. “There’s a hierarchy of the family. You know, there’s leaking, but there’s also planting of stories. It’s a dirty game.”
It seems pretty evident from the trailer that the series will focus specifically on Meghan and how the royal family — as well as, perhaps, the British media and public — treated the new duchess. “The pain and suffering of women marrying into this institution, this feeding frenzy,” Harry says in the trailer. He later continued, seemingly referencing the untimely death of his mother, the late Princess Diana. “I was terrified. I didn’t want history to repeat itself.”
Meghan’s most damning statement, as heard in the trailer, is a pointed: “I realized, they’re never going to protect you.”
The duke and duchess, who signed a multiyear deal with Netflix in September 2020, officially stepped back from royal life and moved to California in March of that year — a decision that followed years of intense scrutiny, microaggressions, and racism. During the early days of their dating life, British media criticized the actress about everything from her outfits and hair to her biracial background and strained relationship with her father. In November 2016, an opinion piece in the Daily Mail said “the [royal family] will thicken their watery, thin blue blood and Spencer pale skin and ginger hair with some rich and exotic DNA,” and referred to Markle’s mother as “a dreadlocked African-American lady from the wrong side of the tracks.”
In 2021, the couple famously sat down for an exclusive interview with Oprah Winfrey, during which Meghan shared details of her less-than-stellar experience of joining the royal family. “It was only once we were married and everything started to really worsen that I came to understand that not only was I not being protected, but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family,” she said in the interview. “They weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband.”
Since then, Meghan has done a couple more benign interviews, and launched her podcast breaking down common stereotypes used against women — particularly Black women — but this upcoming series certainly seems to be the most revealing look we’ll get at Harry and Meghan’s life post-Oprah interview. Harry & Meghan will be released in two parts, with the first volume premiering on the streaming platform on Dec. 8 — mere weeks before Harry’s memoir, Spare, will be released — and after the most recent season of The Crown debuted on Netflix.