Entertainment And News

Meghan Markle & Prince Harry Have More To Say — But Some People Don't Want To Hear It

Photo: Netflix & Christopher Macsurak, CC BY 2.0 / Wikimedia Commons
Picture of Meghan Markle in between two images of Meghan and Prince Harry

If you thought time may have healed the wounds between Meghan Markle and the British Royal Family, think again.

The trailer for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s long-awaited six-part Netflix documentary series “Harry & Meghan” has finally dropped, and though it’s pretty spare on details it doesn’t exactly present a happy picture.

Over an ominous music score, snapshots of Markle and Prince Harry’s seemingly idyllic life pass by before abruptly shifting to photos of Markle crying and Princess Kate Middleton, with whom Markle has infamously tangled a time or two, glowering like a villain.

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In the first moments of the trailer, Markle is asked why she wanted to make the documentary, to which she responds with a question of her own: “Doesn’t it make more sense to hear our story from us?”

Perhaps. But there’s certainly no shortage of interviews from which to glean Markle’s and Prince Harry’s side of the story — most notably their blockbuster interview with Oprah Winfrey, which all but broke the internet last year while it aired.

That interview dug deep into the behind-the-scenes drama that swirled between Markle and her new in-laws, culminating in a mental health crisis for Markle and an announcement that she and Prince Harry would step down from their royal duties in a so-called “Megxit.”

Markle and Prince Harry have since appeared in countless magazine profiles and inked multi-million dollar deals with Netflix and Spotify, the latter of which launched Markle’s podcast, “Archetypes,” in August.

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"Harry & Meghan" includes new insights into the couple's drama with the Royal Family.

Nevertheless, Netflix is billing “Harry & Meghan” as “unprecedented and in-depth,” and with director Liz Garbus at the helm, it seems unlikely the series will be a mere puff piece.

Garbus garnered an Oscar nomination and went on to win a prestigious Peabody Award for her last Netflix documentary, “What Happened, Miss Simone?” about legendary jazz singer Nina Simone, after all.

If mere sensationalism is the goal, Garbus is not who you call, and her reputation for incisive looks into complicated figures suggests there may yet be plenty more to explore in the story of Harry and Meghan.

And there is certainly no shortage of interest in the couple, even after all this time.

Markle in particular continues to be a hot-button figure on social media, and Netflix’s trailer has already become a trending topic on Twitter just hours after dropping.

That should come as no surprise, of course.

As a biracial woman, Markle's marriage to Prince Harry was a first for the Royal Family, and one regarded as a much-needed watershed in the history of the world’s oldest monarchy.

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Particularly given the monarchy’s role in the history of slavery, imperialism and colonization, especially of African and Asian countries — not to mention the entire continent of Australia — many regarded Markle’s pairing with Harry as the dawning of a new, modernized era for the Royal Family.

That vision quickly soured as Markle became the subject of intense media scrutiny that often took the form of heavily racialized comparisons to Princess of Wales Kate Middleton.

The fact both women share more similarities than differences — both were outsiders from far more humble beginnings than most people who marry into the Royal Family, for instance — always seems to escape the notice of Markle’s critics.

And the consternation over Markle's race has been so intense that it has even become an issue within the Royal Family itself, escalating to the point an unnamed member reportedly expressed dismay about the potential darkness of Markle and Prince Harry's son Archie's skin tone.

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Will "Harry & Meghan" spark more outrage toward Meghan Markle?

It often seems like Markle cannot do literally anything without inviting outrage from the British press and supporters of the Monarchy — not to mention garden-variety racists.

Even her offer to hold the hand of a mourner outside Buckingham Palace in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s death had her detractors incensed. Middleton’s similar actions, of course, inspired no such outrage.

Markle and Prince Harry have generated so much attention–and, especially in Markle’s case, outright hatred–over the years that chatter about them has become an industry unto itself.

A report last year from Bot Sentinel revealed that the couple were the subject of extensive automated trolling campaigns, including those that were monetized on YouTube.

More recently, suspected bot campaigns have even tried to drag the couple into the war between Russia and Ukraine.

After Markle and Prince Harry expressed their support for Ukraine and its President Volodomyr Zelenskyy this past Spring, supposed social media fans of the couple began attacking Zelenskyy online for not properly thanking the couple.

Some experts suspect the phenomenon was a coordinated campaign by Putin — controlled bots to erode the goodwill toward Ukraine among Brits.

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The new documentary comes amid new tensions with Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Whether bot-fueled or not, Netflix’s documentary is sure to do nothing to tamp down the furor over Harry and Meghan, especially given its timing.

The trailer has dropped right on the heels of the news that Prince William and Princess Kate have scratched their plans to see the Duke and Duchess during their upcoming visit to the United States — rumored to have been an attempt to patch things up between William and Harry.

Whether that’s true, and how the news ended up in the hands of the press, is anyone’s guess.

But so long as the scrutiny continues, both within and outside the Royal Family itself, it’s not hard to understand why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle would want to continue telling their story.

As the saying goes: If you can’t beat them, join them. 

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics. 

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