A peculiar feature of Harry and Meghan’s Netflix series raises a difficult question | Rhiannon Mills

Entertainment

The anticipation was high, the start of the first episode delivering on the drama.

With videos filmed by themselves, Harry and Meghan wanted to give us a front row seat into how they were really feeling in those frantic weeks at the start of 2020 when they announced they’d had enough.

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The media and the Royal Family take a direct hit.

Harry on a crusade, as he explains: “I feel as though being part of this family, it’s my duty to uncover this exploitation and bribery which happens within our media.

“This has always been so much bigger than us. No one knows the full truth. We know the full truth. The institution know the full truth and the media know the full truth because they’ve been in on it.

“And I think anyone else in my situation would have done exactly the same thing.”

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‘Are you putting money before family?’

A traumatised man now unleashed

We have heard him say a lot of this before, but he does speak at greater length than we’ve heard before.

It feels like you’re watching a man who has clearly been heavily traumatised by what happened to him, now unleashed, and using this as some kind of cathartic experience to get it all out once and for all.

After the racism claims that blew things up around the Oprah interview, it was always going to be fascinating to see if we heard any more on that from the couple.

The furthest they go in these episodes to talk about how the UK press made an issue of her race, with Meghan’s mother Doria speaking for the first time about the struggles her daughter faced.

The Sussexes pictured with Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, at Kensington Palace in 2018 Pic: AP
Image:
The Sussexes pictured with Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, at Kensington Palace in 2018 Pic: AP

‘The race element’

That section in episode two also features one of the more difficult claims against the Royal Family.

Harry suggests it was brushed over by his family, and they were expected to just get on with it.

“What people need to understand is as far as a lot of the family were concerned everything she was being put through, they had been put through as well, so it was almost like a rite of passage,” he says.

“Some of the members of the family were like, ‘my wife had to go through that, so why should your girlfriend be treated any differently, why should you get special treatment, why should she be protected?’.

“And I said, ‘the difference here is the race element’.”

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Prince Harry on ‘race element’

‘Weary’ royals will likely keep their head down

The suggestion that they weren’t taking seriously the racist abuse levelled at Meghan is not a good look.

But this is not like the Oprah interview. There is no new evidence, there aren’t any particularly damning new claims.

For a family who I’m told are generally “weary” and feel “sadness” more than anything about all this, I suspect they will keep their heads down and not feel the need to react.

It is their own videos that stand out the most and feel peculiar.

Harry later explains that a friend had suggested that they should personally document what happened to them.

Yes, we may all now record our lives to a degree through photos and videos.

But was it paranoia that made them film themselves at this traumatic time, or the knowledge that the videos would later down the line have some monetary value? Which they have, both for the couple and for Netflix.

A global audience now poised for the next three episodes to be released next week.

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