One of the tricks the British media has tried to pull is to act as if the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are “whining” about stuff that happened years ago, stuff which they should have “gotten over” by now. To which I say, the threats against them are still happening, and the palaces gleefully brief against them still, to this day. They have every right to tell their story in general, and especially because it’s still happening. They can talk their sh-t as far as I’m concerned. For every three hours of Netflix programming, we’re getting weeks of high drama from palace sources, briefings from royal insiders and wall-to-wall smears from royal experts. It’s also worth noting that up until now, Harry and Meghan have never sat down and said “these are the people who briefed against us, these are the people who didn’t care that I was suicidal, these people wanted to exile us to Africa.” I was thinking of all of this as I read through the Telegraph’s coverage about whether Harry and Meghan will “look forward” after this series.
The second tranche of the series, released on Thursday, is expected to cover the couple’s dramatic exit from royal life, their thwarted hopes of creating a hybrid, half-in, half-out model, and the negotiations that shaped the family’s crisis talks at Sandringham. As such, Buckingham Palace is braced for impact.
Aides who maintained a dignified silence last week, opting to rise above the fray, have reserved the right to hit back next week when their “weary sadness” could be replaced with anger.
The first three episodes generated a wealth of criticism on both sides of the Atlantic, with reviewers largely united in asking when the whining would end.
The Duke and Duchess, it noted, are clearly at the mercy of their paymasters. We should pity them, it suggests, as “even after breaking free of Buckingham Palace, they’re still someone’s subjects”.
However, those close to them insist that they set out to document their love story and that, regardless of anything else, viewers are given a front row seat as that story develops.
“People at least feel like they know them a little bit better or they understand why they’re so in love and why they’re so protective of one another,” one said. “They’ve proved it’s not a sham.”
A friend dismissed the negative reaction. “Some of the most beloved movies have the worst reviews,” they said.
The couple are said to feel relieved that after almost three years it is finally out there and that they made good on their commitment – having told their story as they promised to do. “This is the end,” one source said. “They are ready to move on.”
There is also the small matter of Harry’s memoir, Spare, which will bring a fresh onslaught when it is published on January 10. While the Netflix documentary spans the couple’s experiences of royal life over the six years they have been together, friends note that the Duke has had “38 years of not being able to share his story”. The book is expected to focus far more on his younger years and the trauma of his mother’s death.
“Once that’s out there, they’re said and done,” one source close to them insisted.
“Let’s see,” a palace aide said drily.
Spoiler: Aides did not maintain a dignified silence. They were, as always, briefing against the Sussexes and “fact-checking” the series and describing (in gory detail) how much Prince William “f–king hates Meghan.” “The Duke and Duchess, it noted, are clearly at the mercy of their paymasters” – this continues to be one of the most asinine talking points, right up there with “I thought they wanted privacy!!1!” Netflix is not dictating what the Sussexes say about anything, these are their own words and their story. They produced the show, and it’s being done under the Archewell banner. Anyway, I hope that there are more projects on the horizon exposing the Windsors. I hope at some point Prince Harry speaks or writes about the f–king bullsh-t his family put him through this year, especially when QEII died.
Photos courtesy of Netflix.