So far, I’ve only read a handful of British-royal-commentary pieces on Netflix’s Harry & Meghan Vol. 2. All of those pieces have been predictably unhinged, and by “predictably,” I mean the same commentators already previewed their hive-mind line of attack on the Sussexes. That line of attack? “Harry and Meghan are just saying things without any proof!” No, they’re saying things on the record, you can see and hear them say it and put the pieces together of how they were mistreated by the Windsors and the media (working in concert). All of those royal commentators have is “royal sources” refuting the idea that “royal sources” would brief against the Sussexes… as those royal sources are briefing against the Sussexes. And if the British media is saying that their royal sources aren’t really working for the royals, then they’ve been lying this whole time. Here’s Katie Nicholl’s piece in Vanity Fair:
Despite the comments, which were made in the trailer and the final episodes of the series, there was no evidence offered in the docuseries to support the claims that palace aides planted stories about the couple. In what he described as a “dirty game,” Harry said that the royal family “invited the press in” and spoke of favors between the press and the palace. He also claimed that when he voiced his concerns about the negative coverage he and Meghan were receiving to his father, King Charles told him, “Darling boy, you can’t take on the media.”
Harry also alleged that the palace communications office would “trade” stories with the media, offering a story on another principal in return for having a story retracted, with the couple’s lawyer Jenny Afia claiming to have seen evidence of negative briefings.
According to former palace press secretary Dickie Arbiter, there is no evidence to support Harry’s allegations because the palace press office is not employed to brief against family members. “It’s not Buckingham Palace’s business to leak stories. They are the purveyors of information. If there’s a story to be had it will be given to all media outlets and it’s never a case of briefing against a principal. Taking the media on is a high-risk game. You can’t win against the media. In this country media has freedom of speech, so long as it’s not libelous. What we’ve heard is a one-sided story and Buckingham Palace are not going to react to it because it feeds into the narrative.”
According to Arbiter, “There’s a hypocrisy in all of this because Harry’s using the media to attack his brother and his family. He is using the very people he is attacking for destroying his own life.”
It is understood that King Charles and Camilla, the queen consort, have not seen the series but will have been briefed on the content by their advisers. The premiere of the final three episodes comes just before Prince William and Princess Kate, who have not watched Harry & Meghan but will be aware of what Harry and Meghan have said, host a Christmas concert at Westminster Abbey.
While there is some criticism of Charles in the newly released episodes, Harry has been most critical of his brother, William. Claiming that William is defined by the institution, he claims that William screamed at him during the Sandringham Summit in 2020 where the future of the Sussexes was decided. Harry said, “It was terrifying to have my brother scream and shout at me and my father say things that just simply weren’t true. And my grandmother, you know, quietly sit there and take it all in.”
According to one source, the prospect of a reconciliation between the brothers is highly unlikely now that Harry has revealed private details of conversations with his family: “There’s a great sense of mistrust, it’s why William won’t speak to Harry, because he is nervous that anything he says might end up in a book or a TV series. It makes it incredibly difficult for any kind of rapprochement. There has to be give on both sides and I don’t see that happening any time soon.”
If you don’t mind, I’m going to parse Arbiter’s words a little bit – he was part of the Buckingham Palace machinery back in the day, and it’s true that BP wasn’t in the habit of briefing against other members of the royal family. They didn’t need to. They spoke for QEII, they didn’t need to plant bitchy stories about the Queen’s children or her wayward relatives. Although that changed in QEII’s later years, as she grew older, her staff would regularly brief against certain royals here and there. Charles handled all of that, and he was the one who really began this modern royal back-stabbing industry because he was trying to win the PR war against Diana. Everything we see before us is because Charles could never take the high road, and William learned from watching Charles.
As for William and his constant bullsh-t about refusing to speak to Harry… literally no one cares. It’s clear that Harry has been done with William for some time, meanwhile William is harboring this nasty, festering, incandescent grudge against the Sussexes. If William had the good sense god gave a goose, he would understand that Harry even went easy on him.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.