About 6 years ago, since Prince Harry announced to the world that he was in love with the American actress, Meghan Markle, the English Royal Family began to star – involuntarily – in a reality show version. Its entire history is marked by dramas and scandals, so much so that The Crown has vast base material covering the 70 years of Elizabeth II‘s reign and beyond. However, arguably the duo leaves Princess Diana in a vacuum in terms of storytelling. If the world still feels the story of the betrayed, persecuted and unhappy princess, by inserting social and political issues in what would be a beautiful love story, they managed to open a path whose destiny is still uncertain, but addictive for those who follow.
Netflix’s Harry and Meghan documentary is an extension of the famous interview the couple gave Oprah Winfrey in 2020, shocking the world with what they shared (the issues of racism are still astonishing). In the first three episodes, they don’t necessarily add anything revealing or new. A pinprick here or there, but still no direct attack. That was saved for the second part of the series.
Meghan and Harry have captured every second of their relationship, from their first meeting to the proposal, and are consistent in the way they want to tell their romance. Although they do not assume that they are behind the book Finding Freedom, those who have read the bestseller with detachment identify that the words and facts described there are in the videos and statements that are in the series, and that until then were only known to Meghan and Harry. Thanks to the rich personal archive of images (photos, videos, and emails) that they gave to the documentary, they transport us to their bubble of mutual admiration and a movie romance. Opening your heart, their story is indeed very beautiful and courageous, but it is far from transparent. Paradoxically, the documentary reinforces this feeling of non-believers.
It can be understood that the dispute for relevance and popularity within the system established in the Royal Family is incongruous. There is a hierarchy, there is politics, and there is jealousy and envy, but they all play the same game. Despite the two putting themselves apart from this toxic dynamic, today they are its biggest driver. With no chance of one day being King, Harry never had a grand destiny ahead of him, but he was bound to play by the rules. It’s fascinating that he broke the mold and reinvented himself as a philanthropic celebrity. Unfortunately, for his role to have context, he chose to exploit his sadness and disappointment with his relatives, leaving an undeniable stain on all possibilities of impartiality. I say this because the documentary is beautiful but incomplete. As will be the case with his biography, to be released next month. We never hear or will hear the side of the people he accuses of lying, cheating, or mistreating Meghan, so they can speak “their truth”, but without listening to others, we will never come close to finding out what really happened. And I swear, it’s easy for a communicative and charismatic person like him to win us over, after all, Harry has always been everyone’s favorite and Harry and Meghan calculatedly reinforce our admiration.
There’s nothing major to recommend checking out the documentary as a “must-see” if there isn’t an unhealthy (and worldwide) curiosity about what the lives of princes and princesses are like. Harry and Meghan’s documentary is well-edited, well-conducted, and very well-structured. The great obstacle of how the monarchy can continue without ignoring its role in the past is drawn – literally – in an interesting episode, perhaps the most relevant of the series. However, the proposal is not to delve into it, it is to sell an ode to love. And it convinces.
It would be wrong of me to ignore the fact that we need to remember that once again exploring the love story between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is also hugely profitable for everyone involved. So much so that Netflix, until now adept at reinforcing the “binge” culture (generally releasing all the episodes at once), saved a second part of the series for next week, so that, like all the tabloids that are enemies of the couple, can follow in the spotlight. That’s why I recommend trying to watch from a distance because the hairiest part of the whole story is yet to come. So far, she’s a modern version of every Disney movie, including “happily ever after”.