I was and always have been a big fan of Prince Harry. When Meghan Markle came on the scene I was happy for both of them – it always seemed like such a genuine love, and a really good match.
I was quick to watch the Oprah interview with the pair, and also really liked the series Harry and Oprah did on mental health. With the couple leaving their roles in the royal family, I have been excited to see what would come from them next.
When I heard they had a documentary coming out, I didn’t think of it as scandalous, but finally a chance to get to know them, and maybe catch a glimpse of what might be to come. And so what if they want to make some cash – they do have to support themselves!
Sure enough, when they explained in episode one why they decided to do the docu-series, it was an opportunity for them to tell their story, rather than us hear from a million sources who don’t actually know them. And I’m here for that.
My eyes filled with tears several times in the first episode – sharing stories of Princess Diana’s struggle with the paparazzi constantly hounding her and her trying to protect her kids made me emotional. She had such a heart for justice and the oppressed, and also for her children, but was unable to focus on any of those because of this constant presence of press. Hearing Harry tell the stories from his memory really made me empathise with their current situation. It is a repeat of what had gone before, and he definitely didn’t want the story to end the same way. Their moving away from the uk was purely to do with getting away from the paparazzi.
I love all the photos and videos they share throughout the series of their family life. In particular the moment Meghan begins making a balloon arch for their son’s first birthday, and later you see a shot of the balloons above Archie’s head, but not much resembling an arch. It’s real. A mum being a mum. Making a cake. Blowing up balloons. Chasing her kid round the garden. Reading to him. It’s surprisingly normal. And it’s nice to see it from their perspective rather than what the media choose to share.
Race is a big focus of the series (for good reason) and there is talk of the slave trade, the British Empire and its involvement, and the commonwealth as it stands today. These are all very tricky and sensitive subjects, and ones that we don’t talk about enough in the UK. In the series the contributors talk about how amazing it was for an African American woman to be joining the British royal family given the history there. They talk about the opportunities this could bring – to actually begin to mend hundreds of years of pain caused by the institution, and to show people of colour that they are represented. But, no. One historian and author makes the comment of how the commonwealth countries, made up mostly of people of colour, can see that they’re never going to be equals when the royal family can’t even accept a person of colour into their family.
It almost feels like Harry and Meghan are removed enough from the line to the throne/establishment to be able to see what is going on in the world, with real people and movements. For instance they gave speeches with references to the Me Too movement, Black Lives Matter and Meghan worked closely with people affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy. They’re involved on the ground and can actually hold a conversation with normal people. All things that could be of huge benefit to the British monarchy.
The couple wanted to move to another commonwealth country, away from the prying eyes of the UK media, and continue their work for the monarch. They offered to support themselves financially with other work so to not be a burden on the family/public. From what they’ve said, it seems like the Queen, and I think Prince Charles too, were more in support of the couple, but struggled with how to separate the royal “job” from being a full time, all-in situation. William on the other hand sounds like an entitled, nasty piece of work who didn’t like that they were popular, and didn’t like that they had a sense of freedom.
That’s just my honest opinion. Harry did say that the crown is William’s inheritance and always has been so in reality, he will naturally and instinctively do what he can to protect it. But even so, throwing your brother and his wife and children under the bus to protect yourself doesn’t seem ok to me…
I’ve always been a royalist and in support of having a living and active royal family due to the tourism it brings to this country. Having a monarch as head of state rather than the prime minister is also good, particularly in respect of the last few years… But I am now questioning whether I’ll still feel the same way when it comes to William ascending to the throne. Hopefully in time he’ll be taken down a peg or two in humility and maybe feel more of the human experience. So far, I’m giving Charles the benefit of the doubt. He came through on his Christmas Day speech, so the jury is still out but looking favourable for now.
All of this to say, I’m a big fan of Harry and Meghan and am still excited for what they’ll do next. I think they delivered this series with a huge amount of respect for the parties involved, were never accusatory or scandalous in what they had to say. The way the UK press had reacted to it speaks volumes into how true everything they said probably is.
I do highly recommend watching the series. It’s very revealing as to how the media works and how connected the royal family is to it. It’s also a wonderful love story, with a tumultuous journey where they put love above all else and in the end love wins. They’re happy and seem like a wonderful family – and it’s great to get a glimpse of that!