The first three episodes of Harry & Meghan, the new Netflix documentary series about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and their life away from the British royal family, debuted Thursday on Netflix. Three more episodes will drop on Dec. 15.
Internet commenters are taking sides, with some saying Harry and Meghan should just keep their private life private. Others believe the couple has the right to share their own experiences, royal or not.
The first three episodes covered Harry and Meghan’s childhoods and their meeting and courtship, as well as their contentious relationship with the paparazzi. Episode 3 covers the lead-up to the royal wedding, which included tricky relationships with Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, and her half-sister, Samantha. Much of what this half of the series covers has been revealed before, but here’s a look at 10 of the most interesting things viewers learned in the three episodes so far.
1. The couple’s nicknames
Meghan calls Harry “Haz,” which she apparently picked up from the friend who introduced them. (Those who watched Harry’s skit with James Corden already knew this.) Sometimes she calls him “H.” Once in the series, he calls her “M,” but we learn her friends and family mostly call her “Meg.” (Her first name is actually Rachel, though the show doesn’t address why she prefers her middle name.) In fact, days before the royal wedding, Meghan realizes texts supposedly coming from her hospitalized father are really being written by someone else, in part because the texts refer to her as “Meghan” rather than “Meg.”
2. Archie has an accent
There’s not much seen of Archie, the couple’s oldest child, who’s now 3, in the first three episodes. (And none of his younger sister, Lilibet.) But Archie appears a few times in the first episode. He’s seen riding around on a wheeled suitcase pushed by his sweatpants-wearing father, outside visiting chickens and donkeys, and wearing a birthday hat and sitting in a high chair that’s covered with a scattering of confetti. He speaks only briefly … and seems to have a British accent.
3. Meghan scoured Harry’s Instagram
Meghan famously said she didn’t Google Prince Harry before their first date. But in the show, she admits she did check out his Instagram account. His many photos of animals in Africa and beautiful scenery won her over, or at least convinced her to give him a first date.
4. First date details
The couple admit Harry was a half-hour late for their first date, which was apparently at a members-only club in London called Soho House, though Meghan only reveals its street address (76 Dean St.). His lateness started Meghan thinking maybe he was an egomaniac and things wouldn’t work out for them, but he was so apologetic when he arrived that she forgave him.
Their next date was two days later at the same place, and this time she was late but only by five minutes. Harry’s lateness was due to traffic, hers because she had been at Wimbledon that day and needed to shower before they met up. Harry supposedly had an extensive list of what he was looking for in a partner but seems embarrassed by that and won’t share it, instead waving at Meghan and saying she fulfilled all the criteria, noting “this is the list.”
5. Royal family reveals were slight
So far, the couple isn’t exactly dishing about other members of the royal family, which is probably wise if they want to keep up those relationships. But Harry did say there’s pressure on the male royals to marry someone who will fit the mold of what a royal wife is expected to be, rather than choose the person they are “destined to be with.” And he mentions that some of the family members didn’t feel sympathy for Meghan being hunted by paparazzi because their wives also had to go through that, though Harry says Meghan’s situation was different because of racism toward her.
6. Living with the paparazzi
Harry has lived with the paparazzi since birth, and the photographers are pretty cutthroat, considering one great photo of a royal can earn the lucky photog a massive payday. He says royals are told not to react to the camera crush, not to feed into the frenzy and that deals are made — the royals will pose for certain photos in exchange for being left alone for some time. But he states the obvious — not all the photographers live up to that deal, with some continuing to chase the royals down after the agreed-upon pictures.
There’s a heartbreaking bit of footage where young Harry, brother William, and cousins Eugenie and Beatrice are trotted out on the ski slopes to answer questions and pose endlessly for the same photo over and over, and all four kids look shellshocked before it’s over. Once Meghan comes on the scene, photographers pay her neighbors to put a camera on their house, pointed into Meghan’s yard. And when Meghan tries to be friendly to the photographers early on, Harry tells her she can’t do that, because it gives them ammunition to claim that she enjoys the constant attention.
7. The royals are formal off camera, too
The Prince and Princess of Wales, aka Will and Kate, aren’t mentioned much. (Netflix even miscaptions Kate’s name, Catherine, as “Katherine.”) But Meghan does say that when she first met the duo, she was barefoot and in ripped jeans and says she’s a “hugger.” She doesn’t exactly say that her fashion and hugs were met stiffly, but that’s the impression you get, especially when she goes on to say she thought the royals would let down their hair and relax once they were behind closed doors and learned that they don’t.
8. Meghan’s clumsy curtsy
Meghan says she didn’t know she was about to meet Queen Elizabeth II until they were on their way to do just that, and that Harry quickly asked her if she knew how to curtsy, which she thought was a joke. She then performs an enormously exaggerated curtsy to mimic her action that day, laughing at herself for going overboard as an ignorant American. Harry, next to her, isn’t laughing.
She also says she didn’t know what a “royal walkabout” was. It’s when the royals drive somewhere, then get out and walk up and down greeting members of the crowd. Diana made them famous because the people waiting on the side of the road that Charles went to were always disappointed to get him, not her.
9. Meghan’s family ties
Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, gives interviews in the series, talking about Meghan’s early life and meeting Harry. But Meghan’s father, Thomas, and half-sister, Samantha, do not come off well at all. Viewers might feel sorry for Thomas, who appears to have been a pawn of the press, but Samantha is described as barely knowing Meghan, yet claiming she raised her. Samantha’s daughter, Ashleigh, is interviewed, and refers to Samantha as her “biological mother,” saying she was raised by her grandparents. And Meghan admits they didn’t invite Ashleigh to their wedding, despite being close, because it would look bad that they were inviting her but snubbing Ashleigh’s mother, Samantha.
Meghan later revealed that her father didn’t tell her he wasn’t coming to her wedding but rather found out from tabloid TV show TMZ. She reveals texts between herself and her father in the hospital in the days just before she wed. She keeps begging Thomas Markle to talk to them, and he doesn’t respond, and then she begins receiving texts that she believes were written not by her father, but by someone else, calling her Meghan instead of Meg.
10. Nazi costume
Harry only briefly addresses the Nazi armband he wore to a 2005 costume party, which horrified his family and much of the world and made for some of the worst press of his young life. He doesn’t say why he decided to wear the awful attire or where he got it from. He does say it was “one of the biggest mistakes of my life” and that he was ashamed and later met with a rabbi and a Holocaust survivor, presumably to become more educated about why Nazism should not be fodder for a costume.
Stay tuned. The next three episodes will begin with the wedding.
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