LONDON – The first three episodes of Harry & Meghan, the much-anticipated docuseries from Netflix about the controversial British royals, landed on the streaming service on Thursday.
They present an intimate portrait of the couple’s courtship and time in the royal family, and quickly had the Internet buzzing. A review in British newspaper The Guardian, for instance, declared it to be “sickening”.
Prince Harry, 38, and Meghan Markle, 41, stepped down from royal duties some two years ago, after marrying in 2018.
The couple, who have a three-year-old son, Archie, and a one-year-old daughter, Lilibet, then moved from Britain to California, where they promptly signed multi-million-dollar partnership deals with Netflix and music streamer Spotify to produce visual and audio content.
The Straits Times rounds up the juiciest tidbits about the British royals revealed in the first three episodes. The final three episodes in the series will be aired next week.
1. Harry’s first glimpse of Markle was through a puppy filter
Royals are just like the rest of us, browsing social media such as Instagram in their free time.
Prince Harry was doing just this when he encountered a video of a mutual friend chatting with Markle, an actress whose credits include legal drama series Suits (2011 to 2019). A filter had been applied, giving her dog ears.
“That was the first thing (I saw). I was, like, ‘Who is that?’” Prince Harry says in the first episode of the series. He then asked his friend to introduce them.
2. Their first kiss was on the third date
Between Prince Harry’s duties as a working royal and Markle’s acting career, the duo found it difficult to match their schedules for dates. After two meet-ups in London, they made a bold choice for a third date: a five-day camping trip in Botswana.
“I remember thinking, ‘What am I doing, what if we don’t like each other and then were stuck in the middle of the bush in a tent?’ I get there, this is the first time I’ve seen him in a month, and it was awkward at first,” Markle recalls in the second episode.
But not for long, as the fledgling couple soon had their first kiss. “We were sitting next to each other, then we went to holding hands, then we squeezed in a kiss and everything felt totally normal and natural,” says Prince Harry.
3. Markle initially tried to be friendly with the paparazzi
Though Markle was born and raised in America, she was based in Toronto in the early days of her courtship with Prince Harry as she was filming Suits. Soon after their relationship was made public, however, she was accosted by paparazzi while out buying flowers.
“They were all sort of blocking the cars, going, ‘Hey, how you doing, Meghan?’, and I said ‘Oh, thanks, stay warm, guys,’” Markle says in Episode 2.
But she said that Prince Harry quickly told her this was a bad idea. “I was, like, ‘I’m just trying to be pleasant, I don’t know what to do, I’ve never dealt with this before’, and he said, ‘Yes, but the UK media is saying you love it. You’re smiling. You love it.’”
4. Markle avoided wearing colours so as to not offend other royals
In the third episode, Markle says she tended towards neutral tones in her clothing because “you could never wear the same colour as Her Majesty (the late Queen Elizabeth II)” or “one of the other more senior members of the family”.
“I rarely wore colour... I was, like, ‘Well, what’s a colour that they’ll probably never wear?’ Camel, beige, white,” she adds.
But it was not just supposed royal protocol that led her to the muted shades in her sartorial choices. She adds: “It was also so (that) I could just blend in. I’m not trying to stand out here. There was no version of me joining this family and me not doing everything I could to fit in. I don’t want to embarrass the family.”
5. Prince Harry regrets his Nazi costume from 2005
Prince Harry made headlines in 2005 when he was photographed at a private costume party wearing a Nazi uniform – swastika arm band and all.
He made a public apology soon after, but his regret over the incident lingered. “It was one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I felt so ashamed afterwards, all I wanted to do was make it right,” he says in the third episode of the docu-series.
He adds that he spoke to Britain’s Chief Rabbi and a Holocaust survivor in Berlin as part of his attempts to rectify his mistake.