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Palace ‘not asked to comment’ on Harry and Meghan series

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's documentary series released

Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and members of the British royal family were not approached for comment on the content of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Netflix series, palace sources say.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s documentary began streaming on Thursday, with Harry accusing the royals of having a “huge level of unconscious bias” and Meghan saying the media wanted to “destroy” her.

,A senior source in the royal household has countered the written statement that “members of the royal family declined to comment on the content within this series” – which appeared on a black screen at the start of episode one when it dropped on Thursday night (AEDT).

A Netflix source said that “communications offices for King Charles and the Prince of Wales were contacted in advance and given the right to reply to claims within the series”.

In the first instalment of the six-part show, the duchess claimed “salacious stories” were “planted” in the lead-up to the couple’s wedding, with the couple “playing Whac-A-Mole” as the articles appeared.

Meghan also described her first meeting with the Prince and Princess of Wales, saying she was surprised at the “formality” of the royal family behind closed doors.

“I’ve always been a hugger, I didn’t realise that that is really jarring for a lot of Brits,” she said, revealing she was dressed down in ripped jeans and barefoot.

Harry said his wife being a US actress “clouded” his family’s view of her, while Meghan said the media would find a way to “destroy” her “no matter how good” she was.

The duke spoke of how there was a temptation in the royal family to marry someone who “fits the mould”.

“I think, for so many people in the family, especially obviously the men, there can be a temptation or an urge to marry someone who would fit the mould, as opposed to somebody who you perhaps are destined to be with,” he said in the first episode.

He added of his family’s response to Meghan: “The fact that I was dating an American actress was probably what clouded their judgment more than anything else at the beginning, ‘oh she’s an American actress; this won’t last’.”

The documentary showed images of Princess Michael of Kent wearing a blackamoor-style brooch to a Christmas lunch attended by Meghan in 2017, for which the princess later apologised.

“In this family, sometimes you are part of the problem rather than part of the solution. There is a huge level of unconscious bias,” Harry said.

“The thing with unconscious bias, it is actually no one’s fault. But once it has been pointed out, or identified within yourself you then need to make it right.”

British broadcaster and vocal critic of Meghan Markle, Piers Morgan, unleashed again after the release and teased an interview with her half-brother, Thomas Markle Jr.

The docuseries also controversially used footage from Princess Diana’s Panorama interview, which Harry’s older brother Prince William has insisted should never be aired again.

In what is perceived as criticism of the King’s parenting, Harry told of trying to cope with the loss of his mother Diana, in a car crash in 1997, “without much support or help or guidance”.

He also said he had a “second family” in Africa, saying they were “friends who literally brought me up”.

On the aftermath of Diana’s death, Harry said: “I was trying to balance the whole experience of being a young boy who was trying to deal with the loss of his mum without much support or help or guidance.

“It didn’t seem right. It didn’t seem fair.”

Episode one revealed that Harry and Meghan filmed footage on their phones of their experiences at the culmination of the Megxit crisis. It opened with the duke recording himself at Heathrow airport after his final royal public engagements in March 2020 as he prepared to leave Britain for the last time as a senior royal.

Harry said a friend told them they should document this particular chapter of their lives.

The footage forms part of the six-part series.

Harry and Meghan signed a lucrative deal, thought to be worth more than £100 million ($181 million) with Netflix and Spotify after quitting the monarchy.

The Sussexes decry media harassment

Prince Harry said it was his duty to expose the “exploitation and bribery” of the media, saying members of the British royal family regarded the harassment of his wife Meghan as a rite of passage.

In the first episodes, Harry said he accepted people would fundamentally disagree with what he had done.

Britain’s royal family had been braced for renewed criticism from the couple in the docuseries.

But there were no new major revelations about the royals in the first three episodes released on Thursday. Instead, it focused on Harry and Meghan’s treatment at the hands of the press.

“Truth be told, no matter how I tried, no matter how good I was, no matter what I did, they were still going to find a way to destroy me,” Meghan said.

In the documentary, Harry draws comparisons between Meghan’s treatment and the intense media intrusion that his mother Princess Diana had suffered.

Speculation about the documentary has dominated British newspapers for a week, with the bulk of the coverage overwhelmingly negative about the couple.

Tabloid newspapers have accused them of making millions from their royal status while attacking their family in “an act of war”.

“The documentary is clearly going to be a grotesque parody.

It may be their truth but it certainly isn’t one recognised by millions in this country,” the Daily Mail tabloid said in an editorial ahead of the release.

Harry said he was terrified of his wife being driven away by the media and referred to “the pain and suffering of women marrying into this institution”.

“I accept that there will be people around the world who will fundamentally disagree with what I’ve done and how I’ve done it but I knew that I had to do everything I could to protect my family – especially after what happened to my mum,” he said.

Since quitting their royal roles, the Sussexes have gone on the attack against the press. They have cut ties with Britain’s four biggest tabloids and successfully sued several publications, with further legal action underway.

“This is about duty and service and I feel as though, being part of this family, it is my duty to uncover this exploitation and bribery that happens within our media,” Harry said.

The prince did make a dig at his relatives over how they had addressed Meghan’s treatment, which he said had clear racist overtones.

“What people need to understand is as far as a lot of the family were concerned, everything she was being put through, they had been put through as well, so it was almost like a rite of passage,” he said over footage of his mother, the Duchess of York, and the Princess of Wales being surrounded by photographers.

“Some of the members of the family were like my wife had to go through that so why should your girlfriend be treated any differently – why should you get special treatment, why should she be protected? I said the difference here is the race element.”

The release of the first three episodes came a week after a racism row involving the Prince of Wales’ 83-year-old godmother, which led her to step down from her honorary role as a royal aide.

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