Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s ongoing quest to become media multihyphenates is set to peak in the coming weeks: Harry’s hotly anticipated memoir Spare hits the shelves on Jan. 10, Meghan recently landed major celebrities and public figures like Sophie Grégoire Trudeau and Serena Williams on her podcast Archetypes, and Netflix has now released two trailers for the Duke and Duchess’ six-part documentary series Harry & Meghan.
Directed by Liz Garbus, the series—which will drop its first three episodes (Vo. 1) on Dec. 8 followed by three more on Dec. 15 (Vol. 2)—is likely to offer an intimate portrait of the couple’s love story and life since they stepped back as working members of Britain’s royal family in early 2020 and relocated to California. The synopsis for the series reads: “Across six episodes, the series explores the clandestine days of their early courtship and the challenges that led to them feeling forced to step back from their full-time roles in the institution.”
The series’ first, minute-long trailer shows fleeting black-and-white images of the pair. Among these are holiday memories, pixelated selfies, a snap of them dancing at their wedding reception, and a photo-booth kiss. The trailer opens with what is presumably Garbus’ voice asking the couple, “Why did you want to make this documentary?” Harry proceeds to tell her, “I had to do everything I could to protect my family,” while Meghan responds with her own question: “When the stakes are this high, doesn’t it make more sense to hear our story from us?”
A second trailer released on Dec. 5 shows footage of the couple’s early relationship before things take a turn, with Harry talking about “the pain and suffering of women marrying into this institution” and feeling terrified when thinking back on the treatment of his mother, adding, “I didn’t want history to repeat itself.”
Liz Garbus’ critically acclaimed filmography
Liz Garbus is an American filmmaker best known for the 2015 biographical documentary film What Happened, Miss Simone?, which chronicles the life and activism of musician Nina Simone. The film opened the 2015 Sundance film festival and was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the Oscars in 2016—an accolade she was previously nominated for in 1999 for her documentary on America’s largest maximum security prison in Louisiana, entitled The Farm: Angola, USA.
Garbus also directed Season 4 of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which earned her an Emmy nomination in 2021. Additionally, she directed the 2020 true crime film Lost Girls, as well as HBO’s 2020 true crime docuseries I’ll Be Gone in the Dark.
In June, Page Six reported that Garbus would take on the Harry and Meghan project after being spotted with them on a trip to New York the previous fall. Since then Meghan has gushed over Garbus’ work and confirmed the documentary in an October interview with Variety.
“It’s nice to be able to trust someone with our story—a seasoned director whose work I’ve long admired—even if it means it may not be the way we would have told it,” Meghan said of Garbus. “But that’s not why we’re telling it. We’re trusting our story to someone else, and that means it will go through their lens.”
How the couple responded to prior reports of a documentary
The Duke and Duchess changed their tune a number of times about the nature of the docuseries, and whether it was happening at all. In September 2020, weeks after they announced their Netflix deal, a spokesperson for the couple said that they were “not taking part in any reality shows” after reports suggested a fly-on-the-wall documentary would follow their work for three months.
The couple was spotted with film crews a number of times, leaving many suspicious that such a project did exist.
Speaking with The Cut in August, Meghan once again denied that the project is a “reality show.” According to writer Allison P. Davis, the duchess met questions about the rumored project with “half-answers shrouded in winks, codes, and redirection” before noting what Davis described as the “difference between a historical documentary and a reality docuseries.”
Meghan also told the writer why she was being vague, “What’s so funny is I’m not trying to be cagey. I don’t read any press. So I don’t know what’s confirmed.”
Previous interviews given by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
The couple famously delivered a two-hour sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, where they shared shocking revelations about the British monarchy. The couple opened up about racism within the royal family, disagreements between Meghan and Middleton, and the duchess’ struggles with mental health. They also revealed that they were expecting a second child, a baby girl now known as Lilibet, who was born in June 2021.
Since then, Prince Harry has undertaken a number of interviews alone. Harry and Oprah joined forces again for the Apple TV+ mental health docuseries The Me You Can’t See, and ahead of the Invictus Games—a sports competition he founded for wounded veterans—Harry participated in an interview with TODAY in April. He spoke about his kids, returning to the U.K. and seeing Queen Elizabeth. He also opened up about his mental health issues.
Meanwhile, Meghan has focused on her Archetypes podcast, which concluded its first season on Tuesday with episodes featuring guests such as Mariah Carey, Issa Rae and Trevor Noah. She also gave an extensive interview to Variety—her first since the death of Queen Elizabeth—which included a video interview and behind-the-scenes footage of her cover shoot with the publication.
Reactions to the trailer
The series is already receiving viral attention. Netflix’s Twitter post sharing the trailer has over 50,200 likes at the time of writing, while their Instagram post has more than 288,400 likes. Not surprisingly, however, criticism from royal commentators and British media figures has already started to pour in with many, including broadcaster Piers Morgan—a longstanding critic of the Duke and Duchess—turning to the British tabloids to publish their views.
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