The final installments of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s controversial Netflix documentary were released Thursday, detailing their bitter split from the rest of the royal family.
The fourth, fifth and sixth episodes of “Harry & Meghan” cover the pair’s challenges since their 2018 wedding, which culminated in their decision to quit as working members of the family.
Harry said he initially asked for a “half in, half out” arrangement, where Harry and Meghan would have their own jobs but still work in support of the Queen, during a crunch family meeting. “But it became very clear very quickly that that goal was not up for discussion or debate,” Harry said.
“It was terrifying to have my brother scream and shout at me, and my father say things that just simply weren’t true, and my grandmother quietly sit there and take it all in,” he said, recalling the conversations with Prince William, then-Prince Charles, and Queen Elizabeth II.
“But you have to understand that from the family’s perspectives, especially from hers, there are ways of doing things. And her ultimate mission and goal, responsibility, is the institution … she’s going to go on the advice that she’s given,” Harry said.
The pair describe throughout the new episodes how, from their perspective, their position within the royal family became untenable after constant hounding from Britain’s media and repeated disregard for the couple’s wellbeing inside palace walls.
Harry hinted that there was jealousy from other royals towards Meghan given the amount of media attention she was receiving. “The issue is when someone who is marrying in, who should be a supporting act, is then stealing the limelight or is doing the job better than the person who is born to do this,” he said.
“That upsets people. It upsets the balance. Because you have been led to believe that the only way that your charities can succeed and your mission can grow is if you are on the front pages of those newspapers.”
And Meghan discussed experiencing suicidal ideation, telling the filmmakers she believed “all of this will stop if I’m not here. And that was the scariest thing about it, it was such clear thinking.”
“I just did everything I could to make them proud, and to really be a part of the family,” Meghan said in the fifth episode, speaking of her relationship with the other royals. “And then the bubble burst.”
“I realized that I wasn’t just being thrown to the wolves, I was being fed to the wolves,” she said.
The culmination of that breakdown between the royal institution and Harry and Meghan, who were once touted by parts of the media as the modernizing force the monarchy needed, was their historic and controversial decision in early 2020 to quit as working royals and leave the UK.
Harry said he spoke to Queen Elizabeth II and arranged to meet her, with Meghan, as they were reaching their decision to quit the family.
“She knew that we were finding things hard. I’d spoken to her many times about it,” Harry said. But as the meeting approached, Meghan said they received a message from an aide telling them they were not allowed to see the monarch.
“I’ve actually been told that I’m busy all week,” the Queen then told Harry, according to his recollection. “I was like, wow,” Harry said.
“This is when a family and a family business are in direct conflict … really what they’re doing is blocking a grandson from seeing his grandmother.”
The final episode begins with a video note taken by Harry as the pair flew away from Canada to Los Angeles, having completed their royal engagements. “We are on the freedom flight,” Harry said at the time.
“I wonder what would have happened to us had we not got out when we did,” Harry added in an interview.
The release follows last Thursday’s batch of episodes, in which Prince Harry criticized “unconscious bias” inside the family.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health matters, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to connect with a trained counselor or visit the NSPL website. Tea International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.
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