Episode three begins with a flashback to Meghan and Harry’s memorable first TV appearance, which Meghan called an “orchestrated reality show,” revealing that from their adorable photo shoot to sit down chat, everything about the announcement was “rehearsed.”
From the get-go, Meghan says, they “weren’t allowed” to tell their true story when faced with questions about their relationship and Meghan’s family background.
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The episode went on to address Britain’s dark history of slavery in the Caribbean, with journalist Afua Hirsch pointing out the royal family’s previous role in slave trade, and how it was “personally financed” by Queen Elizabeth I until abolition in 1834.
Prince Harry also spoke of his own controversial past, recalling wearing a Nazi costume to a party in 2005, when he was 20 years old, “the biggest mistake of my life.”
“I felt so ashamed afterwards. All I wanted to do was make it right… I went to Berlin and spoke to a Holocaust survivor. I could have just ignored it and gone on and probably made the same mistakes over again and again in my life, but I learnt from that.”
In one scene, author David Olusoga speaks of being hopeful that Meghan and Harry’s engagement could be a sign of the royal family “catching up with the rest of Britain,” but it wasn’t to be.
Meghan adds elsewhere that she believed the British press were hellbent on trying to make her mother, Doria Ragland, fodder for the tabloids.
“The UK media, I truly believe, wanted my mum’s side of my family to be the ones where all this drama could be stirred up with,” she said.
“And suddenly you just have my mom, who’s classy and quiet … And then you have the other side of my other that is just acting … differently.”
Meghan went on to discuss half-sister Samantha Markle, who she said was “suddenly everywhere” when her relationship with Harry went public.
“I don’t know your middle name, I don’t know your birthday, you’re telling these people you raised me and calling me ‘Princess Pushy’?,” she said, bewildered by her relative’s comments about her in the press.
Meghan and Harry have been open about the impact the relentless British press had on Meghan, with the Duchess revealing in the past that it left her suicidal.
“I was ashamed to admit it at the time, and admit it to Harry because of how much loss he’s suffered, but I knew that I didn’t want to be alive anymore,” she said.
“That was a very real, clear, constant thought. He just cradled me. I went to the institution and said I needed help, and I was told it wouldn’t be good for the institution.
“I went to human resources and said ‘I need help’. In my old job there was a union that would protect me. They said ‘My heart goes out to you, but you’re not a paid employee of the institution’.”
This week, Meghan touched on the dark time in her life while accepting an award for anti-racism at the Ripple Of Hope Award Gala in New York.
She said she decided to speak about her mental health struggles during the couple’s infamous Oprah interview because “I don’t want anyone to feel alone”.
The mum-of-two added that people often “don’t see a way out” of mental health issues and said many others felt like she did during lockdowns during the Covid pandemic.
Harry & Meghan is a six-part Netflix series directed by Oscar nominee Liz Garbus. It is the flagship offering in the couple’s rumoured $183 million multi-year content deal with the steaming giant.
It’s a project that has been in the works for months, with two trailers being released in the past two weeks, both making headlines around the world.
Multiple reports suggest Harry and Meghan have been at odds with Netflix bosses in attempts to delay the show, following a chaotic period for the royal family, including the Queen’s death in September.
The couple are understood to have wanted to push the controversial TV series back to 2023 amid backlash over the new series of The Crown, which is chronicling the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage.
It’s already copped controversy for the use of “fake” and “misleading” photos which have been exposed in detail, including one paparazzi picture taken from the Harry Potter premiere in 2011.
The first three episodes landed around the world on December 8. The next and final three will drop in one week on December 15.
Originally published as Meghan Markle calls 2017 engagement interview an ‘orchestrated reality show’