There’s a moment at the end of the second episode of Harry & Meghan, the explosive Netflix documentary produced in collaboration with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, where Meghan Markle lays out the reason it was made in the first place. The audience has just spent the last two hours watching the couple meet, fall in love, and get engaged — while around them the British tabloid media upends their lives and spurns racist abuse not just in its pages, but on social media, too.
“At that point, I still very much believed what I was being told,” Meghan says in the documentary, as images play of the newly engaged couple.
“It will pass, it will get better, it’s just what they [the press] do at the very beginning. The promise of, ‘Once you’re married, don’t worry, it will get better. Once they get used to you, it will get better, of course it will get better’. But truth be told, no matter how hard I tried, no matter how good I was, no matter what I did… they were still going to find a way to destroy me.”
The media — and in particular, the British tabloid press — was one of the reasons Harry and Meghan began documenting their lives, filmimg video diaries and family moments that now in part make up this documentary. After they stepped back as senior royals and fled first to Canada, then LA, Harry says there was “so much misinformation” that a friend suggested they record their side of the story.
“No one knows the full truth,” Harry says early on in the documentary. “We know the full truth. The institution knows the full truth. And the media knows the full truth, because they’ve been in on it. And I think anyone else in my situation would have done exactly the same thing.”
Harry & Meghan takes us inside the couple’s early relationship days, to falling in love, meeting each other’s families, and what went wrong for them to leave the UK. Below, find some of the biggest revelations from the documentary (so far).
They Call Each Other ‘H’ And ‘M’
An unexpected early reveal: Harry and Meghan call each other by their initials, ‘H’ and ‘M’. It’s sweet, it’s endearing, and a little bit cringe — a sign of things to come.
Prince Harry Had A ‘List’ For Potential Girlfriends
Once upon a time, Prince Harry was the world’s most eligible bachelor. He had a number of girlfriends (including Chelsea Davy, whom he dated on and off from 2004 to 2011), but nobody seemed to stick.
In the documentary, Harry spoke about how media scrutiny brought intense pressure to his relationships — something he witnessed as a child once his mother, Princess Diana, divorced Prince Charles.
“She may have been one of the most powerful women in the world, but she was completely exposed,” Harry says.
“I saw things, I learnt things. The pain and suffering of women marrying into this institution. I remember thinking, how can I ever find someone who is willing and capable to withstand all the baggage that comes with being with me? Every relationship that I had, within a matter of weeks or months, was splattered all over the newspaper and that person’s family harassed, and their lives turned upside down. So after one or two girlfriends, the third or fourth girlfriend went, ‘Hang on a second, I don’t know if I want this’. So when I got to meet M, I was terrified of her being driven away by the media.”
Meghan revealed that Harry had a “list” of potential qualities he would want (and need) in a future partner. Harry refuses to reveal what was on his list, but when Meghan pushes him, smiles and says, “You’re the list.”
“Good answer,” she replies.
Later in the documentary, Harry says that finding Meghan was like “finding a needle in a haystack” — someone who not only shared his values of service and humanitarian work, but had experience being in the public eye. The only problem was, neither of them realised just how intense the scrutiny would become.
Their First Kiss Was On A Holiday To Botswana After Only Meeting Twice
Harry and Meghan were introduced by a mutual friend. Meghan claims she never Googled her date, instead choosing to stalk his Instagram feed to find out “how he presents himself to the world” (For the record, Harry’s IG feed was all sunsets and elephants.)
After meeting in London just twice (Harry was 30 minutes late to their first date), and continuing a relationship via text and FaceTime, Meghan agreed to meet Harry in Botswana during a week they coincidentally both had free.
Harry — who describes Botswana as a country “very close to my heart” — said he was “astonished” she said yes. “This woman that I just met is coming to Botswana and we’re going to be living in a tent for five days, wow.”
Meghan said: “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.”
The feelings of awkwardness disappeared after their first kiss, Harry said. “To start, 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.”
Meghan Would Fly To The UK And Stay At Kensington Palace In Secret
Their Botswana trip was in June 2016, and news of their relationship didn’t break until November of that year. Meghan came up with a “two week rule”, where they had to see each other, in person, at least every two weeks. It was much easier for Meghan, who was living in Canada, to fly to London and visit Harry in secret, so that’s exactly what she did.
Prince Harry Compares Meghan To Princess Diana
It’s inevitable that any documentary about Prince Harry would dive into his mother’s relationship with the press, which will ever remain one of the most defining things about her life — and death. Harry has made no secret of how much he abhored the media intrusion into his childhood, and how scared he’s been of “history repeating itself” with his wife.
In the documentary, he revealed that Meghan is more similar to Diana than simply their circumstances.
“So much of what Meghan is and how she is, is so similar to my mum,” he says. “She has the same compassion, empathy, and warmth about her.”
Meghan Was Shocked By Kate And William’s Formality
The first two episodes of Meghan & Harry don’t delve too deeply into the couple’s fractured relationship with Prince William and Kate Middleton, but there are a few hints of tension (it’s likely more will be revealed in Volume II, which drops on December 15).
One of those moments was when Meghan spoke about meeting her future brother- and sister-in-law for the first time.
“I was in ripped jeans and I was barefoot,” Meghan says. “I’m a hugger, I’ve always been a hugger. I didn’t realise that was so jarring for Brits.”
She adds that she thought the “formality” of being a senior royal was something that happened in public only, with the family able to relax once behind closed doors.
“I realised that the formality on the ouside carried through onto the inside,” she continues. “The formality carries over on both sides. And that was surprising to me.”
Harry Is Aware Of The Absurdity Of His Own Life
The story of Meghan meeting Queen Elizabeth for the first time has been told before: it was a surprise visit, and Meghan performed an overly dramatic curtsy.
What is more relevatory in this documentary is that Harry is deeply aware of the absurdity of being a royal, which seems out of step with modern Britain.
“How do you explain that to people?” he says. “How do you explain that you bow to your grandmother? And that you [Meghan] need to curtsy?”
They Had ‘One Last Night Of Freedom’ Before News Broke
On October 31, Harry was told via Prince William’s press secretary that news of his and Meghan’s relationship was going to break. So, the couple had one last night with their friends (at a Halloween party, naturally), before their lives changed forever.
Toronto Police Said They Were Unable To Help With The Paparazzi
Overnight, Meghan’s life changed. Once news broke she was dating Prince Harry, paps set up shop outside her home in Toronto, Canada, where she was filming Suits. Very quickly, it turned nasty, with a simple smile to the men outside her house interpreted by the British tabloids as Meghan “showing off”. It was then that Harry told her to follow the royal family line: say nothing. Do nothing. No comment.
After the press showed no signs of slowing down, Meghan says she went to the local police. “If I told you I was being followed by six men, and I was in fear of my life, that would be a problem,” Meghan recounts telling the officers. She says they told her they were unable to help, “because of who you’re dating”.
So, Meghan turned to private security. Keeping her safe involved using a driver trained in evasive driving, taking different routes to get home, and the Suits production crew fencing off the set.
Meghan’s Career, Rather Than Her Mixed Race Identity, Was The Biggest Issue For The Royals (At First)
When news broke that Suits star Meghan Markle was dating Britain’s most eligable royal, the British tabloid press responded with — you guessed it — racism. Headlines joked that Meghan was “straight outta Compton” (she grew up in Hollywood), or that her mother, Doria Ragland, lived in a slum.
For the royal family, however, Meghan’s career proved to be the sticking point… at least at the beginning.
“I remember my family first meeting her and being incredibly impressed. Some of them didn’t quite know what to do with themselves,” Harry says.
“So I think they were — they were surprised. Maybe surprised that the ginger could land such a beautiful woman. And such an intelligent woman. But 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’.”
Meghan adds: “The actress thing was the biggest problem, funny enough. There is a big idea of what that looks like from the UK standpoint. Hollywood and — it was just very easy for them to typecast that.”
Of course, we know (from Meghan and Harry, anyway) that race became an issue later, with the couple telling Oprah that a royal family member questioned “how dark” their son Archie’s skin would be. They later clarified that neither Queen Elizabeth nor Prince Philip were behind the comment.
King Charles played a big part in their wedding
When it became clear that Meghan’s estranged father Thomas Markle wasn’t going to have any part in her wedding, then-Prince Charles stepped up.
“Harry’s dad is very charming,” Meghan said, adding that she’d asked him if he would walk her up the aisle.
“I said to him, like, ‘I’ve lost my dad in this.’ So him, as my father-in-law, was really important to me. So I asked him to walk me down the aisle and he said yes. The whole thing was surreal. It was at that moment I could see H.”
Harry added that Charles helped the pair choose an orchestra for the service.
Their home at Kensington Palace was “small”
The Sussexes talked about their first home together as a married couple, located in the grounds of Kensington Palace in London.
“As far as people were concerned we were living in a palace. [But] we were living in a cottage on palace grounds,” Harry explained.
Meghan added: “Kensington Palace sounds very regal of course, it does say palace in the name. But Nottingham Cottage was small.
Harry continued: “The whole thing was really small on a slight lean with low ceilings.”
“It was a chapter in our lives where I don’t think anyone could believe what it was actually like behind-the-scenes,” Meghan said.
Their Australian tour was the turning point
If you cast your minds back you’ll no doubt recall the Duke and Duchess of Sussexes whirlwind tour of Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji in October 2018. Who could forget those images of the pair walking down the steps of the Sydney Opera House having announced that Meghan was pregnant barely 12 hours before (her baby bump now obviously showing)?
In the documentary, the couple point out how it was a different time—and that’s not hard to see. They were met with thousands of fans at walkabouts, and stories about them were overwhelmingly positive. Everyone was excited to catch a glimpse of the newly painted Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
But that’s where it all changed, according to the couple. With Meghan’s pregnancy announcement coming soon after their whirlwind nuptials, Harry explains their status had been amped up to rockstar royals.
“The issue is when someone who should be a supporting act is stealing the limelight or is doing the job better than the person who was born to do this, that upsets people, it shifts the balance,” he said.
Meghan’s friend Lucy Fraser also claimed that the other royals were “threatened” by their popularity from the Australian tour.
Meghan’s realisation that people believed gossip headlines
The Duchess of Sussex detailed the moment she realised people actually believed some of the lies pushed out by tabloid media—a member of the public told her that what she was doing to her father was not right. The royal explained this moment rocked her to her core because it meant that people actually believed what they were reading.
How Harry dealt with Meghan’s spiralling mental health
The Duchess of Sussex has been vocal about how she became suicidal while she was pregnant with Archie (and as the headlines surrounding her and Harry became steadily worse), and in the documentary, Harry explained that he didn’t deal with it well.
The Duke explained that “institutional Harry” as opposed to “husband Harry” took over. He became worried about missing public engagements and showing face as part of their senior roles.
“I had been trained to worry more about what are people going to think. And looking back at it now, I hate myself for it. What she needed from me was so much more than I was able to give,” he said.
William’s office allegedly traded stories on Harry
Harry claimed that he and his brother made a pact to never trade stories on each other, but that William reneged on the deal.
“To see my brother’s office copy the very same thing that we promised the two of us would never ever do, that was heartbreaking,” he claimed.
The Prince added: “You can always say, ‘I didn’t know about this,’ or ‘Don’t be ridiculous, this would never happen, I would never — are you suggesting that I condone this?’ It’s like, ‘No. But what I am asking is have you done anything to stop it?’ And the answer is no.”
The Duchess added: “You would just see it play out, like, a story about someone in the family would pop up for a minute and they’d go, ‘Gotta make that go away.’ But there’s real estate on a website homepage, there is real estate there on a newspaper front cover and something has to be filled in there about someone royal.”
William “screamed” at Harry, and more about what allegedly happened at The Sandringham Summit
Shortly after Harry and Meghan announced they would be stepping back from their roles as senior royals, media went into a second frenzy over “crisis talks” involving the Queen, then-Prince Charles, William and Harry. It was named the Sandringham Summit, and was supposedly a quick-fire way for the Duke of Sussex to come to an agreement with his family on how he would respectfully step back from his role without causing alarm.
Harry explained that five options were laid out for him, the first being an all-in approach and the last being all-out. He said that no option could meet the Sussexes in the middle, and this caused much frustration.
“It was terrifying to have my brother scream and shout at me, and my father say things that simply weren’t true and my grandmother quietly sit there and sort of take it all in,” Harry explained.
He added: “The saddest part of it was this wedge created between myself and my brother so that he’s now on the institution side.”
Harry blames Meghan’s miscarriage on negative press
In July 2020, Meghan miscarried her second child while she was embroiled in a lawsuit against The Daily Mail.
The lawsuit was over a private letter from Meghan to her estranged father, which was published by the tabloid giant.
“I believe my wife suffered a miscarriage because of what The Mail did,” Prince Harry explained. “I watched the whole thing.”
“Now, do we absolutely know that the miscarriage was created, caused by that? Course we don’t. I can say, from what I saw, that miscarriage was created by what they were trying to do to her,” he added.
Harry has lost friends and misses aspects of his former life
As the final episode comes to a close, Harry explains he has lost friends after moving to the US, and that he still misses some aspects of his former royal life. But ultimately, he knows he made the right decision.
“There’s times when I’ve been angry, but I can’t be that angry because I genuinely feel that I, and we, are exactly where we’re supposed to be.”