There are only about three lines of dialogue in the first teaser for “Harry & Meghan” — Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s long-gestating and speculated-about Netflix project — but there’s plenty of tension to kick off the new docuseries.
The streaming giant shared a peek Thursday at the former senior British royals’ project, promising intimate details directly from the source across six documentary-style episodes.
“Why did you want to make this documentary?” a person asks off-camera as happy, black-and-white images of the young couple flash on screen. Shown are private moments, including selfies and photo booth shots, never-before-seen photos from their 2018 royal wedding, the Duchess of Sussex’s pregnancies and moments showing the off-duty royals relaxed at home in Montecito, California. (Earlier this week, Meghan shut down the mere mention that she would take part in a “Real Housewives of Montecito” spinoff.)
But the answer to the loaded question doesn’t come right away. Instead, tension and weariness grow in the visuals on screen as the embattled couple navigates the fraught reception of their marriage and viewers see Harry’s growing ambivalence toward the crown, which ultimately led to them stepping back as working royals in January 2020.
“No one sees what’s happening behind closed doors,” Harry says, adding, “I had to do everything I could to protect my family.”
The teaser, building on the drama the couple has simultaneously dodged and embraced, also includes glimpses of Harry’s brother, Prince William — now first in line to the British throne — and his wife, Catherine, at formal events, a look at newspapers being printed as a nod to the tabloid war centered on the Sussexes in Harry’s homeland and abroad, and a clip showing the former “Suits” actor at his side wiping away tears.
“When the stakes are this high, doesn’t it make more sense to hear our story from us?” adds the L.A.-raised Markle.
The streaming giant, which signed a massive deal with the couple in 2020, did not announce a release date for the show, simply describing it Thursday as “a Netflix global event” that is “coming soon.” The documentary series has previously been regarded as a possible reality series, though the Sussexes have danced around that rumor.
“Harry & Meghan,” directed by Liz Garbus and produced in part by the couple’s Archewell Productions, is the latest project to promise a glimpse into the shielded royals’ lives following their move from England to Southern California and since their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021.
Other such projects include Meghan’s Spotify podcast “Archetypes” that launched in August and Harry’s highly anticipated memoir “Spare,” which debuts Jan. 10.
Here’s a look at the series’ synopsis, directly from Netflix:
“In an unprecedented and in-depth documentary series, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex share the other side of their high-profile love story. 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. With commentary from friends and family, most of whom have never spoken publicly before about what they witnessed, and historians who discuss the state of the British Commonwealth today and the royal family’s relationship with the press, the series does more than illuminate one couple’s love story, it paints a picture of our world and how we treat each other. From the critically acclaimed, two-time Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning director Liz Garbus, ‘Harry & Meghan’ is a never-before-seen look at one of the most-discussed couples in history.”
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