The Netflix trailers had hinted at explosive revelations about the monarchy, but in the end the final three episodes of the series had a different kind of impact. It was emotional rather than political. It was a battle between brothers, with an underlying sense of anger and betrayal.
People sometimes call the royals a soap opera. This was the Christmas omnibus edition, with claims of shouting matches, underhand dealing, and a big walkout. It was terrifying to have my brother scream and shout at me and my father say things that just simply weren’t true,” said Prince Harry.
He was still clearly raw and raging. His hatred for the tabloid press loomed large. “Enough of the pain, enough of the suffering,” he said of the impact of negative press coverage of his wife.
There was no great warmth for the rest of his family either. Across six hours of the series, his father, King Charles, was only a fleeting guest in the story. Camilla, the Queen Consort, seemed absent entirely.
The family summit in Sandringham – before Harry and Meghan left for the US – was presented as more like an ambush. The couple claimed they had been given no flexibility on their plans to be half-in, half-out royals.
Read Sean’s analysis of the first three episodes
“So there was no other option at this point. I said ‘We need to get out of here,'” said Prince Harry.
Harry’s brother and sister-in-law – Prince William, and Catherine, the Princess of Wales – were painted as frosty and distant figures, rather than intimate family. Beyoncé was bigged up more than Catherine.
There was a “wedge” between the brothers, Prince Harry said. From his perspective, there was a “dirty game” going on, of rival camps trading in tabloid stories.
And it will set up another chain reaction of stories when they next all meet in front of the public – next year’s coronation isn’t far away.
This was very much Harry and Meghan’s view of their own experience, not a conventional documentary showing other sides of the story.
But Prince Harry came across as a more empathetic figure than before, battered by the tabloids and “ashamed” at how depressed his wife had become. He seemed unsure how to find an exit from what seemed to have become a malicious Truman Show with red carpets.
For some, it will have been cringeworthy, such as a scene of the couple mediating. But for others that same scene will show a dogged determination to re-invent himself.
“I’d changed, to the point where I’d outgrown my environment,” he said. It was all very therapy meets rom-com, but there was a real sense of relief at his escape.
In other news – Higher earners in Scotland to pay more income tax
Everyone earning more than £43,662 in Scotland will have to pay more income tax next year.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the higher rate of tax will increase from 41p to 42p in the pound in April, and the top rate from 46p to 47p. The tax threshold for the top rate will also be lowered from £150,000 to £125,140. Learn more