British royals brace for Harry and Meghan’s Netflix barrage

  • Harry and Meghan documentary series to premiere
  • The scathing newspapers, call it an ‘act of war’
  • ‘We know the whole truth,’ Harry says in the trailer

LONDON, Dec 8 (Reuters) – Britain’s royal family will brace for fresh criticism from Prince Harry and his wife Meghan on Thursday when a Netflix documentary series about the couple airs.

The trailers suggest that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who stepped down from royal duties and moved to California two years ago, will launch more embarrassing criticism of Harry’s father King Charles and older brother Prince William.

The first three of the six episodes will be released on Thursday.

In March last year, the couple’s interview with US presenter Oprah Winfrey, in which they made accusations of racism and mistreatment in the royal household, plunged the monarchy into its biggest crisis in decades.

“When the stakes are so high, doesn’t it make more sense to hear the story from us?” Meghan, 41, says in a clip released in advance by Netflix.

“No one knows the whole truth,” says Harry, 38, in a trailer. “We know the whole truth.” In another clip, he refers to people who work for the royal house briefing journalists on family members, calling it “foul play.”

Neither Buckingham Palace nor William’s office at Kensington Palace had any comment ahead of the launch, which comes a week after a dispute over racism involving William’s godmother, 83, saw her give up her honorary role as royal attendant.

Speculation about the documentary has dominated British newspapers for a week, with most of the overwhelmingly negative coverage about the couple, accusing them of making millions off their royal status while attacking their family.

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“The trailer is an act of war,” the Sun newspaper said in an editorial. “This couple is not only willing to bite the hand that fed them, but they revel in it, looking for every opportunity to harm Harry’s once-loved father, brother and sister-in-law.”

The Daily Mail was equally scathing.

“The documentary is clearly going to be a grotesque parody. It may be its truth, but it is certainly not recognized by millions in this country,” its editorial said.

When Harry and Meghan tied the knot in a star-studded event watched by millions around the world in 2018, they were hailed as the future of the monarchy, bringing a modern, multicultural dynamic to the storied institution.

Within two years, amid rifts with royal aides, as well as Harry’s brother William and his wife Kate, they gave up their royal roles and moved to California to start a new life.

Harry said they did it to protect his mental health and to escape the kind of intense media intrusion his mother, Princess Diana, had suffered. He was killed in a car accident in Paris in 1997 when his limousine sped away from chasing paparazzi photographers.

“I was terrified. I didn’t want history to repeat itself,” Harry says in one of the Netflix trailers.

Since stepping down from their royal roles, the Sussexes have attacked the press. They cut ties with Britain’s four biggest tabloids and successfully sued several publications, with further legal action pending.

Ultimately, how the documentary is viewed will depend on the viewers. Surveys indicate that most older people in Britain strongly dislike the partner, while younger Britons are much more understanding. Travelers in London suggested that the family’s problems would be best resolved behind closed doors.

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“When they got married I was so excited, I felt like it was a new era and now I’m so ashamed,” said book editor Leah Thaxton, 48. “I just wish those two brothers would be friends again.”

Brazilian student Thassea Carratto, 26, said she was looking forward to the documentary.

“Maybe they will reveal a lot of things and (it will be) shocking,” he said. “I guess everyone wants to know the secrets that are hidden (behind) the royal family.”

Additional reporting by Ed Baran; Edited by Janet Lawrence

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