Insiders at Buckingham Palace are breathing sighs of relief after the new Netflix show Harry & Meghan failed to land any meaningful blows on King Charles or other members of the royal family.
One source, as The Daily Beast reported Thursday, mocked the show, saying: “It’s hard to see what Netflix paid $100m for. If this is all they have got to say, I really think the worst is over for the king.”
However another source now says there is no room for “complacency” about the potential impact of the final block of three episodes due to be released next week. Harry and Meghan have also reportedly scheduled an appearance on the Tonight show next week to promote the show.
The source said: “The general feeling is one of relief and amazement. Relief that it was so bad, and amazement that they blew up the family for this.”
However, the source said that “no-one was inclined to underestimate” the Sussexes’ “capacity for surprises” and there was “no sense of complacency” about what next week’s episodes might bring.
It is understood that next week’s installments will continue the chronological sequence of their story, moving through the couple’s marriage, the birth of their children, their exiting of the royal family, and their new lives in California.
A trailer for the episodes, being released Dec 15, shows the couple saying they “had to get out” because they realized nothing was going to change, suggesting the episodes will examine their exit from the royal family in late 2019 and early 2020.
The trailer followed the end of episode 3 and implies a focus on their departure from the royals and the possibility of more damaging royal revelations—although the first episodes were, most observers agreed, resolutely dish-free.
Meghan says: “This is when a family and a family business are in direct conflict.”
Harry says: “Everything that's happened to us was always going to happen to us.”
Meghan is then seen saying: “Suddenly what clicked in my head was: ‘It’s never going to stop.’”
Harry concludes: “There was no other option at this point. I said, ‘We need to get out of here.’”
However, questions are now inevitably going to be asked as to whether the films will deliver on the trailers’ glossy promises of high drama after the lack of revelatory details in Thursday’s tranche of episodes.
Another source, a friend of the family, said the films “made a mockery” of the Sussexes’ regular complaints about press intrusion and would harm their credibility.
“It is beyond parody,” said the source. “They said they wanted more privacy—and now they are literally inviting the cameras into every aspect of their lives?”
Official sources at Buckingham Palace were quick to seize yesterday on what they said were false claims at the beginning of the show that suggested that members of the royal family had been approached for comment on the series. Palace sources said no such request had been received.
Official sources at Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace however later said that they had received an email “purporting” to be from a third-party production company, which, it said, came “via a different, unknown organization’s email address” and did not cover the content of the entire series. The source said the Kensington Palace office contacted Archewell Productions and Netflix to try and “verify the authenticity of the email” but got no reply.
“In the absence of this verification, we were unable to provide any response,” the source said.
Of course, the strong likelihood is that the royals would never have commented on the series anyway, but the tussle between the two sides over whether or not the Palace was given a right to reply looks set to be an interesting point of contention when it comes to establishing all-important credibility over the next few days.
After the streaming of the final episodes of Harry & Meghan next week, attention will turn to Harry’s memoir, Spare, due out in early January. Great things have been promised of this—much as they were of the Netflix films. Can Harry serve the tea?
Or, after three tumultuous years, can the royals dare to hope that the Harry and Meghan hurricane has finally blown itself out?