The first volume of Duke and Duchess of Sussex's highly anticipated docuseries Harry & Meghan debuted Thursday, taking viewers into their love story and historic decision to step back as senior working royals. Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, shared over 15 hours of video footage and a trove of private photos to complete the six-hour documentary for Netflix, which reaches over 220 million subscribers worldwide.
It was widely speculated that Harry and Meghan's step back from royal life correlated with a desire for a more private life, but the couple is clarifying that false narrative amid their new docuseries. In a statement, Harry and Meghan's couple's global press secretary shot down the connection.
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"Their statement announcing their decision to step back mentions nothing of privacy and reiterates their desire to continue their roles and public duties," the spokesperson said in a statement.
"Any suggestion otherwise speaks to a key point of this series," she continued. "They are choosing to share their story, on their terms, and yet the tabloid media has created an entirely untrue narrative that permeates press coverage and public opinion. The facts are right in front of them."
On Jan. 8, 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan, who had been staying in Canada at the time, shocked the world when they announced they were stepping down as senior royals.
DANIEL LEAL/AFP Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
"After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution," the Sussexes said in a statement on Instagram. "We intend to step back as 'senior' members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.
Days later, Harry, King Charles III and Prince William had a "Sandringham Summit" to discuss the couple's royal future. After the 90-minute discussion, Queen Elizabeth II said in a statement, "Today my family had very constructive discussions on the future of my grandson and his family. My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan's desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family."
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Harry and Meghan returned to the U.K. for their final royal engagements in early March 2020. On March 5, 2020, they attended the Endeavor Fund Awards in London, where a striking photo of them laughing in the rain went viral.
Harry and Meghan's last day in their senior royal roles was March 31, 2020. In February 2021, the Palace confirmed that Harry and Meghan would no longer work on behalf of the British royal family.
The first three episodes of Harry & Meghan are now streaming on Netflix. Volume two hits queues next Thursday, Dec. 15.