The Most Surprising Revelations From Netflix's Harry & Meghan

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced a massive deal with Netflix in November 2021. At the time of the announcement, the exact dollar amount wasn't revealed, though plenty of sources put it at around $100 million (via The New York Times). In the time that followed, many wondered what exactly the pair would produce with the streaming giant. The answer has come partly from the docu-series "Harry & Meghan." Part one of the series, which will be six episodes in total, was released on Thursday, December 8, 2022. 

Ahead of the release, some wondered what, if any, new bits of information we might learn about two people who feel like two of the most famous people on the planet, but it turns out the answer is that there's still plenty we don't know about Harry and Markle. 

The docu-series features interviews with close friends and family members (the royal family declined to participate) and plenty of archival and personal footage and photographs owned by Harry and Meghan Markle. Here's a look at the most surprising revelations from the series.

Harry and Meghan were filming from March 2020

Before the first note of music plays for the introduction, from the beginning of the series, it's clear that Harry and Meghan Markle knew that they were filming for, well, something. While the pair announced their decision to step back from royal duties in January 2020, the series begins with intimate, behind-the-scenes footage shot on cell phones from March 2020, only two months later. Minutes into the series, Meghan is shown in Vancouver Island, where the two initially decamped, saying, "H is in London ... I don't even know where to begin."

Harry clarifies that the "level of hate that's been stirred up in the last three years, especially since my wife and son" is the biggest reason the two were driven away from Britain. As he puts it, "I had to protect my family." There's footage of Harry ducking in the back seat of a car, and of paparazzi in a boat outside their home in Canada.

As Harry also notes, "It's about duty and service," and for him, "uncovering this exploitation" is part of his duty as a member of the royal family. 

Meghan Markle chose Prince Harry a year before they met

In one sweet scene, Meghan and Harry are asked to watch an old clip of Markle being interviewed for a Canadian show. She's asked what song she likes right now and offers Nina Simone's "I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free." After that, she says that Olivia Pope is her favorite character on TV. From there, the interviewer asks her a truly special question: "Prince William or Prince Harry?"

In the interview, Markle laughs and shrugs, holding up her hands in a clear sign that she doesn't have a strong opinion either way. Then she says, "Harry. Sure!" In the series, the now-married couple laugh as Markle asks, "What year is that?" and they find out it was filmed in October 2015 — "less than a year before we met," as Harry puts it. Then, with more weight to his voice, he adds, "Which shows how little you knew."

Meghan and Harry met on Instagram

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry met in 2016, and Markle shares that only months before that first meeting, she was "really intent on being single" and intentionally not looking for a relationship at all, let alone one that would lead to marriage and children. Her show "Suits" had just been renewed, and Markle wanted to travel with friends and focus on herself. As fate would have it, other things were in the works for her. As she puts it, " about a plot twist."

Harry then shares that the two were set up via Instagram. As he shares, the first photo he ever saw of Meghan was of her wearing a dog filter. The photo was shared by a mutual friend, so Markle asked to see what his personal Instagram feed looked like.

Things kicked off from there, as Markle was already in London to attend Wimbledon. Their first date happened within days, though Markle was aghast that Harry was late. 

Harry and Meghan contend with enormous social media harassment

It's well known at this point that Harry and Meghan Markle have faced an enormous amount of interest and pressure from the media around the world, particularly the media in the United Kingdom. The pair have been open about struggling in the face of this interest, and especially struggling when it comes to their personal lives. In one early scene in the second episode of the series, Harry reveals that while the paparazzi was a "physical" experience when his mom was alive, most of the harassment he and Markle face now happens online.

As Harry puts it, "It is basically ... the hunter versus the prey."

It's clear in the episode that Harry remains bothered by the attention the couple receives. While in New York in 2021, the pair are pursued by a lone photographer, but Harry is seen constantly checking over his shoulder to gauge where the photographer is at all times while Markle holds his hand and attempts to reassure him of their safety.

Meghan Markle didn't expect her race to be a big deal

By now, many royal followers and even those who casually consume royal news know that Meghan Markle has dealt with a lot of racist press coverage since her relationship with Harry was announced. Markle, who is biracial (her mother, Doria Ragland is Black, and her father, Thomas Markle is white), admits in the docu-series that her race wasn't something she was directly confronted with until her relationship with Harry became public.

During interviews in the second episode of the series, Ragland admits to wishing she could go back in time and have a conversation with Markle about how she could be treated as a Black woman in the world. But by Markle's own admission, it didn't seem necessary to have those conversations at the time.

The racist coverage also surprised Harry, who clearly was just as unprepared for the focus on Markle's race. He says that the royal family's official position was to say nothing; as Harry puts it, "But what people need to understand is as far as a lot of the family were concerned, everything that she was being put through, they had been put through, they'd been put through as well. Some of the families were like, but 'My wife had to go through that. So why should your girlfriend be treated any differently?" But as he bluntly adds, "The difference here is the race element."

Meghan Markle's security situation was very dire

Intense attention from the media began when Meghan Markle was still living in Toronto, Canada, and working on her show "Suits." In the series, Markle explains that she repeatedly approached Toronto police to describe her situation — she regularly had men living in their cars outside her home, hoping to get photos of her — and was told nothing could be done because of her relationship ... until she received a death threat.

From that point, everything changed. NBC hired Steve Davies to protect Markle. As he says, "... this has been the most intense situation with the media. I mean, I've worked with A-list celebrities before, high net-worth families before. This blew the meter right out of the water."

Davies goes on to describe the nature of what it is to be relentlessly pursued by the paparazzi and the number of changes that had to take place in Markle's life simply to get her to and from work on time. As she shares, there was a coordinated assault on Markle's freedom put in place by photographers and reporters, who used radios to tell one another when and where Markle was traveling.

Meghan Markle's family and friends also felt unsafe

Despite the fact that no one should have to sacrifice their security and mental well-being just because they are in the public eye, for some, it's one thing for Meghan Markle to be pursued by photographers — she was the one who was in the relationship with Prince Harry in the first place. However, many people can likely agree that it's quite another thing for Markle's childhood friends and her family to be worried about their own safety because of their close ties to the Duchess of Sussex.

As Markle's friend Lindsay Jill Roth explains in episode three of the series, while she and Markle's friends know they might be contacted, the actual length to which the media went to track down those friends was shocking. She explains, "There were journalists outside my apartment building, there were people trailing us in London. It was intense." Another friend, Susan Williger, explains that someone fed false stories about her own family to the media, insisting that Markle used to be obsessed with Princess Diana.

Markle's mother, Doria Ragland, is blunt. "I felt unsafe a lot," she explains. "I can't just go walk my dogs. I can't just go to work ... there was always someone there waiting for me."