How Royals Are Reacting To Netflix's Harry & Meghan

This is a developing story. More information will be added as it becomes available.

It's no secret that the Netflix documentary "Harry & Meghan" is controversial. Shortly following its release, the trailer for the Netflix docu-series started making waves, with claims that the royal family refused to protect Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, from the press. At one point in the trailer, Prince Harry even went as far as to allege, "There's a hierarchy of the family. You know, there's leaking but there's also planting of stories." During the documentary itself, the duchess opens up about paparazzi harassment, her struggles with her mixed-race identity, and the royals' lukewarm reaction to welcoming a biracial American actress into the family.

These claims were apparently serious enough to leave royal insiders reeling. One royal expert told the Daily Mail that the docu-series is essentially an attack on the throne. "I don't see how anyone could view it as anything other than a declaration of war," the anonymous source revealed. While this might sound dramatic, in a sense, "Harry & Meghan" has been just that. During the days following the release of the trailer,Harry's father, King Charles III, and brother, Prince William, threw themselves into a series of "crisis talks," as reported by the Mirror. Per the outlet, the pair plotted a "swift and robust response" to anything particularly scandalous. And that was before the series even came out.

Now that the first half of "Harry & Meghan" has officially aired, here's what the royal family has to say about the serious allegations made by Britain's arguably most controversial couple.

Prince William and Princess Catherine kept a still upper lip on the morning of the release

Netflix's documentary series "Harry & Meghan," the first three episodes of which were released at 8 a.m. British time on December 8, 2022, particularly targeted Prince William and Princess Catherine, who Meghan Markle characterized as overly formal. Recalling the first time she ever met the Prince and Princess of Wales, Meghan noted that she couldn't have a genuine interaction with the iconic royal couple. "I guess I started to understand very quickly that the formality out on the outside, carried through on the inside. That there is a forward-facing way of being [with other members of the royal family]. Then you close the door, and you go: 'Phew, great, we can relax now,'" she shared. 

Although Meghan's opinions may seem like a bit of a bombshell, neither Prince William nor Princess Catherine rushed to clear things up. On the contrary, it seems that the pair wasn't going to react as quickly as some would think. However, as royal expert, Shannon Felton Spence, told Fox News, this choice could actually be a strategic way of painting themselves as the authentic branch of the crown that rises above the drama. 

"Harry and Meghan are a novelty right now," Felton Spence noted. On the contrary, in her expert opinion, "The Prince and Princess of Wales don't have to play that game [of chasing after the media]. They are the monarchy. They will always be. That doesn't wear off." 

British noble Lady Victoria Hervey has some thoughts

While a step down from royalty as an aristocrat, Lady Victoria Hervey, daughter of the late sixth Marquess of Bristol, Victor Hervey, let her voice be heard.

Just minutes after the documentary aired, Victoria slammed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for making the Netflix series at all. In a live interview with GB News (via Twitter), Lady Hervey explained that she opposed the project, particularly in light of its financial implications for the couple. "I think it's very sad that [Prince Harry and Meghan Markle] feel that they have to make money from dissing the royal family. It's something that's never really been done in this way," she told the outlet. 

Beyond her criticism of the Netflix series, Lady Hervey slammed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's whole marriage. "Unfortunately, I think, the presence of having [Prince Harry's] wife around him... I think it's very toxic. It's just a very negative energy around him, unfortunately." In the past, Lady Hervey made headlines for dating Prince Andrew, a relationship which gave her a glimpse of the complicated life of the royal family. 

King Charles hasn't issued an official statement despite the documentary's emotional content

Prince William and Princess Catherine aren't the only royals who chose to remain silent immediately following the documentary's release. King Charles III declined to speak out right away or offer any sort of official statement, although his silence likely stems from a very different reason.

According to Princess Diana's friend, Stewart Pierce, the king is actually quite sensitive to this type of massive media explosion. As Pierce told Us Weekly (via Mirror), "Prince Charles is a very, very shy man, a very sensitive and delicate man, but we see his public personality, but in private, he's immensely sensitive. When we're sensitive, if we're dealing with very strong, combustible emotion on the outside of us, people tend to go with a fight or flight response." In Pierce's opinion, flight has historically been Charle's standard reaction to publicity blow-ups.

Per Wales Online, Charles has not made public any plans to watch the series himself. A team or royal aides has most likely streamed the Netflix show in order to later inform the king of its contents. Nonetheless, the outlet's early reports indicate that the Netflix documentary will be received at Buckingham Palace with a great deal of chagrin. As a friend of the royal family reportedly told Wales Online, "It's really important to remember that these are real people. This isn't a soap opera. They are human beings and a family and there's a great deal of sadness."

The king disregarded a reporter's question about the documentary

Members of the British royal family are famous for prioritizing the Crown over all else, and the newly crowned King Charles III is no exception. Just hours after Netflix released the first three episodes of "Harry & Meghan," Charles was already spotted out fulfilling his royal duties.

As the Daily Mail reported, the king went on an official visit to King's House community hub, which is organized by King's Cross Church. In the true spirit of the British phrase "keep calm and carry on," King Charles exuded a sense of positivity on his tour. He held his head high as he rubbed shoulders with local community members and was even spotted laughing during his conversations.

Nonetheless, the shadow of the docu-series loomed in the background of the event. At one point, a reporter can be heard asking the king, "Your majesty, have you watched the documentary?" (via Sky News). Despite the pointedness of this question, the king did not flinch, nor did he offer any sort of response.

Buckingham Palace officials reportedly challenged the veracity of Netflix's disclaimer

While senior members of the royal family remained silent immediately following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's documentary, royal sources reportedly claim that there has been at least one inaccuracy in the Netflix documentary.

At the beginning of "Harry & Meghan," a disclaimer explains that members of the royal family via Buckingham Palace declined to comment on, or become involved with, the docu-series  (via Sky News). But a report by the Independent claims that neither Buckingham Palace nor Kensington Palace were ever contacted about the content of the docu-series to begin with. The outlet did not share its sources in its reporting; however, the piece alleges that palace officials and royal family members alike were excluded from the so-called fact-checking element of the documentary. 

An employee at Netflix was quick to jump to the defense of the documentary's journalistic integrity. On the afternoon of December 8, Omid Scobie, executive royals editor of Yahoo News UK, broke the story on Twitter. "A source at the streamer says that household offices for both the Prince and Princess of Wales, and King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort were contacted and given sufficient time to respond," he wrote.

Additionally, Scobie revealed, "A source says Kensington Palace did receive a comment request, but from a third-party production company (via a different, unknown [organization's] email address). They contacted Archewell Productions and Netflix to try and verify but received no response."