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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Netflix Documentary Part 2 Recap, Biggest Reveals

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There’s a moment at the end of Prince Harry and Meghan’s documentary when he’s driving his car in Santa Barbara. Reflecting on the fact that he went there after “changing” and “overcoming” his former environment, the prince suddenly says: “This is one of the places where I think my mother would probably end up living. Potentially.”

This final reference to Princess Diana in the six hours of programming is left in abeyance as the prince drives along the sunny coast towards his “home sweet home”. But it’s perfectly positioned to emphasize one of the most prominent themes of the Netflix series – that Diana’s death (and how she died) remains central to how Prince Harry sees the world.

Prince Harry driving his car in California at the end of the Netflix documentary.

Netflix

Indeed, while Meghan is clearly more comfortable opening up in front of the camera during the various interviews and behind-the-scenes moments, in the end it’s Harry’s story that feels like the plot. Yes, this is a love story. But this is also the story of a boy born into an intensely hierarchical institution and his relationship with an older brother who would always hold the top job. And mostly, it’s a story about a boy whose mother was killed while being chased by paparazzi, and the ways he’s hated the media ever since.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that the media (in its many and often confused forms, but particularly the British tabloids, their websites and social media) has been the villain of documentary from the start. But while the couple powerfully delineate their feelings towards stories and critical commentary, the six episodes fail to shed new light on what this institution really did.

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Harry and Meghan, interviewed for the documentary.

Netflix

Where they strike at least one new blow, however, is the monarchy. And, for that alone, the second half of the documentary achieves much more than the first three episodes. In a move that may change how some people view this story, the couple provide a specific and rather scathing example to explain their grievances. “I was told about a joint statement that was made in my and my brother’s name squashing the story about him bullying us out of the family,” says Harry. “Nobody asked me for permission to put my name on a statement like that… they were happy to lie to protect my brother.” The palace did not respond to Harry’s claims of the January 2020 statement (which actually came from the Sussex spokesman at the time) and said it would not comment on the documentary. But this is a moment that stands out as a claim that should not be dismissed.

Elsewhere, however, Harry and Meghan offer little to support their claims. The prince’s claim that the stories were leaked and planted by royal communications teams “to remove a negative story about his director” comes and goes without much context. Part of what Harry is saying about this point seems to be referring to what he witnessed as a child in his father’s study. But he then goes on to say that he saw William’s office “copy the exact same thing that we promised the two of us would never do” without explaining why he thinks that or what stories he believes were planted or traded.

Likewise, the theme explored in the documentary that the couple ended up being targeted by a monarchy that wanted them to fail because they stole the spotlight, is presented without evidence. This is mostly proposed by friends or other collaborators – a device that somehow leaves you feeling like the couple wasn’t prepared to say it. One wonders, however, how many will agree with the narrative that the monarchy sabotaged Harry and Meghan because Meghan’s friend Lucy Fraser feels that “the palace inmates were incredibly threatened” by their popularity.

The allegation that Prince William yelled and yelled at Harry during the so-called Sandringham Summit discussing his future is distasteful, but perhaps not entirely revealing, given the heated feelings on all sides at the time. And Harry’s suggestion that his father said things that weren’t true at the same meeting is utterly meaningless in the absence of further explanation.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in one of their last public engagements before stepping down from their royal roles in 2020.

Gareth Cattermole🇧🇷Getty Images

There’s no getting away from the fact that the entire show is a carefully curated presentation of how Harry and Meghan want to be seen. But there are a few moments in the second half where it feels like we’re closer to witnessing their authentic reactions. That includes Meghan waiting to find out the end result of her legal battle with the mail on sunday and Harry reading a text from his brother after Oprah’s interview (but of course we don’t get to see what it says). It would be hard to argue against Meghan’s assertion that “a family and a family business are in direct conflict” when Harry was prevented from seeing his grandmother to discuss her plans. Elsewhere, she succinctly rebuts criticism that she was to blame for the prince’s departure, pointing out, “He would never have been attracted to me if he wasn’t already in his own way.”

There is a brief appearance by Princess Eugenie in the documentary, but the emphasis at the end of the six hours is that Harry’s new path has caused him to lose much of his old life. He describes having “lost some friends” in the process and it’s obvious that the passage of time hasn’t healed his relationship with his father and brother.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the overwhelming response to the Netflix venture in the UK media, particularly print media, has been negative. Accusations of attacking the Queen’s legacy have been front-page news, along with ongoing debates about cashing in, parading around as victims and invading her own privacy. Overall, it’s fair to say that reviews were mixed.

But this venture has given them a huge platform to tell their side of the story, and it’s possible that there are people who now feel like they understand their perspective a little better because of it.

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Prince Harry with Princess Diana in 1987.

Georges De Keerle🇧🇷Getty Images

Meghan has the last word in the series with a poem she read on her wedding day, ending with the line “Above all, love wins”. But the final footage is mostly of Harry. He’s on a beach in shorts and a T-shirt, walking away from the camera with a towel under his arm. We will never know, had she lived, whether or not Princess Diana would have moved to California. But if this documentary series makes you sure of one thing, it’s how central her influence continues to be in the life of her son, who now calls it home.

Harry & Meghan Preview - Official Trailer (Netflix)

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