Meghan Markle and Prince Harry dropped a bombshell while the Prince and Princess of Wales embark on their first U.S. trip in eight years.
On Thursday, Netflix released the first trailer for its upcoming six-part documentary on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex titled “Harry & Meghan.” It promises to shed light on the difficulties the couple endured in the royal spotlight. In one shot, the former American actress is seen wiping away tears while another clip shows a very stern Prince William and Kate Middleton from the 2019 Commonwealth Day ceremony.
“No one sees what’s happening behind closed doors,” Harry says during the trailer. “I had to do everything I could to protect my family.”
“When the stakes are this high, doesn’t it make more sense to hear our story from us?” Markle asked.
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Royal author Omid Scobie coined the streaming giant’s docuseries the “halftime show” to William’s “Super Bowl” in America.
As the Prince and Princess of Wales march forward with their three-day visit to Boston, some royal experts wonder if the Sussexes are attempting to steal the couple’s thunder.
“There’s no denying that the trailer has been properly dropped at this time to potentially overshadow William and Kate’s visit to America and kind of switch the focus to the Sussexes,” Kerene Barefield told Fox News Digital. Barefield is an executive producer for True Royalty TV, which recently launched a documentary titled “Prince William: Duty Calls,” exploring how the father of three, who is first in line to the throne, is preparing to become king.
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“It definitely makes you want to watch the Netflix series,” she shared. “It shows you the highs and lows, the personal pictures – it says everything within a minute… But for me, I find that it’s quite a sad thing to release it now while Kate and William are out there doing very important work in terms of raising awareness to save our planet.”
On Friday, the Prince and Princess of Wales will be hosting the Earthshot Prize ceremony, which celebrates environmental innovators. Boston, the birthplace of John F. Kennedy, was chosen to host the second annual prize ceremony because of the late president’s 1962 “moonshot” speech — setting the challenge for Americans to reach the moon by the end of the decade. It inspired the prince and his partners to set a similar goal for finding solutions to climate change and other environmental problems by 2030.
Barefield also wondered why a photo of the Prince and Princess of Wales was prominently featured in the Netflix trailer.
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“It just makes anyone that’s watching believe that [the Sussexes] are going to start talking about issues that maybe they had behind closed doors with Kate and William,” she explained. “That’s what it’s pointing towards. We don’t know yet whether that’s going to be featured in the docuseries, but from the trailer, that’s kind of what it’s saying. There’s the potential that maybe they’re going to talk about those brotherly issues and perhaps even the problems Meghan and Kate had. It’s a brilliant trailer and it certainly makes you want to watch, but I don’t think for me that the timing was particularly right.”
As much as William and Middleton attempt to have their eyes on the prize, they’re likely to face questions about the Sussexes, who have criticized the royal family for racism and insensitive treatment in interviews with Oprah Winfrey and other U.S. media.
On Tuesday, the former “Suits” star arrived in Indianapolis for an event hosted by the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana. During the dinner, which was held in her honor, the duchess spoke about the “power of women.” The event was billed “The Power of Women: An Evening with Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex.” Markle spoke on stage just before William and Middleton flew into Boston.
Coincidentally, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be on the East Coast next week after William and Middleton, both 40, return to their home country. On Dec. 6, Harry, 38, and Markle, 41, are scheduled to attend the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization’s Ripple of Hope Award Gala in New York City.
And the royals aren’t done bracing themselves. On Jan. 10, Harry is releasing his highly anticipated memoir titled “Spare,” in which he will likely discuss struggles he endured behind palace doors.
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Barefield said it was essential now more than ever for the Prince and Princess of Wales to connect with the American people.
“Since the Oprah interview, it’s been very important for Kate and William to get back out into America to show face and drive forward the campaigns they’ve been working on,” she explained. “For them to go on the public stage is very important. And it’s extremely important to William and Kate to show that the monarchy is relevant and modern. They want to bring their work to the younger people. Here in the U.K., they’ve certainly attracted a younger audience who are following the work that they’ve been doing. And part of that is being out there in the public.”
Barefield suspects that William and Middleton will “get on with it,” and focus on their work while in the U.S.
“The Earthshot Prize is incredibly important to William,” she said. “I doubt he’s going to be focusing on this trailer and I hope he doesn’t either. The general reaction in the U.K. is that it has been dropped deliberately to overshadow things. A lot of people are saying, ‘Don’t talk about it, don’t watch it.’ But ultimately, people here are very much in support of the Prince and Princess of Wales. They don’t want their work to be overshadowed. It’s quite sad really.”
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“In the U.K., people love Kate,” she shared. “She’s known as a gorgeous fashion icon. And she does a lot of work on the early years of child development. She’s seen as someone who’s doing incredible work. There was a time when people wondered if the Sussexes would overshadow William and Kate long before they even left. But I just don’t think that’s the case anymore. They have their own star power.”
Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, told Fox News Digital that the Prince and Princess of Wales are adamant about making a difference.
“Both William and his father know that to survive, the monarchy has to evolve and modernize,” she explained. “I don’t think much changed until the death of Princess Diana when the queen made a massive effort to be more in touch with her people. It worked, and then in the last year or two of her life she mastered Zoom calls and showed a delightful side of her character.
“Kate and Wills have star presence, and the knack is to enable as many people as possible to see that,” she shared. “Hugging, shaking hands, chatting and getting near to people are key.”
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Nick Bullen, the co-founder of True Royalty TV, told Fox News Digital that there’s no denying that the Netflix docuseries will impact King Charles III. Bullen is an award-winning documentarian who has been producing programs about the British royal family for 20 years and has worked closely with the 74-year-old for about a decade.
“I imagine the king is just incredibly hurt by everything that’s going on because he was very clear in that speech he made on the day that he became king how much he loves Harry and Meghan and how much he wishes them well in their new life,” said Bullen.
“They’ve chosen that new life, they went [to the U.S.] for privacy, they went there to escape the spotlight of the royal world. And yet, all they seem to have done is … publicity ever since. So I think the king is probably hurt and a little confused as to why they’re doing this. But, with that said, he’s a man who understands his duty and he just will be getting on with what he’s got to do and dealing with the job in hand.
“I think it’s safe to say that the relationship is still very strained on all sides,” he continued. “But I think you can rest assured that the royal family [is] doing all they can to try and repair that and to try and reach out. But it’s difficult, isn’t it? … You just think of all these bricks … being thrown. And yet the royal family keeps saying, ‘Come and be a part of us.’ … At what point do you say, ‘OK, enough. We tried?’”
Barefield admitted that a reconciliation didn’t seem to be likely anytime soon.
“It’s really sad,” she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.