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Journalism of Courage

Prince Harry recalls royal family’s response to Meghan Markle’s harassment: ‘Why should she be protected?’

Prince Harry drew parallels between what had happened to his mother, Princess Diana, and how his wife Meghan Markle was treated by the media. The difference, he said in the Harry & Meghan documentary, was that with Meghan, there was a race angle.

harry meghan netflixA still of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from Netflix's Harry & Meghan. (Photo: Netflix)
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Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, spoke about the trepidation with which he entered into a relationship with Meghan Markle in 2016, aware of the fact that his status as a member of the British royal family had impacted his personal life tremendously in the past. The first three episodes of Netflix’s new documentary series about the couple, titled Harry & Meghan, were released on Thursday.

This is the first time after their tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey that the Meghan and Harry are speaking about all the negative press attention that compelled them to make the shock decision in 2020 to step down as senior members of the royal family.

“When I got to meet M, I was terrified of her being driven away by the media, the same media that had driven so many people away from me,” Harry said, recalling that within a week of their relationship becoming public knowledge, ‘the first news story was ‘Harry’s new girl (almost) straight outta Compton’.”

Harry said that the direction that was given to them was to not react to the press, and not make any statements at all. He said, “I was like, ‘Whoa’. The direction of the Palace was, ‘Don’t say anything’. 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’d been put through as well. So it was almost like a rite of passage. Some of the members of the family were like, ‘But my wife had to go through that, so why should your girlfriend be treated any differently? Why should you get special treatment, why should she be protected?’ And I said that the difference here is the race element.”

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Harry drew parallels between what happened to Meghan and what had happed to his mother, Princess Diana, many years earlier. “My mum was harrassed throughout her life with dad. After they separated, the harassment went to new levels. The moment she divorced, the moment she left the Institution, she was by herself. Yes, she may have been one of the most influential, powerful women in the world, but she was… completely exposed to this. I saw things, I experienced things, I learned things… The pain and the suffering of women marrying into this Institution. I remember thinking, ‘How can I ever find someone who is willing and capable to be able to withstand all the baggage that comes with being with me…” he said.

Harry & Meghan is a six-part documentary series directed by Liz Garbus, and a part of the couple’s overall deal with Netflix, via their production company Archewell. The second batch of three episodes will be released on December 15.

First published on: 08-12-2022 at 15:15 IST
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