The first episodes of the Duke and Duchess’ highly anticipated Netflix documentary series aired on Thursday.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the first three parts:
The couple shared how they first met on social media.
“Meg and I had met through Instagram. I was scrolling through my feed. Someone who was a friend had this video of the two of them with the Snapchat-like thing… like dog ears. Harry said, “I was like, who is that?”
Meghan said she went through her feed before the couple got each other’s numbers.
Harry showed up late to the couple’s first date in Soho, London, in July 2016.
Meghan said: ‘You were late and I couldn’t understand why he would be late. But he kept texting saying, ‘I’m in traffic, I’m so sorry.’ »
Harry recalls: “I was panicking, I was panicking. I started sweating. Unaware of this, Meghan began to doubt the date would go anywhere, thinking he might have an “ego”.
But when he finally did show up, he apologized profusely, which Meghan described as “so nice”, adding: “You were really so embarrassed.”
Meghan added: “He was so much fun. So fun and refreshing and that was what we were like as kids together.
They arranged to meet again the following night.
“That’s where it hit me,” Harry said. “This girl, this woman, is amazing. She is everything I was looking for.
The couple described how their relationship was cemented in Africa, when Meghan traveled to join Harry on a visit to Botswana in August 2016 – having only met him twice before.
“We had to get to know each other before the rest of the world and before the media got in on us,” Harry said.
They talked about living in close quarters with the bare minimum and how they were still so unsure of how the relationship would develop.
Harry spoke at length about the media’s ever-present role in his family life, starting with footage taken outside the hospital after he was born.
Of continued attention throughout his childhood, he said, “The majority of my memories are of being overwhelmed by paparazzi.”
He recalled learning as a young child how to manage attention, saying, “Within the family, within the system, the advice that is always given is ‘don’t react. Don’t feed it.
“My mum did such a good job trying to protect us. She took it upon herself to basically confront these people.
Images from family ski holidays have been included to highlight this. In one clip, Harry is seen alongside his brother Prince William and his cousins Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie as they are forced to pose for the crowds of photographers, in an unwritten deal that would ultimately allow them to keep their intimacy later in the holidays. But that was followed by another, more intrusive clip that led to her mother confronting the photographer.
Harry referred to the now-discredited Panorama interview from 1995 with his mother, Princess Diana. While acknowledging she had been “deceived”, he said she had told “the truth”.
He said: “My mum was bullied throughout her life with my dad, but after they split up the bullying reached new levels.”
The “moment she left the institution” left her “completely exposed,” he said.
Growing up, he witnessed “the pain and suffering of women who married in this institution.” He added: “What happened to my mum…I didn’t want history to repeat itself.”
In a revealing section on his experience of other royal marriages, Harry said: ‘I think for so many people in the family, especially the men, there can be a temptation or an urge to marry someone who would fit the mold, as opposed to someone you might be destined to be with.
“The difference between making decisions with your head or your heart. And my mom certainly made most, if not all, of her decisions with her heart. And I am my mother’s son.
Harry spoke about the similarities between Meghan and his mother, Diana, who died aged 12.
“A lot of who Meghan is and the way she is is so much like my mother. She has the same compassion, she has the same empathy, she has the same confidence, she has this warmth in her,” Harry said.
“I accept that there will be people in the world who will fundamentally disagree with what I did and how I did it. But I knew I had to do everything I could to protect my family. , especially after what happened to my mother.
In her first in-depth public comments, Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, opened up about her first meeting with Harry, as well as her fears for his safety and regrets as a parent. She also described the last five years as “difficult”.
“He was 1m80”, a handsome man with red hair, very nice manners. He was just really nice. And they looked really happy together. Yeah, like it was him,” she said.
Describing the early years of her daughter’s childhood, Ragland – who is African American – recalls being repeatedly asked if she was the nanny because her daughter’s skin was lighter.
Her mother said: “As a parent, looking back, I would absolutely love to go back and have this very real conversation about how the world sees you.”
When Meghan began to deal with negative media attention, Ragland recalled telling her daughter “it’s about race”, with Meghan replying, “Mom, I don’t want to hear that.”
After news broke of their relationship, Meghan recalled how quickly she became the focus of photographers and the media.
The Royal Family viewed such intrusion almost as a workplace hazard, according to Harry.
“As far as a lot of family members go, everything she was going through, they had been through that as well,” Harry said.
“So it was almost like a rite of passage. Some family members were like, “Okay, but my wife had to go through this, so why should your girlfriend be treated any differently?” Why should you receive special treatment? Why should she be protected? I said the difference here is the racing element.
Meghan recalls meeting Prince William and his wife Catherine at a dinner party.
Unaware of royal protocol, she said she was “barefoot” and wearing ripped jeans at the time. She described herself as ‘cuddly’ but said it could be ‘shocking’ to some Britons.
“I guess I started realizing very quickly that the formality on the outside carried over on the inside,” she said. “This formality is found on both sides, and that surprised me.”
Harry said his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, was the first senior member of the royal family to meet Meghan.
Meghan recalled being told she should curtsy, while Harry said: ‘How do you explain you bowing to your grandmother? And that you all have to bow. Especially to an American. It’s weird.
He went on to say that her family members were “incredibly impressed”, although they were unsure of the difference between their backgrounds and believed that her being a Hollywood actress meant “it won’t last. “.
“The actress thing was the biggest deal, pretty funny,” Meghan said. “There was a big idea of what it looks like from a British perspective. Hollywood – it was very easy for them to classify that.
Unlike Meghan’s experiences as a mixed-race man, Harry said there was a “tremendous level” of unconscious bias in the royal family.
“The thing with unconscious bias is actually nobody’s fault, but once it’s been pointed out or identified in you, then you have to fix it,” he said.
Harry even opened up about when he wore a Nazi uniform at a private party in 2005, saying it was one of the ‘biggest mistakes’ of his life, adding he felt ‘so ashamed afterwards’ .
The Duchess has discussed her estrangement from her father following controversy over whether he staged a series of paparazzi-style photographs ahead of their 2018 wedding.
Harry described the situation with his stepfather as “incredibly sad”.
“I took it on because if Meg wasn’t with me, her dad would still be her dad,” he said.
Meghan opened up about her half-sister Samantha Markle, who she said she hadn’t seen since her early twenties but who spoke about her frequently in the media.
Meghan said: ‘I don’t know your middle name. I don’t know your date of birth. You tell these people that you raised me and called me “Princess Pushy”.
Ashleigh Hale, Samantha Markle’s estranged daughter with whom Meghan remains close, was also interviewed on the show.