'I see the texts, and I squeal.' A very honest recap of Netflix's Harry and Meghan.

I was at a Christmas party when I realised. 

I had somewhere to be. Urgently. 

It was Harry and Meghan. They were spilling gossip on Netflix and I was late.

I mumbled an excuse and ran through the streets of Sydney, yelling at strangers that there were SECRETS about ROYALS being shared on the TV and that it was a matter of global importance that we watch and discuss in our group chats. 


Sweaty and disoriented, I arrived home and announced that for the remainder of the evening; I was exceptionally busy. Everyone needed to HUSH and respect that Harry and Meghan were going to go full American and tell their story in their own words, in a way that would inevitably make King Charles even crankier than when his pen leaks all over his hands. 

It's all very stressful xxx. Image: Channel 9.


We begin with white text on a black background, informing us that this documentary series is a first-hand account, with never-before-seen footage, all filmed before August 2022.

No, but why is this exactly like a true documentary except without the murder.

We're told that members of the Royal Family declined to comment on the content within this series and yes, we gathered as much. We didn't really expect William to flippantly add, "yeah lol this institution is cooked lol". 

Harry explains that the idea for the series came from an unnamed friend (okay so Oprah), because "with all of the misinformation that was going on out there, especially about us and the departure [from Royal life], it seemed like a really sensible idea."

Sensible, yes. But also, I'm going to need the gossip, ASAP. 


We learn that Harry and Meghan were first introduced via Instagram, after Harry saw the Suits actress in a friend's video. Her face was slightly obscured by the cartoon dog Snapchat filter which was incredibly popular at the time, and immediately, he was intrigued. 

'Wow. What an interesting woman. I've never seen such unique ears and such a pronounced tongue'. Image: Netflix.


When the friend told Meghan that 'Prince Haz' wanted to meet her, she didn't Google him. Instead, she stalked him on Instagram. 

This detail is brushed over but you guys Prince Harry had a secret Instagram account. Which of course led me down a deep rabbit hole and yeah, it appears his handle was @SpikeyMau5 which honestly makes it a miracle that he ever secured a date with anyone. 

When Meghan scrolled through his account, she found beautiful photography and "all these environmental shots," and can we be real and admit that nothing on Instagram is worse than someone who shares photos of fkn wildlife and not themselves.

Oh. Okay um what a lovely elephant. Image: Netflix.


Harry, dat u? Image: Netflix.


Mate come on. Image: Netflix.


Despite being unsure of whether this 'Harry' was a human or an elephant, Meghan met him for a first date in New York. 

Meghan retells the story of how he was more than 30 minutes late, and okay, what if he was helping his Granny set up her DVD player? Or talking his father down after another traumatic incident with a pen? He's a busy guy. 

They had a second date the following night, and a month later went on their third date, which was, of course, a holiday to Botswana. 

'So like what are your interests and hobbies anyway.' Image: Netflix.


This is when the story turns to Harry's childhood and his relationship with his mother, Diana. 

He recalls that while his younger years were "filled with laughter, filled with happiness and filled with adventure," a lot of his memories are dominated by paparazzi. 

"There was always public pressure with its fair share of drama, stress and also tears, and witnessing those tears. I could see it on my mum’s face. And I guess those are the moments when I thought, 'Hang on a minute. What am I? Who am I? What am I a part of?'"

Yes, well. I'm not going to lie to you mate, it's not... great.


We see Meghan show baby Archie a photo of Diana - 'Grandma Diana' - and his chubby hands reach out to touch it. At this point precisely no part of me is even a little bit okay, thank you very much. 

Harry shares how his time in Africa was particularly formative in who he's become, and we learn more details about Harry and Meghan's trip to Botswana: there was no distraction, no cell reception, no mirror, no bathroom, no 'how do I look'.

But Meghan pls you looked perfect so that wasn't an issue. 

We then move to the story of Meghan's upbringing and EVERYONE SHUT UP BECAUSE IT'S DORIA.

Pls she needs no introduction. Image: Netflix.

We learn Meghan was clever, and a "very empathic child," with an activist streak. 

Photos and videos show she had a normal, distinctly not-royal childhood, down to this terrible diorama about which I have several questions: 

Hard relate. Image: Netflix.

Before she met Harry, Meghan says, "people didn't treat me like a Black woman". But once their romance was made public, and the tabloids learnt details about her family, the narrative quickly became about her race.

The media described her as being "straight outta Compton" (she's never lived in Compton) and ran headlines like, "Harry to marry into gangster royalty? New love 'from crime-ridden neighbourhood.'"




If we want to talk about crime-ridden, we could talk about.... nevermind. 

The perspective of the Royal Family was that everything Meghan was being put through, they had been put through as well. The difference for Harry, however, was the race element. And this concern has only grown as he's become a father. 

We're shown a lovely interaction between Harry and Archie but stop. 

It's Harry. He's birdwatching. And it's perhaps the most British Royal hobby I've ever come across.

'Dad you may have noticed I'm a toddler and that means if you ask me to be quiet I'll yell.' Image: Netflix.


Archie keeps yelling that he has a dirty foot and Sir I've never related so hard because that sounds like an emergency. 

We move on to some gossip about what it was like for Meghan to meet the royals, and she explains "the formality on the outside carried on to the inside."

Okay but why does this make so much sense. You just know Charles was using family dinners to make small talk about the fkn gardens of Cornwall and Meghan was like okay but have you seen the latest season of The Kardashians y/n?

Meghan retells the story of how the first time she met the Queen, Harry said in passing, "you know how to curtsy right?" 

She thought he was joking. 

Harry then remarks that it's a strange thing to explain to people, that you bow to your grandmother and that you need to curtsy, but idk my Nan used to demand that anyone who entered her house make her a scotch and soda so every family has its traditions. 


Meghan goes on to do the most exaggerated impersonation of a curtsy I have ever seen and this is what I came here for.

'YOU FULL HAVE TO BOW.' Image: Netflix.


'Harry, Harry, guess who I am. Doing a bow.' Image: Netflix.

UR ALL SO WEIRD. Image: Netflix.


But the curtsying was just the beginning for Meghan, as an American who was suddenly thrown into royalty. 

She reflects on the televised engagement interview she and Harry gave, describing it as "an orchestrated reality show," and I don't want to be rude but that is our favourite type of content... as a species. 

We learn about the behind-the-scenes drama of planning the wedding, including the advice for Meghan to not invite her niece. Can you imagine if your aunty was marrying a royal and you weren't invited?? And David Beckham was going to be there but also George Clooney?


I genuinely think I'd sue. 

Then, of course, there's the story of Thomas Markle. 

Plans were in place for Meghan's father to walk her down the aisle on her wedding day, when suddenly, photos of Thomas appeared in the tabloids which appeared to be staged. He had reportedly been paid $100,000 for the photos, including one where he's sitting in a cafe reading a book called Images of Britain.

Mate. If we're going to betray our daughter we need to be more subtle????


When Meghan called Thomas, he was "cagey," and denied having staged the images. But immediately, Meghan told Harry she just didn't believe him. 

In the lead up to the wedding, Thomas stopped picking up her calls, but spoke repeatedly to TMZ, telling them he wasn't coming to the wedding.  

Here, we're shown the private texts between Meghan and her father and no I've never cared about anything so much in all my life.

Meghan explains that in the texts, her father called her 'Meghan' - which he had never, ever done before.



From then on, both she and Harry suspected his phone was compromised, and tried to speak to him directly. 



After almost three hours, a lot of sweating, and an aching right thumb from thousands of words of group texting, I finish the first half of Harry and Meghan. Now I have to wait a whole week for part 2, and here are just a few notes from Netflix about what I'd like to see: 

- an appearance from baby Lilibet 

- more celebrity cameos

- a confrontation with Samantha and/or Thomas Markle

- more Doria

- specific gossip about William and Kate

The question, of course, is whether the series will achieve what Harry and Meghan clearly want it to. Will the public see them more favourably? Will they understand their perspective?  

At the very least, the documentary is a reminder that it's very difficult to dislike people once you come to understand them - once you see them as human beings with their own complicated worlds and fears and ambitions. 

It's also a reminder of the sheer level of gossip that exists in every family, and the appetite we all have for a love story that leaves everyone fighting. 

For more from Clare Stephens, you can follow her on Instagram, where she's also documented the time she met the royals IRL.

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