REVIEW: ‘Harry & Meghan’ underwhelming but insightful

REVIEW: ‘Harry & Meghan’ underwhelming but insightful
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex star in their own personal documentary series on Netflix. (Netflix)
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Updated 11 December 2022

REVIEW: ‘Harry & Meghan’ underwhelming but insightful

REVIEW: ‘Harry & Meghan’ underwhelming but insightful
  • ‘Tell-all’ repetitive and scripted with some sociopolitical critique

LONDON: The first three episodes of “Harry & Meghan,” advertised as a tell-all personal documentary on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, has premiered on Netflix — with somewhat mixed results.

Although they have been criticized for seemingly being hypocritical about their privacy, they certainly do have the right to tell their story on their own terms.

That being said, the show’s claims to offer a fresh account of their lives has so far fallen short of expectations.

The first episode could have done without the 10-minute rerun of archival footage showing Princess Diana’s harassment by members of the paparazzi. A briefer mention would have still honored her and the impact her death had on her son.

Apart from the seeming betrayal of Markle’s half sister and father leading up to the wedding, there is not much we hadn't already heard in 2021 during the Oprah interview.

The Duchess mocked her royal engagement interview as “an orchestrated reality show” in the third episode. Yet one cannot shake the impression that the documentary appears heavily scripted throughout, spanning their self-recorded footage and interviews. It is natural to have doubts about their sincerity.

One thing seems clear so far from the series — they appear deeply in love. In an age of cynicism, witnessing their triumph against all odds is heartwarming.

There is also an incredibly important educational component to their story. Meghan delves into her experiences with colorism, explaining that having the privilege of a light skin while growing up in the US left her unprepared for the racism she faced in the UK.

The show further looks at how their engagement increased the visibility of the UK’s black communities. Their early entry into public life is also examined against the backdrop of the country’s heightened racism during Brexit.

The third episode sharpens the sociopolitical commentary by tracing institutional racism within the monarchy through the lens of British imperialism and slavery. It went so far as to describe the late Queen Elizabeth’s legacy of the Commonwealth as “Empire 2.0” — perhaps one of the first signs of any real introspection by members of the royal family.

One hopes that the last three episodes, to be released on Thursday, will continue to integrate the narrative with larger issues rather than reverting to the same old story about the downside of fame.