Updated: Jan 10
It is safe to say that at some point in their lives, practically everyone has thought about what it is like being a royal. Children often view it as a glamorous and perfect place to be in. As we grow up, we observe and learn about their place in society, and the crucial responsibilities and obligations that come with it. The aspects mentioned, were the things that we could only speculate and interpret about through what the media offered us. However, to give the world a small insight into joining the Royal Family and having a relationship with a royal member, the new documentary with the narrative of Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, and Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has started streaming on Netflix.
The documentary contains a total of 6 episodes and shares a considerable portion of their lives before their introduction to each other while focusing mainly on their journey together. In the first episode, one of the many points that catch the spectator’s attention is the fact that at the beginning, they both emphasize their acknowledgment of the sacrifices they have made to get to this point and show their appreciation to each other before the telling of the whole story, as Prince Harry says; “She sacrificed everything she ever knew, the freedom that she had, to join me in my world. And pretty soon after that, I sacrificed everything I knew to join her in her world”. Thereafter, during the rest of the first episode and the second, we witness Meghan’s life before joining the Royalty.
Although she had always felt a bit alone, she says that she had a childhood consisting of good memories. She has been an activist since a very young age and she had always been an academically outstanding student as she got her double major degree in theatre and international studies from the prestigious Northwestern University. In the documentary, her friends state that she has always been a very social and outgoing person. We also see photos and short video clips of her traveling and spending time on set shooting scenes and having fun. Later on, Markle herself, her mom, and her friends say that the life on set and the freedom she had changed, right after publicly claiming her relationship with the Prince. With the immediate attention that she got and the unfortunate criticism she faced, not only her freedom was about to diminish but also her security was about to be at risk. To show the urgency of the problem, it’s included in the documentary that the paparazzi were non-stop stalking Meghan Markle, her friends, and her family. On this issue, the producer and director of Markle’s most renowned TV series “Suits” stated, “There were people breaking into the where the trailers are and trying to get pictures of her… It started feeling a little bit dangerous for her” and mentioned that they all had to take extra precautions and make effort to get used to what she called the “new normal”.
Photo: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with the Royal Family
Another point that has been struggling for Meghan Markle while she was becoming the duchess of Sussex was the racism she faced from the media and the stress that came into her life. In the series, she indicates that throughout her adolescence she wasn’t “treated as a minority” so she hadn’t faced racism for a long period of time. However, when she came to the UK as a future duchess, everyone became “aware of her race”. Just days after the relationship between the two lovers became public, there were already numerous articles consisting of factually incorrect statements and highly offensive, racist expressions about Markle and her family written by the British press. To try to tackle this issue, eight days after, Prince Harry put out a public statement calling out the racist undertones of articles and the headlines, as well as the mentioned outright racism across social media. Along with everything, the fact that a mixed-race individual was about to join the Royalty, symbolized important values of today’s society especially as there have been controversies about the susceptibility of the British Royal Institution to issues concerning racism. With the tremendous amount of attention and fame Meghan Markle has gained, an uneasy amount of stress caused by other inconveniences she faced, has also affected the Duchess’ life as she lost valuable relationships, suffered serious mental health problems, and even had a miscarriage during this period.
Besides the most publicly discussed aspects, in the series, we are also able too to see the intimate facet of joining a family. Markle states that she had always felt a bit alone throughout her childhood and that she had always wanted a big family. In this part, Prince Harry says that Meghan had found the crowded family and the big gatherings that she desired. The relationship between The Duchess and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is also mentioned in the narrative with video clips of them talking and laughing, and sincere moments between them, in order to give the viewers a better understanding of what is it like to join an institution and a family at the same time.
Overall, since the start of this relationship, many factually inaccurate and offensive expressions towards Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, have been circulating through the press which eventually caused a considerable amount of stress and changes in their lives. All of the mentioned issues provoked the reasons why they chose to produce the series in their own narratives; to give a different insight into the truth of the internet and to share their love story which was “just getting started”, in the words of Prince Harry.