It is barely more than a minute long and features just two lines of dialogue from the couple. But don’t let its Athena-poster beauty or its brevity fool you: the teaser for Meghan and Harry’s new Netflix docuseries has landed like an undetonated bomb in yet another worst week for the British royal family, in a long line of worst weeks.
The timing is so impeccable it’s difficult to believe this is just a happy coincidence and not the ultimate mic drop. The teaser arrived less than 24 hours after a former lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, Lady Susan Hussey, was forced to resign from the royal household over her grilling of a black British charity founder, Ngozi Fulani, over where she was “really from”.
The teaser, an appetiser for the six-part documentary series about the couple that will follow later this month, features several moody black-and-white portraits of the Montecito Two set to music, one image of a scowling Kate, and two shots of Meghan crying. It’s pretty clear where this is going. We’re talking 10 parts love story, one part revenge fantasy. The Daily Express is in little doubt: “Harry, do you really hate your family so much?” today’s front page asks plaintively.
The story arc of their relationship is impressively condensed into an Instagram-reel-length vignette. There are Harry and Meghan smiling devotedly at one another in the rain! There’s Harry serenading Meghan with a guitar! There they are on holidays! There they are again, snogging spontaneously in the kitchen while a photographer just happens to snap them!
Cue a tempo change. Oh no, there’s Meghan crying on the phone! And here’s the reason why: Kate throwing daggers at the photographer from a church pew!
“No one sees what’s happening behind closed doors,” Harry intones against the portrait of sobbing Meghan and scowling Kate. He presumably means this metaphorically, as the third person in their marriage seems to be an ever-present photographer. “I had to do everything I could to protect my family,” he says.
William described the comments made by Lady Susan Hussey – who also happens to be his godmother – as ‘deeply regrettable’ and ‘unacceptable’. You suspect his response to the teaser may be slightly less restrained
“When the stakes are this high, doesn’t it make more sense to hear our story from us?” Meghan asks rhetorically.
This is just vague enough that it could be a nonspecific reference to the future of the royal family as an institution. Or it could be a very pointed pop at the latest accusations of racism to be levelled at William-adjacent members of the household. The new prince of Wales described the comments made by Hussey – who also happens to be his godmother – as “deeply regrettable” and “unacceptable”. You suspect his response to the teaser may be slightly less restrained.
Netflix describes the films as an “unprecedented and in-depth documentary series” that will offer “the other side of their high-profile love story ... the clandestine days of their early courtship and the challenges that led to them feeling forced to step back from their full-time roles in the institution.
“With commentary from friends and family, most of whom have never spoken publicly before about what they witnessed,” a statement goes on, “the series does more than illuminate one couple’s love story: it paints a picture of our world and how we treat each other.”
Ouch. Reports circulated after the queen’s death that Harry and Meghan had sought to soften some of the documentary’s revelations out of respect for his grandmother. That’s starting to look a lot like wishful thinking.