The first three episodes of Harry and Meghan, a Netflix documentary series chronicling Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s love story and departure from the British royal family, recently premiered.
Part 1 of the limited series detailed Harry and Meghan’s early lives and careers, their courtship, and their 2017 engagement, while part 2 is expected to cover their wedding, the bombshell announcement that they would no longer be working royals, and the subsequent fallout from that decision.
Here are 24 details Harry and Meghan revealed in part 1 of their documentary:
The documentary shows footage from an interview Meghan did in October 2015 where she was asked to choose between Prince William or Prince Harry. After a moment of hesitation, Meghan picked Harry, who noted that the interview had taken place a little less than a year before they met. “That just shows how little you knew, and look how far we’ve come,” he said. “This is a great love story, and the craziest thing is that I think this love story is only just getting started. You know, she sacrificed everything that she ever knew, the freedom that she had, to join me in my world. And then, pretty soon after that, I ended up sacrificing everything I know to join her in her world.”
Meghan and Harry said they decided to make their documentary for several reasons. Harry said that a friend actually encouraged them to start the project. “With all of the misinformation that’s going on out there, especially about us, and the departure, it seemed like a really sensible idea,” he said. Meanwhile, Meghan said that while parts of the filming process were uncomfortable, she emphasized that it was nice to have a chance to present their side of events to the public. “The past six years of my life, books [have been] written about our story from people who I don’t know. Doesn’t it make more sense to hear our story from us?”
Harry and Meghan first met in July 2016. Meghan said she had decided to spend the summer traveling before returning to set to film another season of Suits. “I was really intent on being single and just having fun girl time.” During her summer travels, one of her friends posted a picture of her and Meghan, complete with a dog Snapchat filter. Harry allegedly saw the photo and asked the friend who Meghan was.
Meghan’s friend ended up emailing her, saying, “I know you said you’re single and a friend of mine asked about you and maybe you’d like to meet him.” When she asked who the friend was, the friend replied “Prince Haz.” Meghan asked to see Harry’s Instagram feed. “I went through and it was just beautiful photography and all these environmental shots and this time he was spending in Africa,” she said. From there, she said the two were “constantly in touch” via text message. “I had a career, I had my life, I had a path, and then came H,” Meghan said. “Talk about a plot twist.”
Although the two were in touch, they didn’t meet in person until later that summer, when Meghan was in London for Wimbledon. Both Harry and Meghan said that Harry was late for their first date. While Harry said that he “was sweating,” Meghan said she was worried “that you had an ego, that any girl would sit waiting for a half hour for you.” When he finally arrived, Meghan saw that wasn’t the case. “We were childlike together,” she said.
After their date, they planned to meet again for dinner the next day before Meghan was scheduled to leave London. “There was one photo,” Meghan said. “We just wanted to capture the feeling of just sitting in that little restaurant and going, ‘Oh my gosh. I think we’re gonna give it a go.'” Harry also said that night was special for him. “That was when it just hit me,” he recalled. “Okay, this girl…this woman is amazing, is everything I’m looking for, and she’s so comfortable and relaxed in my company.” Meghan acknowledged that she knew Harry had a list of what he was looking for in a potential partner. While Harry said he didn’t want to show the list, he added that Meghan “was the list.”
Harry went to several of his friends and told them that he thought he had found the one. “You could tell right away that those were the eyes of someone who’d fallen in love,” Harry’s friend Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras said. Harry said that in some ways, falling in love with Meghan reminded him of his mother, Princess Diana. “I think for so many people in the family, especially obviously the men, there can be a temptation or an urge to marry someone who would fit in the mold, as opposed to somebody who you perhaps are destined to be with,” he said. “The difference between making decisions with your head or your heart. And my mom certainly made most of her decisions, if not all of them, from her heart. And I am my mother’s son.”
Harry said that as a child, he “gradually” realized that his family was different. “There’s no point that we’re all sat down in a classroom and my grandmother stands there with a long stick, glasses on her nose and goes, ‘Right, so this is what it means to be in the royal family.’ That doesn’t happen.” While Harry said his childhood was full of laughter, he shared that he doesn’t have many memories of his mother, who died in a car accident in 1997. “It was almost like, internally, I sort of blocked them out. But I always remember her laugh, her cheeky laugh. Her always saying to me, ‘You can get in trouble, but don’t get caught.’ And I’ll always be that cheeky person inside.”
Instead, he said many of his childhood memories involved brushes with the paparazzi. “Rarely do we have a holiday without someone with a camera jumping out of a bush or something,” he said. “Within the family, within the system, the advice that’s always given is, ‘Don’t react. Don’t feed into it.’ There was always public pressure, with its fair share of drama, stress, and also tears. And witnessing those tears. I’d always see it on my mom’s face. And I guess those are the moments when I thought, ‘Hang on a little. What am I? Who am I? What am I part of?'”
“Paparazzi used to harass us to the point where we had to be forced into smiling and answering questions to the traveling press pack. And that made me feel really uncomfortable from the get-go,” Harry said. The documentary showed footage from a 1995 ski trip in Switzerland, during which Harry, his brother William, and several other royal children had to go pose for the press. “The deal was that we’d put our skis on and they’d leave us alone. Well yeah, some of them would. But then the other ones would just follow us around, either taking photographs or just waiting for an accident to happen and then pull out their cameras. It was never fair, it never worked.”
In the documentary, several British journalists and royal historians discussed the incentives the media had to take unauthorized photos of the royal family, which could sell for tens of thousands of dollars. Harry said that his mother tried her hardest to protect her sons from the paparazzi. “She took it upon herself to basically confront these people,” he said. The documentary even featured video footage of Diana asking the photographers to leave her sons alone. In a clip from their 1995 ski trip, she’s heard saying, “As a parent, could I ask you to respect my children’s space?”
Harry said that the harassment his mother faced from the media only got worse once his parents separated. “The moment that she divorced, the moment she left the institution, then she was by herself,” he said. “She may have been one of the most influential, powerful women in the world, but she was completely exposed to this. I saw things, I experienced things, I learned things, the pain and suffering of women marrying into this institution.” He added that this made him question how his family would affect his own romantic life. “I remember thinking, ‘How can I ever find someone who is willing and capable to be able to withstand all the baggage that comes with being with me?'”
After meeting Meghan, Harry said he knew he needed to keep the relationship quiet for as long as possible. “When I got to meet M, I was terrified of her being driven away by the media, the same media that had driven so many other people away from me,” he said. Meghan called their early relationship “a guarded little treasure” and said it was “exciting” in an unexpected way. “Everything was just texts and FaceTimes and we just talked for hours and it just felt exciting. Which was so weird, because it wasn’t exciting in the way that I think people would assume it’d be. It was just relaxed and easy. We just got to know each other, truly like any other couple.”
Harry even said that Meghan reminded him of his mother in several key ways. “She has the same compassion, the same empathy, she has the same confidence. She has this warmth about her,” he said. “I accept that there will be people around the world that fundamentally disagree with what I’ve done and how I’ve done it, but I knew that I had to do everything I could to protect my family, especially after what happened to my mom. You know, I didn’t want history to repeat itself.”
On Aug. 31, 1997, Princess Diana was killed in a car accident in Paris after reportedly being chased by the paparazzi. Harry was 12 years old at the time of her death. “When my mom died, we had two hats to wear,” he said, referring to himself and his brother William. “One was two grieving sons wanting to cry, grieve, and process that grief because of losing our mom. And two was the royal hat, no emotion, get out there, meet people, shake hands.”
After Diana’s death, Harry said the media began to treat him the way they had treated his mother. “That’s when all of the stuff that had happened to our mom started happening to us. Not every story was false, but there was a lot of typical exaggeration and rehashing,” he said. “He’s bouncing between the walls, he’s taking drugs, drinking, he’s out late, he’s nightclubbing, he’s got a girlfriend here, he’s got a girlfriend there. What’s going on?” His classmates at Eton recalled the media appearing on campus, hoping to take photos of Harry.
Harry said trips to Africa were one of the things that grounded him during this time, as they helped him feel close with Diana, who spent time overseas advocating for AIDS patients. When he and Meghan were planning out the next time they would see each other, he decided to invite her to Botswana. They added that it would be only the second time they had met in person, and they would be spending five days together in a tent. Both Harry and Meghan said that while things were a bit awkward at first, it soon felt “totally normal and natural.”
After the trip went well, they decided they wanted to be together, and tried to discuss some of the practicalities of dating. “She had a two-week rule, which was very smart, that said we had to see each other in or around two weeks,” Harry said. Meghan added that it was often much easier for her to travel to London to see him. “Everything had to be so secretive,” she said. “It just accelerates your level of getting to know each other when you’re not out in the world in courtship, you’re just together.” On Oct. 29, 2016, the couple said that Harry’s press secretary informed them that there were rumors that a story about Harry and Meghan’s relationship was about to break in the press, and encouraged the pair to go out and spend one last secret night together.
Meghan said that while she actually “felt tremendous relief” when the news first broke, when she got back to her Toronto home, she immediately saw the effects of the paparazzi. She said that the paparazzi knocked on all of her neighbors’ doors and even reportedly installed livestream cameras pointed at her home. “[It] felt like all of the UK media had descended upon Toronto,” she said. “My house was just surrounded. Just men sitting in their cars all the time, waiting for me to do anything.” Harry, who was back in London, said he felt “helpless” watching all of the coverage play out.
As the media began to dive deeper into Meghan’s past, Harry said he began learning things about Meghan that they hadn’t gotten a chance to privately discuss. “There were things that were said and things that were written that I had to go to her to ask [about],” he said. “That was the hardest piece.”
In the documentary, Meghan reflected on growing up mixed-race in California. “I remember my mom telling me stories about taking me to the grocery store and women going, ‘Whose child is that? You must be the nanny,’ because I was really fair-skinned and my mom darker.” Meghan recalled her first experience with hearing her mother called a racial slur in the parking lot of the Hollywood Bowl after a concert. “I had never heard someone in my life say the N-word,” Meghan said. “[It’s] very different to be a minority but not be treated as a minority right off the bat. Obviously now, people are very aware of my race because they made it such an issue when I went to the UK, but before that, most people didn’t treat me like a Black woman.”
Meghan’s mother Doria said she believed that a majority of the British media’s distaste toward Meghan was based on race. “At that time, I wasn’t thinking about how race played a part in any of this,” Meghan said. Harry recalled headlines like “Harry’s new girl is [almost] straight out of Compton” appearing in the British tabloids. “The direction of the palace was to not say anything,” Harry said. “But what people need to understand was, as far as a lot of the family were concerned, everything that she was being put through, they had been put through as well. So, it was almost like a rite of passage. Some of the members of the family were like, ‘My wife had to go through that, so why should your girlfriend be treated any differently? Why should she get special treatment? Why should she be protected?’ And I said, ‘The difference here is the race element.”’
Eight days after Meghan and Harry’s relationship went public, Harry decided to release a statement condemning the “racist undertones” of the media’s coverage. “My son, my daughter, our children, are mixed race and I’m really proud of that,” he said. “When my kids grow up and they look back at this moment and they turn to me and say, ‘What did you do in this moment?’ I want to be able to give them an answer.”
As the media coverage surrounding Meghan ramped up, she allegedly required extra security on the set of Suits. The trailers had to be “caged in” to prevent the paparazzi from infiltrating the set. Meghan said that she went to the police to see if there was anything that could be done to protect her from the paparazzi, but said they told her, “There’s nothing we can do because of who you are dating.” She finally was able to get heightened security after receiving a death threat. “This has been the most intense situation with the media,” Steve Davies, Meghan’s former security guard, said. “I mean, I’ve worked with A-list celebrities before, high net-worth families before. This blew the meter right out the water.”
Davies said that a driver trained in “evasive driving” was hired to take Meghan to set. All of her mail had to be screened, with some of it eventually being sent over to Harry’s own security detail in England for further evaluation. “When all of that started happening, my friends and people in my life who love me and care about me are like, ‘Is he worth this? We know that you’re happy and we know that you love him, but is he worth this? Look at what’s happening to your life,'” Meghan said.
Meghan said that she was largely unfamiliar with many royal customs when she first started dating Harry. “It’s so funny if I look back at it now, because now I know so much and I’m so glad I didn’t then because I could just authentically be myself without so much preparedness,” she said. The first member of the royal family Meghan said she met was Queen Elizabeth II. “It’s surreal,” she said. “There wasn’t some big moment of, ‘And now you’re gonna meet my grandmother.’ I didn’t know I was going to meet her until moments before. … We were driving up and he was like, ‘You know how to curtsy, right?’ And I thought it was a joke.”
Despite her initial fears, Harry said his family was “incredibly impressed” by Meghan. “They were surprised that the ginger could land such a beautiful woman and such an intelligent woman,” he said. “But the fact that I was dating an American actress was probably what clouded their judgment more than anything else in the beginning. ‘Oh, she’s an American actress, this won’t last.'”
Before meeting Harry, Meghan said she spent lots of time balancing her acting career with her passion for activism. Harry claimed that this aspect of her personality was very appealing to him not only personally, but from a royal standpoint. “From my perspective, I fell head over heels in love with her because my heart told me she was the one I was going to spend the rest of my life with, and then, once I got to know her even more, my head then told me, ‘Well, she’s absolutely perfect for the role as well,'” he said. “When it came to Meghan, that was, I guess, the case of finding a needle in a haystack.”
In October 2017, Harry proposed to Meghan. “I wanted to do it earlier, but I had to ask permission from my grandmother,” Harry said. “I couldn’t do it outside of the UK. I did pop a bottle of champagne while she was greasing the chicken and that kind of slightly gave the game away.” The couple kept their engagement quiet for several weeks, but they had a quiet celebration with close friends in the meantime. They said everyone wore animal onesies and that they chose to wear matching penguin outfits because “penguins mate for life.”
Harry and Meghan officially announced their engagement on Nov. 27, 2017. Meghan called the announcement and interview an “orchestrated reality show,” claiming that they were given rehearsed answers to say and weren’t allowed to share their true love story. Meghan also said that she was still under the impression that the media firestorm would calm down as their relationship got more serious. “[There’s] this promise of once you’re married, don’t worry, it’ll get better. Once they get used to it, it’ll get better. Of course it’ll get better,” she said. “But truth be told, no matter how hard I tried, no matter how good I was, no matter what I did, they were still gonna find a way to destroy me.”
Meghan said she believed that the British press wanted to create controversy with her mother’s side of the family, presumably because they are Black. “The UK media, I truly believe, wanted my mom’s side of my family to be the ones that all this drama could be stirred up with,” she said. “And suddenly, you just had my mom, who’s classy and quiet in there, and then you had the other side of my family that is just acting differently,” referring to her father Thomas’s family. Before Thomas and Doria had Meghan, Thomas had two other children, including Meghan’s half sister, Samantha Markle, who began speaking about Meghan to the British press.
“My half sister, who I haven’t seen for over a decade, and that was only for a day and a half, suddenly, it felt like she was everywhere,” Meghan said. “I don’t know your middle name. I don’t know your birthday. You’re telling these people that you raised me and you’ve coined me Princess Pushy?” According to the documentary, “Samantha Markle maintains that she and Meghan had a close relationship until 2018 and that the media fabricated quotes that have been attributed to her.”
Despite Meghan and Samantha’s lack of relationship, Meghan was very close with Samantha’s daughter, Ashleigh Hale. Ashleigh said she was raised by her grandparents and went long stretches of time without seeing Samantha. When Meghan learned that Samantha had a daughter, she decided to reach out. “It started out with these long emails back and forth to each other, and then texts and calls. After a while, I think we were talking, on some level, several days a week,” Ashleigh said. “I think we both craved the same thing,” Meghan said. “I wanted a sister and she was like a little sister.” Once the news about Meghan and Harry’s relationship broke, Ashleigh said Samantha began expressing “resentment” toward both her and Meghan.
“It felt like no matter what I said, you know, her perspective didn’t change and seemed to get angrier and bigger,” Ashleigh said. “And we stopped talking. You know, some people you just can’t reason with.” As wedding planning progressed, the royal family decided Ashleigh should not be invited to the wedding. “How do we explain that this half-sister isn’t invited to the wedding, but that the half-sister’s daughter is?” Meghan said. “And so, with Ashleigh, the guidance at the time was to have her not come to our wedding.” Ashleigh said that while she understood, it was painful. “To know that it was because of my biological mother that this relationship that’s so important to me was impacted in that way, to feel like because of her, it was taken away, it’s been hard.”
In 2017, Princess Michael of Kent wore a blackamoor brooch to the Queen’s annual Christmas lunch. She quickly came under fire for wearing the brooch, which depicted an African figure as “exotic,” to an event that Meghan was attending. “In this family, sometimes, you know, you’re part of the problem rather than part of the solution,” Harry said. “There is a huge level of unconscious bias. The thing with unconscious bias is that it’s actually no one’s fault, but once it’s been pointed out or identified within yourself, you then need to make it right. It’s education, it’s awareness. And it’s a constant work in progress, for everybody, including me.”
Harry also discussed the controversy surrounding his decision to wear a Nazi costume to a party in 2005. “It was probably one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I felt so ashamed afterwards. All I wanted to do was to make it right,” he said. He recalled visiting a rabbi and speaking with a Holocaust survivor, meetings that he said had “a profound impact” on him. “I could have just ignored it and probably made the same mistakes over and over again in my life, but I learned from that.”
Harry also revealed that he felt his 10 years of military service set him apart from the rest of his family. “It gave me a lived experience that other members of my family wouldn’t have had. Two tours in Afghanistan, flying apache helicopters on a military base means that you grow up pretty fast,” he said. “I went to war twice. The people that I met and the lifelong friends made, that was my second family.”
Meghan said that following royal protocols was often challenging. “Joining this family, I knew there was a protocol for how things were done,” she said. “Do you remember that old movie, The Princess Diaries, with Anne Hathaway? There’s no class and some person who goes, ‘Sit like this. Cross your legs like this. Use this fork. Don’t do this. Curtsy then. Wear this kind of hat.’ It doesn’t happen, so I needed to learn a lot.” Despite her best efforts, Meghan said the press was quick to call her out for breaking royal traditions, some of which had seemingly dubious origins. “On top of that, the press invented lots of royal protocols,” Harry added.
Following the criticism, Meghan said she tried her hardest to fit in with the royal family. “There’s no version of me joining this family and trying to not do everything I could to fit in,” she said. “I don’t want to embarrass the family.” She said her attempts to fit in often translated to her outfit choices. “I wore a lot of muted tones…so I could just blend in. I’m not trying to stand out here.”
Meghan also discussed the challenges of planning their wedding while working to combat the constant media coverage. “We were playing whack-a-mole every day,” she said. “They were going through the woodwork and pulling out people to create and plant the most salacious stories that they could. And then it started to get scary.” She recalled receiving a package that was allegedly filled with white powder. She also added that the wedding was on the heels of a series of terrorist attacks in Europe, which heightened tensions. “It was just so scary. They were talking about getting snipers.”
The wedding was set to be the first time Harry met Meghan’s father, Thomas. In the lead-up to the wedding, Harry and Meghan both noted that close friends of theirs had reportedly been contacted by the press and were offered large sums of money to fabricate stories or give private photos of the couple. According to Meghan, their communications team was alerted that the week before the wedding, Thomas Markle had been caught staging photos for the press in exchange for money. The photos included shots of him reading books about England in a coffee shop, working out, and looking at the couple’s engagement photos on a public computer.
Meghan said that she immediately called Thomas to ask him if it was true. He denied being in contact with the press, but Meghan said that he seemed “cagey.” She said that she asked him if he’d like to be flown to London earlier than scheduled so he could avoid the media once the story broke, but he refused, telling her he had things to do. “When we hung up, I looked at H and I was like, ‘I don’t know why, but I don’t believe him,'” Meghan said. The story went public five days before the wedding.
“I was absolutely stunned that Tom would become part of this circus. I felt sad that the media would run with this. That he would capitalize on certainly as a parent, it’s not…no. That’s not what you do. That’s not parenting,” Meghan’s mother Doria said. Soon, tabloids began reporting that Thomas was not coming to the wedding at all and that he had allegedly had a heart attack as a result of the ensuing media coverage. “You’re talking to TMZ, and I’m finding out that you’re not coming to our wedding through a tabloid,” Meghan said. Both Harry and Meghan claimed they attempted to reach out to Thomas, but he declined their calls.
After sending a series of text messages, they finally got a response, but Meghan said she believed that the person sending the messages was not her father. “We knew his phone had been compromised,” Meghan said. “It’s incredibly sad what happened,” Harry added. “She had a father before this, and now she doesn’t have a father, and I shouldered that. Because if Meg wasn’t with me, then her dad would still be her dad.”
Part 1 of Harry and Meghan is currently streaming on Netflix. The final three episodes are set to premiere on Dec. 15.