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Harry & Meghan Vol. 1 Review: Prince Harry & Meghan Markle’s documentary starts off on an appetizing note


Streaming Platform: Netflix

Rating: 3.5/5

Recap:

For royal family enthusiasts, Harry & Meghan has been highly-awaited! The six-part Netflix documentary series sees Prince Harry and Meghan Markle – who stepped back from their royal duties in 2020 – tell their truth, something which has been spoken in detail by others, in their own words. The first 3 episodes as a part of Vol. 1 dropped today, i.e. December 8. In Part 1, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex detail how their transatlantic love story began, from their long-distance dating days to the romantic proposal. A major focus was also on Harry’s upbringing, and how his late mother Princess Diana’s fate changed his own thinking about the royal family. In Parts 2 and 3, we get to witness how Meghan Markle became the ultimate fodder for the British press, from the couple going public about their relationship to their engagement and the royal wedding. We also get to know more about her upbringing with mom Doria Ragland opening up, while her relationship with estranged father Thomas Markle was also discussed in detail. Friends of Harry and Meghan, along with a few of Markle’s family members also opened up about the Duke and Duchess. As expected, Harry and Meghan were no filters attached when it came to talking about the royal family, with their stringent protocols and how they needed to get the hell out of there for their own sanity.

Opinion:

Whether you love them or hate them, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s love story is something we’re all invested in, especially after their highly-publicized royal family exit. Given the strained equation between the couple and Harry’s family – which has been deciphered tooth and nail by the media, an outside factor – Harry & Meghan gives the Duke and Duchess a chance to tell their story from the horse’s mouth, rather than royal experts.

In the first 3 episodes, what we get is nothing new. It’s all been spoken by the couple before, especially in the no-filters tell-all conversation with Oprah Winfrey. However, what we do get is an insight into Harry and Meghan’s relationship, built on humour, with Meg’s sarcasm and H’s quintessential British wit. It’s when they’re talking about how their unthinkable romance came to be that the Duke and Duchess seem most natural. Oscar-nominated director Liz Garbus aptly captures the candidness of Harry and Meghan’s family in juxtaposition to the pair’s respective ‘divorce-laden’ childhoods. Mobile recordings shot by the couple, which feature heartwarming moments with their son Archie, are what leave you smiling. Seeing Archie next to Diana’s photo frame is one such example!

When it comes to the revelations, as I mentioned above, we’ve all heard it. It’s just adding more garnishing to detail the hardships they went through as a part of the royal family. Hence, the first three episodes feel a tad too anti-climatic. Harry and Meghan’s friends (not anonymous!), Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland and niece Ashleigh Hale were given the platform to shed multiple perspectives of what they felt the couple was going through during each milestone moment. The whole drama with Meghan’s estranged father Thomas Markle was also given some spotlight.

Also dominant throughout the docuseries is the underlining racism in the UK, and how it played a detrimental role in Harry and Meghan’s exit. As for British Press’ obsession with Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke further decodes the royal family media rota and how it works. In both cases, this was a necessary conversation to be had, but again, it falls flat in terms of storytelling and actually getting into the depth of uncovering it all. That doesn’t disregard the fact that the documentary series also has its memorable moments; like when Harry remorsefully admits that he’s the reason for Meghan not having a father anymore or a lighter, heartwarming moment with Harry and Meghan taking Archie for bird-watching.

Harry & Meghan doesn’t try to be subtle about the fact that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are the “heroes” of the story and that the “system” is the villain, except in rare occurrences. Like when Meghan revealed that she loved spending Christmas with the royal family or when Harry spoke of his childhood with a “we,” referring to big brother Prince William.

To be honest, the first 3 parts of Harry & Meghan stumble when it talks about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s trials and tribulations and triumphs during the intimate family moments, which shows us the life they’ve both always craved for.

Plus Points:

What works for Harry & Meghan is that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle get a larger platform to speak their truth, while also allowing those closest to the couple to share their side of the same story. It’s also the family life Harry and Meghan have established in LA that is refreshing to watch when you see the parallels with strict royal family life.

Minus Points:

Harry & Meghan Vol. 1 suffers heavily because most of what was promised in the trailer has been kept for Harry & Meghan Vol. 2. What we get is a basic summary of what is already known to common folks like me.

Highlights:

  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s family life in LA is brought to light with an intimate touch.
  • More insight into Meghan Markle’s childhood and life before Prince Harry came into her life.
  • Doria Ragland sharing her side of it all.

Conclusion:

In finality, Harry & Meghan Vol. 1 seemed reminiscent of all the revelations made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their controversial interview with Oprah Winfrey, but with a tad more detailing. What we get is an appetiser while Harry & Meghan Vol. 2 might just turn out to be the main dish after all!



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