Harry & Meghan review: No major revelations, but Netflix documentary is compelling, candid and thoughtful

The first three episodes of Harry & Meghan don't feature many shocks, but do share insights into their relationship and stick two fingers up at their fiercest critics – the British media.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 8 December 2022 - 1.22pm
Netflix Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in their Netflix documentary

The first half of Netflix's documentary series Harry & Meghan is unlikely to shift hearts and minds on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who seem to trigger an incandescent rage in certain sections of the British media whatever they do (or, in some cases, don't do).

The tabloid columnists and royal ‘experts’ who spend their days frothing at the mouth about Meghan Markle will inevitably end up with their knickers in a twist over this lengthy six-part Netflix documentary. Not least because the British press are the focus of much of the series' ire.

But for more level-headed viewers with less hysterical views on Harry and Meghan (or ‘H’ and ‘M’, as they call each other), the series is compelling, candid and thoughtful.

There are moments of joy and gushing soppiness for those who love a fairytale whirlwind romance. There are notable absences and omissions as Harry talks about the pain and strain of his childhood and the mistakes and blunders of his teenage years, never once mentioning his father King Charles or brother Prince William.

And there are also deep reflections on the state of the British media’s response to a mixed-race Princess, the legacy of the British Commonwealth, racism in modern Britain and the uncomfortable triangular relationship between the Royal Family, the press and the public.

Netflix

Historian David Olusoga is a coup for the series as he brings his usual articulacy on the subject of race, British history and the significance of Meghan becoming part of the Royal Family. He also makes it easier to understand why the fall-out, and everything that has followed, was inevitable.

And as long as you’re not somebody who gets enraged at discussions about #MeToo, unconscious bias and Britain’s history of slavery, there is plenty to make you smile across the first three episodes. Three more will follow next week.

Whether it’s Harry revealing the first responses to his courtship with Meghan (“Maybe they were shocked a ginger could get such a beautiful woman”) or Meghan admitting that she may have come on a bit strong when she met Prince William and Kate (“I’m a hugger!”), there are moments where it feels like the documentary captures real sparks between the couple.

There are no major revelations, no bombshells and talk of the Royal Family is kept to the bare minimum. This isn’t a barbed attack on any individual or institution – no matter what anyone tells you.

Harry & Meghan is just a (slightly over-long) portrait of a couple who are willing to make personal sacrifices to keep protect their marriage, their sanity and escape the toxicity of the British media.

Harry & Meghan rated

How to watch Harry & Meghan

Watch Harry & Meghan Volume 1 on Netflix now.

Volume 2 follows on Thursday, 15 December.