Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s bombshell docuseries features a clip from Princess Diana’s controversial 1995 interview, leaving one royal expert horrified.
On Thursday, Netflix released the first three episodes of “Harry & Meghan,” a special that chronicles the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s estrangement from the royal family. It also chastises the British media, as well as the societal racism they believe has fueled coverage of their relationship.
In the first episode, Harry commented on his mother’s interview with BBC’s “Panorama,” which journalist Martin Bashir secured using deceitful methods. An investigation showed he forged bank statements to convince Diana’s brother that a staff member was leaking information about their family.
“I think we all now know she was deceived into giving the interview, but at the same time, she spoke the truth of her experience,” said Harry, 38.
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True Royalty TV co-founder Nick Bullen told Fox News Digital that Harry shouldn’t have shown any clips from that interview, especially after his older brother Prince William condemned it.
“When that scene popped up, I could not believe it,” said Bullen. “William stood outside Kensington Palace and said this material should never be seen again. And it should be consigned to history. And here are Harry and Meghan using it in their own documentary. You know some would argue you can draw a line from that interview to the Paris tunnel. And here they are using it in their program.”
In the televised interview, Diana spoke candidly about the struggles she faced within the royal family. She also detailed the breakdown of her marriage to then-Prince Charles. She famously said, “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” referring to Charles’ affair with his current wife, Camilla.
Diana and Charles’ divorce was finalized the following year. In 1997, Diana died from injuries she sustained in a Paris car crash. At the time, the 36-year-old was being chased by paparazzi.
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In 2020, the BBC appointed a retired senior judge to lead an investigation into the circumstances that led up to the interview. In 2021, a report from the inquiry said Bashir acted deceitfully and breached BBC rules. The report also criticized the network for covering up what it knew about Bashir’s actions and said the corporation’s probe into the matter fell short of its usual standards of integrity and transparency.
Following the report, both William and Harry issued strongly worded statements criticizing the BBC and British media for using unethical practices.
“It is my firm view that this Panorama program holds no legitimacy and should never be aired again,” said William, 40. “It effectively established a false narrative which, for over a quarter of a century, has been commercialized by the BBC and others.”
Bullen is an award-winning documentarian who has been producing programs about the British royal family for 20 years and has worked closely with Charles for nearly a decade. He noted how William would find it hurtful that clips from that interview were included in the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s latest tell-all.
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“This is why I’m saying [that] I think the whole thing is just so self-serving,” Bullen explained. “You know, the question was asked to them, ‘Why did they do this?’ It wasn’t for their truth to be heard. Their truth has been heard many, many times. It was to make money and it was to fund a $14 million Montecito mansion. It’s as simple as that.”
In a trailer for the docuseries, Harry is heard saying, “No one sees what’s happening behind closed doors,” as a photo of the former American actress crying while holding a cellphone is shown. There is the sound of glass breaking before the trailer shows a photo of the Prince and Princess of Wales looking stern during a royal outing.
Bullen said the scene is one of many “low-level gibes” against William and his wife Kate Middleton.
“[There’s] the piece about how formal Catherine was on that first meeting and the photographs chosen to show the sternness and the lines about… how difficult it is for women marrying into the royal family,” said Bullen. “Certainly there has been an agenda to create the good guys and the bad guys… It’s really interesting that at no point does Harry or Meghan reference the privilege that comes with being in that organization. The fact that they do fly on private jets, the fact that they can have many months in Africa, the fact that they live in beautiful homes, the fact that they can enjoy a lifestyle [which] is beyond the imagination of most people. None of that is referenced.”
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“None of the privilege is acknowledged,” he shared. “But all the negatives are brought to the [forefront]. And I think that’s very sad because I think other royals do recognize the privilege and recognize with that privilege comes duty and service — two words that I don’t believe Meghan and Harry follow strongly at the moment.”
According to Bullen, sources have told him that the relationship between William and Harry is allegedly “at a seriously low point.” And while palace courtiers will tune in to ensure “there’s nothing too incendiary,” the royals themselves will ignore the series.
“All the real brickbats have been thrown already, so there’s not a lot more that they can say really,” said Bullen. “And I think the royal family will see it as noise and just get on with what they’re doing [and] try as best as they can to ignore this. But… there will be shock and surprise that the Diana interview is used as archives in this program.”
“I think the relationship between the two princes is incredibly strained already,” Bullen continued. “Whether this documentary tries to further [it] down, I don’t know. But I think there is just an exasperation of why there is a need to keep discussing such old stories. That’s the issue, isn’t it? So much of this is old news. It’s being reheated in a variety of different ways. And I guess one of the issues is Netflix has tried to make six parts out of this. So you have to wring out every little [thing] to make six hours of television.”
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The Netflix docuseries features new interviews with the couple, as well as their friends and experts on race and the media.
The media’s treatment of Markle, 41 — and what the couple felt was a lack of sympathy from royal institutions about the coverage — were at the heart of their complaints when they walked away from royal life almost three years ago and moved to Southern California. Lucrative contracts with Netflix and Spotify have helped them bankroll their new life in the wealthy enclave of Montecito.
Three more episodes will drop on Thursday. Charles, 74, was asked if he had watched the series as he carried out an engagement earlier this week in London. He did not reply.
The Assocated Press contributed to this report.