Harry and Meghan filmed the opening monologue for their bombshell Netflix documentary on the same day they left the Royal Family – and six months before the Netflix deal was made public
It led to questions today over exactly when the couple first started to capture footage for the media company.
The pair, whose limited series was released on the streaming giant at 8am this morning in the UK, self-shot a number of intimate ‘video diaries’ for the show.
But the timing of them suggest the plan for some kind of tell-all documentary dramatically predates their public announcement with Netflix in September 2020.
In fact the Duke’s introductory monologue, staring down his mobile phone lens from Heathrow Airport’s opulent Windsor Suite, is shot at the end of their last duties before Megxit in March 2020.
Prince Harry’s airport monologue opens the documentary and raises many questions
Meghan is also featured in a number of video diary segments in the first three episodes
Deal or no deal: When was Netflix agreement made with Sussexes?
January 3, 2020 – Meghan and Harry announce on Instagram they are stepping back as senior members of the Royal Family.
January 8, 2020 – Agreement is reached that the couple would no longer be working members of Britain’s royal family and could not use ‘Highnesses’ titles.
March 9, 2020 – Harry and Meghan perform their final Royal duties, attending the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey.
March, 2020 – Harry records a monologue in Heathrow Airport’s Windsor Suite which will become the opening of the Netflix series.
September 2, 2020 – It is publicly announced Netflix and the couple have signed a deal, reportedly worth £88million.
December 1, 2022 – Netflix announces the series.
December 8, 2022 – The first three episodes of the series are released at 8am on Netflix.
It is one of the few dated self-shot clips but it suggests the couple were already been thinking about telling their story.
They were seen as working Royals for the last time at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey days earlier on March 9.
Half a year later a rumoured £88million deal with the streamer to talk about their lives was made public.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told MailOnline: ‘There have been rumours and reports that they were planning to exploit their royal status early on.
‘To my knowledge nothing is confirmed as fact though it is thought that they wanted an interview with Oprah when senior working royals.’
Norman Baker, former MP and now Royal commentator, told MailOnline: ‘It may well signify a long-term plan to do something – or just accumulation of stock footage.
‘They clearly wanted to use it at some point. Their knowledge on the Royal Family essentially ended when they left the country and that institution.
‘They are essentially mining the past now, not the future.
‘They got £88million from Netflix so it’s very clear that now want their pound of flesh.’
The clip from the airport is returned to a number of times during the first episode.
Harry explains in it: ‘Hi, so we’re here on, err, Tuesday, Wednesday, the something of March, we’ve just finished our two weeks.
‘Our final push, our list stint of Royal engagements.’
Meghan is then seen in Vancouver, Canada, on a similar video to camera.
Harry’s opening speech for his Netflix documentary was recorded days after Royal’s last duty
The ‘unprecedented and in-depth’ docuseries, directed by Oscar-nominated Liz Garbus, is billed as a Netflix global event, with Harry and Meghan sharing ‘the other side of their high-profile love story’
She says: ‘H is in Britain and I am here, I don’t even know where to begin.’
The show then returns to the Heathrow video and Harry saying: ‘My job is to keep my family safe.
‘By the nature of being born into this position and everything that comes with it.
‘The level of hate that has been stirred up in the last three years especially against my wife and my son. I am genuinely concerned for the safely of my family.’
Meghan is seen again in her self-shot footage sighing and saying ‘I just really want to get to the other side of this.
‘She then appears to be about to cry before adding: ‘I don’t know what to say anymore’.
Harry’s monologue is then revisited, with him saying: ‘This isn’t just about our story, this has always been so much bigger than us.
‘No-one knows the full-truth. We know the full truth, the institution knows the full truth, the media knows the full truth because they’ve been in on it.
‘And I think anyone else in my situation would have done the same thing.’
Later the Duke of Sussex says a friend told them they should document this particular period of their lives.
He said: ‘A friend of ours actually suggested that we document ourselves through this period of time.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s controversial Netflix documentary has aired as the Royal Family braces itself for the revelations
The Duke of Sussex said he ‘had to quit’ royal duties to protect Meghan Markle as he compared the former Suit actress to his late mother Princess Diana in the first episode of the couple’s bombshell Netflix series
‘With all of the misinformation that was going on out there, especially about us and the departure, it seemed like a really sensible idea.’
Meghan is then seen speaking into her phone camera and seems to ask if this is the first video diary she has filmed, saying: ‘Is this the first video diary, I don’t know. We’ve talked about it. We keep talking about it, because we know that, right now it might not make sense, but one day it will make sense.’
It is not clear when this was made, but she is showing her wedding ring and the context suggests it was inside Frogmore Cottage.
A clip then shows Harry, who is wearing a neckerchief, staring at the camera, trying to remember what day it is. It is not clear what year it is taken.
He says: ‘So we’re here, err, Friday the 17th of April or something’.
The next clip shows Meghan showing Archie snow outside of a home.
Then in interview footage, Meghan says: ‘We’ve been really conscious of protecting our kids as best as we can and also understanding the role that they play in this really historical family.’
Later Meghan, in another filmed interview, adds: ‘The past six years of my life, books are written about our story from people who I don’t know.
Harry and Meghan spent their third date in Botswana, their explosive Netflix docuseries revealed
Meghan and Harry early in their relationship. The Duke of Sussex has said his wife being an American actress ‘clouded’ his family’s view of her.
The promotional art for the Netflix documentary Harry & Meghan
‘Doesn’t it make more sense to hear our story from us?
As early as April 2020 it was disclosed Nick Collins of The Gersh Agency had been advising the couple as what to do post-departure.
It was reported at the time he was going to handle any talks with Silicon Valley investors, Hollywood studios, as well as TV giants such as Amazon, Netflix and Hulu.
Then on September 2 that year Meghan and Harry announced they had joined Netflix.
Their statement declared: ‘Our lives, both independent of each other and as a couple, have allowed us to understand the power of the human spirit, of courage, resilience and the need for connection.
‘Through our work with diverse communities and their environments, to shining a light on people and causes around the world, our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope.
‘As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us, as is powerful storytelling through a truthful and relatable lens.’
Ted Sarandos, a co-chief executive and the chief content officer at Netflix, hailed their new partnership.
He said: ‘Harry and Meghan have inspired millions of people all around the world with their authenticity, optimism and leadership.
‘We’re incredibly proud they have chosen Netflix as their creative home – and are excited about telling stories with them that can help build resilience and increase understanding for audiences everywhere.’
‘I think we crashed Netflix!’ Viewers say they are unable to watch first episodes of Harry and Meghan’s explosive documentary as its released on streaming platform across the world
Furious Netflix users have taken to social media after the streaming service crashed and froze for some people trying to watch Harry & Meghan series after it was released this morning.
Some viewers say they were unable to start watching the series, which dropped at 8am UK time, after it failed to load.
The show is one of Netflix’s most hotly anticipated programmes as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle promised to give the inside track on their relationship.
Officials at Buckingham Palace will have joined the hoards of fans who eagerly logged in to see what the couple had to say on press coverage of the couple, alleged racism in the royal family itself and supposed bullying of staff.
Some social media users said they were experiencing problems getting the first episodes of ‘Harry & Meghan’ to play
The first episode sees the couple talking about how they met, with the second episode seeing the prince compare himself to his late mother Diana and the third discussing their engagement.
Senior royals are said to be bracing for the worst and will be prepared to address any unfounded accusations as the new series drops on the streaming service.
However, some tuning in may have faced issues accessing the episodes at all, after some people on social media complained Netflix crashed as they tried to watch it.
Some reported their screens froze and the episode stopped loading ‘at 10%’ after trying to view the programme this morning.
Others said their Netflix ‘crashed’, with the problems seemingly affecting people both inside and outside the Britain.
@Awkwardblkgirl7 wrote on Twitter: ‘I’m in the Philippines- Trying to watch the Harry and Megan docuseries on Netflix and Netflix isn’t loading. My TV is frozen on 10%! But they’re not that popular right?’
@TaffyAnn614 said: ‘ I think we crashed #netflix. Mine won’t load!!’.
@BackQe wrote: ‘Looks like #Netflix is crashed/crashing or unable to meet the server demands.’
@TudorChick1501 added: ‘Stuck at 10% loading. It’s too early for this! C’mon Netflix!’
Other’s said Netflix was running slow or the episodes were ‘stuck at 10% loading’ earlier this morning
Downdetector.com, which measures outages on websites, showed a spike in reports from its users at 8am as the first episodes dropped.
Those who were able to access the programme would have seen the series begin with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex filming themselves on the day they ended their royal duties, with Harry in the VIP lounge at Heathrow as he flew to Canada.
The first three episodes also cover Harry’s birth and upbringing and he blames the media for the failure of his previous relationships.
The Sussexes then describe how they get together, their engagement and then quitting as frontline royals.
The Duke and Duchess discuss Megxit, racism and their new life in California.
It also begins with a pointed comment that the Royal Family declined to comment on allegations in the show and reveals it was completed in August 2022 – before the death of the Queen.
Episode one opened with words written in white on a black background which said: ‘This is a first-hand account of Harry & Meghan’s story, told with never before seen personal archive. All interviews were completed by August 2022. Members of the royal family declined to comment on the content within this series.’