News, Culture & Society

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Netflix doc reveals who’s who of their inner circle

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle rallied the troops to tout their ‘side of the story’ in their bombshell Netflix documentary – calling on everyone from tennis pro Serena Williams to Suits producers and former PAs to offer up emotive on-screen tales about their love story, their experiences within the royal family, and the Duchess’ struggles with paparazzi. 

While 41-year-old Meghan’s close friend Serena waxed lyrical about the Sussexes’ ‘tight’ bond, a former Suits producer detailed the extreme lengths producers had to go to bar ‘dangerous’ paparazzi from the show’s set in the early days after the couple’s relationship was made public. 

Many people shared glowing recollections of Meghan’s talents as an actress, her warm personality – and backed up the Duchess’s own stories about the sacrifices she had to make in order to make her relationship with Harry work, particularly when it came to the couple’s battles with the paparazzi and press. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle rallied the troops to tout their ‘side of the story’ in their bombshell Netflix documentary

It appears no stone was left unturned in the Sussexes’ search for friends, family, and acquaintances eager to echo the couple’s personal re-telling of ‘their story’. 

But beyond their on-screen appearances and quotes, the line-up of friends, former colleagues, and ex-employees – including Meghan’s old agent and assistant – reveals an intriguing glimpse into exactly who remains inside the Sussexes’ inner circle.  

As the first volume of the couple’s incendiary documentary sends shockwaves through Buckingham Palace, FEMAIL reveals who made the cut from Harry and Meghan’s line-up of nearest and dearest… 

MEGHAN’S COLLEGE BEST FRIEND: LINDSDAY ROTH  

Author and producer Lindsay is one of Meghan's oldest friends, having studied at Northwestern University with the Duchess

Author and producer Lindsay is one of Meghan’s oldest friends, having studied at Northwestern University with the Duchess

Their close bond was further cemented when Lindsay asked Meghan to serve as her Maid of Honor at her wedding

Their close bond was further cemented when Lindsay asked Meghan to serve as her Maid of Honor at her wedding

Author and producer Lindsay is one of Meghan’s oldest friends, having studied at Northwestern University with the Duchess – and their close bond was further cemented when Lindsay asked Meghan to serve as her Maid of Honor at her wedding.

She has remained fiercely loyal to Meghan over the years – speaking out in defense of the former Suits star on a number of occasions, including in 2021, when claims of bullying were levied against the Duchess. 

Lindsay features several times in the first three episodes of the documentary, opening up at first about Meghan’s summer 2016 plans, revealing that the Duchess had several trips planned and wanted to spend the months being ‘free’ and single… until she met Harry.

Meghan’s college pal also detailed the ways in which she says the former actress dealt with the earliest days of her relationship with Harry, telling the cameras: ‘She was giddy. 

‘But I also know that she was really trying to live in the moment. She wanted to just get to know him for him, not for who the public thought he was.’

SERENA WILLIAMS’ SUPERSTAR SPORTS AGENT: JILL SMOLLER   

It is thought that tennis superstar introduced her long-time sports agent Jill, 58, to Meghan

It is thought that tennis superstar introduced her long-time sports agent Jill, 58, to Meghan

In the opening minutes of her first on-camera interview, Jill describes attending Wimbledon with Meghan - just one day before the Duchess went on a date with Prince Harry

In the opening minutes of her first on-camera interview, Jill describes attending Wimbledon with Meghan – just one day before the Duchess went on a date with Prince Harry 

Although former professional tennis player Jill, 58, does not reveal how she met Meghan, it’s likely that the pair were introduced by Serena Williams – a close friend of the former actress, who mega-agent Jill has represented for years. 

Described previously as a ‘superagent’, Jill makes clear her close bond with Meghan in the opening minutes of her first on-camera interview, revealing that the pair attended Wimbledon together in 2016, when they discussed potential dates for the Suits star. 

‘We were sitting in the player box and it’s diagonal to the royal box at Wimbledon,’ Jill recalled. 

‘We were talking about different dates and different people who were possibilities [for Meghan] and I remember seeing an adorable actor sitting in the front row next to someone I knew, and I said, “Hey, how about him?”‘ 

However, the following day, Jill revealing she ‘found out that she was going to be going on a date with H [Harry]’, and the rest was history. 

PROTECTIVE SUITS PRODUCER AND CONFIDANTE: SILVER TREE 

Silver Tree is described in the Netflix documentary both as a 'friend' of the couple - and as a producer on Meghan's TV series Suits

Silver Tree is described in the Netflix documentary both as a ‘friend’ of the couple – and as a producer on Meghan’s TV series Suits

During the series, Meghan’s struggle to deal with the increasing attention as a result of her relationship with Harry was a repeated theme – with the Duchess slamming the way in which she was constantly being photographed, particularly while she was in Toronto filming Suits. 

To add further context and weight to that, the actress called upon Silver Tree, a former producer on the show, who is also described in the Netflix doc as a ‘friend’ of the Sussexes. 

The producer and writer offered up her own recollections of the increasing paparazzi attention – revealing how the entire Suits set suffered as a result of the world’s furious interest in Harry and Meghan’s relationship. 

‘There is like a baked-in level of curiosity, opinion, dealing with royals that I have not seen before,’ she recalled. 

‘The paparazzi started coming out to get eyes on her and there were people trying to buy call sheets from production assistants on our show so they could find out when she was shooting. 

‘They’d get these really long lenses and like hide on hills so they could get a view of her. There were people breaking into the area where the trailers are and trying to get pictures of her coming in and out of her trailer. 

‘It started feeling a little bit dangerous for her.’

According to Silver, Meghan was devastated by the paparazzi presence on set – not only because of the impact it had on her, but also because of the way in which it impacted others around her. 

‘At a certain point we had to cage in all the trailers and that was really challenging logistically, because she was on a TV show and her nature is never to make things more difficult for anyone,’ Silver said.

‘I don’t think anyone knew how to manage that new normal. I mean, I was terrified somebody was just going to be in her trailer waiting for her.’

THE FORMER SUITS CO-STAR: ABIGAIL SPENCER  

Abigail, 41, spent years appearing alongside Meghan in Suits - with the two forming a close friendship during their time on-set together

Abigail, 41, spent years appearing alongside Meghan in Suits - with the two forming a close friendship during their time on-set together

Abigail, 41, spent years appearing alongside Meghan in Suits – with the two forming a close friendship during their time on-set together

Abigail revealed that she was one of the first people to learn about Meghan's then-secret relationship with Harry during a 2016 trip to New York, even sharing a selfie from that visit

Abigail revealed that she was one of the first people to learn about Meghan’s then-secret relationship with Harry during a 2016 trip to New York, even sharing a selfie from that visit

Abigail, 41, spent years appearing alongside Meghan in Suits – with the two forming a close friendship during their time on-set together. 

That friendship was made incredibly apparent in the docuseries, with Abigail revealing that she was one of the first people to learn about Meghan’s then-secret relationship with Harry. 

‘It was 2016, Meghan and I met up in New York,’ she recalled. 

‘We really enjoyed going to have tea and champagne at Bergdorf Goodman. We’d be like, “Let’s meet at the tea room at Bergdorfs.” 

‘She’s like, “Um yeah, I think I met someone and I’m in love. It’s Prince Harry.”‘

Like several of Meghan’s other friends who feature in the Netflix show, Abigail was full of excitement over the earliest stages of their relationship. 

‘I could just feel everything in her body vibrating,’ she shared. ‘We have a photo from that moment. I was screaming because I could tell it was different. 

‘It was very clear from the moment she told me about him that they were in love and they were going to go to the ends of the earth to be together.’

However, Abigail was also quick to make clear how much Meghan had sacrificed in order to make her relationship with Harry work, particularly under the burning glare of public scrutiny. 

‘She had a whole life before she met H,’ she said. 

MEGHAN’S FORMER AGENT: NICK COLLINS 

The Netflix documentary also charted Meghan's struggles in the earlier years of her career as an actress, with her former agent Nick Collins opening up about her battle to land roles

The Netflix documentary also charted Meghan’s struggles in the earlier years of her career as an actress, with her former agent Nick Collins opening up about her battle to land roles 

As well as Meghan’s former co-stars and colleagues, the documentary also brings a few of her ex-employees out of the woodwork – including her former agent, Nick Collins, who spoke at length about the struggles she faced as a bi-racial woman in Hollywood.  

‘I first met Meghan [in] 2007,’ he shared. ‘At that point she had already gotten cast in a few things. 

‘I got a phone call from an executive at Fox and they were like, “We cast this girl and she was amazing and she needs an agent and we love you, you should meet her.” I was like, “Great.”‘

However, while Fox may have thought Meghan was ‘amazing’, that didn’t help when it came to landing future roles for her.  

‘She had to just kind of go in and meet and audition and start from the ground up,’ Nick said – before admitting that he actually had no idea about her heritage when he started working with her.

‘I did not know she was bi-racial,’ he revealed. ‘I thought she was sun-kissed, California, freckly. 

‘And I don’t even actually remember the point at which I found out she was bi-racial. [But] I think once I found out, I would send her out for black roles. 

‘But sometimes I would pitch her for those roles and the casting director would be like, “Well, what do you mean?” 

‘So I’d have to be like: “Well she’s bi-racial, her mom is black.” And it was like, “Well, she doesn’t look it.”‘

THE CHILDHOOD PAL AND OLDEST FRIEND: SUSAN WILLIGER  

Susan and Meghan met when they were in seventh grade and became 'fast friends', with the duo bonding over their shared love of 'extracurricular activities'

Susan and Meghan met when they were in seventh grade and became ‘fast friends’, with the duo bonding over their shared love of ‘extracurricular activities’

Susan is one of Meghan’s oldest friends, having met the Duchess when the pair were in seventh grade at Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles. 

Speaking about the earliest days of their friendship, Susan recalls how she and Meghan became ‘fast friends’, revealing that they bonded over their shared love of ‘extracurricular activities’ as well as the fact that they both ‘spent a lot of time in leadership roles in school, volunteering’.

However, Susan’s close ties to Meghan have had their downsides, she says, claiming that the paparazzi began hounding her family after news of the Sussexes’ relationship was made public – while even accusing one outlet of fabricating quotes from her mother.  

‘The press was ruthless,’ she said. ‘They would go to my parents’ home. 

I remember a friend forwarded me this article where my mom was quoted. It was like, “Oh Meghan’s obsessed with Princess Diana.” Just things that never happened and weren’t true at all.’

MEGHAN’S FORMER ASSISTANT: CHANTELLE HUMPHREY 

Chantelle worked for Meghan while she was starring in Suits and living in Toronto

Chantelle worked for Meghan while she was starring in Suits and living in Toronto

Chantelle worked for Meghan while she was starring in Suits and living in Toronto

The former personal assistant (seen with the Suits star at her home in Canada) said that Meghan's 'free' life 'took a dark turn quickly' after the news of her relationship with Harry broke

The former personal assistant (seen with the Suits star at her home in Canada) said that Meghan’s ‘free’ life ‘took a dark turn quickly’ after the news of her relationship with Harry broke

Chantelle worked for Meghan while she was starring in Suits and living in Canada – and just like Silver, the Duchess’s former personal assistant added further fuel to the Sussexes’ furious fight against the paparazzi. 

The Duchess’s ex-PA explained how Meghan’s life ‘took a dark turn quickly’ after the public became aware of her relationship with Prince Harry – describing how the then-actress’s seemingly-blissful life was transformed in an instant. 

‘Meg would go to the grocery store and get recognized and people would say, “Aren’t you that girl from Suits?”‘ Chantelle recalled of Meghan’s ‘fame’ before she and Harry began dating. 

‘She had so much freedom, she had such a beautiful life before everything exploded.

‘It really did take a dark turn quickly.’ 

Chantelle – who was seen with Meghan outside of her Toronto home in a series of paparazzi photos that were repurposed for the Netflix documentary – described the scenario as ‘scary’, saying: ‘There were people constantly at her door or trying to get into her house or trying to get around so they could find her.’

SAMANTHA MARKLE’S DAUGHTER: ASHLEIGH HALE 

Perhaps one of the most surprising appearances in the documentary came from Meghan's niece, Ashleigh, daughter of the Duchess's estranged sister Samantha

Perhaps one of the most surprising appearances in the documentary came from Meghan’s niece, Ashleigh, daughter of the Duchess’s estranged sister Samantha 

During the documentary, Ashleigh discussed their close bond - which she claimed was hampered by the palace's attempts to 'manage Meghan's relationships'

During the documentary, Ashleigh discussed their close bond – which she claimed was hampered by the palace’s attempts to ‘manage Meghan’s relationships’

One of the more surprising faces to appear in the documentary was that of Meghan’s niece, Ashleigh Hale – the daughter of the Duchess’s estranged half-sister Samantha. 

The Virginia-based immigration lawyer is known to have had a close bond with Meghan for years, despite her own mother’s very public rift with her half-sibling. 

Speaking out publicly for the first time about her tight-knit relationship with Meghan – who is said to have used Ashleigh as the inspiration for her role in legal drama Suits – the immigration attorney made a thinly-veiled swipe at the Royal Family, claiming that palace insiders were trying to meddle in the Duchess’s personal relationships.  

‘Communication with Meg became less and less frequent…’ she said of their relationship after Meghan and Harry’s relationship was made public. 

‘My impression was that her relationships were being managed on some level.’

Both she and Meghan also claimed that palace insiders ‘advised’ the Sussexes not to invite certain members of the Markle family to the wedding for fear of causing a scandal in the wake of Samantha’s very public attacks on the Duchess. 

Among those supposedly barred from the ceremony was Ashleigh. 

‘I think I said I was hurt on some level, but I understood where it was coming from,’ she said of the decision – which Meghan revealed she delivered on speakerphone while sitting alongside Harry.

‘To know that it was because of my biological mother that this relationship, that’s so important to me, was impacted in that way. I feel like because of her, it was taken away. It’s been hard.’

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



Find local lawyers and law firms at USAttorneys.com