The Biggest Revelations From the “Harry & Meghan” Netflix Docuseries
After years of others attempting to tell their story for them, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are finally setting the record straight in their new docuseries, “Harry & Meghan,” which premiered its first three episodes on Netflix on Dec. 8.
Last week, two short trailers teased what would be revealed in the highly-anticipated doc, including beautiful behind-the-scenes photos giving insight into the Sussexes’ courtship, personal video diaries of Harry and Markle, as well as never-before-seen interviews. Liz Garbus, who directs the docuseries, asks Harry, “Why did you want to make this documentary?” at one point. He responded, “No one knows what’s happening behind closed doors. I had to do everything I could to protect my family.”
In the first three episodes that premiered on Dec. 8 (the back half of the season premieres on Dec. 15), the Sussexes did just that. Harry and Markle revealed intimate details about their childhoods, their love story’s beginnings, and how the fairytale of their secret courtship was eventually rocked when their relationship was thrust into the public eye, and they were forced to continue their love story amid a barrage of racist media coverage.
Read on to learn the biggest revelations from “Harry & Meghan.”
Harry and Meghan Met Through Instagram
Many assumed Harry and Markle met through their shared commitment to charity work, so you may be surprised to learn their first meeting was actually spurred on by something far more mundane.
In July 2016, Markle was on a girl’s trip through Europe with her friends during a filming break ahead of “Suits” season seven. One of Markle’s friends posted a photo of the actor with a 2016-era Snapchat dog filter, and she just so happened to be Harry’s friend. Harry, seeing the picture, was instantly smitten. “I was like, ‘Who is that?!” Harry said of seeing Markle for the first time.
The friend emailed Markle, writing, “Between you and I, thought you might want to know this being newly single and all. I put our Snapchat on Instagram and Prince Haz follows me (he’s a friend). He called me last night dying to meet you. Hehehe. I just might have to set you up.”
After looking through Harry’s feed, which consisted of beautiful photography and environmental shots from the time he spent in Africa, Markle knew she wanted to meet him.
Prince Harry Was Late For His First Date With Meghan
Prince Harry may have nearly blown it with Markle before they even began. The pair were set to have their first meeting at the private club Soho House, but Markle was almost put off because Harry showed up half an hour late.
“He kept texting. He was like, ‘I’m in traffic. I’m so sorry.’ . . . Then, I didn’t know him, so I was like, ‘Is this what he does? Got it. This I’m not doing.'”
Markle thought Harry might be someone with too big of an ego and thought any girl would sit and wait for him, but that worry was washed away when the Prince finally arrived begging for forgiveness. “When I walked in, [I was a] hot, sweaty, red ball of mess,” Harry recounted in the doc, looking mortified about his first-date flub.
Markle realized Harry was earnestly interested in her and texted him before she was set to leave London to see if they could have one more date. That time, she was the one who was late for that date (but only by five minutes).
Meghan and Harry Traveled to Botswana Together After Only a Month of Long-Distance Dating
As a result of Markle’s busy filming schedule in Toronto and Harry’s high-profile status in Britain, the pair were impossibly busy and an ocean apart. For that reason, much of their relationship’s early days were spent sending photos to each other and FaceTiming. The pair only met in person twice before Harry invited Markle to go on a trip to Botswana, Africa, with him, where they would spend five days together in a tent.
To say Markle was nervous about the prospect would be an understatement. “What if we don’t like each other?” she wondered. But when Harry greeted her in Botswana with a chicken sandwich in hand, her worries melted away.
They shared their first kiss on that trip, and they knew they wanted to make things work.
Meghan Had a 2 Week Dating Rule With Harry
After their Botswana trip, Harry and Markle knew they wanted their relationship to work. Knowing long-distance relationships are hard, Markle made a rule that they needed to see each other every two weeks. Since it was easier for her to take commercial flights, it meant she would fly to London regularly so that she and the Prince could get to know one another even more. As a result, they dated mainly on the Palace grounds.
Meghan and Harry Had One Last Night of Fun When the UK Media Discovered Their Relationship
On Oct. 29, 2016, Harry and William’s communications secretary, Jason Knauf, informed Harry that a tabloid had scooped the story about him dating Markle. Realizing their lives would change the next day, they decided to go out and have fun on their last night as a private couple. Along with Princess Eugenie and her then-boyfriend Jack Brooksbank, the pair dressed in costumes that concealed their identities, went to a Halloween party, and had a fantastic night.
Doria Ragland Wishes She Had the Race Conversation With Meghan Earlier
As the media began to follow Markle and pick apart her every move, her mom, Doria Ragland, knew there was a racial component to the way her daughter was being treated, but Markle, who grew up mixed race and rather removed from much of the overt racism Black people face, didn’t see it. “I said to her… ‘This is about race,’ and Meg said, ‘Mommy, I don’t wanna hear that.’ And I said, ‘Well, you may not want to hear it, but this is what’s coming down the pike.'”
“It’s very different to be a minority but not be treated like a minority right off the bat,” Markle explains in the doc about growing up mixed race. “Obviously, now people are very aware of my race because they made it such an issue when I went to the UK. But, before that, most people didn’t treat me like a ‘Black woman.’ So that talk didn’t have to happen for me.”
Ragland reveals that, in hindsight, she wishes she had prepared Markle better. “As a parent . . . absolutely I would like to go back and have that kind of real conversation about how the world sees [Meghan].”
The Royal Family Saw the Press’s Treatment of Meghan as a Rite of Passage
As more and more negative press coverage with racial undertones hit the press, including headlines that said Meghan was “Straight Out of Compton” or claims that Meghan grew up with Ragland on Skid Row.
“What people need to understand is, as far as a lot of the family were concerned, everything she was being put through, they had been put through as well, so it was almost like a rite of passage. And some of the family were like, “Well, my wife had to go through that, so why should your girlfriend be treated any differently? Why should you get special treatment? Why should she be protected?’ And I said, ‘The difference here is the race element.'”
Paparazzi Stalked Meghan on the Set of “Suits”
As soon as the media found out about Meghan and Harry’s relationship, paparazzi immediately began to stalk her in an effort to get exclusive, unauthorized photos of her. This meant trying to buy call sheets so they would know when Markle would be on set, using long lenses so they could get a view of her from far away, following her onto the set, and breaking into the trailer area to get photos of her coming and leaving. Eventually, “Suits” production was forced to cage in the trailers.
“So, I would say to the police, if any other woman in Toronto said to you, ‘I have six grown men who are sleeping in their cars around my house and following me everywhere I go and I feel scared, wouldn’t you say it was stalking?'” Markle shared about how unsafe she felt on set. “And they said, ‘Yes, but there’s really nothing we can do because of who you’re dating.'”
Things only changed when Markle received a death threat, at which point she was given a security detail.
Meghan Was Surprised By How Formal the Royal Family Is in Private
As a celebrity, Markle always understood the dynamic of having a forward-facing version of herself that’s very formal, but she was used to letting that go and relacing when she was alone. That wasn’t quite the case with the royals, she soon learned.
“Now, I know so much, and I’m so glad I didn’t then because I could just authentically be myself without so much preparedness,” Markle explained, sharing how she was in ripped jeans and barefoot when she met Prince William and Kate for the first time. She also shared that she was a hugger, which she realized is “really jarring for a lot of Brits” (though, it’s unclear if this was an issue with William and Kate).
“I guess I started to understand very quickly that the formality on the outside carried through on the inside,” Markle shared.
The Royal Family’s Biggest Issue With Meghan Was Her Job as An Actress
Harry recounted how the royal family was “incredibly impressed” with Markle when they first met, adding, “Maybe surprised that a ginger could land such a beautiful woman and such an intelligent woman.” But while the press may have been hyper-focused on Markle’s race, the royals were more concerned about something else.
“But the fact that I was dating an American actress was probably what clouded their judgment more than anything else at the beginning,” Harry shared. “‘Oh, she’s an American actress. This won’t last.'”
“There’s a big idea of what that looks like from the UK standpoint,” Markle added. You know, Hollywood? It’s very easy for them to typecast that.”
Meghan and Harry Had an Animal Onesie Engagement Party
After Harry got permission from Queen Elizabeth to propose to Markle in November 2017, he planned to surprise her with a proposal at a private dinner on Palace grounds, but he gave himself away when he popped a bottle of magnum champagne (which he doesn’t drink) while she was roasting chicken.
Markle, catching on, called a friend and said excitedly, “It’s happening, it’s happening!” when Harry went outside to bend down on one knee next to their dog guy and among 15 glowing candles he’d set up in the North Garden.
Markle accepted his proposal happily (though, Harry joked she had no choice because she had already moved her dog, Guy, over to London and he was holding him “hostage).
The pair celebrated the proposal with friends. Everyone dressed in animal onesies, Markle and Harry in penguin onesies because penguins mate for life.