There’s been plenty of debate in the wake of the Netflix series released by Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
So much so that the pair have released a statement in an attempt to set the record straight.
Whether you love, loathe or don’t care about the pair, Prince Harry is the King’s youngest son (and fifth in line to the throne) and the Duchess of Sussex is a Hollywood actor.
So let’s break it down, quickly.
What’s happened in the past week?
This week, the royals released a trailer and the first three episodes of their highly anticipated Netflix series, Harry & Meghan.
The show was billed as a “vulnerable look” into their lives.
And it comes after Prince Harry told Oprah Winfrey last year that he and Meghan had to retreat from their roles for his wife’s survival.
How did the first episodes of Harry & Meghan go?
Critics have been harsh in the days since the first half of the six-part series was released.
“If I were Netflix, I’d want my money back. Because there was nothing ‘bombshell’ or even very new here,” Carol Midgley wrote for The Times in Britain.
“It was beautifully shot but it was repetitive, whingy and boring.”
Stephanie Bunbury from US news site Deadline said that the series failed to add any new insight into the most pressing questions from fans and royal-watchers.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the audience ratings were negative. Out of 248 reviews, the average score was 1.3 out of 5 this week.
Meanwhile, Buckingham Palace has remained silent amid claims and counterclaims that no members of the royal family or royal household were approached for comment on the series.
Themes of media intrusion feature in the series, with multiple clips of royals being followed of by crowds of photographers.
Some commentators have loudly complained that the Netflix series is at odds with the couple’s decision to leave the UK in early 2020.
But this is where the Sussexes — who are engaged in legal battles against newspaper publishers — appear to have stepped in to counter those claims.
What did Harry and Meghan’s statement say?
It wasn’t them exactly, it was their global press secretary, Ashley Hansen, who released the statement.
“The Duke and Duchess have never cited privacy as the reason for stepping back,” the statement reads, according to the BBC.
“This distorted narrative was intended to trap the couple into silence.
“In fact, their statement announcing their decision to step back mentions nothing of privacy and reiterates their desire to continue their roles and public duties. Any suggestion otherwise speaks to a key point of this series.
“They are choosing to share their story, on their terms, and yet the tabloid media has created an entirely untrue narrative that permeates press coverage and public opinion. The facts are right in front of them.”
Why did the royals step down from their duties then?
Let’s look back at what they said way back in January 2020, shall we?
A statement was released on their personal Instagram account and also by Buckingham Palace which explained they planned to split their time between the United Kingdom and North America.
“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” the statement read.
“This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity,” it continues.
There’s obviously been a lot of water under the bridge since then, but here we are.
So, that’s it?
No. Conservative politicians in the UK are quite upset with the documentary.
Some want the couple stripped of their royal titles.
Conservative MP Bob Seely told local media he could propose a private members bill which could downgrade Harry and Meghan’s royal status.
“As well as trashing his family and monetising his misery for public consumption, he is also attacking some important institutions in this country,” he said.
However, like in Australia, private members bills often fail because they rarely get the votes needed to pass through parliament.