Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s explosive docuseries features a snippet of Princess Diana’s controversial 1995 interview, leaving one royal pundit 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. He also berates the British media, as well as the societal racism they say has fueled coverage of their relationship.
In the first episode, Harry commented on his mother’s interview with the BBC’s ‘Panorama’, which journalist Martin Bashir obtained using deceptive methods. An investigation showed he forged bank statements to convince Diana’s brother that a member of staff was leaking information about their family.
“I think we all know now that she was tricked into giving the interview, but at the same time she spoke the truth about her experience,” Harry, 38, said.
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True Royalty TV co-founder Nick Bullen told Fox News Digital that Harry shouldn’t have shown any snippets of this interview, especially after his older brother Prince William condemned it.
“When that scene appeared, I couldn’t believe it,” Bullen said. “William stood outside Kensington Palace and said this material should never be seen again. And it should be consigned to history. And here is Harry and Meghan using it in their own documentary. You know , some would say you can draw a line from that Paris tunnel interview and here they use it in their program.
In the TV 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 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 of injuries sustained in a car accident in Paris. 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 inquiry into the circumstances leading to the interview. In 2021, a report from the inquiry said Bashir acted deceptively and broke BBC rules. The report also criticized the network for concealing what it knew of Bashir’s actions and said the company’s investigation into the matter failed to meet its usual standards of integrity and transparency.
Following the report, both William and Harry issued strong statements criticizing the BBC and UK media for using unethical practices.
“I strongly believe that this Panorama program has no legitimacy and should never be broadcast again,” said William, 40. “He effectively established a false narrative which for over a quarter of a century has been marketed by the BBC and others.”
Bullen is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has produced programs on the British Royal Family for 20 years and has worked closely with Charles for almost a decade. He noted how William would find it hurtful if excerpts from this interview were included in the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s latest account.
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“That’s why I say [that] I think it’s all so selfish,” Bullen explained. “You know, the question was asked of them, ‘Why did they do that?’ It was not for their truth to be heard. Their truth has been heard many, many times. It was to make money and to fund a $14 million Montecito mansion. It’s that simple.”
In a trailer for the docuseries, Harry is heard saying, “No one sees what happens behind closed doors”, as a photo of the former American actress crying while holding a mobile phone is shown. There’s the sound of glass breaking before the trailer shows a photo of the stern-looking Prince and Princess of Wales on a royal outing.
Bullen said the scene was one of many “low level banter” against William and his wife Kate Middleton.
“[There’s] the article about how formal Catherine was at that first meeting and the photographs chosen to show the sternness and the lines about… how difficult it is for women to marry into the royal family,” Bullen said. “There was definitely an agenda to create the good guys and the bad guys… It’s really interesting that at no point did Harry or Meghan refer to the privilege that comes with being in this organization. The fact that they fly in private jets, the fact that they can spend several months in Africa, the fact that they live in beautiful houses, the fact that they can enjoy a lifestyle [which] is beyond most people’s imagination. None of this is referenced.”
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“None of the privileges are acknowledged,” he shared. “But all the negatives are brought to the [forefront]. And I think that’s very sad because I think other royals recognize privilege and recognize that 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 her that William and Harry’s relationship is “at a very low point.” And while palace courtiers will tune in to make sure “there’s nothing too incendiary”, the royals themselves will ignore the series.
“All the real brickbats have been cast before, so there’s not much more they can really say,” Bullen said. “And I think the Royal Family will see that as noise and continue what they’re doing. [and] try as best they can to ignore that. But… there will be a shock and a surprise that Diana’s interview will be used as an archive in this program.”
“I think the relationship between the two princes is already incredibly strained,” Bullen continued. “Let this documentary try to deepen [it] down, I don’t know. But I think there’s just an exasperation about the need to keep discussing these old stories. That’s the problem, isn’t it? Much of it is old news. It is warmed up in different ways. And I guess one of the problems is that Netflix tried to make it six parts. So you have to wring out every little [thing] do 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 over the coverage – were at the heart of their complaints when they walked away from life royal nearly three years ago and moved to Southern California. Lucrative deals with Netflix and Spotify helped fund their new life in the wealthy enclave of Montecito.
Three more episodes will drop on Thursday. Charles, 74, was asked if he watched the series while on an engagement earlier this week in London. He did not answer.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.