Buckingham Palace will not be commenting on Harry & Meghan, the controversial Netflix docuseries, despite the couple making a number of serious allegations in the latest episodes. Aides are said to be reluctant to further fuel the ongoing fallout after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle alleged that palace aides briefed against them (meaning aides allegedly attempted to harm their reputations by saying unfavorable things about them) and planted negative stories in the media.
Despite the comments, which were made in the trailer and the final episodes of the series, there was no evidence offered in the docuseries to support the claims that palace aides planted stories about the couple. In what he described as a “dirty game,” Harry said that the royal family “invited the press in” and spoke of favors between the press and the palace. He also claimed that when he voiced his concerns about the negative coverage he and Meghan were receiving to his father, King Charles told him, “Darling boy, you can’t take on the media.”
Harry also alleged that the palace communications office would “trade” stories with the media, offering a story on another principal in return for having a story retracted, with the couple’s lawyer Jenny Afia claiming to have seen evidence of negative briefings.
According to former palace press secretary Dickie Arbiter, there is no evidence to support Harry’s allegations because the palace press office is not employed to brief against family members. “It’s not Buckingham Palace’s business to leak stories. They are the purveyors of information. If there’s a story to be had it will be given to all media outlets and it’s never a case of briefing against a principal. Taking the media on is a high-risk game. You can’t win against the media. In this country media has freedom of speech, so long as it’s not libelous. What we’ve heard is a one-sided story and Buckingham Palace are not going to react to it because it feeds into the narrative.”
According to Arbiter, “There’s a hypocrisy in all of this because Harry’s using the media to attack his brother and his family. He is using the very people he is attacking for destroying his own life.”
The couple’s battle with the media and how they have been portrayed in the press is one of the key themes in the six-episode docuseries. From the controversy surrounding Meghan’s expensive baby shower at the Mark Hotel to Archie’s birth, the couple claim they were victimized and targeted by the British media for doing things their way rather than following the rule book.
Justifying her decision to fly to New York with taxpayer-funded security for her baby shower, Meghan said, “It was so wrong. These independent, strong, successful women chose to use their own money, and it’s not taxpayer money, to throw a party for their friend from a place of love. Why are you taking such a beautiful moment and trying to ruin it?”
It is understood that King Charles and Camilla, the queen consort, have not seen the series but will have been briefed on the content by their advisers. The premiere of the final three episodes comes just before Prince William and Princess Kate, who have not watched Harry & Meghan but will be aware of what Harry and Meghan have said, host a Christmas concert at Westminster Abbey.
While there is some criticism of Charles in the newly released episodes, Harry has been most critical of his brother, William. Claiming that William is defined by the institution, he claims that William screamed at him during the Sandringham Summit in 2020 where the future of the Sussexes was decided. Harry said, “It was terrifying to have my brother scream and shout at me and my father say things that just simply weren’t true. And my grandmother, you know, quietly sit there and take it all in.”
According to one source, the prospect of a reconciliation between the brothers is highly unlikely now that Harry has revealed private details of conversations with his family: “There’s a great sense of mistrust, it’s why William won’t speak to Harry, because he is nervous that anything he says might end up in a book or a TV series. It makes it incredibly difficult for any kind of rapprochement. There has to be give on both sides and I don’t see that happening any time soon.”
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