Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s docuseries is courting controversy even before it has wrapped. According to reports, the series may be re-scheduled by nervous Netflix bosses who are navigating a media backlash over the new season of The Crown due out next month.
Harry and Meghan’s untitled TV show, which is being co-produced by their company Archewell and will cover their working lives, is one of Netflix’s most eagerly anticipated productions this year, but just like Harry’s autobiography, there’s a question as to when and whether it will actually come out.
On Tuesday, Page Six reported that despite reports it is to be shelved, their docuseries is still set to air in December. However, reports that Harry and Meghan want to water down some of the content are to be taken seriously, according to sources close to the couple.
“Harry and Meghan are quite aware that if they do or say anything that might be deemed insensitive towards Harry’s family, then they risk being cut off completely,” says one source. “There’s a sense among the family that they are already on thin ice and they need to step cautiously. Harry knows that his father can be quite ruthless if he has to be. Charles won’t tolerate the reputation of the Crown being tarnished by a member of his family.”
While the royal household has so far declined to comment on Harry and Meghan’s Netflix deal and the forthcoming season of The Crown, courtiers are said to be wary about the Netflix drama which does not carry a disclaimer informing viewers that it is a work of fiction based on historical facts. The latest series spans the tumultuous period of the ’90s including Charles’s affair with Camilla Parker Bowles and the breakdown of Charles and Diana’s marriage. There is also an entirely fictitious storyline about Charles trying to oust his mother with the-then Prime Minister John Major.
As far as Harry and Meghan’s TV show is concerned, any criticism or controversy will be taken far more seriously than the fictitious The Crown. “The notion of sovereignty is sacrosanct to Charles, and while they can brush The Crown off as fiction, because that is what it is, they will pay close attention to anything Harry and Meghan put their name to,” says the source. “Camilla and Charles have seen some of The Crown in the past, I very much doubt will be watching it this time, but they will be watching what Harry and Meghan do next.”
The King has not yet made an announcement as to whether Harry and Meghan’s children will be given titles which is said to be one of the issues that concerns the Sussexes. Now that Charles is King, Archie and Lilibet are entitled to style themselves Prince and Princess, titles Meghan and Harry want for their children. However, there has been no update from the palace about any changes to their titles and they are still listed as “Master” and “Miss” on the Royal Family website.
“My sense is that the king is waiting to see what they do next,” adds the source. “He expects loyalty and respect from Harry.”
When Harry and Meghan stood down as working royals they pledged to uphold the values of the institution, however, their sit down interview with Oprah Winfrey crossed a line and led to a serious fall out between Harry and his family.
There are concerns over what the prince will write in his forthcoming autobiography which has also been delayed until the spring so that Harry can update the manuscript to cover the Queen Elizabeth’s death. Sources in the publishing industry have told Vanity Fair that it is an opportunity for the prince to back track on anything that might be deemed controversial or insensitive about the Queen and or Harry’s relationship with his family.
Backpedaling seems to be the buzzword for the Sussexes, who, according to sources stateside, are keen not to upset the applecart. According to one friend, they had several cordial and productive conversations with Charles and Camilla when they were in the UK for the Queen’s funeral, and do not plan to isolate themselves. After all, they know that their royal calling card is still their most valuable asset.