The multi-million dollar deal Harry and Meghan signed with Netflix in 2020 to produce content with the streaming giant has been the subject of much speculation from the moment it closed. Would her first offering be a Kardashian-style reality show at home, as reported earlier in the year, or a more traditional documentary focused on her philanthropic work?
More recently, conflicting reports have emerged as to whether its inaugural show – and long-awaited Harry memoir – are undergoing a series of severe edits in light of Elizabeth II’s death.
As its release draws closer, here’s everything we know about the upcoming documentary.
Will it change in light of the Queen’s death?
Reports in US entertainment outlet Page Six recently claimed that the pair “are taking a dramatic turn in their upcoming projects in the wake of the Queen’s death” and later that, according to an anonymous Netflix source, “they have made requests important to return the content that they themselves have provided.
Despite these alleged requests, the source added that “Netflix stands behind the filmmakers.” Similarly, the source believed that if the editing requests were “granted, the project would be effectively shelved.”
“Harry and Meghan are in a panic,” another source quoted in the report said, “trying to tone down even the most basic language. But it’s their story from their own mouths.”
However, other sources have offered a somewhat contradictory perspective to The Telegraph.
“There seems to be a big misconception that they need or want to change the project. Edits are always made, but that’s how it works: people give notes, sometimes edits are made if there’s time before a deadline.”
Given that Harry and Meghan have always spoken highly of Queen Elizabeth, the Telegraph’s reports that these are regular editions seem perhaps more realistic.
The Telegraph reported, however, that there has been “back and forth” over the project’s proposed release date, with one source admitting: “the timing is not ideal” given the Queen’s recent death.
What have Harry and Meghan said about it?
The pair have remained fairly tight-lipped about the documentary, as has Netflix. Aside from refuting through a spokesperson that what they were filming was a reality show, the only other glimpses of the couple came from a recent interview with The Cut, during which Meghan offered some insight into what would be included.
“The part of my life that I haven’t been able to share, that people haven’t been able to see is our love story.”
Meghan added: “I’m not trying to be cautious,” but said Liz Garbus, the project’s deputy director, “is amazing.”
Meghan also said: “When the media has shaped the story around you, it’s really nice to be able to tell your own.”
From the start of their relationship, Meghan and Harry have worried that their story has often been distorted, or at least influenced, by the media.
In 2020, the couple wrote to the editors of four major UK newspapers saying they would refuse to respond to requests from journalists in future and would follow a zero-compromise approach except when instructing lawyers to correct any erroneous reports. Last June, the Sussexes accused the BBC of libel over a report on the appointment of their daughter Lilibet.
So it seems like the couple are more likely to take offense at the media on any Netflix show, rather than their extended family, particularly after the recent loss of Queen Elizabeth.
Now, as The Telegraph reports, they get the chance to show “where they came from, what they’ve been through and where they are. I think it will tell a lot about the choices they’ve had to make and how they ended up here.”
What was the deal Meghan and Harry made with Netflix?
In 2020, it was announced that, as one of their initial ventures on their journey to financial independence, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had signed a multi-year deal to produce content with the streaming giant.
Archewell Productions, the Sussex media production company, would create content for Netflix including: “documentaries, documentary series, feature films, scripted shows and children’s programming,” according to the New York Times.
this included Invictus Heart a documentary series about competitors taking part in the Invictus Games and an animated children’s show called Pearl, which has since been scrapped.
“There’s not much you can do when a company and a division change their slate,” Meghan told The Cut of Pearl, “And there’s not much you can do when, even if they think the project is great, the media will report as if It was my only project.
The deal was reported to be worth between $50 and $100 million.
Katie Nicholl, author of ‘The New Royals’, told GB News that: “If you’re going to sleep with Netflix, Spotify, with the big publishers and sign these multi-million dollar deals, they’re going to want their pound of meat.”
What’s going on with Harry’s memories?
A release date for Harry’s memoir has yet to be confirmed. Rumor has it that the Duke of Sussex wants to rewrite part of the draft since the death of his grandmother.
While some speculation is that these alleged revisions are an attempt to temper anything that might deepen family divisions within the House of Windsor, the Telegraph has reported that it has more to do with “clarifying tenses” and ensuring that the text “make sense”. “