RICHARD KAY: How will William feel about this blatantly public grab for Diana’s legacy? 


Of all the bitter and wretched words uttered by Prince Harry yesterday, the saddest, surely, were those directed at the Royal Family.

From the perceived coldness of Kate to airbrushing his father, he set about their reputations with the same icy disdain he accuses the royals of directing towards him.

But perhaps the most telling moments of this self-serving exercise were those in which he monopolised the memory of his late mother as some sort of justification for his actions. Meghan and Princess Diana were ‘so similar’, he declared, and like his mother his wife had suffered at the hands of the paparazzi.

What haunted him was history repeating itself. And in case the point had been missed, he explained: ‘My mum made most of her decisions from her heart,’ before adding: ‘I am my mother’s son.’

Of all the bitter and wretched words uttered by Prince Harry yesterday, the saddest, surely, were those directed at the Royal Family

The Prince and Princess of Wales arrive for the second annual Earthshot Prize Awards Ceremony on Friday

The Prince and Princess of Wales arrive for the second annual Earthshot Prize Awards Ceremony on Friday

Quite how Prince William will feel at this blatantly public grab for Diana¿s legacy remains to be seen

Quite how Prince William will feel at this blatantly public grab for Diana’s legacy remains to be seen

Harry compared Meghan to Diana, saying they shared the same 'compassion'

Harry compared Meghan to Diana, saying they shared the same 'compassion'

Harry compared Meghan to Diana, saying they shared the same ‘compassion’ 

Chaotic Royal row breaks out over Harry and Meghan’s Netflix documentary

 

Harry and Meghan’s Netflix documentary today sparked a transatlantic war of words over whether the Royal Family were given the chance to properly respond to incendiary claims made by the Sussexes.

A senior source insisted Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and members of the family were not approached for comment on content in the six-part series in a devastating blow to its credibility.

However, a Netflix source has insisted the communications offices for the King and the Prince of Wales were contacted in advance and given the chance to react to Harry and Meghan’s ‘claims within the series’.

Kensington Palace then responded by saying that they had an email from a third-party production company, not Harry and Meghan’s Archewell foundation or Netflix. The Prince of Wales’ aides then contacted the Sussexes and the streaming giant to verify if it was genuine, but got no reply.

‘In the absence of this verification, we were unable to provide any response. The substance of the email we received also did not address the entire series,’ a source said. A Buckingham Palace source has also disputed the Sussexes’ claims that the royals were asked to comment.

The row began when at the beginning of episode one, for around 20 seconds, the screen went black apart from the words: ‘Members of the Royal Family declined to comment on the content within the series.’ 

The insider added that, for now, there will be no official comment from the King or the Prince of Wales on its incendiary contents, including allegations of racism and ‘unconscious bias’ and a series of barbs aimed at Charles, William, Kate Middleton and other royals.

Harry said his family also failed to understand that his wife-to-be needed protection against racist attacks.

The series and the row over right of reply reveals just how badly relations have broken down between the Sussexes and the Royal Family. One source told the Mirror of William and Harry: ‘Sadly it shows the gulf between the two brothers couldn’t be wider’.

 

 

Quite how Prince William will feel at this blatantly public grab for Diana’s legacy remains to be seen.

The days when their fraternal bond of affection was the most reassuring feature of royal life are long gone. As are the days when Harry was the essence of a popular 21st-century prince: not only good-looking and a brave soldier, but someone who could laugh easily at himself.

There was precious little laughter in the three hour-long episodes released by Netflix. Instead we were presented with a toe-curling account of their romance and a partial and one-sided diatribe of their perceived treatment at the hands of the media and the monarchy.

No opportunity to include references to the late Princess of Wales were missed.

The first episode featured footage of a young William and Harry playing at a piano, accompanied by their parents alongside a soundtrack of Diana talking about her two sons.

William appears to tell Harry not to stand on his toe, and Diana says: ‘William: he’s a typical three-year-old. Very enthusiastic. Whereas perhaps Harry is more quiet and just watches. He’s certainly a different character altogether.’

For Harry, the similarities with his mother are striking. ‘So much of what Meghan is and how she is, is so similar to my mum,’ he says in the documentary.

‘She has the same compassion. She has the same empathy. She has the same confidence. She has this warmth about her.’

How sad, then, that he does not remember one of Diana’s most attractive qualities — that even in the depths of her despair over her marriage to Prince Charles, she never sought to favour one son above another.

Indeed, whenever she felt that family attention was being directed too much at William the future king, she would make a point of including Harry. Even the late Queen Mother was reprimanded on one occasion by the princess, who was angered by the way the matriarch always wanted her oldest grandson at her side for family events, rather than Harry.

Profoundly affected by his mother’s death in 1997 when he was only 12, Harry claims that he had to deal with his loss without much support. But this implication of family indifference, especially in those first months, is far from the truth.

Diana’s sisters — Harry’s Spencer aunts — were invaluable, regularly visiting him at his Berkshire prep school, Ludgrove, to watch his sports fixtures. One aunt even ensured that the prince received the 13th birthday present Diana had chosen for him before her death.

He also had the reassuring presence of Tiggy Legge-Bourke, the royal nanny who remained a feature in his life until his schooldays were complete.

At the same time Prince Charles, concerned at the lack of maternal company in his son’s life, arranged for one of his communications team — a mother herself — to be available as much as possible to Harry.

There was precious little laughter in the three hour-long episodes released by Netflix earlier today

There was precious little laughter in the three hour-long episodes released by Netflix earlier today

The Prince and Princess of Wales arrive for the second annual Earthshot Prize Awards Ceremony on Friday

The Prince and Princess of Wales arrive for the second annual Earthshot Prize Awards Ceremony on Friday

If this doesn¿t wound the King then Harry¿s bizarre claim that he had a second ¿family¿ to bring him up almost certainly will

If this doesn’t wound the King then Harry’s bizarre claim that he had a second ‘family’ to bring him up almost certainly will

Harry and Meghan's Netflix documentary began with this statement - Buckingham Palace today disputed this in a blow to the credibility of the series

Harry and Meghan’s Netflix documentary began with this statement – Buckingham Palace today disputed this in a blow to the credibility of the series

And how does Harry acknowledge this fatherly concern? He tells viewers that as a father himself, he doesn’t want to repeat the mistakes his parents made.

If this doesn’t wound the King then Harry’s bizarre claim that he had a second ‘family’ to bring him up almost certainly will. Unfortunately Harry cannot decide who this second family is.

Is it the group of friends he says he spent time with during his teenage trips to Lesotho in southern Africa or is it, as he later puts it, the comrades he met during his ten years in the Army?

Never mind: the drum beat of these complaints is what counts. It is about neglect and lack of guidance.

But while Charles may be hurt, Prince William will have every reason to resent the way both he, and particularly Kate, are treated.

‘It is a classic example of seeking to wound but fearing to strike,’ says one of William’s friends.

At several points in the documentary, Harry appears to take aim at his brother. When news of his relationship with Meghan emerged in 2016, he said he wanted to fight back at the media attention she was receiving. In the documentary, he claims the attitude of other royals was: ‘My wife went through this, why should yours get special attention?’

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's controversial Netflix documentary was released this morning

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s controversial Netflix documentary was released this morning

It was business as usual for King Charles today, who appeared in great spirits as he attended a community hub in King's Cross, London

It was business as usual for King Charles today, who appeared in great spirits as he attended a community hub in King’s Cross, London

An incredibly intimate snap of Meghan and Harry's engagement was shared in the docuseries, showing the royal on one knee with his now wife's dog and white roses as he proposed

An incredibly intimate snap of Meghan and Harry’s engagement was shared in the docuseries, showing the royal on one knee with his now wife’s dog and white roses as he proposed

A pregnant Meghan Markle with her son Archie resting on her bump in the new Netflix series released today

A pregnant Meghan Markle with her son Archie resting on her bump in the new Netflix series released today

Harry and Meghan kiss in the behind closed doors Netflix series. Harry says he made decision to marry Meghan 'with his heart' because he is 'his mother's son' and claims his wife being an American actress 'clouded' his family's view of her

Harry and Meghan kiss in the behind closed doors Netflix series. Harry says he made decision to marry Meghan ‘with his heart’ because he is ‘his mother’s son’ and claims his wife being an American actress ‘clouded’ his family’s view of her

There can be little doubt that this must be a reference to the former Kate Middleton, who actually suffered far more intrusion from paparazzi than Meghan did.

It is of course no secret that the two couples, once dubbed the ‘Fab Four’, have long since fallen out. Judging by Meghan’s comments, they never really fell in.

Recalling when she first met the Cambridges, Meghan says: ‘They came for dinner. I remember I was in ripped jeans and I was barefoot.’

Her next recollection is clearly designed as a dig. ‘I was a hugger,’ she says, ‘always been a hugger. I didn’t realise that is jarring for a lot of Brits. I guess I started to understand very quickly that the formality on the outside carried through on the inside . . . and that was surprising to me.’

Was this the icy coolness that later saw both women accused of making the other one cry?

Even when Harry says the royals were ‘incredibly impressed’ when they first met Meghan, he cannot avoid a sly complaint.

Meghan said she was shocked at the formality of the Royal Family and showed how she bowed for the first time when she met the Queen

Meghan said she was shocked at the formality of the Royal Family and showed how she bowed for the first time when she met the Queen

The late Queen and the Duchess of Sussex stand together during a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge in June 2018

The late Queen and the Duchess of Sussex stand together during a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge in June 2018

‘They were surprised that “the Ginger” could land such a beautiful woman,’ he says. ‘And such an intelligent woman. But the fact that I was dating an American actress was probably what clouded their judgement more than anything else in the beginning.’

Meghan agrees. ‘The actress thing was the biggest problem, funnily enough . . . It was just very easy for them, to typecast that.’

For a man who was once the Royal Family’s greatest asset, one remarkable feature about Harry emerges: his extraordinary lack of self-awareness. He complains endlessly about the attention the couple receive from the hated media, but lacks the ­emotional depth to recognise that he also has one of the most privileged existences.

Indeed, as he watches Meghan disrespectfully demonstrating the curtsy she made to the Queen when she met her for the first time, it is tempting to wonder if he was ever truly cut out for royal life in the first place.

‘This is all sizzle, no steak, where’s the beef?’: Experts slam lack of ‘substance’ in Sussexes’ Netflix show, accusing them of ‘whinging and whining’ from £12m ‘fortress’ in California after couple ‘video-diaried’ their way out of the royal family

Harry Howard for MailOnline 

Royal experts today hit out at Harry and Meghan’s new Netflix series for its alleged lack of ‘substance’, claiming it is ‘all sizzle, no steak.’

A slew of commentators took to TV studios to give their views on the first three episodes of the show, which were released this morning. 

Former BBC royal correspondent Michael Cole said the first three episodes have been ‘all sizzle and no steak’ and asked: ‘Where is the beef?’ 

He added that the couple have been ‘whinging and whining’ whilst living in a ‘hilltop fortress in California‘.  

Highlighting the personal footage and photos that feature in the show, ITV’s royal editor Chris Ship said the couple ‘basically video diaried their way out of the royal family’, despite having complained about media intrusion in their lives.

Royal experts today hit out at Harry and Meghan's new Netflix series for its alleged lack of 'substance', claiming it is 'all sizzle, no steak'

Royal experts today hit out at Harry and Meghan’s new Netflix series for its alleged lack of ‘substance’, claiming it is ‘all sizzle, no steak’

Speaking to GB News, Mr Cole said: ‘This is all sizzle and no steak; an expression I’m sure Netflix will understand. Where is the beef? 

‘Because it is not living up to its billings and if we are just going to be treated to six episodes of them blandly saying “we are wonderful and the others are horrible, we are right and they are wrong”, I think that is going to pall quite quickly.

‘We have now just seen the first three episodes. But it is not a good look you know, whinging and whining.’

He went on to draw a contrast between the couple’s glamorous lives with the war in Ukraine and the struggles ordinary Britons are facing with rising energy and food prices.

‘When you think about these two people in their hilltop fortress in California, lovely looking people both of them, beautiful children, healthy,’ he said. 

‘They have got all the money in the world, cars, people who want to see them, smile at them, say yes to them, what an earth have they got to worry about. 

Former BBC royal correspondent Michael Cole said the first three episodes have been 'all sizzle and no steak' and asked: 'Where is the beef?'

Former BBC royal correspondent Michael Cole said the first three episodes have been ‘all sizzle and no steak’ and asked: ‘Where is the beef?’

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said on GB News that he expects direct criticism of other members of the royal family to come in the next three episodes, which will be released next week

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said on GB News that he expects direct criticism of other members of the royal family to come in the next three episodes, which will be released next week

‘Two time zones from where we are sitting in London, there is a terrible war going on. People are being murdered, raped, and don’t know where they are going to go for their food and their heat. 

‘In this country there are people afraid to turn on their central heating because they don’t think they can pay the bill.

‘I’ve just come here on the train. All those people are putting up with strikes and the eco-anarchists on the road, preventing them earning a living to pay their taxes to pay for all this [the Royal Family].’

He added: ‘You either want publicity or you don’t want publicity, but it goes with the territory. 

‘And I said to a minor royal who was complaining about some unfair coverage, and I said to him, “the time for you to worry matey is when the media is no longer interested.”

‘Because that will mean the media is no longer interested in the monarchy.

And when that happens, the game is up. Let’s be honest about this.’ 

His comments came as ITV’s royal editor highlighted on Good Morning Britain the slew of previously private videos and images that appear in the first three episodes of the show.

‘You got little teasers of like how Meghan and Harry basically video diaried their way out of the Royal Family,’ Mr Ship said. 

‘That might come as a surprise to some people given that they were complaining against intrusion.

‘It might create the impression that they were planning always to make some Netflix documentary like this.

‘For me the issue is between the criticism of their privacy being invaded by the press and yet then we have got cameras inside their car filming them being chased by the paparazzi in the US.

‘For me that sits rather uncomfortably… about those pictures of them, allowing cameras to take pictures of them in very private moments.’

Dickie Arbiter, 82, who was the Queen’s press spokesman from 1988 until 2000, also questioned the couple’s stated wish for privacy. 

‘They left [the royal family] because they wanted privacy,’ he told GB News. 

‘Well so much for privacy in this documentary because we are seeing a lot of family photographs, we are seeing, albeit the backs of the children, little bit of side profile but we are still seeing them. 

‘So it is really suiting their agenda.’

And Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said on GB News that he expects direct criticism of other members of the royal family to come in the next three episodes, which will be released next week.

‘This is about as I see it two things, one is money,’ he said. 

‘The Sussexs have a contract with Netflix that is worth it has been estimated a reported $100million or so… and they had therefore to make something that was supposed to appeal most emphatically to an American audience.

‘Essentially, although there are jibes that could be linked to them, they don’t criticise individual members of the royal family as yet. 

‘But there is no question that this is probably coming I suspect, in the fourth, fifth sixth episodes.

‘Watching it I have to say I am going to reserve judgement as to how damaging it is going to be until I’ve seen the whole thing.

‘When it comes to privacy and you share intimate texts, intimate videos, they couldn’t be more intimate. 

‘Privacy is gone when you’ve got money. And also there is the revenge factor. 

‘That is left to the second part next Thursday where explosive revelations are promised I think.’

Royal biographer Angela Levin said on TalkTV that the couple have ‘rewritten history’.

I actually found it riveting. Three hours I sat there,’ she said.

‘And the reason is, I have often said they are only interested in talking globally. 

‘And this was like an A to Z of global complaints that if it was to do with them they could manage it all.

‘I thought there was a real demand that they took over.

‘They have re-written history, remembered every single little grievance over the five years that they’ve known each other. 

‘Tiny things, like her zip went on one occasion. For goodness sake, who are you to keep all of that in your head.

V’ery ungracious. There was no thank you very much for what Meghan’s got. S

‘he is rich and famous now. She wouldn’t have been if she hadn’t married into the monarchy. And they broke their privacy good and proper.’

Paul Burrell, Princess Diana’s former butler, said Harry and Meghan have chosen to ‘cash in’ with the new show, when they could have been ‘at the heart of the royal family’. 

Burrell, 64, served as a footman for Her Majesty and was later butler to Diana for 10 years until her death in 1997. 

Speaking on ITV’s Lorraine this morning in response to the release of the first three episodes of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s show, he said the Queen, who died aged 96 in September, would be ‘very upset and unhappy that Harry was saying so much, showing so many private things.’

He added that the show likely to create fresh ‘conflict’ between the duke and his elder brother Prince William and has been ‘carefully directed’ by Harry and Meghan to ‘make them look like victims.’  

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