Prince Harry's Netflix show a hit but personally damaging as royals wait for new attacks

A new trailer video alleges a 'war on Meghan'

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The British royal family is preparing for renewed controversy after a new trailer was released on Wednesday promoting the Harry & Meghan Netflix series.

For Prince Harry the first three episodes were personally damaging as his popularity suffered, but the show was a smash with viewers. The next episodes are available to watch from Thursday,

In a trailer released on Wednesday ― the second in three days ― the duchess of Sussex, her lawyer and a friend said critical stories amounting to a "war on Meghan" were given to news organisations so other stories would disappear.

Meanwhile, Prince Harry alleged, in a trailer released on Monday, that an unidentified “they” are “happy to lie” for Prince William but were “never willing to tell the truth to protect us”.

YouGov, which tracks approval ratings, found that Prince Harry’s popularity slid after the first episodes were released.

Just 33 per cent of Britons now have a positive opinion of him, while 59 per cent have a negative one. He now has a net score of -26, which represents a drop of 13 points since November.

For Meghan, she is now looked upon positively by 25 per cent of Britons, with a net score of -39.

Netflix said the first three episodes had the best opening days the site has recorded for a docuseries. On Thursday, the next three episodes of Harry & Meghan are released.

In the latest trailer the duchess's lawyer, Jenny Afia, said: "There was a real kind of war against Meghan and I've certainly seen evidence that there was negative briefing from the palace against Harry and Meghan to suit other people's agendas."

Her friend Lucy Fraser added: "Meg became this scapegoat for the palace. And so they would feed stories on her whether they were true or not to avoid other less favourable stories being printed."

Meghan said: "You would just see it play out, like a story about someone in my family would pop up for a minute and they'd go 'We've got to kind of make that go away'.

"But there's real estate on a website homepage, there is real estate there on a newspaper front cover, and something has to be filled in there about someone royal."

The mini-series is their version of the events that led to them stepping down in early 2020 as senior members of the British royal family.

After the first episodes were released, more than 80 million hours have been viewed and about 28 million households watched at least part of it, Netflix said.

With trailers for the new episodes mentioning Prince William by name, it is feared the attacks are about to become personal.

Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, address their relationship with the Prince and Princess of Wales and the rift that has opened.

The duchess tells the camera: “I wasn't being thrown to the wolves, I was being fed to the wolves.”

While an image of Buckingham Palace is shown, the Duke of Sussex adds: “They were happy to lie to protect my brother [William]. They were never willing to tell the truth to protect us.”

It is unclear who the duke is referring to as “they”.

So far, the show has criticised the royal family, as official elements rather than as individuals, for failing to protect Meghan and his mother Diana against tabloid excesses.

Most accusations were against the media and the palace press operation, although the couple did direct several barbs at the royal family, including one of unconscious racial bias.

Direct mention of Prince Harry's brother, Prince William, 40, confirmed suspicions that more pointed criticisms may have been saved for last.

Prince Harry is heard saying: “I wonder what would've happened to us had we not got out when we did.”

Meghan adds: “Our security was being pulled. Everyone in the world knew where we were.”

So far, Buckingham Palace has declined to respond to the programme but commentators suggested it may be forced to if criticism gets personal.

Updated: December 14, 2022, 2:52 PM
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