LONDON (AP) — The British press erupted in outrage Friday over the Prince Harry and Meghan documentary series, which criticizes the British media for its treatment of the royal couple.
But much of Britain reacted to the Netflix show with a shrug. Buckingham Palace did not comment and the prime minister did not look.
The first three hour-long episodes of “Harry and Meghan” dropped on Thursday, with three more due out on December 15. So far, the series has contained few of the bombs the palace feared.
On the show, the couple, along with Meghan’s friends and family, recount their early life and blossoming romance, leading up to their fairytale wedding at Windsor Castle in 2018, and their growing discontent with what they saw. such as racist treatment by the media. Meghan and the lack of support from the palace.
Harry and Meghan stepped down from royal duties in early 2020 and moved to California to start a new life as activists, benefactors of charities and media personalities.
At the heart of the show is the symbiotic and sometimes toxic relationship between the British royal family and the media. Each side needs the other, but both are often dissatisfied with the arrangements. Prince Harry has long criticized the intrusion of the press that he says clouded his childhood and contributed to the death of his mother, Princess Diana. He died in a car accident in Paris in 1997 while being chased by photographers.
Meghan claims in the documentary that the media wanted to “destroy” her, while Harry says his wife was the subject of a “feeding frenzy” from the press.
That irritated British newspapers, many of which vented their anger in front pages and editorial columns.
Some took issue with the series’ claims that the United Kingdom’s Commonwealth and its former colonies, an organization led until her death by Queen Elizabeth II, is an extension of the British Empire and its racism. The Daily Telegraph front page accused the show of being a “direct blow” to the queen’s legacy. In an editorial, the conservative-leaning Daily Mail called the show “little more than a hatchet job from start to finish.”
The Sun tabloid said the documentary was “made for an American audience, cementing their potential to make money in the US, and to hell with everything and everyone else, including the truth.”
Scotland’s Daily Record said the palace was stunned by the couple’s allegations, with the headline: “We are not amused”.
Bob Seely, a lawmaker from the ruling Conservative Party, said he would try to introduce a bill in Parliament to strip the couple of their royal titles, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Seely said Prince Harry was attacking major British institutions, “as well as tearing apart his family and monetizing his misery for public consumption.”
Employment Minister Guy Opperman called the pair “totally irrelevant” and urged people to “boycott Netflix and make sure we really focus on the things that matter.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office said it did not support Seely’s bill or the boycott of Netflix.
“It is a matter for the public which channels they want to watch,” said spokesman Jamie Davies. He said the prime minister had not seen the series and the government would “never comment on real issues.”
The show comes at a crucial time for the monarchy. King Carlos III is trying to show that the institution still has a role to play after the death in September of the queen, whose personal popularity dampened criticism of the crown during her 70-year reign.
The king declined to comment on the Netflix series during public engagements in London on Thursday or during a visit to Welsh football club Wrexham AFC on Friday, where he met the team’s owners, Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. .
Both said they hadn’t seen the series, with McElhenney quipping, “I’ve never heard of it.”
Many in Britain had mixed feelings about a show that repeats longstanding grievances between the Sussexes, the palace and the press.
In London, Lucy Barratt, 59, said the documentary was “too much” but she might watch it anyway.
“I know it sucks to be a royal, but part of being a royal is not complaining,” she said. “Go on, have a drink with a mate and talk about it.
“I am torn between watching it and I want to cancel Netflix. But then, as a kind of voyeur, I could see it.”