London, United Kingdom:
Prince Harry appeared ready to put the heat on his brother William on Thursday, as Netflix airs the final episodes of the docuseries about the disgruntled king and his wife Meghan Markle.
A trailer for the final three episodes of “Harry & Meghan,” released last week, has already escalated the feud between the brothers, who are now reportedly no longer on speaking terms.
In an apparent reference to Buckingham Palace, 38-year-old Harry accused his family of “institutional gaslighting” and claimed they were “like to lie to protect my brother, but were never willing to tell the truth to protect us”.
Another trailer, released on Wednesday, saw Meghan Markle’s lawyer, Jenny Afia, claiming a briefing war against the couple by the palace “to meet other people’s agendas”.
Meghan’s friend Lucy Fraser added: “Meg became this palace scapegoat.
“And so they would tell her stories, whether they were true or not, to avoid printing other less favorable stories.”
Afia said the “barrage of negative articles” about the breakdown of Meghan’s relationship with her father was “the latest straw in a campaign of negative, vicious coverage of her”.
Harry and Meghan, 41, sensationally retired from royal life in early 2020 and moved to North America, from where they have launched a series of broadsides about the royal family.
In the first three episodes released last Thursday, the couple – otherwise known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – criticized the royal family for “unconscious” racial prejudice.
They accused the palace of failing to protect Meghan and Harry’s mother Diana from tabloid excess.
Most of the criticism was directed at the media.
But direct mention of William, 40, in the latest trailer confirmed suspicions that the more pointed criticism may have been saved for last.
Royal Daily Mail correspondent Rebecca English said “the gloves are off”, while her ITV counterpart, Chris Ship, said: “It’s getting dirty.”
Suggestions that his brother and entourage were responsible for the negative coverage Harry and Meghan received were “a dramatic escalation,” he added.
business as usual
So far, the Palace has declined to comment on the program and disputed Netflix’s claims that they had been approached to comment on the content of the series.
Senior royals, led by Harry’s father King Charles III, are expected to attend a Christmas carol concert on Thursday in a demonstration of “business as usual”.
But commentators suggested they could be forced to act if criticism gets personal, as Harry and Meghan faced calls to relinquish their royal titles – or have them removed.
Last week, Harry appeared to be scrutinizing his older brother and his wife Catherine.
“With many people in the family, especially the men, there may be a temptation or an urge to marry someone who would fit the mold,” he said.
Netflix said last week’s episodes logged 81.55 million hours of viewing worldwide – “the highest number of hours of viewing of any documentary title in a premiere week”.
Several British newspapers said the docuseries was an effective declaration of war by the couple.
They’ve already faced claims that they tried to sabotage William’s first trip to the United States as an heir with the release of the first trailer.
A Dec. 9 YouGov poll found that the docuseries, set to release three months after Queen Elizabeth II’s death, had further tarnished Harry and Meghan’s popularity in the UK.
Harry and Meghan saw their negative ratings among the British public fall to -26 per cent and -39 per cent after the programmes, from -13 per cent and -32 per cent before.
Only Harry’s disgraced uncle Prince Andrew, who earlier this year settled a US civil sexual assault claim out of court without admitting liability, was less popular.
He had a rating of -79 percent.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)
Featured video of the day
Mumbai more polluted than Delhi? Indian cities in a race to the bottom