Prince Harry and his wife Meghan piled fresh criticism on the British royal family in new episodes of their Netflix documentary series released on Thursday, accusing his elder brother Prince William of being part of media attacks.
William, now heir to the throne, had screamed at him when he discussed leaving his official royal role almost three years ago, Harry said, while he also added he believed the press were responsible for Meghan having a miscarriage.
In the first tranche of episodes released last week, the royals had escaped relatively unscathed. But in the final three, Harry accuses his relatives of not just failing to prevent negative coverage in the press, but actively encouraging it.
“It is a dirty game. There’s leaking but there’s also planting of stories,” said Harry. “So if the comms (communications) team want to be able to remove a negative story about their principal, they will trade and give you something about someone else’s principal.”
He said he and elder brother William, the heir to the throne, had seen what had happened with the office of their father King Charles and agreed never to repeat it.
“I would far rather get destroyed in the press than play along with this game, or this business of trading,” Harry said. “To see my brother’s office copy the very same thing that we promised the two of us would never ever do, that was heartbreaking.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as Harry and Meghan are officially known, stepped down from royal duties in March 2020, saying they wanted to forge new lives in the United States away from media harassment, which the couple said had threatened to destroy their mental health.
He recounted details of a crisis summit held at the Sandringham estate two months earlier he attended along with the late Queen Elizabeth, Charles, and William.
“It was terrifying to have my brother scream and shout at me, and my father say things that just simply weren’t true, and my grandmother quietly sit there and sort of take it all in,” he said.
Both Buckingham Palace and William’s office, Kensington Palace, have said they would not be commenting on the documentaries.
A royal source also said neither the palace nor representatives of William or other royals had been approached for comment for the series itself, contradicting a Netflix statement that said they had declined to comment.
The episodes were released just hours before Charles, his wife Camilla, William and his wife Kate, along with other royals, attend a carol service at London’s Westminster Abbey, which will also be dedicated to the late queen whose funeral was held there in September.
‘It’s your brother’
In another scene from the documentary, the couple were shown talking about a former senior aide to William, who provided evidence in a successful privacy lawsuit Meghan had brought against the Mail on Sunday newspaper for publishing a letter she had written to her estranged father.
In his evidence the former aide, Jason Knauf, who had also worked for the couple, suggested Meghan had been aware at the time that the letter could leak.
“It’s your brother. Not gonna say anything about your brother, but it’s so obvious,” Meghan said.
Netflix included a statement from a representative for Knauf, which said the claims were “entirely false”.
Harry also said he believed the stress of the case against the Mail had caused Meghan to lose their baby.
“I believe my wife suffered a miscarriage because of what the Mail did,” he said. “I can say from what I saw, that miscarriage was created by what they were trying to do to her.”
There was no immediate comment from the paper.
Accusations against the couple
While the couple have won awards and plaudits from some across the Atlantic for their charitable and human rights work, back in Britain, the press accuses them of seeking to make tens of millions of dollars from Netflix and others by using their royal status to constantly attack the monarchy.
Newspapers have also cited former unnamed royal aides challenging the couple’s narrative in the documentaries, saying there were inaccuracies in their accounts.
“The truth is that negative stories about Harry and Meghan only began to leak out when their behaviour became so obnoxious that it was impossible to hide,” wrote Rebecca English, the Royal Editor for the Daily Mail.