The Duke and Duchess of California’s hotly anticipated Netflix series is finally out.
Yet those tuning in hoping for some big, juicy revelation about the Royal family may be left disappointed.
The first episode of “Harry and Meghan” is essentially just a corny, American-style love story.
Harry teases us in the opening scene: “No-one knows the full truth,” he says, speaking into the camera. “This isn’t just about our story, this is so much bigger than us….”
Yet the following 50 minutes are very much about them. Romantic piano music plays amid slideshows of photo montages of the happy couple, home video footage documents their domestic life, and the pair sit doe-eyed talking into the camera about how smitten they are with one another.
“This is a great love story and I think this love story is only just getting started,” says Harry – or “H”, as Meghan tends to refer to him throughout the episode.
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H&M are keen to detail the early days of their relationship, and convince viewers that, in many ways, this is just an “ordinary” love story.
Like a true modern couple, they met over instagram. The first time Harry – virtually – laid eyes on Meghan, someone he knew had posted a photo of her with a puppy dog filter covering her face. “Prince Haz” likes that picture of you, her friend told her. Meghan asked to see his “feed”, was wooed by all his gorgeous photos of elephants in Africa, and sure enough, a hot date was on the cards.
The episode features interviews with several of Meghan’s friends, gushing about H&M’s love match.
Around the time they met, she wasn’t looking for a man, one of her friends insists: “She had planned her single girl summer.”
Meghan agrees: “I had a career, I had my life, I had my path” – before letting out a dramatic sigh – “and then along came H. I mean he literally appeared. Talk about a plot twist!”
The couple wanted to keep the relationship secret for as long as possible. It was this “guarded secret,” they explain. “But it felt so right and so normal. We could both just be completely ourselves.”
While keen to keep out of the public eye, they were certainly intent on documenting their love affair from the start. The viewer is shown endless selfies of them kissing, polaroids of them curled up in a photo booth together and screenshots of them on FaceTime to one another.
And Harry is certainly keen to make out that this is the kind of love match that many from his world are denied. “For so many people in the family, especially the men, there can be a temptation or an urge to marry someone who would fit the mould as opposed to somebody who you are perhaps destined to be with.”
“It’s a difference between making a decision with your head or your heart,” he adds.
The love story is intersected with swipes at the media and paparazzi. “The majority” of his early memories “are being swarmed by paparazzi,” says Harry. “When I get to meet M, I was terrified of her being driven away by the media, the same media that had driven so many people away from me.”
Speaking of the media, in the final minutes of episode one, suddenly, the secret love affair is secret no more.
Word has got out. The papers are heading to print, preparing to splash the news to the whole world first thing tomorrow.
Some ominous music plays, while Harry speaks into the camera: “Naively, I didn’t know what I was walking into. But in October of 2019, suddenly everything changed.”
And then, just like that, in true Hollywood style, episode one is over. Harry leaves us on a cliffhanger. Like any American TV series, it seems the story of Harry and Meghan is going to be strung out for as long as possible…
But fear not, there are another two episodes already available to watch on Netflix and more to come next week if you can bear to sit through so much smulch.
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