Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Netflix documentary will be released on 8 December, industry sources have claimed.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were reported to have tried to push it back to 2023 despite the streaming giant paying them a rumoured $100million (£88million) for the fly-on-the-wall series.
There have been mixed reports, with the royals reportedly ‘at odds’ with the production staff on their Netflix docuseries because the ‘panicked’ couple want to make ‘such extensive edits’ that the team believe the project could be ‘shelved indefinitely’,
However Page Six has now revealed the documentary, which sources said was once called ‘Chapters’, will air next Thursday.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Netflix documentary will be released on 8 December, industry sources have claim
Just six months after the couple set up home in California in March 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced a shiny new deal with Netflix, saying they wanted to provide ‘hope and inspiration’ by teaming up with the streaming goliath.
The Duke and Duchess said their company, unnamed at the time but now known as Archewell Productions, would make documentaries, feature films, scripted shows and children’s programming.
In a statement, the Sussexes said: ‘Our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope. As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us.’
They added that Netflix’s ‘unprecedented reach will help us share impactful content that unlocks action.’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were reported to have tried to push it back to 2023 despite the streaming giant paying them a rumoured $100million (£88million) for the fly-on-the-wall series
Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer and co-chief exec, said at the time: ‘We’re incredibly proud they have chosen Netflix as their creative home and are excited about telling stories with them that can help build resilience and increase understanding for audiences everywhere.’
The timeline of Prince Harry and Meghan’s bombshell documentary series
September 2020 – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s production company, Archewell Productions, signed a reported $100million deal with the streaming giant.
July 2021 – Meghan announces first project with Netflix – an animated series called Pearl. She was taking on the roles of ‘creator and executive producer’ – marking the first time the former actress and Suits star would work in the position of EP.
September – Spotted filming in New York at the Global Citizen Live event
April 2022 – Spotted filming at the Invictus Games in the Hague
May – Reports emerge Netflix are hoping for an ‘at-home with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex-style’ docuseries
Meghan’s animated series Pearl is dropped by Netflix as part of a wave of cutbacks prompted by the streaming service’s drop in subscribers.
June – Couple were told they wouldn’t be able to film while attending Jubilee celebrations
August – Meghan hints that the documentary could focus on their ‘love story
September – The Queen dies. Reports emerge the the couple want to ‘downplay’ what they’ve said about the royal family in the documentary
October – It was reported how the Duke and Duchess were ‘at odds’ with the production staff on their Netflix docuseries because the ‘panicked’ couple wanted to make ‘such extensive edits’ that the team believe the project could be ‘shelved indefinitely’.
Meghan then appears to try to distance herself from the project during an interview.
She suggested that its direction was in the hands of left-leaning filmmaker Liz Garbus ‘even if it means it may not be the way we would have told it’.
At the end of the month, it’s announced Prince Harry’s memoir will be released on January 10 and will be called Spare.
November – It was reported Prince Harry was trying to get Netflix to postpone the documentary until after Christmas so it was released at around the same time as his bombshell memoir.
It is claimed Prince Harry and Meghan first hired Oscar-nominated director Garrett Bradley for the series – before they had a falling out and she left.
Meanwhile Netflix face heavy backlash over the fifth series of The Crown, and reports suggest the streaming platform might push back the release date of Harry and Meghan’s series in response.
However, it is then revealed the couple will release the documentary on December 8.
December 8 – Documentary is set to be released
January 10 2023 – Prince Harry’s memoir Spare is due to be released
After putting ink to paper on the deal, the Sussexes were said to have welcomed cameras into their luxury Montecito mansion for a reality-type documentary, Page Sixreported.
While it’s unclear on exactly how much of their home life the couple were prepared to share, they certainly did let Netflix cameras trail them on public appearances in 2021 and 2022.
When Harry and Meghan jetted to the Global Citizen Live event in New York in late September 2021, a camera crew accompanied them.
And just over six months later in the Hague, in April this year, the Duke and Duchess were filmed at the Invictus Games, hugging Team United Kingdom competitor Lisa Johnston and meeting competitors and chatting to the crowds.
One of the organisers at the event said the Netflix team arrived in six people carriers with caseloads of equipment.
The film crew were given maroon bibs to help them stand out from the dozens of photographers covering the games and given exclusive access to the couple with behind close door meeting with the athletes.
However, when it came to the Queen’s Jubilee in June – just a few months before the late Monarch died on September 8th, the couple were firmly told they wouldn’t be able to film while attending the celebrations.
Indeed, Meghan and Harry took a low key role in the national event, missing out on key moments on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, which only senior roles were allowed to attend.
Even before it’s release, the show has made waves on both sides of the Atlantic and it is expected to cause fresh turmoil for the Royal Family. Harry also has his memoirs, named ‘Spare’, on the way.
Royal experts have claimed in recent weeks that these two bombshell projects will further set back any prospect of a meaningful reconciliation between the couple, who live in a $14.65million Montecito mansion with their two children, Archie, three, and Lilibet, one, with King Charles and Prince William.
This summer, Meghan hinted that the documentary could focus on their ‘love story’.
Speaking in an interview with The Cut, the Duchess said her five-year-long romance with Prince Harry is one of the ‘pieces of her life’ that she has not yet been able to share with the public.
The Duchess continued: ‘The piece of my life I haven’t been able to share, that people haven’t been able to see, is our love story.’
But after the Queen’s death the Sussexes were said to have wanted to ‘downplay much of what they have said about Charles III, Queen Consort Camilla, and the Prince and Princess of Wales’ in their documentary series, according to a previous report.
It was then reportedhow the Duke and Duchess were ‘at odds’ with the production staff on their Netflix docuseries because the ‘panicked’ couple wanted to make ‘such extensive edits’ that the team believe the project could be ‘shelved indefinitely’.
One Hollywood industry source said the couple were facing doubts about the series following the Queen’s death.
They said: ‘A lot of conversations are happening.
‘I hear that Harry and Meghan want the series to be held until next year, they want to stall.
‘I wonder if the show could even be dead in the water at this point, do Harry and Meghan just want to shelve this thing?,’ they added.
A Netflix insider also claimed: ‘Netflix has been keen to have the show ready to stream for December. There’s a lot of pressure on (Netflix CEO) Ted Sarandos, who has the relationship with Harry and Meghan, to get this show finished.’
However the source added that the streaming platform was ‘standing by the filmmakers’ who want to keep the content in the project, and that it will still be ‘going forward.’
Harry and Meghan had been working on the series as part of their rumoured $100 million (£88million) deal with the beleaguered streaming giant. But there has been toing and froing over when it will be released
Insiders reportedly told US website Page Six earlier this year that the couple were ‘having second thoughts’ on the project.
‘Harry and Meghan are panicked about trying to tone down even the most basic language.
‘But it’s their story, from their own mouths,’ one Netflix source told the website last month.
Another said: ‘They’ve made significant requests to walk back content they themselves have provided’.
And Prince Harry faced claims that he was trying to get Netflix to postpone his controversial fly-on-the-wall documentary until after Christmas so it was released at around the same time as his bombshell memoir.
Hollywood news website Deadline previously said that ‘rattled’ Netflix bosses ‘blinked first’ and decided to push back the original December release date after the US company came under heavy criticism over its bombshell fifth series of royal drama The Crown.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had turned to Garrett Bradley (left), director of the critically acclaimed Netflix series about tennis prodigy Naomi Osaka – but they reportedly clashed over the direction of the show, leaving Liz Garbus, who was also due to work on the Duchess’ series Pearl before it was scrapped by Netflix, to take over
Filmmaker Liz Garbus, who directed the last season of The Handmaid’s Tale, was hired following Garrett’s exit from the project. In October, Megan told Variety Magazine, she admired Garbus’ work
Meghan even appeared to distance herself and Harry from their upcoming and controversial Netflix documentary around a month after Her Majesty’s death.
‘They want to be in the spotlight at any cost!’ Royal biographer slams Harry and Meghan for accepting prestigious human rights award
A royal biographer has slammed Meghan Markle and Prince Harry for accepting a prestigious human rights award, claiming the ex-royal couple ‘want to be in the spotlight at any cost.’
Next month the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be honoured with the Ripple of Hope Award at a gala organized by the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Foundation.
The charity is named after former President Kennedy’s younger brother, who was assassinated in 1968 during his presidential campaign.
Its gong has previously gone to former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Vice President Kamala Harris, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Desmond Tutu, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Apple CEO Tim Cook, anti-apartheid bishop Desmond Tutu, Colin Kaepernick and George Clooney.
But royal biographer Angela Levin told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview that she believed Harry and Meghan’s charitable credentials were ‘fantasy laced with persuasion’ and questioned: ‘Are they really up there with earlier award winners?’
‘Whichever way you look at it, their alleged achievements seem fantasy laced with persuasion and who knows what else, rather than fact,’ Levin said.
‘Meghan and Harry have found it difficult to get close to A-list celebrities. They haven’t received invitations to all the right parties so perhaps the next best thing for them was to get on award lists where A-listers abound.
‘Meghan especially is giving the impression they will stop at nothing to get to the top. She should be careful as it could all crumple.’
The Duchess of Sussex suggested that its direction is now in the hands of Left-leaning filmmaker Liz Garbus ‘even if it means it may not be the way we would have told it’.
She said in a magazine interview: ‘It’s nice to be able to trust someone with our story — a seasoned director whose work I’ve long admired — even if it means it may not be the way we would have told it. But that’s not why we’re telling it. We’re trusting our story to someone else, and that means it will go through their lens.
‘It’s interesting. My husband has never worked in this industry before.
‘For me, having worked on Suits, it’s so amazing to be around so much creative energy and to see how people work together and share their own points of view. That’s been really fun.’
Garbus, who was also due to work on the Duchess’ series Pearl before it was scrapped by Netflix, is a documentarian and filmmaker and also helmed the last season of The Handmaid’s Tale, which earned her an Emmy nomination in 2021.
The TV drama is an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel, which became an instant feminist classic following the story of a woman named Offred, who is forced to live as ‘handmaid’ producing children against her will in a totalitarian North America.
Garbus has been involved in a host of other TV and film projects about oppressed women, notably including Girlhood, which follows two female inmates – victims of horrific violence and tragedy – who are serving time in a juvenile detention centre.
She has also had control over a documentary about the life and legend of singer, pianist and civil rights activist Nina Simone as well as a film called Shouting Fire: Stories from the Edge of Free Speech.
Meanwhile the director’s Instagram page is openly political, with recent posts urging for women’s abortion rights and comments about ‘brilliant’ Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
Biographer Tom Bower previously said the Sussexes’ Netflix series would be helpful publicity for Harry’s book.
‘Viewers and readers can expect scathing comments about their treatment by Harry’s family.
‘Wallowing in self-pity, the Sussexes will portray themselves as victims of uncaring charlatans,’ he said.
In a previous statement announcing the deal, Penguin said the book it would cover Harry’s ‘lifetime in the public eye from childhood to the present day, including his dedication to service, the military duty that twice took him to the frontlines of Afghanistan, and the joy he has found in being a husband and father’.
The contents of Harry’s book are likely to be kept top secret and palace aides have revealed that no members of the Royal Family have been offered the chance to see any of it before it becomes public. When the publishing deal was announced in July 2021, only the Queen was given advance warning.
It comes after The Mail on Sunday reported that Harry launched a last-minute bid to tone down his bombshell autobiography amid fears his final draft ‘might not go down too well’ in the wake of the Queen’s death.
The memoirs had been signed off ready for an expected autumn release, but the Duke – who is writing the book as part of a near £40million three-title deal – has asked to make some significant alterations.
His request may be seen as a sign that he is ready to take a more conciliatory approach to the rest of the Royal Family, but could cause problems for his publishers.
‘Harry has thrown a spanner in the works,’ a source said. ‘He is keen for refinements in the light of the Queen’s death, her funeral and his father Charles taking the throne.
‘There may be things in the book which might not look so good if they come out so soon after these events. He wants sections changed now. It’s not a total rewrite by any means. He desperately wants to make changes. But it might be too late.’
Publishing sources suggested that the Duke might have limited ‘wriggle room’ given he was handed a seven-figure advance.
Publishers Penguin Random House had already demanded a rewrite after the first draft was deemed ‘too touchy-feely’ and placed too much focus on mental health issues, The Mail on Sunday understands.
MailOnline has contacted a representative for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for comment.