The first few episodes of the Duke and Duchess’ highly-anticipated Netflix documentary series aired Thursday.
Here are some key takeaways from the first three episodes:
The couple talked about how they first met on social media.
“Meg and I met through Instagram. I was scrolling through my feed. Whoever was friends had this video of the two of them on snapchat like … dog ears. Harry said: “I was like, who is that?”
Meghan said she looked through his feed before the pair got each other’s numbers.
Harry arrived late for the pair’s first date in Soho, London in July 2016.
Meghan said: “You’re late and I don’t understand why he would be late. But he kept texting saying ‘I’m in traffic, I’m sorry’.
Harry recalled: “I was scared, I was scared. I’m starting to sweat.” Unbeknownst to him, Meghan began to doubt that the date would go anywhere, thinking he might have an “ego.”
But when he finally appeared, he was profusely apologetic, which Meghan described as “so sweet”, adding: “You really are such an embarrassment.”
Meghan added: “He was so funny. So refreshingly funny and that’s what we were like as kids together.
They arranged to meet again the next night.
“That’s when it hit me,” Harry said. “This girl, this woman, is amazing. She is everything I’ve been looking for.”
The couple described how their relationship was strengthened in Africa, when Meghan went to visit Harry in Botswana. August 2016 – Only met twice before.
“We wanted to get to know each other before the rest of the world and the media got involved,” Harry said.
They talked about living in minimally close quarters and how they were still unsure of how the relationship would develop.
Harry spoke at length about the media’s ever-present role in his family’s life, starting with footage taken outside the hospital after his birth.
Of the constant attention during his childhood, he said: “Most of my memories have been poured over by the paparazzi.”
Recalling learning how to handle attention as a child, he said: “In the family, in the system, the advice is always ‘don’t react’. Don’t eat it.”
“My mother did a great job of protecting us. She basically took it upon herself to confront these people. ”
Footage of a family ski holiday was included to highlight this. In one clip, Harry is seen with his brother Prince William and cousins Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie as they are made to pose for a throng of photographers, an unwritten agreement that will finally allow them privacy after the holiday. But it was followed by another intrusive clip that caused his mother to confront the photographer.
Harry conducted the now-infamous 1995 Panorama interview with his mother, Princess Diana. She admitted that she had been “deceived”, but he said she had told the “truth”.
He said: “My mother was tortured all her life with my father, but after they separated the torture went to a new level.”
“The moment she left the institution” she was “completely exposed,” he said.
Growing up, he saw “the pain and suffering of the women who married into this institution”. He added: “What happened to my mother … I don’t want history to repeat itself.”
Reflecting on his experience of other royal weddings, Harry said: “I think for a lot of people in the family, especially the men, there can be a temptation or an urge to marry someone who fits the mold, as opposed to that. Someone you are destined to be with.
“The difference between making decisions with your head or your heart. And my mother certainly made most of her decisions, if not all of them, from her heart. And I am my mother’s son.”
Harry spoke about how Meghan is like his mother Diana, who died when he was 12.
“What Meghan is and how she is is very similar to my mother. She has the same empathy, the same empathy, the same confidence, the same warmth about her,” Harry said.
“I accept that there will be people around the world who fundamentally disagree with what I did and how I did it. But I knew I had to do whatever I could to protect my family, especially after what happened to my mother.
In her first extensive public comments, Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland opened up about meeting Harry for the first time, as well as her fears for her safety and regrets as a parent. She described the past five years as “challenging”.
“He was 6’1”, a handsome man with red hair, really nice manners. It was just really nice. And they looked so happy together. Yes, like he was one,” she said.
Describing the early years of her daughter’s childhood, Ragland — who is African American — recalls being frequently asked if she was a nanny because her daughter’s skin was pale.
Her mother said: “As a parent, I would love to go back and have a very real conversation about how the world views you.”
When Meghan began receiving negative media attention, Ragland recalled telling her daughter, “It’s about race,” to which Meghan replied: “Mom, I don’t want to hear that.”
Following the news of their relationship, Meghan recalled how quickly she became the focus of photographers and media attention.
According to Harry, the royal family considered such an intrusion almost a workplace threat.
“As far as most of the family was concerned, whatever was done to her was done,” Harry said.
“So it was almost like a ritual. Some family members were like, ‘Right, but my wife had to go through it, so why treat your girlfriend any differently? Why should you get special treatment? Why protect her?’ I said the difference here is the race factor.
Meghan recalled meeting Prince William and his wife Catherine for dinner.
Ignoring royal protocol, she said she was “barefoot” and was wearing ripped jeans at the time. She described herself as a “hug”, but said it might be “ironic” to some British people.
“I think I started to realize very early on that formality on the outside drives the inside,” she said. “That formality goes both ways, and it was amazing to me.”
Harry said his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, was the first senior member of the royal family to meet Meghan.
While Meghan recalled being told she had to curtsey, Harry said: “How do you explain bowing to your grandmother? And you all need to be cursed. Especially Americans. That’s weird.”
He added that his family members were “incredibly impressed”, yet unsure of the difference in their backgrounds, and thought that her being a Hollywood actress meant “it wouldn’t last”.
“Actresses were the biggest problem,” Meghan said. “There was a big idea of what it looked like from a UK point of view. Hollywood – it was very easy for them to be typecast.”
In contrast to Meghan’s experiences growing up mixed-race, Harry said there was a “huge level” of unconscious bias within the royal family.
“Unconscious bias isn’t really anyone’s fault, but once it’s pointed out or recognized in yourself, you need to correct it,” he said.
Harry also addressed when he wore a Nazi uniform to a private party in 2005, saying it was the “biggest mistake” of his life, adding that he was “very embarrassed afterwards”.
The Duchess has discussed her estrangement from her father following a dispute over whether he posed for a series of paparazzi-style photographs in the run-up to their 2018 wedding.
Harry said: “It’s incredibly sad what happened, she had a father before and now she doesn’t.”
“And I shrugged it off because if Meg wasn’t with me, her dad would still be her dad.”