In a new interview, Harry & Meghan director Liz Garbus opened up about making a docuseries about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and the difficulties they encountered when dealing with the royal family.
“Buckingham Palace said that we didn’t reach out for comment [on the docuseries] when we did,” Garbus told Vanity Fair. “They did that to discredit us…and by discrediting us, they can discredit the content of the show.… We lived through some of those moments that were a little bit like Alice Through the Looking Glass.”
At the start of the six-episode docuseries, a disclaimer reads: “Members of the Royal Family declined to comment on the content in this series.” However, soon after the premiere of Volume I (the first three episodes), royal sources said Netflix made no attempt to contact Buckingham Palace or Kensington Palace. Soon, CNN’s Max Foster reported “Kensington Palace did receive an email about part of the series from what purported to be a third party production company but they couldn’t verify it so didn’t respond.”
However, Netflix said that both Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace were contacted and given ample time to respond.
In addition, Ellie Hall at BuzzFeed News reported that Harry & Meghan production company Story Syndicate got in contact with the royal households. “Not only had the chief press officers at Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace been contacted for an official response, but that Lee Thompson, communications secretary for the Prince and Princess of Wales, confirmed receipt of the email and requested to see footage from the docuseries, Hall reported.
The controversy over comment versus no comment reemerged surrounding the press for Prince Harry’s memoir Save. Both 60 Minutes spirit Good Morning America said they reached out to the royal households for comment, but the Palace asked for the interview in full before responding.
As Anderson Cooper said at the end of his 60 Minutes interview with Prince Harry, “We reached out to Buckingham Palace for comment. Its representatives demanded that before considering responding, 60 Minutes provide them with our report prior to airing it tonight, which is something we never do.” Michael Strahan, on Good Morning Americasaid something similar, explaining, “We received a response from the law firm representing Buckingham Palace this morning, while we were on the air, saying that the palace needed to ‘consider exactly what is said in the interview, in the context in which it appears’ and asked that we supply them immediately with a copy of the entire interview, which we do not do as a news organization, as a matter of our policy.”
It’s likely a similar situation occurred with Netflix’s Harry & Meghanand why Garbus said their policy of not commenting or responding led to an attempt to “discredit” the entire docuseries.
Emily Burack (she/her) is the news writer for Town & Country, where she covers entertainment, culture, the royals, and a range of other subjects. Before joining T&C, she was the deputy managing editor at Hey Alma, a Jewish culture site. Follow here @emburack on Twitter and Instagram.