Today is the day the brand new Harry and Meghan docuseries lands on Netflix. The six-part series tells the story of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in their own words, from how they met, to their decision to leave royal life, and why they moved to the United States.
However, the trailer released by Netflix for the docuseries Harry & Meghan (opens in new tab) on Monday 5 includes paparazzi photos completely unrelated to the documentary and the couple, and Archewell Productions has been criticized for the misleading footage by photographers and many news outlets.
A mixture of personal and paparazzi shots have been used in the black and white teaser trailer, showing Harry and Meghan on safari, a pregnant Meghan, the pair on the red carpet, as well as some more intimate photos of the couple kissing and enjoying a date time together.
But as beautiful and lovely as these photos are, their relevance is being questioned. Some of the clips that have been designed to show the paparazzi taking invasive pictures of the couple were actually clips from unrelated news events – including a shot taken at Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 premiere.
The documentary starts with the interviewee asking Harry and Meghan why they wanted to make this documentary to which Harry replies, "No one sees what's happening behind closed doors. I had to do everything I could to protect my family".
According to Jesús Enrique Rosas (The Body Language Guy) (opens in new tab) on Twitter, one of the paparazzi shots used in both the official trailer and teaser trailer was actually taken when Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen was taken to prison for tax fraud, while another shot makes it look like Harry and Meghan are left on the edge of Royal life.
#SecondTrailerFAIL the paparazzis shot used in BOTH trailers has nothing to do with Harry and Meghan. Hell, it has nothing to do with the royals! It's "Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer leaves for prison term"CHEAP GRIFTERS 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/H9nvPwJviaDecember 5, 2022
Other photographers have also criticized the use of unrelated images or called into question how the images have been portrayed. The Evening Standard's Royal Editor Robert Johnson took to Twitter to discuss the issue, and share his side of the story from an image he took of the couple (below).
This photograph used by @Netflix and Harry and Meghan to suggest intrusion by the press is a complete travesty. It was taken from a accredited pool at Archbishop Tutu’s residence in Cape Town. Only 3 people were in the accredited position. H & M agreed the position. I was there. pic.twitter.com/nvjznlloLFDecember 5, 2022
It does seem strange that such a high-profile couple would choose to use a selection of seemingly random images to launch their new series. Some are suggesting that "Harry & Meghan are playing fast and loose with news footage" to suit their narrative. If they are trying to tell ‘their truth’ surely the best way to do it is through honest imagery. It’s thought that many of the photos shared have been cropped or used out of context, to paint Harry and Meghan more like victims and the Royal Family as villains.
Harry and Meghan made the decision to leave the royal Family in January 2020; it was a decision that shocked the world and left the Royal Family in turmoil. Harry and Meghan returned to the states in hope of starting a new, better life for their family away from royal duties.
Nine months later the couple signed a multi-million-dollar deal with Netflix under their new media company, Archewell Productions. It was agreed on a number of docuseries, movies, and children’s content would follow, the first being a behind-the-scenes look at the couple’s lives from the perspective of Harry and Meghan.
Whether or not you agree with the decisions of Harry and Meghan, or perhaps you just don't care, it's a bold move to make such a public statement about life in the Royal Family and why the couple chose to leave when they did. And even bolder when many of the images don't belong to the events that they're describing.