Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Aren't the First to Film a Real-Life Documentary and Don't Deserve the Hate They Get, Historian Says

The Sussexes can't put a foot right in the eyes of some people.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
(Image credit: Getty)

Virulent criticism of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, often with thinly veiled racial undertones, is well documented.

Whatever they do, their critics will find fault with it, and the latest target of this criticism is of course the Duke and Duchess of Sussex' new Netflix docuseries, titled Harry & Meghan.

But for one historian and royal commentator, this specific line of criticism is all the more dumbfounding because the Sussexes are far from the first royals to film a "reality-style" documentary about their lives.

"I think that they are not the first royals to share their story," says Mok O'Keeffe, a historian who goes by @gayaristo on social media.

"Many members of royalty have written or been involved with the media to tell their story. Our own King made a documentary with [Jonathan] Dimbleby [in 1994]. And the royal PR departments have close links to journalists to seed stories.

"They are receiving horrendous criticism for something that many members of the Royal Family have done before."

Queen Elizabeth II herself gave the green light for a documentary about her family titled Royal Family in 1969, and a documentary about her reign titled Elizabeth R in 1992.

But royal precedent isn't the only reason O'Keeffe cites for people to be kinder towards Harry and Meghan.

"They are human beings who feel misunderstood," he continues.

"Let’s hear what they have to say, before we act as judge and jury.

"And maybe that’s the problem. We already have a negative view of Meghan (and now Harry). And so whatever they do, they are damned." This is a view many other royal commentators have expressed as well.

O'Keeffe is seeing firsthand how much hate is directed at the royal couple after he has shared content defending them.

"The reaction has been incredible," he reveals.

"I’ve lost loads of followers on Instagram and YouTube for being even slightly positive.

"People forget we are talking about human beings. Real. People. A man who lost his mother and was traumatized by that, who feared his wife was going through the same thing."

An important reminder.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.