‘Harry & Meghan’ Director Liz Garbus Says Buckingham Palace Tried to “Discredit” the Docuseries

Despite the Palace’s claims otherwise, Garbus says the show did reach out to them for comment.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
(Image credit: Getty)

After Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s eponymous Netflix docuseries was released last month, Buckingham Palace said it was not approached for comment about Harry & Meghan. But, according to the series’ director, Liz Garbus, that is not true.

In an interview with Vanity Fair (and per People), the Oscar-nominated director described the experience of creating the docuseries as a polarizing experience that gave her insight into the “alleged Palace mind games” that Harry and Meghan went through.

“For instance, Buckingham Palace said that we didn’t reach out for comment [on the docuseries] when we did,” Garbus said. “They did that to discredit us…and by discrediting us, they can discredit the content of the show.”

She added “We lived through some of those moments that were a little bit like Alice Through the Looking Glass.”

At the beginning of Harry & Meghan, a title card states “Members of the Royal Family declined to comment on the content within the series.” After the series premiered on December 8, a Palace source told People that neither members of the family nor Buckingham Palace or Prince William’s office at Kensington Palace were approached for comment on the content of the show.

“A Netflix source later told People that communications offices for King Charles and Prince William were contacted in advance and given the right to reply to claims within the series,” People reports. “A royal source added while speaking with People that Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace did receive an email claiming to be from a third-party production company through an unknown organization’s email address. When they contacted Archewell and Netflix to verify the source, they received no response. The royal source also says the substance of the email did not address the entire series.”

Garbus tells Vanity Fair (and per OK) that Harry and Meghan saw the docuseries as a way to tell “their love story from their point of view, as opposed to the love story as told by others”—and she added that she wanted to add another layer to the show.

“For me, what was really important was to connect the dots to these larger historical issues,” she says. “They were, to their credit, very open and willing to journey down some of the paths that they might not have originally considered. [The love story] is the spine but, for me, it was always necessary to…connect the dots to the personal story and the larger historical context.”

She continued “I don’t feel that [questioning] the monarchy is sacrilege, in the way that I don’t feel [questioning] the American government is sacrilege. It’s our role as storytellers and critical thinkers to raise these questions.”

Addressing the so-called “Sussex fatigue”—a moniker given to many people’s perception that, with the docuseries, Harry’s book, Spare, and other interviews as of late, that the couple are overexposed right now—Garbus says “people are very happy to read everything about Harry and Meghan when it’s somebody else writing about them. But when Harry and Meghan want to tell their story in their own words, it suddenly becomes an issue. There have been more documentaries and books written about Harry and Meghan than Harry and Meghan have produced themselves. So I think it’s an interesting kind of pearl-clutching that doesn’t quite add up with the public’s appetite for reading stuff about them from other people.” 

Rachel Burchfield
Contributing Royal Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.