‘Harry & Meghan’ Doc Doesn’t Contradict Decision to Step Back From Public Royal Life, Rep Says

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are denying that doing their Netflix docuseries is contradictory to their decision to step back from their royal duties.

In a recent interview with director Liz Garbus tied to the couple’s latest project Harry & Meghan, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s global press secretary, Ashley Hansen, responded to criticisms that the couple’s “decision to give up their royal duties meant they wanted to lead a more private life,” according to the New York Times.

“Their statement announcing their decision to step back mentions nothing of privacy and reiterates their desire to continue their roles and public duties,” Hansen said before adding that “any suggestion otherwise speaks to a key point of this series.”

“They are choosing to share their story, on their terms, and yet the tabloid media has created an entirely untrue narrative that permeates press coverage and public opinion,” the statement continued. “The facts are right in front of them.”

In January 2020, the duo publicly announced their decision to step back from their roles as senior members of the Royal Family, a change that meant the Duke and Duchess would no longer participate in the Royal Rota system. It offers U.K. print and broadcast media exclusive access to the official engagements of the Royal Family.

According to a statement on the duo’s website, they “believe in a free, strong and open media industry, which upholds accuracy and fosters inclusivity, diversity and tolerance.”

“Their Royal Highnesses recognize that their roles as members of the Royal Family are subject to interest, and they welcome accurate and honest media reporting as well as being held to account if appropriate,” the statement continues. “Equally, like every member of society, they also value privacy as individuals and as a family.”

Elsewhere in the New York Times interview, which focused on Garbus and her husband, producer Dan Cogan, the Harry & Meghan helmers opened up about their approach to telling the high-profile couple’s story, from their childhoods to their engagement.

Garbus points to personal footage of Markle and the Prince, a total of 15 hours filmed in early 2020 amid their plans to exit Buckingham Palace. “It’s very personal and raw and powerful, and it made me appreciate the incredible weight that went into their decision,” she said. “It also affirmed the choice I had made about wanting to unravel how this historic break came to be.”

For the director, Harry & Megan was a chance to explore her own interest in “psychology and how someone’s childhood determines their future” with an added layer of really interested in psychology and how someone’s childhood determines their future” with the added layer of it being framed “within the history of British colonialism and race and its relationship to the monarchy.”

That job, of telling their story in its complex completion, was originally in the hands of Gotham award-winning director Garrett Bradley, but the New York Times reports that the decision to part ways was The documentarian Garrett Bradley was previously attached to the project, but the two sides parted ways due to the documentarian’s vérité style, which the paper reports “did not mesh with the couple’s interests.” (Reps for Bradley declined to comment to the Times.)

As for whether the Prince and Markle had the final say on what appears in the docuseries, Garbus noted they had creative input but declined to clarify whether that meant they specifically had last approval. “It was a collaboration. You can keep asking me, but that’s what I’ll say.”

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