The director of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex Netflix documentary has accused Buckingham Palace of trying to “discredit” the series.
Liz Garbus suggested that when a senior palace aide claimed that members of the royal family had not been given the right of reply about the Harry & Meghan series, it had given her insight into the palace’s alleged mind games of those who the couple had complained.
“For example, Buckingham Palace said we didn’t seek comment (on the series) when we did,” Ms 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 bit like Alice Through the Looking Glass.”
The documentary was variously described in UK publications as a “very Californian grievance exercise”, a “narcissistic, tedious wallow”, and “a one-sided PR effort”.
But Ms Garbus defended the series, suggesting that the negative reviews clashed with the overwhelming public interest in the couple.
“People are very happy to read all about Harry and Meghan when someone else writes about them,” she said.
“But when Harry and Meghan want to tell their story in their own words, it suddenly becomes a problem.
“People are not forced to watch a documentary. It will not be required at school. It’s your choice what you binge and what you don’t binge.
“More documentaries and books have been written about Harry and Meghan than Harry and Meghan have produced themselves. So I think it’s an interesting kind of holding on to pearls that doesn’t square with the public’s appetite for reading about them from other people.”
Ms. Garbus founded her production company, Story Syndicate, with her husband Dan Cogan, an Oscar-winning producer.
He met the Duchess after working with her on her first solo project for Netflix, an animated children’s series called Pearl, which was shelved by the streaming platform last year.
The director said the Sussexes viewed the Harry and Meghan documentary “very much” as their love story, but that it was important to her to “connect the dots” with themes such as racism, colonialism and the British empire to provide a historic context. .
The six-part documentary, released last month, included a disclaimer that read: “Members of the royal family declined to comment on the content of this series.”
Buckingham Palace initially claimed that neither it nor Kensington Palace nor any members of the royal family had been contacted for comment.
In an apparent reversal, Kensington Palace later confirmed that an email “pretending” to be from a third-party production company had been received, via an email address of an unknown organization.
He said that attempts to contact both Archewell Productions and Netflix via email to verify the authenticity of the email went unanswered.
Buckingham Palace later admitted it had received a similar approach from an independent production company, but said verification attempts were “unsuccessful”.
The royal family did not respond to claims made in the series, including that the Prince of Wales “screamed and yelled” at his brother and informed the media against him.
The Telegraph understands that a letter detailing the specific content about Prince William was sent to the palace and that an acknowledgment email was sent earlier that day, including a request to view the relevant clips.
That request was denied.
However, there was no further contact to verify the authenticity of the production company until several days later, after a deadline had passed.
Some people close to the Sussexes expressed disbelief at the way the situation was handled, likening it to a way of informing the couple.
A friend described it as a “perfect example” of why relations between the two parties were so tense.
In the first week of its release, Harry & Meghan broke Netflix’s unscripted viewing record with 81.55 million hours watched.
In the second week, when the last three episodes were released, the viewing time increased to 97.7 million hours.