The director of the Netflix documentary The Duke and Duchess of Sussex 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 were not given a right of reply regarding the Harry & Meghan series, it gave her a glimpse of the palace’s alleged mind games the couple are discussing had complained.
“Buckingham Palace, for example, said we didn’t bother to comment (on the series) when we did,” Ms Garbus told Vanity Fair magazine.
“They did that to discredit us … and by discrediting us, they can discredit the content of the show … We experienced some of those moments that were a little bit like Through the Looking Glass.”
The documentary has been variously described in British publications as “a very Californian complaints exercise,” a “boring, narcissistic wallow,” and “a one-sided PR effort.”
But Ms Garbus defended the series, suggesting the negative reviews conflicted with the overwhelming public interest in the couple.
“People get really excited to read all about Harry and Meghan when someone else is writing about them,” she said.
“But when Harry and Meghan want to tell their story in their own words, that suddenly becomes a problem.
“People are not forced to watch a documentary. It is not required at school. It is your choice what to eat and what not.
“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 sort of bead clip that doesn’t quite align with the public’s appetite for reading other people’s stuff about them.”
Ms. Garbus founded her production company, Story Syndicate, with her husband, Dan Cogan, an Oscar-winning producer.
She met the Duchess after working with her on her first solo project for Netflix, an animated children’s series called Pearl, which the streaming platform dropped last year.
The director said the Sussexes “very much” viewed the Harry & Meghan documentary as their love story, but felt it was important to “connect the dots” with issues like racism, colonialism and the British Empire to provide historical context create .
The six-part documentary, released last month, included a disclaimer that read: “Members of the royal family have declined to comment on the content of this series.”
Buckingham Palace initially claimed that neither itself nor Kensington Palace or any member of the royal family had been asked for comment.
In an apparent U-turn, Kensington Palace later confirmed that an email, via an email address from an unknown organization, “allegedly” came from a third-party production company.
It said attempts to email both Archewell Productions and Netflix 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 attempts to verify it were “unsuccessful”.
The royal family did not respond to the claims in the series, including that the Prince of Wales “yelled and yelled at” his brother and informed the media against him.
The Telegraph understands a letter was sent to the palace detailing Prince William and that an email was returned the same day with acknowledgment of receipt, including a request to see the relevant clips.
This request was rejected.
Another contact to verify the authenticity of the production company only came a few days later after a deadline.
Some close to the Sussexes have expressed disbelief at the way the situation was handled, likening it to some sort of briefing against the couple.
A friend described it as a “perfect example” of why relations between the two sides were so strained.
In the first week of its release, Harry & Meghan broke Netflix’s unscripted viewership record with 81.55 million hours viewed.
In the second week, when the last three episodes were released, the viewing time increased to 97.7 million hours.