‘I Didn’t Want History To Repeat Itself’: How Harry & Meghan’s Doco Will Dig Deep Into The Royal Family’s Treatment Of Women

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Whether it's the institution itself or the way the media reports about its family members, sexism has long a topic of discussion when it comes to the British monarchy.
Now, Prince Harry is prepared to lift the lid on what he calls the "suffering" of women who marry into the royal family.
"The pain and suffering of women marrying into this institution, this feeding frenzy," the 38-year-old says in the trailer for his and wife Meghan Markle's upcoming Netflix documentary, Harry & Meghan.
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Harry alludes to how his wife and late mother, Princess Diana, were treated after marriage, but some visuals also suggest his message could describe the experience of others like Kate Middleton and Camilla Parker-Bowles.
As Harry makes the claim about the "pain and suffering", we see paparazzi footage of Diana, newspaper headlines such as, 'The secret sadness of Princess Di' and 'Di's private battle', and a photo of Camilla and Kate along with the headline, 'Princess in crisis'.
"I realised, they're never gonna protect you," Meghan says next, before the voiceover returns to Harry, who says, "I was terrified, I didn't want history to repeat itself."
Up until she was killed in a Paris car crash in August 1997, Diana was constantly hounded by paps and the subject of sensational tabloid headlines. In an interview with Martin Bashir on the BBC's Panorama, she described herself as "a product sitting on a shelf" once she got married to Charles.
"My husband and I, we were told when we got engaged that the media would go quietly, and it didn't, and then when we were married they said it would go quietly and it didn't," she said, according to E!.
 "And then it started to focus very much on me, and I seemed to be on the front of a newspaper every single day, which is an isolating experience, and the higher the media put you, place you, the bigger the drop. And I was very aware of that.
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"During the years, you see yourself as a good product that sits on a shelf and sells well, and people make a lot of money out of you."
Soon after Harry and Meghan's relationship became public knowledge in 2016, Harry released an official statement in which he claimed Meghan had been "subject to a wave of abuse and harassment".
"Some of this has been very public — the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments," read part of the statement.
"It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm," read a later part of the statement.
"He knows commentators will say this is ‘the price she has to pay’ and that ‘this is all part of the game’. He strongly disagrees. This is not a game — it is her life and his."
We know that the hardships continued after the pair got married, with them officially stepping down from senior working royal duties in 2020.
In Meghan's experience, there have been intersectional issues at play, which she openly spoke about in an interview with Oprah Winfrey last year. She spoke of how an unnamed royal questioned how dark her son would be, about the racism she has received at the hands of the British press, how she was “silenced” by the institution and the mental health issues she suffered as a result.
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Now, we have Harry's words in the Netflix doco. And if they're anything to go by, there's a lot more we're yet to learn about how life changes when women marry into the royal family — and the "pain and suffering" that comes with it.
Episodes 1 to 3 of Harry & Meghan release on Netflix on December 8, followed by episodes 4 to 6 on December 15.
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