Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are filming an ‘at-home docuseries’ already branded a royal Keeping Up with the Kardashians for Netflix who have secured their ‘pound of flesh’ in return for their Megxit $100million streaming deal, it was claimed today.
The Sussexes are said to have welcomed cameras into their $14million Montecito mansion for a reality-type show that could be in the mould of The Osbournes – although it is not yet known if the couple’s two children, three-year-old Archie and 11-month-old Lilibet, will also feature.
‘I think it’s fair to say that Netflix is getting its pound of flesh,’ a Hollywood insider in the know about the project has said.
The at home reality show was pioneered by The Osbournes, which made Ozzy and Sharon the king and queen of reality TV. The mantle was then taken on by the Kardashians, who are now in their 20th season. The format would likely suit Harry and Meghan, who have demanded control over their media messaging since emigrating in 2020.
And with just two weeks until the Sussexes all fly into the UK for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the story on Page Six in the US will raise anxieties at Buckingham Palace that the couple will use it to fire more transatlantic potshots at the Royal Family.
The Queen’s aides are said to have already banned Harry and Meghan’s camera crews from her palaces as she marks her extraordinary 70-year reign. The couple have also been barred from the Buckingham Palace balcony for the Changing the Guard on June 2. But the Netflix team have been following them since last year, including a trip to New York compared to a royal visit and their trip to The Hague for the Invictus Games in April.
Sources suggest that the Sussexes are angling for the docuseries’ broadcast to be delayed until early next year, around the time Harry is expected to release his tell-all memoirs where he will likely have another say on Megxit as well the Sussexes’ claims that an unnamed royal was racist towards Archie and aides neglected his wife when she was suicidal and pregnant.
‘The timing is still being discussed, things are up in the air,’ a ‘producer in the know’ claimed, adding that the cameras had been rolling at their grand home in Montecito.
Royal expert Angela Levin, author of 2018 book ‘Harry: Conversations With The Prince’, said today: Harry wanted privacy and to be ordinary. He also hated cameras. But he’s ended up doing an at home docuseries for Netflix. Does he need to be searched for hidden cameras on Jubilee days? Will he steal the event from the Queen?’
Australian royal commentator Daniela Elser said: ‘In only four years, the Sussexes have gone from being global darlings, resoundingly adored with desk drawers full of enterprising plans for charity projects, to reducing themselves to proto-Kardashians’.
The ‘at-home docuseries’ is one of the couple’s main media projects after Netflix, whose share price has tumbled after subscribers dropped as the pandemic fizzled out, scrapped Meghan’s animated show Pearl about a young girl inspired by Meghan who takes on social injustices while highlighting the work of feminist icons. The Duchess of Sussex is said to be looking for another broadcaster to buy it up.
Amid rumours that a reality show was in the offing, Meghan’s half-sister Samantha Markle said last month: ‘They’re not the Kardashians. That’s comparing apples to oranges. The Kardashians were an American business empire and everyone knows their background’.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are reportedly filming an ‘at-home with the Sussexes-style’ docuseries for Netflix and are said to have given cameras access to their Montecito home
According to Page Six, Harry, 37, and Meghan, 40, have been filming for several months, however it is not known whether they have allowed Archie and Lilibet to be on camera
Exclusive DailyMail.com images taken during Meghan and Harry’s trip to New York and New Jersey in September showed a team of two women and one man bundling camera equipment hidden under coats and bags out of the couple’s high-end residence at 860 United Nations Plaza – and even joining them in an Airstream van on their way to a veterans’ gala.
Another Page Six insider described the plans for the docuseries as Netflix ‘getting its pound of flesh’ from the Sussexes, who have yet to create any real content for the streaming giant – despite signing their lucrative deal with the company in September 2020.
DailyMail.com has reached out to a Netflix spokesperson and Archewell Productions for comment.
The news comes amid growing concerns about Harry’s upcoming $20 million memoir, in which he is expected to publicly tell all about his relationship with his estranged family.
Royal insiders have been left deeply concerned by Harry’s decision to secretly collaborate with Pulitzer-winning ghostwriter JR Moehringer on what his publishers described as ‘the definitive account of the experiences, adventures, losses, and life lessons that have helped shape him’.
The Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William are said to have been completely blindsided by Harry’s shock announcement that he has been secretly working on his as yet untitled memoirs for more than a year now.
Royal experts had previously warned that the potentially explosive book could burn further bridges with the distant Duke and The Firm.
However the docuseries claims could not have come at a better time for Netflix, which has been undergoing major cutbacks as a result of slumping subscriber numbers.
Earlier this month, Netflix announced that it had dropped Meghan’s animated series, Pearl, amid a wave of cutbacks and layoffs which have come as a result of the streaming giant’s plummeting revenue and major subscriber loss.
The show, which was created by the Duchess of Sussex through the couple’s company Archewell Productions, was still only in the development stage.
Sources claim that the Sussexes filmed for the docuseries while they were in New York back in September – when they were seen with a camera crew in two (pictured)
During their trip to New York, the couple attended a veterans’ gala (left) and also made a trip to Harlem, where they enjoyed lunch (right)
The docuseries claims could not have come at a better time for Netflix which has seen its stocks plummet in recent months, leading to cutbacks and layoffs
Meghan and Harry established Archewell Productions in the fall of 2020 in an effort to create scripted series, docuseries, documentaries, features and children’s programming. Pearl was expected to be the first animated series created by the production company.
However, in addition to the alleged docuseries, Meghan and Harry do have another project in the works for Netflix, Heart of Invictus, a documentary about the Duke’s Invictus Games, a sporting event for disabled and injured military veterans from around the world.
The Sussexes were joined by a Netflix camera crew during their recent trip to the Netherlands for the latest Invictus Games, where they are understood to have filmed footage that will be used in the documentary.
It is unclear whether they allowed the cameras to join them during their surprise trip to the UK ahead of the Games, when they paid an under-the-radar visit to the Queen.
At the time, the couple were accused of attempting to ‘exploit the Queen for Netflix’, with some suggesting that they only made the trip to visit Her Majesty in order to appease producers at the streaming giant.
Speaking to MailOnline, Meghan’s acid-penned biographer Tom Bower sensationally branded the Sussexes ‘the Royal Family’s worst traducers’ and accused the couple of ‘exploiting an old, unwell woman to boost their credibility and coffers’.
‘I have no doubt it was all done for their Netflix documentary,’ Bower stated. ‘The Queen’s advisers failed to protect her from being exploited by the Royal Family’s worst traducers, while the Sussexes exploited an old, unwell woman to boost their credibility and coffers.’
After Netflix’s financial downturn was made public, royal experts suggested that the streaming giant might increase ‘pressure’ on the Sussexes to produce ‘more royal content’ in the hopes that it could revive flagging subscriber numbers and revenue.
In April, royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams warned of possible ‘pressure from Netflix executives to get more royal content’, but he added that filming anything with other members of the Royal Family was ‘highly unlikely’.
Meghan and Harry were also joined by a camera crew on their recent trip to the Netherlands for the Invictus Games, where they filmed for another Netflix project, upcoming documentary Heart of Invictus
Fitzwilliams told MailOnline at the time: ‘When Harry and Meghan signed up to Netflix for a deal worth $100million, according to the New York Times, in September 2020, the company appeared to be riding high with a huge and expanding reach owing to the pandemic.
‘It was undoubtedly a cachet to have two royals with a high global profile as well as produce The Crown which, though controversial, was an international hit.
‘A year and a half later they have actually produced absolutely nothing.’
He added: ‘The dramatic news that Netflix [is] now losing viewers, introducing advertisements and trying to crack down on the ‘password-sharing’ which is costing them revenue, has led to their shares crashing by 25 per cent.
‘It will undoubtedly lead to a demand for a great deal more from the Sussexes including some actual content. The original announcement promised documentaries, children’s programs, scripted shows and feature films. It is surely time Netflix had value for money and it sounds as if they need it too.’
He added: ‘There might well be pressure from Netflix executives to get more royal content in what they produce. It is highly unlikely that it will actually involve the filming of or interviews with any members of the royal family.
‘One of the reasons that the Sussexes had to step down as senior working royals was that commercial ventures have to be separate from royal duties. They chose the road they are now on.’
Netflix’s customer base fell by 200,000 subscribers during the January-March period – and it is now projecting a loss of another two million during the April-June period.
The streaming company said the COVID boom had ‘created a lot of noise’ and blamed the slowdown on the return to normality after two years of lockdowns.
It also blamed password sharing for the rise in cancelled accounts, as it estimated that about 10million households worldwide are watching its service for free by using the account of a friend or another family member.
The company has now started testing different ways of curbing password sharing in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru – and could extend this elsewhere if it proves successful. Bosses are also considering turning the service into a low-fee subscription supported by ads.