Prince Harry last night faced a fresh backlash after sensationally claiming lies were told ‘to protect’ his brother William – in a move royal experts said would have left Princess Diana ‘appalled at his disloyalty’.
The Duke of Sussex’s latest bitter broadside against the Royal Family came in a new trailer for his and Meghan’s incendiary Netflix tell-all.
It sparked a vicious response on Monday evening, with royal expert Tom Bower saying Harry’s ‘treacherous collaboration’ with the streaming giant had ‘destroyed his relationship with William’.
Mr Bower, who has written several books about the royals, also rubbished suggestions the duke and duchess had their security withdrawn before Megxit, calling it ‘shockingly untrue’.
Insiders also dismissed jibes from the Sussexes that they had been the victims of ‘institutional gaslighting’.
Meanwhile, another royal author Richard Fitzwilliams has questioned whether the couple’s claims about security had been ‘sensationalised’ by Netflix to draw in viewers.
The documentary makers also use a picture of Buckingham Palace and footage of the duke and Prince William at their grandfather’s funeral as Harry says: ‘They were happy to lie to protect my brother’
The Duke of Sussex continues: ‘They were never willing to tell the truth to protect us’
Mr Bower has claimed Princess Diana (pictured with her two sons while on holiday in Spain in 1987) would be ‘appalled’ at Harry’s ‘disloyalty’
It comes as other critics have dismissed their latest salvo at the Royal Family, with one dismissively saying: ‘No one is taking lessons in honesty from them.’
In a new trailer for the second part of their lucrative tell-all Netflix documentary, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex talk about ‘institutional gaslighting’. It is assumed this is directed at the monarchy.
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which a person is manipulated into questioning their own sanity and perceptions of reality.
The documentary makers also use a picture of Buckingham Palace and footage of the duke and Prince William at their grandfather’s funeral as Harry says: ‘They were happy to lie to protect my brother. They were never willing to tell the truth to protect us.’
Meghan adds dramatically: ‘I wasn’t being thrown to the wolves. I was being fed to the wolves.’
Mr Bower, who wrote a biography on Meghan this year, has suggested the public acrimony between the heir to the throne and his brother is a bad look for Britain.
Mr Bower said: ‘Their mother Diana would be appalled by Harry’s disloyalty.
‘Not only is that rupture distressing for William and King Charles, but also for the country.
‘The image of warring brothers is terrible for Britain’s global reputation.’
In the latest trailer for Harry & Meghan, the duke says: ‘I wonder what would have happened to us had we not got out when we did’
He also hit back at claims made in a new trailer that implies the couple’s decision to leave the UK for America was taken due to a pressing concern for their safety, with Harry, 38, saying: ‘I wonder what would have happened to us had we not got out when we did.’
The duchess, 41, then claims: ‘Our security was being pulled – everyone in the world knew where we were’. Her husband then adds: ‘I said, ”We need to get out of here”.’
At this point, a selfie video of Harry appears on a plane in which he says he is on ‘the freedom flight’ – a likely reference to their relocation to North America in early 2020.
The trailer’s apparent contention that the Sussexes were stripped of their official security prior to Megxit is not supported by the timeline of events.
Mr Bower said any claims the Sussexes’ had their security withdrawn before Megxit would be ‘shockingly untrue’.
Fellow royal expert Mr Fitzwilliams queried whether the claims had been ‘sensationalised’ by Netflix to get more viewers.
‘The charge ”our security was being pulled, everyone in the world knew where we were” implies they were not given proper security as senior working royals before Megxit,’ he told MailOnline.
Meghan adds dramatically: ‘I wasn’t being thrown to the wolves. I was being fed to the wolves’
During the trailer, Harry makes the astonishing claim that he and Meghan were victims of ‘institutional gaslighting’
‘It follows from that that in their opinion the Royal and VIP Executive Committee (Ravec) was not doing its job properly. We must ask why and require them to produce proof.
‘It is also possible that – given a reported 15 hours of footage by the Sussexes – Netflix have sensationalised their comments in the trailer to draw in viewers.’
The first three episodes of Harry & Meghan – part of the Sussexes’ multi-million-dollar deal with Netflix – were streamed last week, with the final three hour-long episodes coming this Thursday.
The initial tranche covered the couple’s courtship and romance, but many were left deeply unhappy about the programme’s full-on assault on the late Queen’s Commonwealth legacy, with some saying it seemed as if the couple want to ‘bring down the monarchy’.
Harry also let rip with a string of sly digs at his family, particularly his father and brother, including the suggestion that they had married not for love but to a woman who fitted ‘the mould’.
But the clear suggestion was that the second part – covering the couple’s wedding, their subsequent falling out with William and Kate and acrimonious departure from the Royal Family – would be far more brutal for Buckingham Palace.
And it seems as if the gloves are well and truly coming off.
In 2019, the couple were given the Queen’s blessing to spend time in Canada, where they borrowed a friend’s mansion on Vancouver Island, ostensibly to have some ‘time out’ from the limelight.
In reality they were already plotting their departure, working on plans to create a ‘hybrid’ working model for themselves – earning money while conducting occasional royal duties – and even creating their own website.
The trailer contains misrepresentations that have characterised the couple’s Netflix project so far, with its use of ‘fake’ footage to illustrate media harassment of the couple.
Meghan talks about being ‘fed to the wolves’ accompanied by a photograph of her being supposedly hounded by a bank of photographers.
Except the picture was clearly taken when she flew by private jet to New York for a lavish baby shower when she was expecting her first child Archie, accompanied by a team of taxpayer-funded police officers.
Even more inexplicably – and controversially – Harry is shown talking about how ‘they’ were happy to ‘lie to protect my brother’.
As he says this, the trailer cuts to footage of Buckingham Palace followed by a second sequence of himself and William at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in April 2021.
Given the juxtaposition of the statement and film, many have taken ‘they’ to refer to the Royal Household.
But on a slightly different trailer featured on the Netflix website, subtitles can be seen which instead read: ‘The British media were happy to lie to protect my brother. They were never willing to tell the truth to protect us.’
After this discrepancy was exposed on social media earlier today, the second trailer appeared to have been mysteriously taken down.
This led one well-placed royal source to tell the Mail: ‘No-one is taking lessons in honesty from them.’
On a slightly different trailer featured on the Netflix website, subtitles can be seen which instead read: ‘The British media were happy to lie to protect my brother’
Harry’s words echo comments made by Meghan in their Oprah Winfrey interview last year, when she alleged that Kensington Palace aides had lied, saying: ‘I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there is an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us.
‘It was when everything started to really worsen that I came to understand that not only was I not being protected, but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family.
‘They weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband.’
The trailer also includes a clip of an interview with Christopher Bouzy, a US tech entrepreneur who has set up a firm to track disinformation and harassment online, despite having posted a string of disparaging posts, particularly about the Prince and Princess of Wales.
He says: ‘They were actively recruiting people to disseminate disinformation’, but does not make clear who ‘they’ are.
Christopher Bouzy says: ‘They were actively recruiting people to disseminate disinformation’, but does not make clear who ‘they’ are
Sources also point out that official Royal Family accounts have at times been forced to shut down their own public comment forums due to online abuse from the so-called ‘Sussex squad’, the couple’s self-styled band of acerbic fans.
The trailer also includes a clip of Hollywood star Tyler Perry, who lent the Sussexes his Hollywood mansion when they first moved to the States. He says: ‘They just wanted to be free. They wanted to be free to love and be happy. I applauded that.’
This sets the film up for a series of pictures of the couple looking happy and relaxed – Meghan with a birthday balloon arch, Harry jumping in the ocean – juxtaposed with stock footage of printing presses and critical headlines.
Harry adds: ‘In order for us to be able move to the next chapter, you gotta finish the first chapter,’ as the footage – pointedly – moves to some of the couple’s wedding photographs featuring Harry’s late grandparents.
Alongside footage of Harry playing football in the garden of their US home with his children and mother-in-law, Doria Ragland, Meghan says: ‘It gave us a chance to create that home we had always wanted.’
A series of pictures show the couple looking happy and relaxed – Meghan with a birthday balloon arch, Harry jumping in the ocean
Ironically the home subsequently depicted is Frogmore Cottage, the couple’s Windsor residence, when they returned for the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June.
The house underwent a £2.4million programme of taxpayer-funded renovations which Harry and Meghan eventually paid back when they quit as working royals.
The photographs, which appear professionally taken, feature both their children Archie and Lilibet, who was making her first visit to the UK and celebrating her first birthday.
The children are both formally dressed, leaving some royal insiders to suspect they could have been taken after Lilibet was introduced to her namesake great-grandmother, the Queen.
It has been reported that they asked to take a photographer in with them but the Queen, who was, it is believed, distrustful of their motives, refused.
Ironically the home subsequently depicted is Frogmore Cottage, the couple’s Windsor residence, when they returned for the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June
Royal sources believe Harry and Meghan got one of their favourite private photographers, Chris Allerton, to shoot dozens pictures for their documentary that has been years in the planning. They began filming their video diaries as far back as March 2020.
The trailer ends with a montage of pictures and video of the couple and their children looking happy and relaxed, as a contrast to the family they constantly criticise.
Harry says: ‘I’ve always felt as though this was a fight worth fighting for.’
Both Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace declined to comment.
It is understood that the royal households intend to wait until the entire series has aired before they decide whether to respond to some of the couple’s more hurtful or damaging claims.