The aftermath. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle recalled their first public engagement with the royal family members after their exit.
During the second part of their Netflix docuseries, which started streaming on Thursday, December 15, the couple broke down an appearance at Westminster Abbey in March 2020 for Commonwealth Day.
“We were nervous seeing the family because [of] all the TV cameras and everybody watching at home and everybody watching in the audience,” Harry, 38, admitted about the event, which took place two months after they stepped down. “It’s like living through a soap opera, where everybody else views you as entertainment.”
The Duke of Sussex noted that he “felt really distant” from his loved ones, saying, “Which was interesting, because so much of how they operate is about what it looks like, rather than what it feels like. And it looked cold. But it also felt cold.”
After their public reunion with the royals, Harry and Meghan, 41, immediately left the U.K. for Canada. The pair, who share son Archie, 3, and daughter Lili, 18 months, would eventually move to California after their decision to exit as senior working members of the royal family was made permanent in 2021.
“We had left Westminster Abbey, and then that was it. I had to go to the airport,” the Duchess of Sussex said about the departure. “We get on the plane. And it’s not the pilot — but whoever is sort of overseeing the crew — and he came and he knelt next to my seat and he took his hat off. I just remember looking at him, and he goes, ‘We appreciate everything you did for our country.’”
While filming the docuseries, the former actress got emotional about the interaction, adding, “It was the first time that I felt like someone saw the sacrifice. Not for my own country. For this country, that’s not mine.”
For Meghan, her time in the U.K. continued to affect her after she left. “Like, I tried so hard. And that’s the piece that’s so triggering. Because you go, ‘And it still wasn’t good enough. And you still don’t fit in,’” she explained.
Earlier in the episode, the BetterUp CIO recalled the duo’s attempts to take control of their future.
“It was terrifying to have my brother [Prince William] scream and shout at me, and my father [King Charles III] say things that just simply weren’t true, and my grandmother [Queen Elizabeth II] quietly sit there, and sort of take it all in,” Harry shared about his solo meeting at Sandringham House in January 2020. “But you have to understand that — from the family’s perspective — especially from hers, there are ways of doing things, and her ultimate sort of mission, goal, slash responsibility is the institution.”
Harry also weighed in on the rift that now exists between him and William. “I mean, the saddest part of it was this wedge created between myself and my brother, so that he’s now on the institution’s side,” he continued. “Part of that, I get. I understand, right? That’s his inheritance. So, to some extent it’s already ingrained in him that part of his responsibility is the survivability and the continuation of this institution.”
The palace has not yet publicly addressed Harry and Meghan’s claims featured in Harry & Meghan.