There has been a mixed reaction to last night’s ITV documentary on the working lives of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
In ‘Harry and Meghan: An African Journey’, broadcaster Tom Bradby followed the couple on a royal tour of the continent.
The piece has given a unique insight into the private life of the couple, as they opened up about issues they have faced behind the scenes for the first time.
Explaining reports of a strained relationship with his brother Prince William, Harry told Bradby that they have ‘good days’ and ‘bad days’, and that the siblings are ‘certainly on different paths’.
Viewers were also shocked to learn that Meghan was warned against marrying the Prince by her undisclosed ‘British friend’, who told her that the ‘British tabloids will destroy your life’.
Additionally, the Duchess described being under intense scrutiny by the media as ‘really challenging’, and experiencing it whilst pregnant caused her to feel ‘vulnerable’.
The comments have prompted very different reactions from royal correspondents.
Omid Scobie, royal editor for Harper’s Bazaar US and contributor for ABC and Good Morning America, believes the couple are being treated unfairly.
Speaking exclusively to Journalism London, Scobie explained that ‘Harry and Meghan just want fairness, but negative commentary has been persistent for the last few years. There have also been a lot of untrue stories, so they just want to fix that – they don’t want to be praised’.
Discussing whether he believes that the Duke and Duchess are ‘out of touch’ with the British population, Scobie continued to say that what they’re complaining about is ‘not relatable to the general public, but all they want is to serve the public with the charity work that they do, and also have their private life to themselves’.
In contrast, Richard Palmer, royal correspondent for the Daily Express, feels that the couple aren’t being treated unfairly, but that ‘they’re being treated like many other members of the Royal Family have been over the years’.
Palmer mentioned that although it is a positive thing that the Duke and Duchess are ‘helping the monarchy to reach out to people who haven’t been touched by the Royal Family before’, they could be ‘alienating traditionalists’.
On the topic of Harry and Meghan not following royal protocols, he suggested that they have ‘strayed a little bit too far into political territory’, and that they have to ‘bare in mind that the Royal Family has a stated mission to act as a force for unity, stability and continuity in this country – and some of the things they have done could be seen as quite divisive’.
Ratings for last night’s special weren’t as high as expected for a fly-on-the-wall documentary covering one of the most famous pairs in the world, with 2.8 million viewers, according to Deadline.
The fourth episode of BBC One’s drama ‘World on Fire’ attracted 4.3 million viewers.
The highly-anticipated documentary comes three weeks after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex revealed in a statement that they would be suing The Mail on Sunday – amongst other tabloid newspapers – over the publication of a private letter the Duchess had written to her father, Thomas Markle.