The second set of episodes from Netflix docuseries Harry And Meghan dropped last night, and the anticipation was high – Netflix released both a trailer and a controversial clip from the last instalment, in which Meghan Markle outright accused the Royals of planting negative stories to detract from bad press around other family members.

Watching Harry And Meghan has been difficult for many who follow the tumultuous journey the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been on. It’s clear Meghan Markle really wants people to understand her. To stop seeing her as one-dimensional – the woman who “stole” Prince Harry from his family, who caused division and craves publicity – and to observe how external forces like the British media have influenced their perception of her.

Has it worked? Sadly, it doesn’t seem like it. Negative headlines have surrounded the docuseries, from those criticising Markle for mimicking a royal curtsy to “gotcha” moments calling out alleged lies and exaggerations.

Regardless, Harry And Meghan has been the most watched documentary debut for Netflix in history. We’ve all seen it or heard about it. If you’re looking for key takeaways, we’ve covered them off below.

1. Their Australia Tour Was A Key Moment

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Meghan’s popularity allegedly caused issues with her relationship to the royal family. Image: Getty

When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle toured Australia, they were met with waves of support. It’s likely you remember the tour and even went out to see the new royal couple. According to Lucy Fraser, a friend of Markle’s, “Australia was a real turning point. Because they were so popular, so popular with the public the internals at the palace were incredibly threatened by that.”

One key point was a 2018 cover of The Telegraph, where Markle took the cover image spot on a story regarding a wider royal appearance. “All of a sudden these tabloid stories started to appear, criticising Meghan for every little thing. The bump, the avocados,” Harry says in the series.

“The issue is when someone who is marrying in who should be a … supporting act, is then stealing the limelight or doing the job better than the person who was born to do this, that upsets people,” he added.

2. Their Wedding Was A Genuinely Joyous Occasion

It’s easy to see Markle’s relationship with the royal family as eternally fractured, but she actually had some wonderful moments with Prince Harry’s relatives, at least early on. The coverage of their wedding in episode four shows never-before-seen photography and video from the reception, including the moment they cut their wedding cake with a sword (how very British royalty of them).

She also had kind words for King Charles. “I just remember thinking just take a big breath and keep going,” she says of the moment she had to walk the aisle. Famously, Markle’s father dropped out of the wedding at the last minute, but Charles stepped in to walk her down the aisle. “Harry’s dad is very charming,” she recalled. “And I said to him, I’ve lost my dad in this. So him as my father-in-law was really important to me. So I asked him to walk me down the aisle, and he said yes. The whole thing was surreal.”

3. Meghan Markle Saw Queen Elizabeth II As A Grandmother

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Meghan Markle got along well with Queen Elizabeth II, and saw her as a grandmother figure. Image: Getty

Meghan Markle’s first royal outing was to Cheshire, where she and Queen Elizabeth II supported mourners acknowledging the Grenfell Tower disaster of 2017.

“I had a good time with her,” she said of their overall trip. She refers to Queen Elizabeth as “a grandmother figure”, and talks about a time she got in the car with the Queen, who placed a blanket protectively over her legs. “In that moment, I was so grateful,” she says, tearing up a little.

It was noted in media coverage of the Queen’s passing that the matriarch had a close relationship with Markle, even after she and Harry left Britain.

4. Stories Were Planted About Prince Harry And Meghan Markle

The scene Netflix released prior to these episodes was pretty shocking, and appears in episode five of Harry And Meghan. But you need to start at episode four to understand the back-story.

Harry speaks about the way in which the royal family worked with the press. “I have 30 years of experiences of looking behind the curtains of how this system works and how it runs,” he says, saying it was a “dirty game” where internal royal teams would work against one another to protect their own.

Part of this was the infamous accusation that stories would be planted with negative press about other royals, to detract from current negative press doing the rounds. He and William agreed to not continue in their own dealings, but that changed. “To see my brother’s office copy the very same thing that we promised the two of us would never, ever do – that was heartbreaking,” Harry says.

“Meghan became the scapegoat of the palace,” a friend says in the docuseries, explaining how the wider royal family would feed stories to the press about her “whether true or not”, for the benefit of other royal family members.

5. There Was Definitely A Rift Between Prince Harry And Prince William

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Once the “Fab Four”, Harry has confirmed a rift with his brother. Image: Getty

One of the saddest and most shocking revelations from Harry And Meghan is the breakdown of Prince Harry and Prince William’s relationship.

The discord started with William’s team allegedly working against Harry and his wife. Then there was the meeting regarding leaving the institution. Harry says firstly that the meeting went ahead without Markle present, which he was shocked by, but then that he felt forced into taking the option that involved leaving the institution entirely.

In this moment, Harry says William screamed at him. “It was terrifying to have my brother scream and shout at me and my father say things that simply weren’t true, and to have my grandmother quietly sit there and take it all in. The saddest part of it was this wedge created between myself and my brother so that he’s now on the institution’s side.”

6. Harry Regrets How He Responded To Meghan Markle’s Mental Health Crisis

The period in which Markle had suicidal ideations is covered in more detail during Harry And Meghan. Particularly, the way in which Harry didn’t support her – and how he regrets that, looking back. “I dealt with it as institutional Harry as opposed to husband Harry,” he says, explaining that he put the royal way of behaving – ensuring they attended events, ensuring they weren’t late – before his wife’s mental health.

Markle also says she wanted to seek treatment but was denied the opportunity because of the optics. It was a dark period for her, who friends say completely changed in personality and energy. “What she needed from me was so much more than I was able to give,” Harry says of that period.

7. It Was Harry Who Wanted To Leave The Royal Institution

Even though media called the Duke and Duchess of Sussexes opt-out of the royal way of life ‘Megxit’, it was Harry who initiated the move. He says reports that it was Prince William who pushed them to the brink were correct, and cites a press release that was released as a joint statement without Harry’s knowledge as the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Harry was also the one who wanted to move to America.

While most of the takeaways from Harry And Meghan are quite devastating in nature, revealing a royal family in pieces and a once-close sibling relationship in tatters, their love story shines through. Harry and Meghan Markle operate as a team, and it’s clear that they handle issues thrown at them together, making them stronger as a couple. You also can see how much they still adore each other after years of turmoil. For two people who have endured so much scrutiny and harassment, it’s heartwarming to see them still finding joy in each other.

Credit: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images