In the series’ first episode, the Duke of Sussex opens up about the late Lady Diana, who passed away on August 31, 1997 in a Paris car crash. “I don’t have many early memories of my mom,” he said in a one-on-one interview. “It was almost like, internally, I sort of blocked them out.” Prince Harry was just 12 years old when his mother passed away.
“I always remember her laugh, her cheeky laugh – always saying to me, ‘You can get in trouble, just don’t get caught,’” he said. “And I’ll always be that cheeky person inside.”
He went on to add, “The majority of my memories are of being swarmed by paparazzi. Rarely did we have a holiday without someone with a camera jumping out of a bush or something.”
“My mom did such a good job at trying to protect us,” said the Duke of Sussex. “She took it upon herself to basically confront these people.”
The episode included archival footage of Diana addressing the issue with paparazzi while on vacation with her children at a ski resort. Approaching a photographer and placing her hand over the lens of his camera, Diana explains to him in both a strong and polite tone, “As a parent, could I ask you to respect my children’s space? Because I brought the children out here for a holiday and we’d really appreciate the space,” she said. “As a parent, I want to protect the children. Thank you.”
Prince Harry recalled how, after Princess Diana and the now King Charles III separated in 1996, the media’s fascination with the Princess only grew, but her protection from the Firm dwindled. “My mom was harassed throughout her life with my dad, but after they separated, the harassment went to new levels,” Harry said. “The moment that she divorced, the moment she left the Institution, then she was by herself. Yes, she may have been one of the most influential, powerful women in the world, but she was completely exposed to this.”
“The pain and suffering of women marrying into this institution – I remember thinking, ‘How can I ever find someone who is willing and capable to be able to withstand all the baggage that comes with being with me?’” explained Prince Harry. The Duke said he was terrified that rabid media attention would drive Meghan Markle away in the early stages of their romance. “I think, for so many people in the family, especially the men, there can be a temptation or an urge to marry someone who would fit the mold as opposed to somebody who perhaps you are destined to be with,” he said.
Noting the “difference between making decisions with your head or your heart,” Prince Harry explained, “My mum certainly made most of her decisions, if not all of them, from her heart.” He added, “And I am my mother’s son.”
“So much of what Meghan is, and how she is, is so similar to my mom. She has the same compassion, she has the same empathy, she has the same confidence. She has this warmth about her,” said Harry. “I accept that they’ll be people around the world who fundamentally disagree with what I’ve done and how I’ve done it, but I knew that I had to do everything I could to protect my family, especially after what happened to my mom. You know, I didn’t want history to repeat itself.”
The first three episodes of Harry & Meghan are now available to stream on Netflix, and will be followed by the second volume, which will be released on Dec. 15.