Harry and Meghan: The rebel royals

Harry and Meghan: The rebel royals
A Netflix documentary series about Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will begin airing on Thursday (UK time), amid speculation that they will voice renewed criticism of the British royal family.

Harry, King Charles’s son, and Meghan stepped down from royal roles two years ago, hailed by some for standing up for their beliefs and forging their own career path but derided by others for using their status to make money while sniping at the royal family.

Here is a timeline of the couple’s relationship with the royals, the media and the courts.

2016

July – Harry and Meghan meet

Harry, now fifth-in-line to the British throne, and Meghan, an actress from Los Angeles best known for her role in TV legal drama “Suits”, go on a blind date after being introduced by a friend. Weeks later, the prince takes Meghan, whose father is white and mother African-American, on a romantic holiday to Botswana.

November – Harry calls out media intrusion

Harry criticises the media for intruding into his girlfriend’s private life, accusing some newspapers of abuse and harassment, some of which he describes as racist.

2017

November – Engagement announced

Harry’s father, then the Prince of Wales, confirms the couple are engaged.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announcing their engagement.

2018

May – A fairytale wedding

The couple marry in the medieval chapel of Windsor Castle and become the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Days before the wedding, Meghan’s father Thomas Markle said he would not attend.

October – Baby on the way

Harry and Meghan announce she is expecting their first child while in Australia on their first overseas tour.

Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex on Bondi Beach during their visit to Sydney on the fourth day of the royal couple’s visit to Australia. REUTERS

2019

March – Rumours of a rift

Buckingham Palace announces Harry and Meghan will set up their own household, breaking from the operation they shared with his elder brother Prince William and his wife Kate. There are media reports of rifts between the two couples.

May – Archie is born

Meghan gives birth to a boy, Archie. The couple invite a small group of media to a photocall, prompting grumbling from parts of the press that had been increasingly critical of the couple.

Meghan Markle Prince Harry with baby Archie
Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex hold their baby son, who was born on Monday morning, during a photocall in St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle, in Berkshire, Britain May 8, 2019. Photo Credit: Dominic Lipinski/Pool via REUTERS

October – Meghan sues

Meghan says she is suing the Mail on Sunday newspaper for printing parts of a letter she wrote to her estranged father after the wedding. Harry announces he is suing other papers over allegations of phone-hacking.

In a TV documentary, Harry discloses a rift with his brother William. He accuses the media of bullying, comparing it to their treatment of his mother, Princess Diana, before her death in a Paris car crash in 1997.

Meghan says life had been hard as a new mother dealing with intense scrutiny.

2020

January – Stepping back from royal duties

The couple announce their intention to step back from senior royal roles and become financially independent. They agree to give up their “Royal Highness” titles and in March they move to California.

September – Deal with Netflix

Streaming service Netflix, which makes the hit drama “The Crown” based on the life of the late Queen Elizabeth, announces the couple have signed a multi-year deal to produce content.

2021

February – Victory in court

Harry, who served in the armed forces for a decade, wins an apology and damages from the Mail on Sunday over an article claiming he had turned his back on the military.

A London High Court judge rules the same paper breached Meghan’s privacy by publishing extracts of her letter.

Buckingham Palace says the couple’s split as working members of the royal family is permanent and they will lose their royal patronages.

March – Bullying allegations and Oprah tell-all

Buckingham Palace says it is “very concerned” about a report in the Times newspaper detailing allegations of bullying made by former staff of Harry and Meghan and will launch an investigation.

The couple give an interview to U.S. chat show host Oprah Winfrey in which Meghan accuses one royal of raising concerns about how dark their son Archie’s skin might be, and says she was pushed to the brink of suicide.

Harry says he had been let down by his father, and that he had been “trapped” in the institution.

Queen Elizabeth responds by promising to address the racism issues while remarking “some recollections may vary”. William says: “We’re very much not a racist family.”

April – Philip’s funeral

Harry returns to Britain for the funeral of his grandfather Prince Philip, Elizabeth’s husband. Pregnant Meghan was advised not to travel.

May – Harry’s fear

Harry tells Winfrey in another interview how he had turned to drink and drugs to numb the grief he felt over the death of his mother, killed when her car crashed as it fled press photographers. He says the fear the same might happen to Meghan was one of the main reasons they quit royal duties.

June – Second child born

Meghan gives birth to their second child, Lilibet Diana, named after Queen Elizabeth and Harry’s late mother.

2022

January – More legal action

Harry begins legal action to challenge a government decision that denied him police protection when in Britain. He later starts a libel claim against the Mail on Sunday over an article saying he had tried to keep the legal action secret.

June – Queen’s jubilee

Buckingham Palace says lessons have been learned after a review into the bullying allegations made by royal staff against Meghan, but declines to give details.

Harry and Meghan return to Britain for celebrations to mark Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne. They are greeted with cheers and some jeers.

Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, are greeted as they arrive for the National Service of Thanksgiving held at St Paul’s Cathedral during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in London, Britain, June 3, 2022. Matt Dunham/Pool via REUTERS

September – Queen’s death

Harry and Meghan are in Britain when Queen Elizabeth dies. They join William and Kate for a walkabout to meet mourners.

Britain’s Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Britain’s Queen Camilla attend the state funeral and burial of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth at Westminster Abbey, in London, Britain, September 19, 2022. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

October – ‘Spare’ release date announced

Harry joins singer Elton John and others in suing the publisher of the Daily Mail newspaper, alleging phone-tapping and other breaches of privacy.

Publisher Random House announces that Harry’s memoir “Spare” will be published in January.

December – ‘Harry & Meghan’ Netflix series launches

Watch this space…

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