Not playing by the same rules? In Harry & Meghan, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made a series of claims about how they were treated differently than Prince William — and dropped a bombshell allegation about the heir to the throne in relation to a lawsuit filed by the Duchess of Sussex.
Meghan’s lawyer Jenny Afia explained in episode 6 — which started streaming on Thursday, December 15 — that the Daily Mail was appealing the case her client had won in 2021 about the publishing of a private letter to her father, Thomas Markle, years prior.
“Then Associated Newspapers predictably appealed,” Afia said. “When we were just about to go the court of appeal, a senior member of [William’s] team [Jason Knauf] came forward to give his witness statement, which wasn’t required, and sadly there’s just no way he could have done that without the authority of his bosses.”
The series shows Meghan, 41, getting frustrated after learning about Knauf’s actions.
“Let me deal with it,” Harry, 38, told his wife as she walked away.
“It’s your brother,” Meghan replied. “I’m not gonna say anything about your brother, but it’s so obvious.”
The former military pilot agreed. “It’s even more obvious that they’ll try and cover it up,” he said, pointing out that Knauf was labeled “a former aide of Meghan and Harry as opposed to” a current employee of William’s in news coverage. “That’s why I’m now living in a different country. Because all the comms teams basically, like, try to outdo each other, but this is the contract. The symbiotic relationship between the two institutions working the best that they can.”
Meghan won her appeal in December 2021. While William has yet to address the claims made against him, Knauf spoke out via a statement in the doc.
“In response to allegations that Mr. Knauf submitted a voluntary witness statement in connection with the Daily Mail litigation with the consent of Prince William’s office, a representative for Mr. Knauf sent the following statement. These claims are entirely false,” the screen read. “Mr. Knauf was asked to provide evidence by both the Duchess of Sussex and Associate Newspapers. He was advised by counsel that evidence in his possession could be relevant and he then provided this directly to the court, staying neutral in the process.”
Meghan’s attorneys responded with a statement of their own: “The legal team for Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, disputes this claim. Mr. Knauf was not asked to provide a witness statement by the duchess or her team. Nor do her attorneys believe Mr. Knauf remained ‘neutral’ by submitting a witness statement relied on by Associated Newspapers whilst working for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.”
While all six episodes of Harry & Meghan tackled issues with the U.K. press, Thursday’s drop included several allegations about The Firm using Meghan as a scapegoat.
“You can always say, ‘I didn’t know about this,’ or, ‘This would never happen. Are you suggesting that I condone this?’ It’s like, ‘No. But what I am asking is have you done anything to stop it?’ And the answer is no. William and I both saw what happened in our dad’s office … and we made an agreement that we would never let that happen to our office,” Harry said in episode 4. “I would far rather get destroyed in the press than play along with this game or this business of trading. And 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.”
This isn’t the first time that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have alleged that they weren’t treated the same as William and Princess Kate. During their bombshell CBS interview in March 2021, Meghan suggested that the “institution” was willing to throw her under the bus to make other members of the family look good in the U.K. media.
“It was only once we were married and everything started to really worsen that I came to understand that not only was I not being protected, but they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family but they weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband,” Meghan alleged at the time.
One of the examples the former actress cited was a story about Meghan reportedly making Kate cry over a fight about flower-girl dresses before Meghan and Harry’s May 2018 nuptials.
“A few days before the wedding, she was upset about something pertaining — yes, the issue was correct — about flower-girl dresses, and it made me cry, and it really hurt my feelings,” Meghan claimed at the time. “And I thought, in the context of everything else that was going on in those days leading to the wedding, that it didn’t make sense to not be just doing whatever everyone else was doing, which was trying to be supportive, knowing what was going on with my dad and whatnot.”
She went on to claim “the reverse happened” — and she was extra upset that the story was published months later.
“And I don’t say that to be disparaging to anyone, because it was a really hard week of the wedding. And she was upset about something, but she owned it, and she apologized. And she brought me flowers and a note, apologizing. And she did what I would do if I knew that I hurt someone, right, to just take accountability for it. What was shocking was …. what was that, six, seven months after our wedding,” Meghan alleged. “I would have never wanted that to come out about her ever, even though it had happened. I protected that from ever being out in the world.”
The Suits alum added at the time that she had “forgiven” Kate and wasn’t bringing up the story “in any way to be disparaging to her.”
“What was hard to get over was being blamed for something that not only I didn’t do but that happened to me,” she said. “And the people who were part of our wedding going to our comms team and saying, ‘I know this didn’t happen.’ I don’t have to tell them what actually happened. … Everyone in the institution knew it wasn’t true.”
The royal family has yet to publicly comment on Harry & Meghan as Netflix maintains “household offices for Prince William, Princess Kate, King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla” were contacted for comment, royal reporter Omid Scobie reports.