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Prince Harry and Meghan docuseries: Royal family counters Netflix, says they were not contacted for comment

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ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

(LONDON) — Netflix and Britain’s royal family have differing views when it comes to whether or not the family was asked to participate in the new docuseries featuring Prince Harry and Meghan, the duke and duchess of Sussex.

In the opening seconds of the docuseries Harry & Meghan, which debuted Thursday, Netflix states that members of Britain’s royal family “declined to comment on the content within this series.”

Royal sources however told ABC News “that neither Buckingham Palace nor Kensington Palace nor any members of the royal family were approached for comment on the content of the series.”

According to royal sources, Kensington Palace, the household of Harry’s brother Prince William and his wife Kate, the princess of Wales, received an email purporting to be from a third-party production company, via a different, unknown organization’s email address.

The palace contacted Harry and Meghan’s production company, Archewell Productions, and Netflix to attempt to verify the authenticity of the email, but received no response, sources claimed.

According to the sources, without being able to verify the email’s authenticity, the palace was “unable” to provide any response.

A source at Netflix told ABC News Thursday that communications offices for Harry’s father King Charles III and William were contacted in advance and given the right to reply to claims within the series.

Both Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace, the household of Charles and his wife Camilla, the queen consort, declined Thursday to comment on the docuseries.

According to Netflix, interviews for the series were completed by August, one month before the death of Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

The docuseries — described in the first episode as a “first-hand account of Harry and Meghan’s story, told with never before seen personal archive” — is part of a deal Harry and Meghan inked with Netflix in 2020, shortly after they stepped down from their roles as senior working royals. The six-part series was made in association with Archewell Productions, which the California-based couple also launched in their post-royal life.

The first three episodes released cover everything from how Harry and Meghan first met to coverage of their relationship and the build-up to their star-studded wedding in Windsor, England, in May 2018.

Harry and Meghan speak openly in sit-down interviews for the series, as do Meghan’s mom Doria Ragland and several of her longtime friends and former colleagues from her acting career.

Also featured in the series is James Holt, a former press secretary for the couple who is now the executive director of their Archewell Foundation.

The only childhood friend of Harry’s who is featured in the docuseries is a man identified as Nicky, who attended Eton College with the prince.

Also featured in the series are Harry’s friend and polo star Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, with whom Harry co-founded the charity Sentebale.

ABC News’ royal contributor Victoria Murphy said she believes there is nothing in the docuseries so far that the royal family will “feel that they need to respond to.”

“What it really was,” Murphy said, “was the couple’s chance to tell their love story on their own terms. Their critics say, ‘Oh, they wanted privacy,’ but actually what they wanted was control. They wanted to be able to tell their story and have people see them how they wanted to be seen. I think that they will feel with this documentary that they have done that.”

Robert Jobson, also an ABC News royal contributor, echoed Murphy, saying he does not believe the royal family will speak out about the docuseries.

“There’s no point really in getting involved with a tit-for-tat. The reality is [Harry and Meghan] have gone their own way. They’ve got their viewpoint,” he said, adding, “I think the King and Prince William will stay silent and just get on with doing what they do in actions rather than words.”

The final three episodes of Harry and Meghan’s docuseries will be released on Netflix on Dec. 15.

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