In the new six-part docuseries, the first three episodes of which dropped on the streamer yesterday, the couple claim an interview they gave to the BBC in 2017 about their engagement was “orchestrated” and “rehearsed.” Meghan also said in the documentary: “We weren’t allowed to tell our story because they didn’t want [us to].”
She does not clarify whether “they” refers to the Royal Family or the BBC.
The BBC interview, which the couple gave shortly after their engagement was announced in 2017, was conducted by one the network’s most esteemed journalists, Mishal Husain.
Now, some of the BBC’s top journalists – including Husain – have disputed the couple’s claims, as well as their assertion the British media was out to “destroy” Meghan.
Husain, who was co-hosting BBC radio program “Today” alongside Justin Webb when the documentary dropped on Thursday morning U.K. time, laughed as contributor and royal correspondent Jonny Dymond repeated the couple’s allegations. “Bit of a blow there,” Dymond jokingly told Husain and Webb. “I don’t know who orchestrated it, maybe it was all part of Mishal’s evil plan.”
“I mean I was relatively new to the job and it seemed like a rather charming interview of two people very much in love and Mishal lobbing questions at them,” he continued. “But apparently yes, that was an ‘orchestrated reality show.’ We will find out maybe later in these programs who the puppeteers really are.”
The final three episodes in the series are due to drop next Thursday.
As Dymond signed off, Webb joked he was “Leaving me sitting next to the orchestrator.”
“We know recollections may vary on this particular subject but my recollection is very much ‘asked to do an interview and do said interview,’” Husain replied, paraphrasing a statement made by Queen Elizabeth II in response to Meghan and Harry’s sit-down with Oprah last year, in which they accused the Royal Family of racism. (In a carefully-worded response to the Oprah interview, the Queen said that while Buckingham Palace was taking the allegations of racism seriously, “some recollections may vary.”)
Later, Husain appeared on BBC Radio 4’s show “World at One” in which she set out her own version of how the engagement interview went. “I remember it as being a day that was full of joy, where the major focus for everyone who was there from the BBC team was to make sure that Harry and Meghan, the two people at the heart of it, felt as comfortable as possible because this was their day,” she said. “We went to Kensington Palace, we went and had a conversation with Harry and Meghan and two members of their team beforehand and we talked about what the interview would cover, what they felt comfortable sharing. And after that we went and set up our cameras, they went away for a bit, did their photocell and when they came back we recorded a 20 minute interview.”
“World at One” also reached out to Lord Tony Hall, who was BBC director general in 2017, to ask whether the interview was “orchestrated” or “rehearsed.” Lord Hall told the program those claims were “simply untrue.”
Meanwhile, the BBC’s long-serving royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell appeared on the network’s “News at Six” to discuss the documentary, during which he rubbished Meghan’s assertion that the media was out to “destroy” her.
Witchell said: “The idea that anyone was out to ‘destroy her’ frankly I think is absurd and simply does not stand up to proper and reasonable scrutiny.”
The third episode of “Harry & Meghan” opens with the couple sitting together being questioned by the docu-series’ director Liz Garbus. “In your engagement interview – ” Garbus begins to ask before Meghan interjects: “Orchestrated reality show, yep.”
“It was rehearsed,” Meghan’s voice continues as the shot changes to a video clip of photographers at the couple’s 2017 engagement photocall. “So we did the thing out with the press then we went right inside, took the coat off and did the interview, so it was all in that same moment.”
Garbus probes: “You mean just like, prepping you before that they’re gonna ask ‘This, this, this’ or how does that work?”
“Yeah, but also ‘and then there’ll be a moment where they’ll want to see the ring, so show the ring,'” Meghan replies. “So my point is, we weren’t allowed to tell our story because they didn’t want – “
Harry interjects: “We’ve never been allowed to tell our story.”
When asked about the couple’s allegations, a spokesperson for the BBC directed Variety to Husain’s “World at One” interview, saying: “We have nothing further to add.”