Vindication for Harry & Meghan: The prince's Sotho name, Meghan having Diana's 'warmth' and more

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"This is a first-hand account of Harry & Meghan's story, told with never-before-seen personal archive."

On Thursday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released the first three episodes of their much-anticipated Netflix documentary series, Harry & Meghan.

"Members of the royal family declined to comment on the content within the series," reads a message. 

The opening scene then shows an emotional Harry sharing a video message from the Windsor Suite at London Heathrow Airport taken in March 2020 – the day he and Meghan left the UK to rebuild a life outside the royal family in the US.

"Hi. So, we're here on Tues… Wednesday. Wednesday, the something of March. Um, we've just finished, um, two weeks… Our final push, our last stint of royal engagements. It's really hard to look back on it now and go, 'What on earth happened? Like, how did we end up here?'" The first episode's synopsis reads: "As Harry shares the impact of a childhood in the public eye, he and Meghan reflect on the secret early days of their unexpected romance."

At the start, Harry reveals that a friend of his and Meghan's suggested they document their lives "with all of the misinformation that was going on out there." 

Meghan then adds what she calls the "first video diary."

"Right now, it might not make sense, but one day, it will make sense." 

Here are 5 revelations from episode 1:

How Harry and Meghan met

Harry and Meghan met in July 2016. 

According to Meghan, a new season of Suits had been greenlit, and before she had to get back to filming, she decided to enjoy living a single life, "and then came H".

"Meghan and I met over Instagram," Harry reveals, adding that he saw a video of her with a dog nose and ears Snapchat filter and immediately asked, "Who is that?"

Through a mutual friend and Meghan stalking Harry on his "feed," the couple then shared phone numbers and immediately hit it off.

They then agreed to meet for a drink when Meghan was in London for Wimbledon – a date which Harry was late for.

Their first date lasted an hour, however, intrigued by one another, they agreed to meet for dinner at the same restaurant the following night, during which they took their first selfie and agreed that they would "give it a go".

Harry and Meghan agreed that given the prince's position in the public eye, they would keep things as private as possible while getting to know each other.

"I knew the only way this [the relationship with Meghan] could work was by keeping it quiet for as long as possible," Harry says at one point.

And as the saying goes, the rest is history.

It all leads back to his mother, Diana

The mood takes a sombre turn as the episode moves on to Princess Diana. 

Harry notes that he doesn't have many early memories of his mother, "but I always remember her laugh, her cheeky laugh and always saying to me, 'You can get into trouble, but don't get caught'."

The prince then vows:

"I'll always be that cheeky person inside."

The memories Harry does have are ones that nearly always involve the paparazzi.

Harry discusses the media's effect on his mum when she married his father, King Charles, and how it worsened when they separated.

He reveals that before meeting Meghan, he would think about how he would find someone "who is willing and capable" to stand the "pain and suffering" that comes from marrying into the institution.

The prince also touches on Diana's BBC Panorama interview in 1995, saying, "I think she had a lived experience of how she was struggling, living that life. She felt compelled to talk about it."

He adds: "I think we all now know that she was deceived into giving the interview, but at the same time, she spoke the truth of her experience."

READ MORE | A look at the first tell-all to shake the royals: Princess Diana's explosive Panorama interview

In the aftermath of Diana's death, Harry notes, "The UK swept me and William up as their children. The expectation to see me and William out and about was really hard for the two of us." 

He adds that the media's hounding fell onto him and Prince William, which opened his eyes even more to the public scrutiny that came with being a royal family member.

Comparing Meghan to Diana

"So much of what Meghan is, and how she is, is so similar to my mom," Harry says, while clips show him and his mother, followed by pictures of his wife and son.

"She has the same compassion, the same empathy; she has the same confidence. She has this warmth about her."

Harry then reiterates that while he knows "there will be people around the world who fundamentally disagree with what I've done and how I've done it," he knew he "had to do everything I could to protect my family."

Finding peace in Lesotho and his Sotho name

Lesotho holds a special place in Prince Harry's heart; it's where he found peace and happiness as a teenager, away from all the bad press he was getting in the UK.

He first visited the African country in 2004 and met Prince Seeiso of Lesotho.

"In the beginning, Harry was a young man straight from Eton, having had massive negative headlines about him," Prince Seeiso says. "I think he came wanting to have time out from that very aggressive treadmill.

The royal quickly fell in love with the country and continued to visit "almost yearly" and even founded Sentebale, a charity organisation that helps children and adolescents struggling to come to terms with their HIV status.

Prince Seeiso says Harry's effect on the local community showed that he is "very much his mother".

"We even gave him a name, actually. A Sesotho name. Mahale, which means warrior. Harry is a warrior in spirit, and he's a warrior in character."

Given Harry's closeness to Africa, he immediately wanted to share it with Meghan, prompting him to invite her for a trip to Botswana after having only met her in person twice.

The couple spent five days camping in the bush – yet another opportunity to get to know each other away from the spotlight.

"It just felt so right, and it felt so normal," Harry says as photos of the couple enjoying their trip flash by on-screen. 

Figuring out how to make their relationship work 

Following their trip, Harry and Meghan continued their long-distance relationship with one rule – they had to see each other in person at least every two weeks.

Keeping in mind, it was necessary to Harry that everything remained under wraps.

"Every relationship that I had, within a matter of weeks or months, was splattered all over the newspapers, and that person's family harassed, and their lives turned upside down," he says.

"So, when I got to meet M, I was terrified of her being driven away by the media."

Unfortunately for them, the media caught up, and they received word that on 30 October 2016, a tabloid was going expose their relationship.

Harry and Meghan then took advantage of having one final night of secrecy and went to a Halloween party with Princess Eugenie and her now husband, Jack Brooksbank.

The episode then ends with Harry saying, "Naively, I didn't know what I was walking into. But in October of 2016, suddenly, everything changed."

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