The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are said to be at loggerheads with Netflix over their documentary series – with rumours that bosses are refusing their requests to "tone down" some of its content.
Sources claim Prince Harry and wife Meghan had "second thoughts" about the show following the Queen’s death and are now "panicked".
The series, described as a revealing "at home with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex-style" show, has been in production for almost a year with them letting cameras follow them around.
It covers events including their trip to the Netherlands for Harry’s Invictus Games in April and a visit to New York last year. Harry, 38, and Megan, 41, have also allowed intimate filming at their home in Montecito, California.
However, following the death of Harry’s grandmother last month reports emerged that the Sussexes allegedly wanted to cut some footage.
Sources claimed they hoped to take out or at least downplay some of the things they have said about his father King Charles and wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, plus brother William and wife Kate, the new Prince and Princess of Wales.
But now, it looks like streaming giant Netflix, which wanted to launch the series at the same time as the new season of its hit The Crown in November, is reportedly pushing back – and bosses are unwilling to accept Harry and Meghan’s changes.
"Netflix has made it clear that the project is going forward," a source at Netflix told website Page Six. "Harry and Meghan are having second thoughts on their own story, on their own project."
Another industry source added, "Harry and Meghan are panicked about trying to tone down even the most basic language.
"But it’s their story, from their own mouths."
While many believe Harry and Meghan – who share children Archie, three, and one-year-old Lilibet – decided on making changes after the Queen’s death, some sources believe they had already started rethinking their content before Her Majesty’s passing on 8 September.
"They’ve made significant requests to walk back content they themselves have provided – to the extent that some Netflix staff believe, if granted, it will effectively shelve the project indefinitely," said the source. "Netflix is standing by the filmmakers."
The documentary series is part of a multi-year deal the Sussexes signed with Netflix in September 2020 that is worth millions and will include feature films, scripted shows, documentaries and children’s programming.
At the time, Harry and Megan released a statement saying, "Our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope.
"As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us."
The documentary, produced by the couple’s own company Archewell, was to be the first major release under the deal and is directed by Oscar-nominated Liz Garbus, whom Megan described as "incredible" during her interview with The Cut in August.
It was during the same interview that she hinted what the documentary series would focus on, referring to "the piece of my life I haven’t been able to share, that people haven’t been able to see – our love story."
Netflix has yet to officially comment on the status of the documentary.
However, a delay to the release looks increasingly likely, especially as the publication of Harry’s other project, a tell-all memoir originally due to be released at the end of this year, has been pushed back until at least early 2023.
Will Harry and Meghan’s already controversial series and the Prince’s book ever see the light of day? Time will tell.
Royal expert Duncan Larcombe said, "Their request to make changes to a show that is paying them millions of dollars screams regret on their part, in my opinion.
"I think Meghan and Harry are looking at the fuses they have lit and wondering how on earth they’ll be able to stop them going off.
"In one respect, it’s an encouraging sign that, since the Queen’s funeral, it seems they’re trying to make a U-turn on what they’ve said and done.
"Maybe they have reflected on their actions and realised they’ve gone too far. I think the tragedy, however, is that the decision to make the changes is no longer in their hands," claimed Duncan.
He said, "If you reflect on Harry’s body language on the day of the funeral – cheeks puffed out, sheer exhaustion – you could argue that, yes, he’s obviously heartbroken following the death of his grandmother.
"But also that he’s realising the bombshells he and his wife have orchestrated will be dropped in the coming months. Is it too late to backtrack? Yes, it seems to be."
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