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‘Harry & Meghan’ Beat ‘The Crown’ in Ratings—But Is It Really a Smoking Gun?

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex look on during the pre-game ceremonies before the MLB London Series game between Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees at London Stadium on June 29, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Pool/Getty Images)

According to viewing figures for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s “intimate” docuseries, 2.4 million people tuned in to Netflix to watch the first three parts of the show, Harry & Meghan, on the day of its release, as reported by Digital Spy.

This means that the couple’s documentary more than doubled the amount of viewers who tuned in to watch The Crown, another Netflix show that follows a fictionalized account of life in the royal family. The drama gathered a measly 1.1 million viewers by comparison when it premiered on November 9, according to Metro.

It seems somewhat reductive to make a direct comparison: perhaps people were just more keen to watch a documentary than a drama. The Crown is on its fifth season right now and it could be that interest in the show is simply waning slightly, or people didn’t want to watch all ten episodes right away. Three episodes of Harry & Meghan, comparatively, is more achievable.

Plus, the build-up for Harry & Meghan was undeniably ramping up. People have been dying to know the “full truth” they promised to reveal, especially since the Oprah interview that broke the internet. While I was devouring the first three episodes myself, I was clamoring for the drama—but found myself disappointed.

Where was the gossip? Where was naming names? I wanted dirt but what I got instead was a charming story of two young people falling in love in front of a world full of judging critics.

Reflecting on what I saw, I feel guilty for wanting the show to be a smoking gun. Harry and Meghan promised to tell their story and, while it was full of gossip columns and supposed scandals, at the heart of the matter is two people who met, fell in love, and started a family.

While I might have been struck by Meghan’s apparent naivety (although I can’t tell if it’s just my Britishness showing during the curtsying scene), I also found them incredibly likable. I’ve been ambivalent about the royal family all my life and, although I felt for Harry and Meghan over the last couple of years, I hadn’t paid a whole lot of attention to what they were going through since moving to the US.

For me, this docuseries has cemented my support for their decision to leave the royal family. My only surprise really was that the vitriolic and racist reporting was not limited to British tabloids, but also followed them to the United States, polluting media broadcasts no matter where they went.

The next part of the series (another three episodes) drops on Thursday, with the first three episodes ending on the day of their wedding. While the next installment could contain the gossip that people are clamoring for, I’m no longer expecting it. Instead, I’m happy to sit and listen to the story that Harry and Meghan actually want to tell—and I hope the world is ready to listen for once.

(featured image: Dan Istitene – Pool/Getty Images)

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