Royal commentator Richard Eden wondered on Twitter about the possible reasons behind Meghan’s decision to travel across the pond alongside Prince Harry in mid-April to attend some of the events planned during the Invictus Games at The Hague. He wrote on Twitter: “I wonder if the news that #Netflix has ditched #Meghan’s debut series explains why she returned to Europe for the Invictus Games?”
Mr Eden, the Daily Mail’ diary editor, added: “#PrinceHarry’s documentary about his charity project is now the couple’s only current series for the streaming giant which paid them millions. #royal” Since her relationship with the sixth-in-line to the throne became public in 2017, Meghan has attended every edition of the Games to pay tribute to the service personnel participating in them and to support her partner.
Meghan and Prince Harry’s video production company Archewell Productions announced last year it was working on two projects. The first is Heart of Invictus, a documentary focused on the Invictus Games founded by the Duke of Sussex, the healing power of sports and some of the tournament’s participants and their preparation ahead of the event.
Speaking about the show, the Duke said in April last year: “Since the very first Invictus Games back in 2014, we knew that each competitor would contribute in their own exceptional way to a mosaic of resilience, determination, and resolve. “This series will give communities around the world a window into the moving and uplifting stories of these competitors on their path to the Netherlands next year.
“As Archewell Productions’ first series with Netflix, in partnership with The Invictus Games Foundation, I couldn’t be more excited for the journey ahead or prouder of the Invictus community for continuously inspiring global healing, human potential and continued service.”
This year’s edition of the Games took place at The Hague. While Prince Harry remained in The Netherlands for their whole duration, Meghan left on the third day to return to California and to the couple’s beloved children, Archie Harrison and Lilibet Diana. The royals were spotted being followed around by cameras as they were filming footage for the Heart of Invictus docu-series.
The second show Archewell was working on was Pearl, an animated series focused on the adventures of a 12-year-old girls being inspired by prominent female personalities through the ages. Upon announcing the product, Meghan said last July: “Like many girls her age, our heroine Pearl is on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to overcome life’s daily challenges. “I’m thrilled that Archewell Productions, partnered with the powerhouse platform of Netflix, and these incredible producers, will together bring you this new animated series, which celebrates extraordinary women throughout history.”
The statement added David Furnish, also one of the show’s executive producers, and the Duchess “have been eager to bring this special series to light”. However, this series – of which Meghan was one of the executive producers – has been axed by Netflix, as revealed on Sunday. This move is part of a wider cut-costing exercise by the streaming giant which has involved also other animated shows.
In April, Netflix said to have seen a drop in its total number of subscribers by 200,000 in the first three months of 2022 and warned an additional two million users were expected to leave the service in the months coming up to July. Meghan and Harry signed a deal with Netflix in 2020, after they officially stepped down as senior royals. Neither the streaming platform nor the royals said how much the multi-year deal was worth, but experts believe it could be in the neighbourhood of $100million.
Upon sharing the news in September two years ago, the Sussexes said they wanted to focus on “creating content that informs but also gives hope”. They continued: “As new parents, making inspirational family programming is also important to us.” Moreover, they added Netflix’s “unprecedented reach” would “help us share impactful content that unlocks action”.
Netflix isn’t the only streaming platform the Sussexes have collaborated within recent months. In late 2020, it was also announced Meghan and Harry will produce audio content and podcasts exclusively for Spotify – with the Duchess set to launch and host the show Archetypes this summer.
Moreover, the Duchess has provided narration for the documentary ‘Elephant’ – and devolved the proceeds to charity – while in May last year the Duke and Oprah Winfrey released a mental health series called The Me You Can’t See Me on Apple TV+.