Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s £112m Netflix deal ‘could include a documentary on Princess Diana’ – but Royal sources warn it could ‘fuel tensions between him and William’
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle signed deal with streaming service this week
- Insider said the documentary will focus on Diana’s family history and heritage
- It follows Harry being urged to get a separate Netflix musical about Diana pulled
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s £112million Netflix deal ‘could include a documentary on Princess Diana’ – but Royal sources have warned it could ‘fuel tensions between him and William’.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex signed a deal with the streaming service this week for their new yet-to-be-named production company to make documentaries, feature films, scripted shows and children’s programming.
An insider said the documentary will focus on Diana’s family history and heritage, but voiced fears over it widening the brothers’ rift.
It follows Harry being urged to get a separate Netflix musical, not associated with himself or Meghan, about his mother pulled.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, pictured, signed a deal with the streaming service this week for their new yet-to-be-named production company to make documentaries, feature films, scripted shows and children’s programming
It follows Prince Harry being urged to get a separate Netflix musical, not associated with himself or Meghan, about his mother pulled
Roe Hartrampf playing Prince Charles and Jeanna de Waal playing Diana, during a preview for the musical ‘Diana’ at the Longacre Theatre on Broadway
A source told the Mirror: ‘It will work as a tribute to Diana and build on all the incredible charity work she has done.
‘Netflix would also love to make a documentary about Diana and it is something they have been pushing for.’
Referring to William and Harry, the insider added: ‘These plans could further antagonise their fallout. If it does happen William will be the first to know.’
Meanwhile, a former bodyguard of the late princess is calling on her son to get a controversial musical pulled from the streaming service.
Netflix will screen ‘Diana: A New Musical’, which features a fictitious scene where the Queen labels her a ‘tart’.
Other controversial lines include the Queen saying to Diana: ‘In the old days we would have chopped off your head,’ while another scene sees Diana in bed with James Hewitt.
Ken Wharfe, 72, Diana’s former bodyguard, earlier told The Sun: ‘The Diana musical, soon to be premiered on Netflix, presents a huge dilemma to them both.
‘If the critics are to be believed, this musical story is not a joyous journey of love with a happy ending but an episodic account of untruths, scandal and sex.
The musical began previews in March but never officially made its debut on Broadway due to the coronavirus pandemic
In an unconventional step, the musical is set to skip Broadway and go straight on to Netflix
Controversial lines in the musical ‘Diana’
The musical features a number of controversial lines including one in which the Queen says to Diana: ‘She’s going out dressed up like a tart’.
In another line, Charles says to Diana: ‘Another boy. It seems you ignored my request for a girl,’ while the Queen also says: ‘In the old days we would have chopped of your head.’
James Hewitt also remarks ‘You’ll like my horse,’ when Diana asks for a riding lesson, while butler Paul Burrell calls a dress Diana wears as a ‘f**kety, f**kety, f**kety, f**ket, f**k you dress.’
‘He now has the chance, irrespective of his lucrative deal with Netflix, to stand alone from his wife and make clear his abhorrence of such a musical and call Netflix to account.’
The musical began previews in March but never officially made its debut on Broadway due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In an unconventional step, the musical is set to skip Broadway and go straight on to Netflix.
The cast and crew are set to reunite in an empty theatre this month to perform the musical for cameras and put the finished product on the digital platform for broadcast next year, before the show welcomes a live audience again.
‘We speak for the entire company when we say that we couldn’t be more excited to finally be able to share our show with theatre lovers everywhere,’ the show’s producers said in a statement last month.
Diana is advertised as the tragic and yet inspiring story of a young woman learning to break free of the confines of the British royal family.
It has songs by Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan and a story by playwright Joe DiPietro. The pair also collaborated on the Tony-winning Memphis.
Diana stars Jeanna De Waal in the title role, and explores Diana’s glamour and charity work and the slow public crumbling of her relationship with Prince Charles.
She died in a car crash in Paris in 1997 while being pursued by paparazzi.
Her story is also featured in season four of The Crown and her sons – princes Harry and William – are a source of constant news.
But it also features topics including the breakdown of Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles, with swathes of vulgar dialogue and scenes of fiction, reports The Sun.
Diana is also shown to self-harm after Charles moans about ‘another boy’ when Harry is born, the paper said.
Pay back Frogmore millions! Calls for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to refund £2.4m owned to the taxpayer for renovations on their Windsor home
A former Lib Dem MP has called on The Duke and Duchess of Sussex to pay back money for renovation work on their Windsor home.
Former Lib Dem MP Norman Baker says the couple should offer to pay the £2.4million they owe for the extensive renovation to Frogmore after signing a multimillion-pound deal with Netflix this week.
The house was extensively renovated for the couple after their marriage in May 2018, with the intention of it being a family home for son Archie.
But they have since left to live in America, where they have purchased a £14.7million mansion in California.
The house was extensively renovated for the couple after their marriage in May 2018, with the intention of it being a family home for son Archie
Mr Baker says they should offer to stump up the full sum after their recent deal with Netflix
As part of their ‘exit package’, often referred to as ‘Megxit’, the couple offered to refund the cost of building work at their UK family home paid for by the Sovereign Grant, money given by the Government to the Queen.
It is believed they will pay back around £18,000 a month, which will take them 11 years to clear.
But Mr Baker says they should offer to stump up the full sum after their recent deal with Netflix.
He told The Sun: ‘They should pay the taxpayer back immediately for Frogmore renovations rather than wait eleven years.
“They can both definitely afford it. They should either pay it when the Netflix money arrives or give up the cottage.’
Will Meghan Markle scoop the Oscar she’s dreamt of since she was seven? Former Suits actress hopes her Netflix deal with land her an Academy Award
By Emily Andrews and Caroline Graham for the Mail on Sunday
HOLLYWOOD HOPES: Meghan in a Halloween costume, aged seven
The couple, who live in an £11million mansion near Los Angeles, last week announced their plans to conquer Hollywood by producing ‘inspirational’ programmes in a multi-year contact with the US streaming company.
As well as securing millions of pounds to fund their lavish lifestyle, The Mail on Sunday can reveal that former Suits actress Meghan hopes the deal will land her an Academy Award, her childhood dream.
‘An Oscar is all Meg has ever wanted,’ said one long-time friend. ‘She used to practise her acceptance speech in the mirror with a hairbrush when she was a kid of seven. She would also practise her signature in preparation for all the autographs she would give.
‘Her absolute dream was to achieve the EGOT – the grand slam of showbusiness – which is winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award.
‘Her acceptance speech has been ready for 30 years. Perhaps now she will get to use it.’ The Mail on Sunday can also reveal:
- The deal involves a yearly retainer of £2 million to £4 million plus a ‘fees for films’
- Harry and Meghan will not be able to use their royal titles on production credits
- They are determined not to be ‘rent-a-royals’ and will vet any Netflix publicity
- A company vice-president has been assigned to the couple to run their projects
The couple are following a strategy pursued by Barack and Michelle Obama, who signed a Netflix deal two years ago and won an Oscar earlier this year for the documentary American Factory.
Describing Harry and Meghan’s plans, their American spokeswoman gushed: ‘The focus will be on creating a wide-range of programmes about stories and issues that resonate with them personally – including highlighting issues that their non-profit [company] Archewell is focused on.
‘Enabling a more compassionate and equitable world isn’t just something they do through their non-profit, it’s a belief they hold and model themselves which will carry through in this venture.’
Pictured: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attending Disney’s The Lion King European Premiere held in Leicester Square, London
Their production company, thought to be called MWX Trading after their Mountbatten-Windsor surname, has yet to be officially announced, but is already developing nature documentaries and an animated series on inspirational women.
A source said it would be ‘impossible’ for them to use their royal titles for any production credits ‘otherwise they will be accused of, and indeed actually be, cashing in on their royal status which they pledged not to do’.
Meghan’s Hollywood team, including agent Nick Collins, lawyer Rick Genow and business manager Andrew Meyer, negotiated the ‘megabucks’ deal after quietly touting the Sussexes around Disney, Apple and HBO.
Pictured: Meghan Markle as Rachel Zane in ‘Suits’ Season 1, during her career as an actress
Netflix agreed the annual retainer for at least two years and to contribute sponsorship and support to Archewell, named after their son Archie, now 15 months old.
The couple have demanded control over any publicity around their work. ‘Harry and Meghan won’t be rent-a-royals for the red carpet,’ said a source. ‘They will go and network with power players, but they want to retain complete control. They won’t be forced to do anything they don’t want to.
‘It’s a win-win as Netflix have the biggest pockets but they also have a problem in being taking seriously. Harry and Meghan bring prestige – in return they get lots of cash.’
Buckingham Palace – which will review the Sussexes’ break from the family next year – will be keeping a close eye to ensure that the couple keep to their pledge that ‘everything they do will continue to uphold the values of Her Majesty’.
‘Don’t I have a voice?’ Meghan Markle was overheard asking icily. NOW she does – and I know how Prince Harry can find his too… SARAH SANDS says: Never mind Netflix, there’s a vital role the Duke could be playing
By Sarah Sands for the Mail on Sunday
Give them their due, Meghan and Harry appear to have played a blinder with their Netflix deal. We have wondered about the valuation they place on their celebrity: it turns out to be about £100 million, if reports are to be believed.
No wonder they bet the £11 million, nine-bedroom, 17-bathroom Californian house on it.
We don’t know what audiences will make of their documentaries of hope and inspiration but the Duke and Duchess of Sussex can afford to get professionals in to make the shows, plus a ton of liberal money is moving towards the causes they support. It might irritate their critics but wokeness is commercial.
The exiled couple are a triumph of their own narrative. They have taken to heart the guidance of the self-help guru Brené Brown: ‘You either walk into your story and own your truth, or you live outside of your story, hustling for your worthiness.’
Celebrity is an act of faith. The British tend to say: ‘It is for other people to judge.’ Americans have been quicker to understand that a new world is ready to take them at their own estimation.
Publicists and admirers and influential friends such as Oprah Winfrey are there to help the couple achieve what they want. To be virtuous and rich and private.
Meghan has studied her role model Michelle Obama carefully and exhibits some of the same luminous charisma. I wonder if she would like to be on a political ticket if Michelle should ever change her mind about keeping out of politics.
Or perhaps Brené Brown has a more audacious narrative: Michelle Obama as a supporter of Meghan’s presidential bid. Michelle and Meghan have both spoken about finding a ‘voice’.
SARAH SANDS: Harry and Meghan (pictured earlier this year) appear to have played a blinder with their new Netflix deal which, if reports are to be believed, is worth over £100 million
Meghan’s ‘ordeal’ in Britain was, to her mind, the subjugation of her voice. A colleague who was at a broadcast by the Royal Family’s short-lived Fab Four – how poignant it is to recall the two couples looking so happy together – remembers the microphone moving down the line: William…Kate…Harry…
Meghan, at the end of the line was disinclined to wait. ‘Don’t I have a voice?’ she asked, icily. At last, she can be heard, loud and clear. It’s obvious that she feels delighted to be home again.
Can California also feel like home for Harry? Three years ago, he guest edited an edition of the BBC Radio 4 Today programme and, as the regular editor, I spent some time with him. My first trip to Kensington Palace to discuss his plans for the show was just about this time of year.
We’d had the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana and the gates to the palace looked like Lourdes – a shrine of offerings to the wronged princess, piled high with photos and mementos of her life.
The Greek tragedy of a son’s revenge for his mother’s suffering could have been an irresistible theme. Instead, I thought how sane Prince Harry was to put aside the sanctification of Diana and the populist attempt to use her image to destroy the monarchy.
But he was very down on the press and keen to crack on with his agenda of filtering out the cruelty of social media, of seeking out positive leadership, and of supporting British troops.
As we discussed the running order of the programme, I slyly suggested that his address book was a lot fancier than mine. President Obama would return his calls. Prince Harry was organised and pragmatic.
He was happy to make those calls. And he offered to do some of the interviews himself. He asked former President Obama about the direction of America, confronting Trumpism by implication.
Sarah Sands, the outgoing editor of the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, writes: We have wondered about the valuation Harry and Meghan place on their celebrity: it turns out to be about £100 million, if reports are to be believed
And he added some cheeky quick fire questions, including asking Obama his opinion of his fiancée’s television drama, Suits. Obama sounded… fatherly.
Netflix will also want access to the Prince’s pulling power and they may have ideas about his interviews. During his Today guest edit, Harry suggested that the presenter should put a question to the Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick. It was that oficers were doing a fine job under difficult circumstances. I winced that it was not really a question.
Harry struck me as bursting with ideas and passion and needing only a restraining hand. I was happy that Meghan would be a savvy, cool-headed influence. She claimed that she didn’t really know who he was when they first met.
Perhaps I was naïve, but I was so pleased that she was apparently unaware of the heartbreaking image of the small boy walking behind his mother’s coffin, in perhaps the most televised funeral since President Kennedy’s.
We interviewed Prince Harry at the end of the programme and he said how delighted he was that Meghan would join his relatives at Christmas, because she hadn’t grown up with this kind of family unity.
I remember smiling at his loving, reconciled expression as he spoke. How impressive that he could find such comfort in his own family, given its own, well-reported problems.
NOBLE CAUSE: How Prince Harry might look building bridges with Scotland
Last week I reflected on all this as I looked at the shrine building at Kensington Palace for the 23rd anniversary of Diana’s death. Those of us who have been through divorce know that it is a state of flux.
Lives are rebuilt and grievances resolved. Would Princess Diana – who would now be 57 – be the same vulnerable, beautiful, destructive force she was in 1997? Of course not.
Would she have fled Britain, as she threatened to, to become a Hollywood humanitarian? Or might she have been drawn back to her Sloane Ranger roots, a doting Norfolk grandmother?
This year I noticed that the anger of the crowd had subsided. The letters D-I-A-N-A were spelt out as if on a wedding cake. The photographs of her among the flowers were radiant rather than reproachful. A banner congratulated her sons on continuing her work.
And there is work to be done. Harry is a prince and his country needs him.
In the first of the punishments that he doled out on his family, he and Meghan turned down an invitation to Balmoral. Apparently a small thing at the time, its significance is magnified now.
Nicola Sturgeon is calling for another referendum on Scottish independence, the polls north of the border are moving and the threat to the Union is graver this time than at the referendum in 2014. It was close enough then.
I remember an urgent conversation between the then prime minister David Cameron and the London mayor Boris Johnson.
It was at the opening of Prince Harry’s Invictus Games on September 10, 2014, at the Olympic Park in East London. I was editing the Evening Standard at the time, and was a guest of Boris’s at the ceremony. The referendum was the following week and Cameron stopped to talk before taking his seat.
Boris asked him if it was going to be OK and Cameron replied that he thought so, but it was tense. I measured the popularity of the respective heads that evening by the welcome from the veterans and their families.
Cameron got polite applause, Boris a great cheer, Prince Harry a deafening one. Prince Harry and Boris Johnson joshed together, bonded by optimism and a common touch. And patriotism.
David Cameron won the Scottish referendum and divulged later that he had sought the Queen’s help, asking if she could ‘raise an eyebrow’ about the Scots voting for independence.
SARAH SANDS: We don’t know what audiences will make of Harry and Meghan’s documentaries of hope and inspiration but the Duke and Duchess of Sussex can afford to get professionals in to make the shows
Boris Johnson needs all the help he can get from the Royal Family this time. Downing Street has made the Union the priority. The reason that the Brexit negotiations are stuck firmly on fish is that the Scots (to whom the industry is worth about £600m a year) must see the benefits of leaving the EU.
We need to nurture every union bond. We need more than the economy and common currency to hold things together. What of the emotional ties? What of the monarchy and the military? Prince Harry can evoke both.
The monarchy embraces two important concepts, the Commonwealth and the Union. We’ve got off to a bad start, for Harry and Meghan have undermined the Commonwealth by framing it is an instrument of oppression.
Surely they cannot think the same of Scotland. What can Harry say now about the Union? Come on, Harry. Nature documentaries are fine and will pay the bills, but there is a bigger prize to fight for.
The survival of the United Kingdom is at stake.
You must evoke Shakespeare’s Henry V at Agincourt: ‘By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,/ Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;/ It yearns me not if men my garments wear;/ Such outward things dwell not in my desires:/ But if it be a sin to covet honour,/ I am the most offending soul alive.’
Doesn’t that sound a more stirring cause for a noble Prince than being just another West Coast Wokeness Warrior?