Meghan Markle appears only briefly in Prince Harry’s new Netflix series The Heart of Invictus in scenes where she supports the Duke, it emerged today.
The Duke of Sussex, 38, finally released his Invictus Games documentary on Netflix this morning, as the latest project in the Sussexes’ £80million deal with the streaming giant.
Harry is its executive producer and the show forms part of the Sussexes’ deal with Netflix – with their main output so far being last year’s controversial Harry & Meghan documentary which included a series of swipes at members of the Royal Family.
However the Duchess, 42, makes very few appearances in the five episode series – only occasionally appearing in the background of scenes to offer comment and support to Harry.
The release comes as the couple prepare for their first joint appearance together since they attended the Women in Vision Award’s in New York back in May.
Meghan Markle, 42, appears only briefly in Prince Harry’s new Netflix series The Heart of Invictus, it emerged today
The Duchess, 42, makes very few appearances in the five episode series – only occasionally appearing in the background of scenes to offer comment and support to Harry
The Duchess only appears on camera in four of the episodes of the five part docu-series.
During the first episode of the series, Meghan can be seen as she joins Harry at the November 2021 Salute to Freedom Gala in New York.
The couple can be seen arriving at the event, as the Duke confides in the Duchess how nervous he is for an upcoming speech.
He tells her: ‘We haven’t done this for a while’, while Meghan responds: ‘I know.’
Harry continues: ‘My heart like digidigadigadiga.’
Later, in the fourth episode, the couple sit down to discuss the Invictus Games in The Hague.
The couple discuss how the day’s events in a ’tense’ and ‘tough’ and they’ll have the chance to meet the Ukrainian team.
Meanwhile there are also shots of the couple backstage at the games as they join a group therapy session, before they arrive for the opening ceremony where Meghan calls the crowd ‘incredible’.
Meghan is also shown speaking at the opening ceremony of the Games to introduce Harry to the stage, in footage which was aired live at the time.
She said: ‘Thank you so much for your service and thank you to all the friends and the family that are here who’ve been supporting you along the way.
‘Because this is service, this is dedication, and this is the Invictus family.
‘Please welcome my incredible husband, Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex.’
Meanwhile there are also shots of the couple backstage at the games as they join a group therapy session
In another episode, Meghan sits down with Harry as they discuss the upcoming games with their staff
Harry went on to thank his wife for the introduction, going on: ‘Thank you my love.’
In another episode, the Duke of Sussex is preparing his speech at The Hague, while holding several pieces of scruffy-looking paper – as he jokes this is ‘how not to give a speech’.
As Harry laughs somewhat nervously, Meghan stands beside him in a crisp white suit and smiles – as the couple’s adviser James Holt takes a look over the Duke’s notes.
James jokes to Harry: ‘At least you can read your writing!’
Meanwhile the Duke, looking over the speech, says: ‘How on Earth do I pronounce that?’ as he points to a name in the text.
James and Meghan, who are themselves unsure, jump to Harry’s aid as James says he will check the name – General Onno Eichelsheim.
General Eichelsheim is in the Royal Netherlands Air Force and is the current Chief of Defence of the Netherlands, who is thanked by the Duke of Sussex in his speech for helping to put the Invictus Games 2022 together.
In one episode, the couple are seen arriving and backstage at the November 2021 Salute to Freedom Gala in New York
In one scene, Prince Harry confesses to his wife that he is ‘nervous’ about walking the red carpet and the event
Harry continues to pronounce the name incorrectly as James says he will go and check the correct pronunciation.
Meghan then appears to write the name in her phone and play it back to check the pronunciation of the name.
She continues to repeat the pronunciation aloud to help her husband, and plays the automation again, laughing as she says: ‘One more time.’
In the next scene, Harry delivers his speech and reaches the name he struggles to pronounce, taking a pause and a deep breath before doing so which prompts a laugh from the audience.
He then pronounces the name perfectly as a beaming Meghan proudly watches on.
And the Duchess doesn’t appear in one of the episodes at all – despite the Invictus Games being a significant milestone for the couple in their relationship.
The Invictus Games was where the couple chose to make their first public appearance together almost five years ago.
Meghan made her first appearance at an official engagement attended by Harry on September 24, 2017, when she attended the Invictus Games opening ceremony in Toronto, Canada, although the pair sat about 18 seats apart.
In one scene, Meghan joins Harry as they sit down with members of staff to discuss the upcoming competition
After helping Prince Harry prepare for a speech during the contest, Meghan can be seen beaming proudly as he stands on stage
Another snippet shows the couple walking out onto the stage at the games, with Meghan saying it ‘looks incredible’
The following day, the pair emerged hand in hand to make their first official public appearance together at the wheelchair tennis.
Until this year, the royal couple were known for putting on a united front, including during the incendiary interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021.
Harry was also in the audience with schoolchildren in New York when Meghan promoted her book The Bench.
But as Harry released his explosive memoir Spare, which slammed his family and reveals that he killed 25 Taliban fighters, Meghan was notably absent from any promotion or interviews.
She allegedly stayed away because she would have been accused of ‘trying to steal the limelight’ – but also ‘media-savvy’ Meghan may have raised gentle concerns about whether the book was the right move, one insider told the Telegraph.
The source said: ‘Is this the way she would have approached things? Possibly not. But she will always back him and would never have got involved in promoting such a personal project. This was about his own life, his journey and his own perspective.’
The book’s release has coincided with Harry’s popularity dropping to an all-time low after the fallout from his memoirs – in both the US and the UK.
It was said by a source close to the couple that Meghan was ‘more wary’ about the extremely personal memoir than the prince was, adding she may have raised ‘gentle concerns’.
It has also been alleged that ‘truth bombs’ revealed in Harry’s book could have ‘dire consequences’ for his wife Meghan’s political ambitions.
The appearance comes amidst a difficult period for the couple, with experts saying Prince Harry has ‘begun to lose his star power’ and has become a ‘lightning rod for negative PR’.
Pressure is on the Invictus documentary to be a ratings success, after the couple’s other lucrative media deal with Spotify ended in June after one season of Meghan’s podcast Archetypes. Netflix unveiled its first trailer for the series on August 16.
Following the news that the Sussexes’ Spotify deal had been cancelled in June, rumours circulated the couple’s Netflix deal could meet the same fate.
But the streaming platform then spoke out in support of the couple, with a Netflix spokesman saying on June 27: ‘The bond with Archewell Productions is one we deeply value. Our exciting journey with them isn’t ending any time soon.’
A spokesperson for Harry and Meghan confirmed on August 24 that the Duchess will join the Duke at the Invictus Games next month.
Meghan is expected to miss the opening ceremony, but she will fly to Europe and join Harry shortly after the start of the event, which will see participants from 21 nations – including newly added entrants Colombia, Israel and Nigeria – take part.
Before the Invictus Games get under way, Harry will travel to the UK to attend a charity’s awards ceremony on the eve of the first anniversary of the late Queen’s death.
Harry will celebrate the achievements and resilience of seriously ill youngsters and their families supported by the charity WellChild, at the event being staged in London on September 7.