On March 7, more than 17 million people tuned in to watch
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sit down with Oprah Winfrey for their first interview since stepping down from their royal duties and moving to the United States. The couple opened up about the reasons behind their exit, which include their treatment by British tabloids, racism directed toward their son, Archie, prior to his birth, and the toll it’s all taken on Markle’s mental health. Since it aired, the interview has remained a hot topic as it prompted responses from Markle’s estranged family members, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as well as Queen Elizabeth II herself.
For many American viewers,
the bombshell-filled interview was their first taste of high-profile royal drama. But longtime royal followers know that while speaking out against the family is rare, it’s happened before, especially during Princess Diana’s time as a member. For a look into the history of the British monarchy and everything leading up to today, here are 11 series, documentaries, and interviews to dive into. The Royal House of Windsor
If Meghan and Harry’s Oprah interview was your first foray into the royals, this docuseries will provide you with all the history you need to know. Spanning the British monarchy’s origins to the present-day royal family,
The Royal House of Windsor is a six-part crash course on the captivating rise of the royals. Stream it on Netflix The Crown
A dramatized retelling of royal family history,
The Crown has found fans in viewers all over the world — including Prince Harry himself, who recently told James Corden that while it’s not “strictly accurate,” it shows the stress of royal life. Starring Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth, the series covers her life from her 1947 wedding to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, to near-present day. The most recent season focused on the early days of Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ relationship, and The Crown will pick back up on the headline-making marriage in Season 5. Stream it on Netflix Charles and Diana: 1983
Released in 2020, this documentary features footage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana on their historic 1983 royal tour of Australia. It mirrors the storyline of
The Crown, which finds Diana overwhelmed with royal life and Charles envious of her popularity, broadening viewers’ perspectives on their royal lives behind closed doors. Stream it on Hulu Harry & Meghan’s BBC News Interview (2017) Prince Harry’s ITN Interview (2013)
Before he met Meghan Markle, Prince Harry spent years serving in the Royal Military’s Army Air Corps. In this 2013 interview with ITN conducted during his deployment in Afghanistan, Harry discussed the difficulty of finding a significant other who’s up for the challenge of royal life. Oh, and he also gave a mini-tutorial on how to use the restroom while flying an aircraft.
Watch it on YouTube Prince Harry’s ABC News Interview (2013)
In another 2013 interview, this time with ABC News, Prince Harry spoke about enjoying his time in the military because he’s not treated like a royal. He also opened up about the British media’s reporting on his family, his Las Vegas nude photo scandal, and how he feels he no longer has any privacy.
Watch it on YouTube Serving the Royals: Inside the Firm
Meghan and Harry’s references to
“the institution” and “the firm” in their interview with Oprah left many American viewers thirsting for more information about the inner-workings of the royal family. This documentary offers a look into those who work to serve the royals, providing viewers with a unique view of what goes on at Buckingham Palace. Stream it on Amazon Prime Video Prince Harry’s Nightline Interview (2016)
In 2016, Prince Harry spoke to Robin Roberts about his mother’s legacy, his memories of her, and his mission to carry on her charitable efforts. He also talked about his time in the military, how it was “the best escape [he’s] ever had,” and times his royal background got in the way of his service.
Watch it on YouTube Diana: In Her Own Words
Released 20 years after her 1997 passing, this Channel 4 documentary is comprised of footage of Diana, Princess of Wales discussing her life in various private interviews throughout the ’90s. Worried the footage could harm her children, royal family members and friends of the late princess urged the network not to air the documentary due to revealing anecdotes about her marriage to Prince Charles, including her attempt to miscarry Prince William during her pregnancy.
Watch it on YouTube The Story of Diana Anwar Hussein/Getty Images News/Getty Images
People, this two-part documentary chronicles the life of Princess Diana and features interviews with members of her family as well as her close friends. Released in 2017 on the 20th anniversary of her death, it provides a historical exploration of her legacy complete with archival footage of the late princess. Watch it on Amazon Prime Video Queen of the World STEVE PARSONS/AFP/Getty Images
If you’d like an inside look into royal duties and the lead-up to Harry and Meghan’s wedding, this 2018 documentary is certainly worth a watch. But be forewarned that the Windsors themselves produce this one, so consider the source.
Stream it on HBO Max