30 Thoughts I Had While Watching Lifetime's Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace
This weekend, Lifetime released its third (yes, third) installment of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle fictionalized movies. This one, entitled Harry and Meghan: Escaping the Palace, follows Meghan and Harry as they contemplate and eventually leave their royal duties and move to Santa Barbara.
This movie has everything: dramatic flashbacks of Princess Diana, varyingly successful British accents, royal look-alikes, and many, many furrowed brows. As a writer who often reports on the British royals, I wrote down, in real-time, my thoughts, questions, and concerns. Spoilers ahead.
• We start with a heavy-handed recreation of Princess Diana’s car accident, except it’s Meghan (or rather, Sydney Morton as Meghan) inside the car. Subtle as a sledgehammer, folks.
• William is being talked into visiting Archie, Meghan, and Harry. Let the family tension begin!
• I know that the real Prince Harry looks a bit like Ed Sheeran, but this Prince Harry somehow looks even more like Ed Sheeran. I wonder if they can book the real Ed Sheeran for the next movie?
• Harry and William are fighting on a miniature dock by a pond. It seems like a missed opportunity for Harry to push William into the pond, but perhaps that would be too “out-there.”
• We’re at Trooping the Colour 2019 and Kate suggests that she wear the outfit from Meghan and Harry’s wedding as a sign of unity. It’s a bit of a wink and a nudge to all the stories about hidden meaning in the royals' clothing choices.
• Victoria, the Cambridges’ aid, is painted as “the Firm” and, as such, the villain, likely to avoid ascribing blame to any specific royal.
• I did not have horror movie music on my bingo card for this movie.
• “He’s the king of the castle and I’m the dirty rascal.” What a moment for a nursery rhyme reference.
• The movie spends quite a bit of time on the British Vogue storyline. They let us know Meghan’s a girlboss because she spends a lot of time furiously typing in different outfits.
• The Meghan character is often crying; Harry is often furrowing his brow.
• Now we’re on the famous Africa trip and we get an almost sex scene. Apparently, these are quite controversial.
• Another Diana flashback and she appears to have a Scottish accent? I love an interpretive take.
• On a very romantic, maybe CGI sunset backdrop, Harry tells Meghan they have to leave the Firm.
• William, Kate, Charles, and Victoria watch Harry and Meghan speak with reporters in Africa and are, needless to say, furious.
• The two most iconic pieces of dialogue thus far: “We shall use what is called cancel culture” and William calling Harry and Meghan “the woke bloke and his feminist bride.”
• The Sussexes spend Christmas away and return to England amidst “rumors of an impending pandemic.” Ah, how young and naïve we were.
• We meet “Queen Elizabeth” in a summit with Charles, William, and Harry. It seems the Queen is more of an advocate for Harry and Meghan than anyone else.
• I’m uncomfortable watching Kate tell William they should have more PDA. They also joke about starting a YouTube channel (wink, nudge, they eventually do!).
• The costumes have been pretty accurate thus far, but Meghan’s green hat for the Commonwealth Ceremony is… not it.
• More dun dun dunnn music as we approach Westminster Abbey.
• Harry approaches William with an exclamatory, “Oi!” I somehow have a hard time picturing this.
• Throughout this whole movie, William acts as the villain while Kate is really painted as the peacemaker. That’s all the more evident in the Commonwealth Ceremony scenes.
• Harry and Meghan go to Vancouver Island, which is where they eventually find out that their security is being removed. But, Meghan has a plan! Cut to a nontraditional cover of 2Pac’s “California Love.”
• The Duke and Duchess lounge at Tyler Perry’s house where Harry quips, “I like American royalty.” He puts on quite an interesting pair of mirrored aviators.
• Meghan and Harry then decide to look for a home of their own and, while turning dramatically towards each other, Meghan announces her pregnancy.
• We now know that Meghan is feeling at home because she’s emphatically typing again. This time, she’s writing her commencement address for her alma mater.
• She also wrote her New York Times op-ed, which, of course, does not go over well across the pond. Especially not with villain Victoria. Wait until they hear about the Oprah interview.
• Ah, we come full circle with the Oprah interview, spliced with a recreation of Diana’s BBC interview.
• Like all great films, we end with an epilogue in text written across the screen. The movie is pretty up to date, even mentioning the Diana statue unveiling in July.
• End text: “Certain characters and dialogue has been fictionalized.” Thank you, Lifetime, for this helpful note. I would have had no idea.
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