Their story can also be being framed inside “the history of British colonialism and race and its relationship to the monarchy,” Mr. Cogan added. In other words, issues which might be sure to make the monarchy stammer.
Within the series, Ms. Garbus puts the couple’s personal archive into context, interspersing the self-shot video diaries with formal interviews and archival footage of the royal family. Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, is heavily featured, as are Harry’s boarding school buddies, Meghan’s security team in Canada, her college friends and co-stars from the TV show “Suits.”
Filming began in November 2021 and led to July, months before the death of Queen Elizabeth II. When asked if Harry and Meghan had control over the ultimate product, Ms. Garbus said it was a collaboration. When pressed as as to whether the couple had final approval over the series, she responded: “It was a collaboration. You may keep asking me, but that’s what I’ll say.”
The project is something of a culmination of the problems Ms. Garbus has chronicled for the past twenty years. Whether it’s social justice seen through the lens of the prison system (“The Farm: Angola, USA” and “Girlhood”) or uncovering the troubled personal stories of famous yet enigmatic figures — Bobby Fischer, Marilyn Monroe and Nina Simone — mental health and righting systemic wrongs are topics she returns to again and again. (Ms. Garbus also directed a documentary series about The Recent York Times called “The Fourth Estate.”)
Within the case of Harry and Meghan, Ms. Garbus said that the story was already in place when she became involved, a primary for a filmmaker who prefers to find out how best to approach her subjects. The documentarian Garrett Bradley was previously attached to the project, however the two sides parted ways because Ms. Bradley’s vérité style didn’t mesh with the couple’s interests. Representatives for Ms. Bradley declined to comment.
Ms. Garbus said that Harry and Meghan were thinking about telling their love story inside the historical context of the British monarchy. Ms. Garbus desired to expand on that and explore how their personal pasts affected their present.
“I’m at all times really thinking about psychology and the way someone’s childhood determines their future and what impact they’ll have on the world,” she said. “On this story with each of them, I used to be able to have a look at that.”