The Project star defends Harry and Meghan amid Netflix backlash

The Project guest panellist Jessie Stephens has defended Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as they face backlash following the release of their six-part Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan.

The series, which dropped its first three episodes last Thursday, has been blasted by viewers, critics and royal aides who have all criticised its content and accused the couple of lying. Others have also called the pair ‘hypocritical’ for telling their story on such a global platform despite requesting privacy when leaving the royal family.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have copped backlash following the release of their Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan. Photo: Netflix

Just two days after the show premiered on the streaming site, however, Harry and Meghan’s global press secretary Ashley Hansen issued a statement declaring that their decision to step back from royal duties was “never about privacy”.

“They are choosing to share their story, on their terms, and yet the tabloid media has created an entirely untrue narrative that permeates press coverage and public opinion,” she said. “The facts are right in front of them.”


Speaking on The Project on Sunday night, Jessie shared her opinion on the new series and applauded the royal couple for releasing a statement.

The podcaster told her fellow panellists that she admired Prince Harry for taking steps to control his image after his mother Princess Diana was “hounded to death by the paparazzi”, and said that he and Meghan had a right to share their story on their terms.

“I love that they came out and clarified that. Never in that statement did they say it was about privacy and it's been misattributed,” she said.

“[People say] if you don't want to be hounded by paparazzi, then why would you sit down and do a consensual interview? Logically, don't we know they're two different things? You can ask for one without the other?

“When a story is being told about you, you have a right of reply to correct the record.”

The Project’s Jessie Stephens.
The Project’s Jessie Stephens commended Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on releasing a statement and telling their side of the story in the docuseries. Photo: Channel 10

Royal family responds

Jessie’s comments come shortly after the royal family hit out at a key claim in Harry & Meghan.

The first episode of the docuseries opened with a statement that said “members of the Royal Family declined to comment on the content within this series”.

However, a source has insisted Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and members of the royal family were not approached for comment, Daily Mail reports. A source at Netflix has since refuted these claims, saying the communications officers for both the King and Prince of Wales were contacted in advance and given a chance to comment on Harry and Meghan's “claims within the series”.


Kensington Palace later revealed that they received an email from a third-party production company, not Harry and Meghan's Archewell Productions or Netflix. Prince Harry's aides reportedly contacted the Sussexes and Netflix to verify if it was genuine but received no reply.

“In the absence of this verification, we were unable to provide any response. The substance of the email we received also did not address the entire series,” a source said.

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