A new film which shows Meghan Markle ‘dying’ beneath an overturned car following a horror crash in its opening scene, in echoes of the death of Princess Diana, has been branded ‘tasteless and abhorrent’ by viewers.
Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace, the third made-for-TV movie from US cable channel Lifetime, will dramatise the Sussexes’ ‘controversial conscious uncoupling from the crown, after the birth of their son Archie’, according to its synopsis.
Today it was revealed the movie will open with a dream sequence which sees Meghan, 40, involved in a car accident – just days after the 24th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death in Paris.
As her overturned car is surrounded by photographers, a desperate Prince Harry, 36, pushes his way through the mob before pulling the door open.
A seriously injured Meghan then pleads with him to help her – but the ordeal is just a nightmare and Harry wakes up and is comforted to see his wife and their son Archie.
The film’s trailer has previously been branded ‘a load of old codswallop’ by unimpressed viewers, and these latest scenes are incensing royal fans due to the sickening parallels to the real-life death of Harry’s mother.
Outraged viewers have taken to Twitter, with one writing: ‘This is in bad taste. I don’t believe they can make a series like this!!’ Another simply branded it: ‘Tasteless and abhorrent.’
Meghan Markle lies ‘dying’ beneath an overturned car following a horror crash in the controversial opening scene of a new film
As her overturned car is surrounded by photographers, a desperate Prince Harry, 36, pushes his way through the mob before pulling the door open in Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace
Outraged viewers have taken to Twitter, with one writing: ‘This is in bad taste. I don’t believe they can make a series like this!!’
‘This IS bang out of order WTF????’ commented another, while one called it ‘the lowest of the low’, accusing the film of cashing in on Princess Diana’s death.
British actor Jordan Dean and American actress Sydney Morton take over the roles of Harry and Meghan.
The movie was shot in Vancouver, and Harry is given a full head of hair – despite having thinning locks in real life, while his balding brother William is portrayed by an actor who has lost most of his hair.
New stills also show passionate embraces between the couple in bed in their luxurious Montecito mansion.
A seriously injured Meghan pleads with Harry to help her in harrowing scenes that echo the real-life death of Princess Diana
The ordeal is just a nightmare and Harry wakes up and is comforted to see his wife and their son Archie
The clip also shows passionate embraces between the couple in bed in their luxurious Montecito mansion
Another still shows Harry and Meghan kissing on the bed, with the Duchess wearing the linen dress by Reformation which she wore on a trip to Fraser Island in Queensland on their tour of Australia in 2018
The first teaser released earlier this year saw several heated discussions between Harry and Meghan, during which the former was seen expressing his fears that his wife is being ‘hounded to death’.
‘I see you literally being hounded to death and I’m helpless to stop it,’ the actor tells his on-screen partner, echoing comments made by Prince Harry during his Apple TV+ series, in which he said that his late mother, Princess Diana, was ‘chased to death’ and admitted that he was afraid of ‘history repeating itself’ with Meghan.
In previous films Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance and Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal, the couple were played by Murray Fraser and Parisa Fitz-Henley, and Charlie Field and Tiffany Smith respectively.
The drama, which will be broadcast in the US on Monday, will explore the ‘real details’ behind the decision that eventually drove the couple to leave their royal life behind.
The trailer sees the actors playing out imagined conversations between Meghan and Harry before their Oprah interview, during which they tell one another, ‘I can’t lose you’
Pictures released yesterday show American newcomers Jordan Dean and Sydney Morton playing the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in the US TV film Meghan and Harry: Escaping the Palace
It will ‘detail Meghan’s growing isolation and sadness, their disappointment that The Firm was not defending them against the press’s attacks, and Harry’s fear that history would repeat itself and he would not be able to protect his wife and son from the same forces that caused his mother’s untimely death’.
The trailer – which Lorraine Kelly yesterday called ‘hideous’ – revealed it will re-enact Harry and Meghan’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this year, and dramatise the moment Meghan suffered a miscarriage.
It sees the Duchess questioning whether she ‘made the world’s biggest mistake’ by marrying into the Royal Family, while Harry insists that he ‘will do everything in his power to keep his wife and son safe’.
Speaking to Newsweek, Sydney said she feels a ‘responsibility to be respectful’ while playing the Duchess.
The film features Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey (pictured)
Prince William is played by US actor Jordan Whalen, while Singapore-born Laura Mitchell takes on the role of Kate in the film which has been dubbed ‘cheese at its finest’ by royal fans
‘Because she is a living breathing person and I’m playing her pretty much right now in her life, I definitely felt a responsibility to be respectful and very grounded and make her a three-dimensional person and not portray her as this tabloid cartoon,’ she told the publication.
‘I think that it’s a different thing when you’re playing someone who is alive and experiencing things in real-time you definitely want to approach it with care.’
The trailer also offers an insight into the stuffy way in which other senior royals will be depicted, revealing glimpses at the on-screen versions of the Queen, Prince William and Kate Middleton.
The Duchess of Cambridge will be played by television actress Laura Mitchell, while Her Majesty will be portrayed by Maggie Sullivun.
The reported tension between Meghan, 39, and Kate, 39, is also alluded to in the trailer, with Kate’s character insisting that that those marrying into the Royal Family know what ‘they signed up for’.
Her Majesty, played by Maggie Sullivun, also makes her debut in the second trailer, in which she firmly insists that ‘the Monarchy will always survive’
‘This is the life we signed up for. Here, we value dignity above all else,’ she says, while flashing a copy of the large sapphire engagement ring that once belonged to Princess Diana and was given to Kate by William when he proposed in 2010.
Jordan Whalen will play Prince William and is seen in the trailer saying: ‘Let everyone understand it, the Monarchy is at stake,’ he says – while the on-screen Queen states: ‘The Monarchy will always survive.’
One clip shows the Queen, Prince Harry, Prince William, and Kate Middleton all sitting in a room together in what appears to be an imagining of the talks that took place between the senior royals in the lead-up to Megxit in January 2020.
At the time, it was revealed that Harry, 36, had a private heart-to-heart with the Queen following a family meeting at Sandringham, and it is understood that Her Majesty made the decision to allow her grandson and his wife to quit their royal roles after this talk.
The trailer shows Dean modeling a military uniform, which suggests that the movie will cover the Sussexes’ final days in the royal family. After Megxit, Harry was stripped of his honorary military titles and can no longer wear his uniform
At one point Dean tells Morton that she is being ‘hounded to death’ and that he is ‘helpless to stop it’, echoing Harry’s comments about his mother, Princess Diana, being ‘chased to death’ and his fears about ‘history repeating itself’ with Meghan
The new teaser came just a few weeks after Lifetime offered the first glimpse at Dean and Morton stepping into their royal roles
Harry and William’s late mother Princess Diana is also featured in the quick trailer, with actress Bonnie Suter stepping into her shoes.
In a flashback scene, Suter is seen standing at a podium making a speech, while wearing a black silk jacket with a velvet lapel – a near-identical design to the dark green ensemble worn by Diana in December 1993, when she publicly announced that she would be stepping back from her public duties in order to take on ‘a more meaningful public role with a more private life’.
The speech was made one year after Diana and Charles announced that they were separating, and saw the former opening up about her struggle to deal with the ‘overwhelming attention’ she had received in the wake of that news.
‘I was not aware of how overwhelming that attention would become,’ she said at the time. ‘Nor the extent to which it would affect both my public duties and my personal life, in a manner, that’s been hard to bear.’
Many have drawn clear comparisons between Diana’s 1993 speech and the announcement that Meghan and Harry made when they revealed they would be stepping down as senior members of the Royal Family in order to ‘carve out a new progressive role within the institution’.
During a flashback scene, actress Bonnie Suter steps into the shoes of Princess Diana in what appears to be a reenactment of the December 1993 speech in which the royal announced she was ‘reducing’ her public duties