‘This isn’t a soap opera, this is a family’ – Harry and Meghan’s old palace staff wary ahead of Netflix documentary | UK News

Globally, the anticipation has been building again about what the Sussexes might say, but imagine how you’d feel if you were one of those who worked in the palace at that time.

I approached about half a dozen of those who supported Harry and Meghan. I was met at times by silence, from others disbelief that we were having to rake it all up again, but most striking was one who said speaking about their time with the Sussexes would simply be too “incendiary”.

Certainly, since the Oprah interview I’ve found that people who worked with Harry and Meghan, while unwilling to go public, have been more candid about the challenging atmosphere they faced, with a feeling that many simply want to put that time behind them. This new series again makes that impossible.

Some would say that working for any member of the royal family, not just the Sussexes, brings huge demands. It can be a pressure cooker, the expectations are immense, the stakes are high when decisions you make play out in the public eye.

But staff do tend to develop an enormous sense of loyalty and discretion, something I saw from Harry and Meghan’s team day to day.

That’s why the series will be so hard for many of them to watch, especially when the trailer appears to see the Sussexes repeat those claims that they weren’t given help or supported.

None the less, former staff have told me they will watch, just as those who currently work at the palace will have to. One palace source told me they are just as much in the dark as the rest of us about what may come.

“We haven’t heard anything from Netflix, we haven’t seen or heard anything” they said, adding “are they going to rehash old ground? What’s new here?”

And that is what will matter most to the family and their advisors as they decide whether or not to respond. Some will no doubt hope it can’t possibly be any worse than the criticisms thrown at them in the Oprah interview, as another palace insider said, “the trailer doesn’t always match the movie”.

Read more: Harry and Meghan first-look trailer in 11 snaps

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Harry says ‘it’s a dirty game’

I get the sense that it’s likely to take new allegations and new evidence to force a response from the royals because ultimately, they are finding this all “wearying”.

I’m told “the overriding feeling is sadness”, “this isn’t a soap opera, this is a family”. It doesn’t feel like there’s any great level of panic about what’s coming, although more negative headlines, particularly about claims of racism could not be, and would not be, taken lightly.

Harry and Meghan are entitled to publicly have their say, the trailer already teasing that Harry feels now is the right time to tell us the truth about what happened.

But the timing for some within the family feels particularly painful after the gestures we saw around the Queen’s death to actively show the Sussexes were welcome. Just when it looked like bridges were being built, they appear to be again being burnt down.

In some ways over the next week, as we see the docuseries drop, the Queen’s relatives will hope to follow her example.

A woman who weathered so many periods of family turmoil and kept the institution going with what one palace insider described to me as a positive outward looking mindset “don’t look at your feet look at the horizon”.

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