The new Lifetime movie Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace looks at the events that drove Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to step away from their positions as senior members of the British royal family.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are played by Jordan Dean (Marvel’s The Punisher) and Sydney Morton (Netflix’s She’s Gotta Have It).
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In her role as Meghan, Morton depicts the growing isolation and sadness the former Suits actress says she experienced after becoming a royal. At the virtual press junket for the film, Morton told Urban Hollywood 411 the storyline is based on the couple’s own words, particularly their headline-making March interview with Oprah Winfrey.
“So much of the film was written and informed by what they have both said, Harry and Megan, in interviews,” Morton explained. “We couldn’t tell the story without touching on some of those events and some of the racist headlines that they experienced.”
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Meghan, who is biracial, told Oprah there were concerns among the royals that her unborn son Archie would be darker than the rest of royals.
Morton noted the movie doesn’t shy away from addressing Harry and Meghan’s bombshell claims about racist attitudes in the royal family.
“It’s definitely something that we touch on because, you know, it shaped their experience,” she said.
Set during the couple’s time together in the U.K. and their move to Meghan’s native California, viewers get a look at the dynamics of Harry’s relationship with his brother Prince William (Jordan Whalen), and his father Prince Charles (Steve Coulter).
For Meghan, life in the royal family turned out to be anything but a fairytale. Instead, it was one filled with emotional turmoil and fear.
Dean noted the bigotry Meghan says she experienced in the U.K. is a key part of the storyline.
“It’s one of the catalysts for the two of them in the film… sort of is a motivating factor, I’d say at least in part as to why they did what they did,” he said about the couple’s exit from royal life. “I think pushing up against things like that and not having any change on the part of whether that’s the press or his own family and their own family, I think was something that contributed to the decision.”
The movie will also examine Harry’s determination to prevent his wife and son from going through the same tragic circumstances he experienced with his mother Princess Diana’s death.
Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace is the third installment in Lifetime’s Harry & Meghan movie franchise. Co-executive producers Michele Weiss and Merideth Finn worked on each of the films, but the lead actors have changed.
Weiss has said in interviews they recast the second film because the lead actress was no longer available. Producers then decided to bring in new actors for the third movie as well. The new film is directed by Menhaj Huda from a script by Scarlett Lacey.
Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace debuts on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 6 at 8pm ET/PT on Lifetime.
In the hours before the premiere, Lifetime will air encore presentations on Sept. 6 of William & Kate at 1pm ET/PT followed by Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance at 3pm ET/PT and Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal at 5:30pm ET/PT.