The hotly anticipated royal wedding drama, Harry and Meghan: A Royal Romance, debuted on US network Lifetime – purveyors of fluffy melodrama – on Sunday night, and viewers were impressed with both the casting and the way the show tackled the racial discrimination Markle has faced since their relationship was announced.
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The one-off film, which puts a heavily fictionalised spin on Harry and Meghan’s romance from first date to engagement, refused to shy away from the issue of race, addressing some nasty comments made towards Markle by people in the royal orbit, and the hounding from the national press which caused Harry to release a statement asking for her to be left alone.
It also features Markle (Jessica Jones’s Parisa Fitz-Henley) telling Prince Harry (Murray Fraser) about a time that she witnessed a white man calling her mother the n-word (a real story which she has recounted in the past).
“Lifetime coming on strong with the racial and cultural undertones that try to take away from #HarryandMeghan and I appreciate that they don’t fluff away from it,” Twitter user @Lexniko wrote.
Check out the best reactions to the drama below.
They really pulled no punches about the racism she faced. I'm glad they didn't sugar coat this movie. Lifetime surprised me.
— Just From, Morgan (@Legallycam225) May 14, 2018
— i'm a little. (@lexniko) May 14, 2018
Favorite part so far: Prince Harry just compared the difficulties of growing up mixed race in America with being a redhead in England #ARoyalRomance
— Lesley Hauler (@LesleyHauler) May 14, 2018
— Jade Jackson (@IAMJADEJACKSON) May 14, 2018
— kim (@kbaby82) May 14, 2018
Thoughts on #ARoyalRomance so far:
– Parisa is an amazing Meghan Markle. Harry's actor is great, too.
– Someone at Lifetime reeeeally doesn't like Kate Middleton. I mean damn. Leave my girl alone.
– I love the issues they're addressing.
– The romance is believable & sweet.
— Reina Valentine (@iReinaValentine) May 14, 2018
— ????Sunset Boulevardez???? (@Kissesfromdes) May 14, 2018
— Veronica Michelle Brooks (@veronicambrooks) May 14, 2018
There was also plenty of praise for Jamaican-American actress Fitz-Henley (best known for her role in Netflix’s Jessica Jones) for both her likeness to Meghan and putting in a powerful performance to boot.
“The actress playing Meghan Markle is spot on,” Simone Scott wrote, “she even sounds just like her.”
Warning: the following tweets contain swearing
— Simone Scott (@Simone_Scott) May 14, 2018
what are the odds that lifetime would be able to find an actress who a) looks exactly like meghan markle and b) is fucking amazing #aroyalromance
— Claire Fallon (@ClaireEFallon) May 14, 2018
To get a feel for how the wonderful cheesiness of the drama, check out the clip below, which features Prince William explaining to Kate Middleton that Harry has “Botswana-ed” Meghan, followed by footage of the pair in Africa…
— Lifetime (@lifetimetv) May 14, 2018
UK viewers will have to wait a little longer to see the show: it airs on Channel 5 on the afternoon of the actual Royal Wedding (Saturday 19th May at 3pm).
Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance airs on Channel 5 at 3pm on Saturday 19th May