THE TELEGRAPH 14 DECEMBER 2022
QUEEN ELIZABETH II'S MOST FAMOUS SPEECH EDITED FOR HARRY AND MEGHAN DOCUMENTARY
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's Netflix documentary has edited one of the late Queen's most famous speeches, appearing to put closer focus on her dedication to the British Empire.
Queen Elizabeth II's 21st birthday speech, delivered in South Africa, famously heard her dedicate her "whole life, whether it be long or short, to your service".
The version heard by a reported 28m Netflix viewers has been edited to remove her reference to "your service", during a controversial segment about the
British Empire and Commonwealth.
The original speech reads: "I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong."
The third episode of Harry & Meghan sees it cut to: "I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong."
EDITS BAFFLE HISTORIAN AND ROYAL WATCHERS
The change is one of a number of edits in the programme which have raised eyebrows among historians, Royal-watchers and the media.
This will be considered as particularly inflammatory in the context of the
Commonwealth, described in the programme as "Empire 2.0".
Contributors to the Sussexes' series, part of their multi-million-pound Netflix deal, called the Commonwealth a “privileged club of formerly colonised nations” which left millions of Britons with “incredibly painful” memories of Empire.
Sources have condemned the description of the Commonwealth as “appalling and factually inaccurate,” with one palace insider adding it was a “good job” the late Queen “is not here to have to see this".
DEEPLY OFFENSIVE TO LATE QUEEN'S LEGACY
One Royal source said last week: "Some of this is deeply offensive to all those in the Commonwealth and of course the late Queen's legacy.
"The real risk is that people are learning about the Commonwealth for the first time through hearing this.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were appointed President and Vice President respectively of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust, and worked briefly as Commonwealth Youth Ambassadors during their time in the Royal family.
They did not contribute their own insight directly to their documentary on the topic, despite Prince Harry's grandmother and now father both serving as Heads of Commonwealth.
The edit to the late Queen's speech, delivered when she was Princess Elizabeth, was noticed by viewers days after the documentary first aired, spreading via social media.
REMOVING A FEW WORDS CHANGES THE MEANING
Susie Ashfield, a communications coach, was among those highlighting the significance of the change on TikTok, noting: "Did you notice how just removing a few words changes the meaning of the statement entirely?"
It is the latest in a list of discrepancies already noticed in the programme and its trailers.
A photograph appearing to show an intimidating wall of photographers facing the couple was revealed to have been taken from a Harry Potter film premiere which no Royals attended.
Footage of what looked like a paparazzi scrum was in fact from the court case of model Katie Price, with another scene filmed in America around Donald Trump's lawyer.
A section of the programme which suggests that palaces are filled with racist art and imagery was illustrated by examples of works, none of which were in Royal collections.
A source close to the production has previously said the use of stock footage and photographs in television trailers is “standard practice” when making documentaries.
Netflix has reported that Harry & Meghan has become the most-watched documentary premiere in its history, with the first three episodes winning 81.55 million hours viewed.
It is the second most-watched television series in the UK on the streaming platform, and appeared in the Top 10 TV list in 85 countries.
Netflix calculates more than 28 million households saw the first episode in its first four days.
lurks in every corridor of local and national buildings. Queen Elizabeth
was asked for help. She declined. The duty to provide an effective
remedy, now rests with King
in Human Rights terms, is where one statute does not comply with HR
statute. The European Convention does include Article 13, the right to
an effective remedy.
United Kingdom does not yet have a Written
Constitution. There is a debate running, as to abolition
of the Monarchy.