Step aside, ‘The Crown.’ New royal content is on its way to Netflix.
The streaming giant announced on Tuesday that Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have produced their first Netflix project: a documentary series tracking a number of athletes as they train for the 2022 Invictus Games.
Developed by the Sussexes’ Archewell Productions in partnership with the Invictus Games Foundation, ‘Heart of Invictus’ will explore the personal lives of its star competitors, all service members who have sustained various injuries and illnesses.
“Since the very first Invictus Games back in 2014, we knew that each competitor would contribute in their own exceptional way to a mosaic of resilience, determination, and resolve,” said Harry, who also serves as a private patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, in a statement.
“This series will give communities around the world a window into the moving and uplifting stories of these competitors on their path to the Netherlands next year. ... I couldn’t be more excited for the journey ahead or prouder of the Invictus community for continuously inspiring global healing, human potential and continued service.”
Directed and produced, respectively, by Oscar winners Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara, ‘Heart of Invictus’ also will spotlight organisers of the upcoming Invictus Games, which were postponed from 2020 to 2022 because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The global tournament is set to take place in The Hague, the Netherlands.
The Sussexes and Archewell Productions “are building an ambitious slate that reflects the values and causes they hold dear,” said Ted Sarandos, co-CEO and chief content officer of Netflix, in a statement.
“From the moment I met them, it’s been clear that the Invictus Games hold a very special place in their hearts, and I couldn’t be happier that their first series for Netflix will showcase that for the world in a way never seen before.”
Netflix’s announcement comes several months after the Duke and Duchess struck a massive deal with the streaming service to produce scripted series, docuseries, documentaries, features and children’s programming — one of the couple’s first major business moves since stepping back as senior members of the British royal family and relocating to California.
No stranger to TV, the former actress Meghan Markle starred in the USA Network legal drama ‘Suits’ and recently resumed her entertainment career by narrating a nature documentary for one of Netflix’s rival platforms, Disney+. Other Archewell projects in the Netflix pipeline include a nature docuseries and an animated series that celebrates inspirational women.
If their recent bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey is any indication, Harry and Meghan’s latest small-screen endeavour should attract plenty of buzz. That TV event — during which the Sussexes accused the royal family of raising “concerns” about their then-unborn child’s skin colour and refusing to help Meghan when she was experiencing suicidal thoughts — drew more than 17 million viewers last month on CBS.
“Our lives, both independent of each other and as a couple, have allowed us to understand the power of the human spirit: of courage, resilience and the need for connection,” the Duke and Duchess told The Times last year upon signing with Netflix.
“Through our work with diverse communities and their environments, to shining a light on people and causes around the world, our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope.”