Prince Harry has a new docuseries – and this time the spotlight is on others.
On Wednesday, Netflix premiered “Heart of Invictus,” which follows a group of injured soldiers as they prepare for the Invictus Games in The Netherlands.
The Duke of Sussex and his wife, Meghan Markle, signed a lucrative contract to produce content for the streamer after they stepped back as senior royals in 2020. Their six-part series, “Harry & Meghan,” which details their love story and struggles with royal life, premiered last year.
“The world wants Prince Harry to win and will embrace him again if he is seen to be doing good and taking responsibility for his actions,” royal expert Helena Chard told Fox News Digital. “Prince Harry should continue a life of service rather than having a pop at the royal family and the U.K. media.”
Several royal experts insisted that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will aim to focus on separate projects as they look to revamp their brand in the U.S. For Chard, it’s good news.
“It … will help the U.K. embrace Harry again,” she said. “Harry believes in family, and I am hoping that in time, the royal rift will dissipate and a stronger royal family will emerge.”
“Despite strained relationships, I do feel King Charles will be proud of Prince Harry’s ‘Heart of Invictus’ documentary series,” Chard added.
At the time of the couple’s royal exit, they cited what they saw as the media’s racist treatment of the duchess and a lack of support from the palace for their decision. After moving to California, Markle launched a podcast titled “Archetypes” in 2022, which topped Spotify charts around the world. In December, the couple’s six-part Netflix documentary debuted.
On Jan. 10, Harry’s memoir, “Spare,” shattered the record for the fastest-selling nonfiction book of all time. In it, the 38-year-old exposed his grief after the death of his mother, Princess Diana, as well as the rivalry with his brother, Prince William, the heir to the British throne. It shared deeply personal details about Harry and the wider royal family.
In this new series, Harry is choosing to champion a cause about which he’s long been passionate. Modeled after the Warrior Games in the United States, Harry founded the Invictus Games in 2014 as a Paralympic-style event designed to inspire military veterans around the world as they work to overcome battlefield injuries.
“’Heart of Invictus’ is a fantastic concept and the competitors’ stories are compelling,” Kinsey Schofield, host of the “To Di For Daily” podcast, told Fox News Digital.
“I applaud Prince Harry for using his platform to give a voice to the forgotten. … If Harry continues to focus on philanthropy … things could improve for his brand over time,” she said. “I refuse to criticize Prince Harry when I feel like his efforts are sincere. I do feel like we are seeing a change in Harry’s priorities lately. … I do see Harry and Meghan working separately in the immediate future.”
Royal expert Ian Pelham Turner told Fox News Digital that Harry shines the most when he uses his platform to highlight causes, particularly supporting veterans.
“I feel that if the queen were still alive, she would quietly be proud of her grandson’s efforts,” he said. “It would probably remind her of Prince Philip’s stoic spirit of serving his country in any way he can.”
“’Heart of Invictus’ on Netflix highlights the sentiments and values that Prince Harry feels towards military veterans who have been severely injured during combat,” he said. “[It also shows] how his pioneering games have incentivized many to create a competitive spirit, which has focused their minds on a positive future.”
“Prince Harry’s grandfather, Prince Philip thought [the Invictus Games] was most wonderful,” British royals expert Hilary Fordwich told Fox News Digital. “To date, it’s viewed as Harry’s greatest legacy. Intended to shine a spotlight on service personnel and remind the public of what he does best … it certainly achieves that. While in general it did focus on the work the athletes put in to compete … it did [also] aim to focus on their recovery and resilience.”
But Harry’s latest solo project wasn’t completely met with glowing reviews. In the series, Harry said he didn’t have the support he needed when he returned home from combat in Afghanistan. These comments have sparked some outrage among palace supporters.
In talking about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Harry said that his return to Afghanistan in 2012 triggered emotions that he suppressed after the death of his mother when he was 12 years old. The prince said the impact of Diana’s death was never discussed within the royal family. He shared a similar sentiment in his memoir “Spare.”
“The biggest struggle for me was no one around me really could help; I didn’t have that support structure, that network or that expert advice to identify what was actually going on with me,” Harry said. “Unfortunately, like most of us, the first time you consider therapy is when you are lying on the floor in the fetal position probably wishing you had dealt with some of this stuff previously.”
Some royal experts took Harry’s statement as another swipe to the royal family, insisting the focus should have been on the competitors, not his past struggles once again.
“He states that no one around him could really help … insinuating that his family wasn’t there for him during this period, which is nonsense,” said Chard. “No wonder Prince William is so horrified and hurt.”
“I realize this documentary lends itself to him highlighting the trauma he endured on his return from Afghanistan, but enough is enough now, Harry,” she said. “Stop talking about yourself and allow others to take center stage.”
Schofield said that comments about the royal family take away from what the focus should really be on: veterans.
“Unfortunately, Harry continues to dwell on the past and accuse his family of wrongdoing,” she said. “I would have walked away really pleased with this docuseries had Harry not decided to use it as another opportunity to take a swipe at his family. … I applaud Prince Harry for using his platform to give a voice to the forgotten but … you’re completely distracting from all the good that you’re trying to do. ‘Heart of Invictus’ looks great on paper, but it will not change anyone’s hearts or minds that have been disappointed by Harry’s actions over the last three years.”
Fordwich noted that there should have been an opportunity for the palace to respond to Harry’s claims and whether it has plans to change how it continues to shine a light on mental health awareness.
“It’s a great pity he chose to either deliberately or inadvertently criticize, yet again, the royal family, saying his trauma ‘was never discussed,’” said Fordwich. “Was such a dig really necessary or indeed accurate? … Harry’s continual self-wallowing sadly detracts from those who have suffered without complaint.”
But not everyone shares the same sentiments. British royal commentator Jonathan Sacerdoti told Fox News Digital that one athlete who competed in the Invictus Games told him that he has a positive attitude toward Harry because of his involvement.
“The Invictus Games combines … his interest in the military, his interest in mental illness and his passion for sports,” Sacerdoti said. “The idea of the games is a very valid and important one – to help veterans who have been injured to regain their confidence and passion for life by competing in sports … and representing themselves, their families and their countries. … It’s key to Harry’s image that he maintains some activities which people respect.”
All eyes will continue to be on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and what their next move will be. Schofield said that after facing scathing criticism for their tell-alls, the couple should now turn their focus to philanthropy and the positive difference they can make in the states.
“There is still a significant audience interested in Harry and Meghan,” she said. “They need to navigate how to take advantage of that interest while protecting their peace. … I would love to see them try to help eliminate L.A.’s homeless crisis. It is Meghan’s hometown. If Harry is going to endorse drugs that he feels have improved his life … perhaps he should campaign against the ones currently destroying our country like fentanyl. They both promised to live a life of service when exiting the royal family.”
“Let’s hope that this is officially the last time they air their family’s dirty laundry,” she added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.