Jacinda Ardern didn't know she was interviewing for Prince Harry, Meghan Markle show

  • 21/12/2022

The Prime Minister had no clue she'd be showing up in a Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Netflix documentary series when she filmed an interview in 2019 and has had no communication with the estranged royals about the project.

The development - which is already making waves in British press - comes after Netflix on Tuesday released a trailer for the documentary, which is scheduled for release on December 31.

Live to Lead will feature interviews with a number of global figures, including Ardern, former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and climate activist Greta Thunberg. Harry and Meghan will present the documentary and serve as executive producers.

The trailer features clips of Ardern, including her speaking at the UN General Assembly.

However, it turns out Ardern had no idea when she did the interview that the footage would be used in a Netflix doco fronted by two polarising royals.

A statement from the Prime Minister's Office to Newshub confirms Ardern was approached by the Nelson Mandela Foundation in early March 2019 "to participate in a project to develop accessible resources on key attributes of leadership targeted at aspiring young leaders around the world, based off a one hour interview".

Ardern's team were originally advised the content that would be created from the interview would be printed and digital books as well as short films and audio books.

The interview took place in November 2019, and a few months later in March 2020, the first of the content was published. 

"In March 2020 a short book entitled Jacinda Ardern (I Know This to be True) was published based on the interview. Other participants who also had their contributions published based on their interviews included Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Greta Thunberg and Stephen Curry."

A year later, in March 2021, the Nelson Mandela Foundation advised the Prime Minister's Office that it had secured an agreement with Netflix to broadcast the series of interviews, including the interview with Ardern. 

"In May this year the Prime Minister’s Office was notified that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would introduce the series; noting this was nearly two and a half years after the interview had been recorded and permission for its use by the Nelson Mandela Foundation had already been provided.

"All communication throughout has been with the Nelson Mandela Foundation (there has been no communication with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex regarding the project)."

The Nelson Mandela Foundation project is called I Know This To Be True and is a collaboration between the organisation and creative agency Blackwell and Ruth.

Blackwell and Ruth is led by New Zealanders Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday. Blackwell is also directing the Live to Lead documentary, based on the content produced for I Know This To Be True.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle remain controversial royal figures. They ditched their senior royal roles in January 2020 for independence in the United States. Since then, they've conducted a number of interviews where they've been highly critical of their relatives.

The pair started a production company to also make content for Spotify and Netflix. 

A Netflix documentary series called Harry and Meghan was released earlier this month in which the couple discussed meeting each other and the impact of being part of the royal family.

It has received overwhelmingly negative critic and audience reviews.