Lifetime’s Megxit movie recreates Princess Diana’s deadly Paris car crash: Film about the Sussexes’ ‘escape from the palace’ dredges up painful memory for Princes Harry and William as crew are seen setting up the moment their mother died in 1997
- Cast and crew members from Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace were seen filming in an underpass in Canada, where a smashed Mercedes-Benz could be seen flipped over on the road
- The scene closely echoed the devastating images seen in the wake of the car crash that claimed the lives of Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed and their driver
- Actors Jordan Dean and Sydney Morton, who play Harry and Meghan in the movie, were not seen on location
- However several men brandishing cameras and riding motorbikes, who will likely portray the paparazzi photographers that had been following Diana’s car on the night of August 31, 1997, were pictured
- Many of the photographers took pictures of the scene, and several foreign newspapers ran images of Princess Diana as she lay dying in the back seat of the car
- Although an inquest ruled paparazzi had not caused Diana’s death, Harry, 36, recently placed blame on their shoulders again, saying in his Apple TV+ show The Me You Can’t See that his mother was ‘chased to death’
- During the Sussexes’ bombshell interview with Oprah, the Duke also expressed his fears about ‘history repeating itself’ with Meghan, 39
- Lifetime’s upcoming movie about the couple – its third film focusing on the Sussexes – is likely going to include references to the Oprah interview, and is thought to be featuring ‘flashbacks’ to Diana’s accident and death
One of Prince Harry’s most painful memories is set to be dredged up and replayed in a new Lifetime movie about his and Meghan’s ‘escape from the palace’ – after cast and crew were seen shooting a recreation of the deadly Paris car crash that claimed the life of his mother Princess Diana.
Images taken on-set in Vancouver show staff from the film, Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace, setting up the horrifying moment that Diana’s driver lost control of his Mercedes-Benz and crashed it into the wall of a tunnel in France, before paparazzi photographers began snapping images of the devastating scene on August 31, 1997.
In the photos, a vintage black Mercedes – very similar to the vehicle that was carrying the mother-of-two and her partner, Egyptian film producer Dodi Fayed – can be seen flipped over onto its roof with its front end completely destroyed, while men playing the part of photographers gather around it with large cameras pointed at the wreck.
The scene is eerily similar to the shocking images taken just moments after Princess Diana’s car crashed in the Alma tunnel in Paris, which were quickly shared around the world, however it seems that the Lifetime producers have taken steps to make the horrific smash all the more dramatic – flipping the car over onto its roof, which is not what happened in reality.
Other photos from the set show men on motorbikes pulling up to the scene of the crash, depicting the moment that paparazzi photographers arrived on the scene, having been following Diana’s vehicle in pursuit of an image of her and Fayed, who also died in the collision along with the couple’s driver.
Recreation: Lifetime’s upcoming movie about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s ‘escape from the palace’ will feature a portrayal of Princess Diana’s deadly Paris car crash, with cast and crew seen filming the scene in Vancouver on Thursday
Images taken on the set in Canada show a vintage Mercedes-Benz flipped over onto its roof with its front completely destroyed in an eerily similar scene to the one seen in photographs of Princess Diana’s car crash on August 31, 1997
Men who are believed to be portraying paparazzi photographers were also seen on set, brandishing large cameras that were pointed towards the wrecked car
The photographers were pictured driving motorbikes, similar to those ridden by the paparazzi who were following Diana’s vehicle when it crashed in the hopes of getting an image of the mother-of-two and her partner Dodi Fayed
It appears that Lifetime is not going to recreate the exact details of the crash; the car in the photos from the set was flipped over, while Diana’s car is never believed to have rolled
The Paris car crash (pictured) claimed the lives of Diana, Fayed, and their driver, Henri Paul, who was found to have been around three times over the drink-drive limit
The smashed Mercedes being used in the movie was also photographed on the back of a flatbed truck being driven off – similar to the moment that Diana’s wrecked car was taken away to be examined.
The on-set photographs were taken just weeks after Prince Harry opened up about his anger and grief over his mother’s passing, saying that she had been ‘chased to death’, before expressing his fears about ‘history repeating itself’ with his wife Meghan Markle during an interview with Oprah Winfrey for their Apple TV+ mental health series, The Me You Can’t See.
Images of the Lifetime shoot come just weeks after Harry (seen with Diana and William in 1993) spoke out about his grief and anger over the loss of his mother who he said was ‘chased to death’ during his Apple TV+ show with Oprah
An inquest jury ruled the Princess of Wales and her partner died because of the ‘grossly negligent’ driving of Henri Paul, who was around three times over the drink-drive limit.
They also singled out the paparazzi’s speed and the way they were driving as contributory factors, but concluded the couple could have survived the accident had they been wearing seatbelts, therefore were not ‘chased to death’.
But Harry said he felt there were parallels in their stories when he followed in his mother’s footsteps and began dating a person of color.
‘My mother was chased to her death while she was in a relationship with someone who wasn’t white,’ he said. ‘And now look what’s happened.
‘You want to talk about history repeating itself, they’re not going to stop until she dies. It’s incredibly triggering to potentially lose another woman in my life. Like, the list is growing. And it all comes back to the same people, the same business model, the same industry.’
His statement closely echoed the comments he made during the Sussexes’ bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, during which the Duke told the TV mogul: ‘My biggest concern was history repeating itself, and I’ve said that before on numerous occasions, very publicly.
‘And what I was seeing was history repeating itself, but more, perhaps or definitely far more dangerous, because then you add race in and you add social media in.
‘And when I’m talking about history repeating itself, I’m talking about my my mother.’
It is thought that Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah will play a significant part in the upcoming Lifetime movie about their decision to step down as senior working royals and move to the US; earlier images taken on the set have captured the cast members recreating a home movie that was shown during the primetime sit-down in March, while others have shown actor Jordan Dean, who plays the Duke, wearing a grey suit that is nearly identical to the one worn by the father-of-two for the broadcast.
The costume also featured a clip-on microphone that was attached to the left lapel of his suit jacket. It matched the tech used during Harry and Meghan’s on-screen chat – a further clue Lifetime is planning on taking on their conversation with Oprah.
Now, the newly-released images of the car crash recreation suggest that the movie will also feature a flashback to one of the most painful moments in Harry’s life, which he has referenced during both of his TV projects with Oprah.
Dean and his co-star Sydney Morton, who is playing the part of Meghan, were not pictured at on the set of the car crash, however the on-screen couple were seen arriving elsewhere on set earlier in the day, having traveled to the shoot location in the same car.
The duo, who were friends prior to the start of filming, looked comfortable and casual as they made their way into a trailer, with Morton dressed in a baggy taupe sweater, black sweatpants and Nike sneakers, while Dean donned a dark hoodie and jeans.
Elsewhere: Actors Jordan Dean and Sydney Morton, who are playing the roles of Harry and Meghan, were not pictured at the site of the crash shoot, but they were seen arriving for shooting on another location in Vancouver on the same day
Laidback: Dean and Morton, who were friends before landing their co-starring roles, were seen exiting a shared car before heading into a trailer together
Dressed down: The pair did not appear to be in their costumes when they were photographed, with Dean seen looking casual in jeans, a dark hoodie, and Vans sneakers
Morton meanwhile opted for a taupe sweater, black sweatpants and white Nike sneakers
Ready for work! They made their way into a trailer, presumably in order to get ready for filming
Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace is the third installment in a series of films about Meghan and Harry, and Dean and Morton are the third set of actors to take on the roles of the Duke and Duchess, having only been publicly unveiled as the stars of the upcoming movie days before filming began last month.
Few concrete details have been revealed about the film, however Lifetime has promised to offer viewers a fictionalized account of ‘what really happened inside the palace that drove Harry and Meghan to leave everything behind in order to make a future for themselves and their son Archie,’ according to Deadline.
‘It will detail Meghan’s growing isolation and sadness, their disappointment that “The Firm” was not defending them against the press’s attacks, and Harry’s fear that history would repeat itself and he would not be able to protect his wife and son from the same forces that caused his mother’s untimely death,’ the description continued.
The movie also looks set to document Meghan’s pregnancy with second child Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana, who was born on June 4.
Morton, who is portraying Meghan was pictured with a fake baby bump while on-set in Vancouver earlier this month while she and Dean shot scenes that appear to be a recreation of a home video filmed by the Sussexes on a beach near their $14 Montecito home with their son Archie.
The actress was joined on the beach by Dean, and the little boy who stars as Archie. Photos showed Morton cradling her fake baby bump while sporting a black zip-up athletic jacket, black leggings, and white sneakers.
The outfit is nearly a perfect match to the one worn by the Duchess in the home movie. However, while Meghan donned a white baseball cap, her lookalike had sunglasses sitting on top of her head, likely so her face would be seen on camera.
Dean, who was dressed casually in a gray T-shirt, cargo shorts, and a baseball cap, was seen holding the child actor playing Archie in his arms as Morton affectionately rubbed her fake belly.
The video shared by the royals is thought to have been taken by Harry, 36, and shows Meghan and Archie playing together on a beach in California with one of their two dogs.
Dean and Morton were seen holding the same blue Chuckit! dog toy on set that Meghan and Archie played with on the beach.
The Sussexes first shared the footage of the Duchess and their son on the beach during their explosive interview with Oprah – which suggests that Lifetime’s movie is going to include the moment in one way or another, although the network has yet to confirm.
Lifetime has not yet indicated the time frame of the upcoming Escaping the Palace movie, only teasing that the flick will give viewers a dramatized take on what led to Megxit. However, if producers have decided to include more current events, the Oprah interview would likely be a key moment that they’d be keen to feature.
See the resemblance? Earlier this month, Morton and Dean were pictured on set in Vancouver with a little boy who will play the royal’s couple’s son Archie
First look: They appeared to be recreating the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s home video that shows the expectant mom playing on the beach with their son, which was shared during their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey
Acting: Morton appears to have been studying Meghan’s mannerisms, including the way she touches her belly when she is pregnant (right). Meghan is pictured cradling her baby bump while pregnant with Archie in 2019 (left)
Who’s who? Dean (left) was dressed casually in a gray T-shirt, cargo shorts, and a baseball cap – a look that Harry has been seen wearing before (right)
The original: The clip shared by the Sussexes is thought to have been taken by Harry, 36, and shows Meghan and Archie playing together on a beach in California with one of the couple’s two dogs
The interview has certainly played a pivotal role in the Sussexes’ relationship with the rest of the royal family. The couple made several damaging allegations about ‘The Firm’, including claims that an unnamed member of the monarchy made racist remarks about the color of their son Archie’s skin tone.
Lifetime shared the first image of Morton and Dean stepping into their royal roles on May 19 – the Sussexes’ wedding anniversary – when the network publicly announced for the first time that they had been cast as Meghan and Harry.
Although their physical similarities to Harry and Meghan are not entirely spot-on, the actors certainly dressed the part for the photo, which showed them posing in near-identical ensembles to those worn by the Sussexes for their final official engagement as senior members of the royal family in March 2020.
Dean is seen wearing a blue suit, white shirt, and mint green tie and also sporting bright red hair and a beard, while Morton is pictured in a bright green caped dress that appears to be inspired by the Emilia Wickstead number worn by Meghan on last year’s Commonwealth Day.
Her dark locks were pulled back in a low updo, a style often sported by Meghan during her brief time as a royal.
Shortly after the announcement was shared, Morton marked the occasion on her Instagram account, where she revealed that she and Dean are actually old friends.
‘The cat’s out of the bag!’ she wrote. ‘Very grateful to be working with these wonderful people! AND I get to be on this wild ride with an old friend?? Literal dreams! Thank you everyone for all your kind words! Let’s goooooooo.’
Both stars have a handful of small on-screen roles to their names, and they have each made appearances in Netflix series in the past. Dean was featured in the 2019 show The Punisher, while Morton snagged parts in the 2020 mini-series Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker and She’s Gotta Have It, which ran from 2017 to 2019.
On her website, Morton describes herself as an actress and blogger, which is eerily reminiscent of Meghan’s life before she met Harry and joined the royal family. When the couple began dating, the Los Angeles native was starring in hit show Suits and ran a lifestyle blog, The Tig.
Dean has also made several appearances on Broadway in hit shows like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Mamma Mia!, and Cymbeline.
The on-screen couple is the third pair to portray Harry and Meghan for Lifetime – which has already released two other movies about the Sussexes in the last few years.
Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace follows 2018’s Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance, which covered the early days of their relationship, and 2019’s Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal, which focused on the royal wedding.
First look: The new on-set snaps were taken exactly one week after the first photo of Dean and Morton as Harry and Meghan was shared by Lifetime. The photos showed them wearing outfits that look just like those sported by the Sussexes last March
The Duchess of Sussex: Actress and blogger Morton is best known for her roles in Netflix shows She’s Gotta Have It and Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker
The Duke of Sussex: New York-based Broadway actor Dean has made several appearances on Broadway in hit shows like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Mamma Mia!, and Cymbeline
Parisa Fitz-Henley and Murray Fraser played Meghan and Harry, respectively, in the first biopic, which explored how the couple’s relationship blossomed from their first date in 2016 to their engagement in November 2017.
It aired in May 2018, just days before the couple’s royal wedding.
The second movie offered a playful, fictional account of the events immediately leading up to Harry and Meghan’s May 2018 wedding and their first few months as husband and wife. It aired in May 2019.
Actress Tiffany Smith played the Duchess of Sussex, while British star Charlie Field took on the role of the Duke of Sussex in the film.
The new movie will be directed by Menhaj Huda and executive produced by Merideth Finn and Michele Weiss
Like Netflix’s The Crown – but on a much tighter budget – Harry & Meghan: Escaping the Palace will feature actors playing senior members of the royal family including Prince William and Kate Middleton and Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, all of whom will be portrayed by the same actors who appeared in the earlier installments.
Producers will no doubt draw heavily on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s explosive Oprah interview, which aired in March, although it remains to be seen if it will go near controversial topics such as the alleged racist remark about Archie.
Speaking to Vanity Fair about the second film, screenwriter Scarlett Lacey – who has returned for the third installment – explained that the plot features a mix of truths and fiction. It will also look at ‘family feuds’ between Kate and Meghan, Charles and Harry and Harry and William, it was reported.
Lacey also suggested she had gained access to some of Meghan’s and the royals’ inner circles, although she did not name any names.
Debut: Parisa Fitz-Henley and Murray Fraser debuted the roles for Lifetime in 2018’s Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance, which covered the early days of the couple’s relationship
Next up: In 2019’s Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal, the main roles were played by Tiffany Smith and Charlie Field
Back again: Several actors are returning for the third movie, including Deborah Ramsay as the Duchess of Cornwall (left) and Coulter as Prince Charles (center left)
‘Some of the people I talk to are close to the royals. Others are Hollywood friends of Meghan, and others are journalists and experts in the royal field,’ she said.
However, she acknowledged that the movies – which portray Harry and Meghan in a highly favorable light – are definitely a mixture of fact and fiction.
Airing on Lifetime five days before the pair married in real life, the first movie charted the whirlwind romance of Meghan and Harry by mutual friend Violet von Westenholz, to their time in Botswana where they fell in love.
It culminated in Prince Harry going down on one knee in his Kensington Palace apartment to ask Meghan to marry him. It also featured other members of the royal family, including Kate, who will no doubt play an even bigger part in the third film.
The second film touched on the lead up to the wedding as well as Meghan’s relationship with her father.
Lacey said at the time: ‘This film deals with the drama of planning a wedding: the moment you’d much rather elope, the moment your family might mess it all up – and they nearly do.’
Star Smith said in the same interview: ‘We got to do some stuff with Kate, which I really liked.
‘I think one of the biggest things, obviously, about Meghan is that she’s such a supporter of other women and women’s empowerment. That was something I think was important for all of us to focus on, myself included.’
What happened in the first two Harry & Meghan Lifetime movies?
HARRY & MEGHAN: A ROYAL ROMANCE (2018)
Airing on Lifetime five days before the pair married in real life, the movie charted the whirlwind romance of Meghan and Harry by mutual friend Violet von Westenholz, to their time in Botswana where they fell in love.
Things eventually heat up as the young couple are filmed seemingly naked and entwined in bed until Harry can take it no more, going down on one knee in his Kensington Palace apartment to ask Meghan to marry him.
It also featured other members of the royal family, including Kate Middleton.
Kate was depicted as the grim common sense throughout the film, who pops up seemingly with the express purpose of throwing cold water on Harry’s fun.
HARRY & MEGHAN: BECOMING ROYAL (2019)
A scene showing the actors playing Meghan and Harry kissing after their wedding in Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal
Becoming Royal promised to ‘pull back the curtain to reveal untold joys and challenges’ faced by the couple, as well as key moments like their pregnancy announcement.
British actor Charlie Field, who appeared in an episode of Poldark, was cast as Prince Harry, while American actress and presenter Tiffany Smith, who has had minor roles in shows including Jane the Virgin, played Meghan.
Other key moments included Meghan’s first solo royal engagement and their first royal tour.
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