BuzzFeed News can confirm that these “royal sources” were Thompson and his counterpart at Buckingham Palace: Tobyn Andreae, communications secretary to King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort. The two regularly brief selected royal reporters — and provide instructions about how these briefings and guidance are to be attributed — in a WhatsApp group.
Emails between Thompson and one of the show’s producers, dated Nov. 30, were obtained by BuzzFeed News and their authenticity was confirmed by Story Syndicate. A spokesperson for Story Syndicate told BuzzFeed News that Thompson did not reply to a follow-up email in which the company declined to provide clips from Harry & Meghan (as is standard industry practice) but reiterated the claims that would be made and requested Kensington Palace’s official response.
Story Syndicate said that it had no evidence of anyone from Buckingham Palace reaching out in response to the initial email and confirmed that it was sent not to a general mailbox but to Andreae’s direct email address. (A spokesperson added that there was no “bounceback” to the email, an automatic reply that indicates an inbox is full and the recipient might be unable to read the message.) This spokesperson also noted to BuzzFeed News that a request for comment sent to Jason Knauf, former royal employee and current director of the Earthshot Prize (a competition founded by Prince William), on the same date as the emails to both palaces received a response that was included in Harry & Meghan.
A spokesperson for Netflix said the company can find no evidence that it had been contacted by either Kensington Palace or Buckingham Palace through any common channels of communication, but cautioned that there is a possibility an email could have been sent to an obscure account.
The Sussexes’ global press secretary, Ashley Hansen, told Buzzfeed News that an Archewell employee from an unrelated branch of the company was contacted by a royal employee after the deadline Story Syndicate had given for a response to be included in the docuseries. Hansen said that neither she nor any other members of the Archewell communications team (which represents Archewell Productions, Archewell Audio, and the Archewell Foundation) were contacted by spokespersons for the royal family.
BuzzFeed News has reached out to Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace for comment.