Harry & Meghan on Netflix
"Harry & Meghan" six-part docuseries aired on Netflix in December 2022. Harry & Meghan/Netflix

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's "Harry & Meghan" Netflix docuseries is among the nominees in this year's Hollywood Critics Association (HCA) awards under the best-streaming non-fiction series category. Other nominees include "Prehistoric Planet 2," "Rainn Wilson and the Geography of Bliss," "The 1619 Project," "The Reluctant Traveller with Eugene Levy" and "Rennervations."

Directed by two-time Oscar-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus, the series debuted with three episodes on Dec. 8, 2022. It broke documentary ratings records for the streaming giant and thus its HCA award nomination is not a surprise, according to royal expert Kinsey Schofield, who said it "scored Netflix their biggest documentary debut ever."

She acknowledged its success telling Fox News, "We have to give credit where credit is due. Analytically, it is likely considered a success by all parties involved. Even if it was morbid curiosity that attracted the audience. They were still watching."

Fellow royal expert Shannon Felton Spence chimed in and called "Harry & Meghan" a "huge hit for Netflix" and that it "was one of the most watched Netflix programs of all time." She also complimented the docuseries for its beautiful shots.

However, she thinks the series only further damaged the Sussexes' image as philanthropists more than it helped. She referred to approval ratings for the couple among the British public plummeting after the show aired.

A YouGov survey of British citizens conducted on Dec. 7 and 8, revealed that 64% had an unfavourable view of Meghan Markle, and 59% to that of Prince Harry. Among older Britons, 79% and 84% had unfavourable views of the duke and duchess, respectively. Only 33% of those who participated in the survey had a favourable view of Harry and 25% of his wife.

"Harry & Meghan" did not just give viewers a glimpse into the couple's love story. It also looked back at the previous claims they made against the royals and the Firm during their Oprah interview in March 2021.

Spence explained, "The issue isn't the docuseries in isolation. It's the series of royal family-focused content that has all but ruined the Sussexes' reputations as serious philanthropists."

She added, "Awards don't mean anything. If awards signalled seriousness, Harry and Meghan wouldn't be in the spot they are at the moment. They have been given awards all over the place, and it has not done anything to enhance their image. If anything it has exposed how meaningless these honours are."

Meanwhile, royal author Christopher Andersen said the HCA award is "as much a nod" to Garbus as it is to the Sussexes, "who made it very clear they had given Garbus the free rein to tell their story."

He said, "Meghan was careful to stress that the end result was not exactly the way they would have told it, which I think was a very clever way of distancing themselves from the project if people wound up not liking it."

"But look, you've got to hand it to Harry and Meghan — they know how to grab us by the throat and hold our attention, and in Hollywood, that's pretty much all that counts," Andersen added.

The biographer is referring to an interview with Variety, in which the Duchess of Sussex admitted that "Harry & Meghan" was not how she and Prince Harry would have told tell their story. But that "it's nice to be able to trust someone" with their story and "that means it will go through their lens."

Andersen continued, "I'm sure Harry and Meghan are clinking champagne glasses over that. They see [it] as artistic validation by the film community. But if the critics who hand out these awards are going to be honest with themselves, they'll see that the series was a whiny exercise in self-indulgence. The whole 'aren't we poor victims?' thing wears awfully thin after a while, even in La La Land."

"Harry & Meghan" is part of the multimillion-dollar deal Prince Harry and Meghan Markle signed with Netflix in 2020. They also released "Live to Lead" in December 2022 and this summer will release another docuseries called "Heart of Invictus."