How Prince Harry Helped Meghan Markle When She Was Voicing 'Elephant' Documentary
Prince Harry was a supportive husband to his wife, Meghan Markle, as she narrated Disney's new documentary film, Elephant.
The film, which follows a family of African elephants as they make the epic journey of their ancestors, started streaming on Friday on Disney+. In recognition of the film, Disneynature and the Disney Conservation Fund are supporting Elephants Without Borders, an organization working in Botswana to ensure people and elephants thrive.
In a new interview with People, filmmakers Mark Linfield and Vanessa Berlowitz shared that Harry was with Meghan as she recorded her narration last October at Pinewood Studios in London.
"It was amazing having [Harry] there," Berlowitz tells the outlet. "He had a connection to Botswana, of course."
Botswana is definitely a special place for 35-year-old Harry. He made his first visit to the country with his father, Prince Charles, shortly after his mother, Princess Diana’s, death in 1997 and started the Lesotho-based charity Sentebale to honor his late mother. Harry also said Botswana is where he and 38-year-old Meghan spent the crucial early first days of their relationship during the couple's first-ever interview together after announcing their engagement in 2017.
The filmmakers said that Harry helped Meghan out by providing her with a little bit of direction.
"Harry was correcting her pronunciation!" Linfield says.
Of course, Meghan is no novice when it comes to show business. The former Suits star even did a little improvising on her narration.
"She made it her own," another filmmaker, Roy Conli, says. "I always say, 'If you feel something, do it, make it organic.' She's such a diligent professional and she wanted to get it right. It was a delight all the way around."
Meghan definitely had plenty of choices when it came to which projects to get involved in after she and Harry decided to step down as senior members of the royal family, and the filmmakers say she was very much drawn to the matriarchal structure of elephant herds, which presumably factored in her decision to participate.
"She was absolutely intrigued by the elephants and transfixed, especially by the female empowerment side," Berlowitz says. "How important the matriarchs are to the story; it really is all about female leadership. It's a different form of power -- it's about consensual leadership. It’s also very inclusive, as well -- very contemporary. She was absolutely fascinated by that."
Being a mom to her son, 10-month-old Archie, also had her seeing the documentary in a different light.
"She had a small child," Berlowitz says. "You could totally tell she was identifying with [elephants] Shani and Jojo, and keeping little ones in tow. She felt like a normal mom going through the normal trials and tribulations of bringing up a baby. Like one of us."
Meanwhile, Harry and Meghan have made it no secret that they're very passionate about conservation efforts. In 2017, Harry rescued elephants in Africa with African Parks, a non-profit conservation organization that aims to save wildlife, restore landscapes and ensure sustainable livelihoods for local communities.
"I wish I could spend more time in Africa," he told Town & Country at the time. "I have this intense sense of complete relaxation and normality here. To not get recognized, to lose myself in the bush with what I would call the most down-to-earth people on the planet, people with no ulterior motives, no agendas, who would sacrifice everything for the betterment of nature… I talk to them about their jobs, about what they do. And I learn so much."
In August, the couple celebrated World Elephant Day.
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🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘 Today is #WorldElephantDay and we are pleased to announce that since we followed our friends at @ElephantswithoutBorders (EWB) on Instagram in July, when we were celebrating the environment, you and our friend @TheEllenFund (@TheEllenShow) have spread the word and EWB have been able to help protect 25 elephants by fitting them with satellite navigation collars! These collars allow the team at EWB to track the elephants, as well as to learn their essential migratory patterns to keep their corridors safe and open so future generations of elephants can roam freely. In honour of this amazing support, EWB have named their most recently collared Elephant...ELLEN! We can’t wait to see where she will go! 🐘 Two years ago on World Elephant Day, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined Dr Chase to help in this conservation effort. Below, a few words from Mike and his partner Kelly at EWB: • ‘Today is a day to honor and celebrate the majestic elephant and to make a strong stand for conserving and protecting one of the world’s most beloved animals. elephants are intelligent, sentient beings capable of emotions from joy to grief. They are ‘environmental engineers,’ a key-stone umbrella species, and the fight to save them is in effect, a fight to save entire ecosystems and all wildlife. Today elephants are facing many challenges; habitat loss and competition for resources creates conflict with humans, climate change and fires destroy much needed resources and poaching for the demand of ivory makes elephants bigger targets than ever. African elephants are especially prone to human-wildlife conflict because of their large home ranges. Finding, preserving and creating elephant corridors is therefore of great importance in helping to maintain habitats suitable for movement and minimising human-elephant conflict. Corridors are a mitigation technique to better the livelihoods of local communities and the elephants themselves, by providing environment and ample space for wildlife to navigate from one habitat patch to another, without affecting the livelihoods of communities.’ • EWB - Dr Mike Chase, Ms Kelly Landen . 📸 by DOS © SussexRoyal Additional photos: EWB
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