Meghan to narrate Disney documentary in first role since royal split

Lanre Bakare
Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

The Duchess of Sussex is to narrate a Disney film which documents the journey of a family of elephants across the Kalahari desert in southern Africa, which will launch three days after she and Prince Harry “step back” from being senior royals.

Meghan will voice the Disneynature documentary Elephant, which will be available on Disney+ from 3 April, and is her first major acting role since becoming a royal.

A trailer explains that the film will follow “one family’s extraordinary 1,000-mile journey across Africa on an adventure that will change their lives”.

At the London premiere of Disney’s remake of The Lion King in summer 2019, Prince Harry was overheard speaking with the former Disney CEO Bob Iger about the idea of his wife doing voiceovers.

In 2017, the royal couple travelled to Botswana which, along with South Africa and Namibia, is one of the three countries within the Kalahari desert, to help the Elephants Without Borders organisation equip a bull elephant with a satellite collar.

The timing of the launch of the Disney+ service, which also announced that Natalie Portman would narrate a film called Dolphin Reef, has been described as “almost morbidly perfect”, coming just as the UK enters a period of lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus, which will keep millions indoors and in search of entertainment.

Offering 450 films from Disney’s back catalogue and more than 200 TV series, Disney+ launched with slower speeds in the UK to reduce congestion on broadband networks as millions stay home and stream over wifi.

In France, the streaming service complied with a request from the government to delay its launch until Tuesday 7 April because of concerns over the broadband infrastructure.