Harry and Meghan have revealed that their first dance as husband and wife was to the iconic 60s hit Land of a Thousand Dances, in a new clip from their explosive Netflix series.
Footage released by the US streaming giant today shows the Duchess of Sussex singing and a series of unseen photos of the couple dancing at their 2018 wedding with VIPs including pop legend Elton John, a friend of Harry’s late mother Princess Diana.
Meghan says in an interview for the bombshell documentary: ‘I just really wanted the music to be fun. Even our first dance.’
She turns to Harry and asks: ‘Song of Thousand Dances? A Thousand Dances? I always get it wrong.’
The Duchess then sings the 60s soul hit Land of a Thousand Dances, first recorded by Chris Kenner in 1962 then later became a bigger hit by Wilson Pickett and Cannibal & the Headhunters – and reveals: ‘That was our first dance. It was so fun. Just spinning like a whirlwind. It was so great.’
Harry and Meghan have revealed that their first dance as husband and wife was to the iconic 60s hit Land of a Thousand Dances
Harry dips Meghan during their first dance as husband and wife at their 2018 wedding
It is the first time the couple have publicly acknowledged which song they chose for their first dance.
Initial reports suggested it was Whitney Houston’s hit I Wanna Dance With Somebody, after Meghan referred to it as her ‘happy song’ in a 2016 magazine interview.
But the Finding Freedom biography later contradicted earlier reports by claiming the first dance took place to Wilson Pickett’s 1968 track ‘I’m in Love’.
It comes amid a deepening row over the release of the couple’s Netflix series, with sources saying the Prince of Wales is unlikely ever to make up with his estranged brother following his Netflix betrayal.
William is said to be angry about the disrespect he feels Harry showed to their grandmother when she was alive during the Megxit saga.
And sources believe the bombshell documentary – which it is understood the heir to the throne has not watched, but is likely to do so at some point – will do little to change his mind.
He is also said to be distrustful of Harry’s motives given that he has a book coming out early next year.
‘All relationships are built on trust but for members of the Royal Family, who live their life in the spotlight, doubly so,’ a friend said.
‘The prince is a very private man and what Harry is doing is the anathema of everything he believes. On that alone, many believe it is unlikely he will ever be able to repair his relationship with them. Too much water has gone under the bridge.’
Last night William revealed that, on the day the Netflix show aired, he lost a close friend in Kenya and had other matters on his mind.
In his first public comments since Harry’s programme, the Prince of Wales tweeted: ‘Yesterday, I lost a friend, who dedicated his life to protecting wildlife in some of East Africa’s most renowned national parks. Mark Jenkins, and his son Peter, were tragically killed when flying over Tsavo National Park while conducting an aerial patrol.
Footage released by the US streaming giant today shows the Duchess of Sussex singing and a series of unseen photos of the couple dancing at their 2018 wedding with VIPs including pop legend Elton John, a friend of Harry’s late mother Princess Diana
Meghan turns to Harry as she asks the name of their wedding song
Harry and Meghan dancing at their 2018 royal wedding
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex dancing at their 2018 wedding
Harry poses for a group photo at his 2018 wedding with Meghan
The Duchess then sings the 60s soul hit Land of a Thousand Dances, first recorded by Chris Kenner in 1962 then later became a bigger hit by Wilson Pickett and Cannibal & the Headhunters
A soul star and hellraiser: The life of ‘Land of 1,000 Dances’ singer Wilson Pickett
Soul sensation Wilson Pickett (1941-2006) was the voice of Land of 1,000 Dances (1966) – Harry and Meghan’s wedding song
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding dance number was revealed in the latest trailer of their Netflix series today.
The pair lit up the dance floor in their 2018 wedding to the tune of Wilson Pickett’s 1966 soul classic ‘Land of 1,000 Dances’.
Written and first recorded by Chris Kenny in October 1962, the song became a soul staple after successful covers by Cannibal & The Headhunters in February 1965, and most famously, by Pickett in July 1966.
Pickett himself was a force to be reckoned with.
Born on March 18, 1941, in Pratville, Alabama, Pickett sang in church as a child, and later on the streets of Detroit, where he developed a formidable range with a raspy edge.
Pickett fused his gospel vocals with the emerging sound of rock and roll – a mix which helped create the new genre of soul music.
Aged 14, he joined gospel group The Violinaires and four years later, he moved on to The Falcons, where he co-wrote his first chart hit ‘I Found Love’.
Pickett co-wrote the popular ballad ‘If You Need Me’, but he was distraught when his record label Atlantic Records gave the song to soul star Solomon Burke, reaching number 2 in the R&B charts in April 1963.
Pickett’s big break came in 1965, with his third solo song, the self-penned ‘In The Midnight Hour’, which peaked at number one in the US R&B charts and number 12 in the UK.
His other hits for Atlantic Records in the mid 60s included Land of 1,000 Dances’ (1966), ‘634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.)’ (1965), ‘Mustang Sally’ (1966), ‘Funky Broadway’ (1966), and ‘Don’t Knock My Love’ (1971).
Following the peak of his success in the 60s and early 70s, Pickett continued to record – scoring four top 30 hits in the R&B charts – and performed live regularly until 2004.
In later years, Pickett’s struggles with alcohol and cocaine led to clashes with police. In 1991 and 1992 he was arrested on drink driving charges, including hitting an 85-year-old pedestrian. He was charged with cocaine possession in 1996 after allegedly assaulting his girlfriend.
Pickett died in hospital in January 2006, shortly after suffering a heart attack. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.
‘Tonight, I’m thinking about Mark’s wife, family and colleagues who’ve sadly lost a man we all loved and admired.’
The Mail revealed yesterday how royal insiders have been left particularly upset by the Netflix programme’s criticism of Queen Elizabeth and her Commonwealth legacy, which was dismissed as ‘Empire 2.0’.
One source pointed out that Harry and Meghan previously served as president and vice president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, which supports youth empowerment in Commonwealth countries, and had been happy to be associated with it ‘until they quit their jobs to make money’.
They also feel the Sussexes’ decision to secretly record 15 hours of video diaries, which they handed over to the documentary-makers, was an ‘appalling’ betrayal of trust. They started filming in March 2020 – almost 12 months before they officially stepped down as senior working royals.
‘Harry has made a virtue of protecting his grandmother through the whole of this saga –repeatedly making the point about how much respect he had for her and ruling her out of his claims about racism. And yet this is what they were planning the whole time? It’s appalling,’ another source said.
The duke and duchess signed lucrative deals, thought to be worth more than £100 million, with Netflix and Spotify after quitting as working royals.
In the first three episodes of the six-part series, Harry has accused the royals of having a ‘huge level of unconscious bias’ and colluding with a media that wanted to ‘destroy’ Meghan, as well as slighting his father and brother about their choices of bride.
Having digested the first three episodes of the documentary, royal insiders were keen to point out yesterday what they say are the many inconsistencies.
Meghan claims she received little support from Buckingham Palace as a new royal bride, saying there were no etiquette classes and she was reduced to googling the national anthem. She also said she was too scared to wear colourful clothes in case she overshadowed the Queen.
Sources have dismissed this, saying she was guided by the late Queen’s trusted deputy private secretary, Samantha Cohen, as well as her ladies-in-waiting. It is understood Meghan was also offered dozens of meetings with senior officials, but refused to take their advice.
The duchess also claimed to have been told she could not invite her half-niece to her wedding. Insiders say it was her idea not to do so.
They also reject claims that the Palace and the media were working together to smear them as a couple. In fact, relations between the Palace and the Press were at an all-time low because the couple’s team were so aggressively ‘firefighting’ on their behalf.
‘They were trying to stop stories going in the newspapers, not plant them,’ one source insists.
It comes after Meghan and Harry denied they quit royal duties and emigrated to the US because they wanted privacy as they justified their Netflix documentary charting the most intimate moments of their courtship and marriage.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared dozens of pictures, as well as footage, of themselves and their children Archie and Lilibet at home, photographs from their first dates and even footage of Harry proposing which Meghan apparently ‘live-streamed’ to a friend.
The couple handed over 15 hours of personal video they had recorded in the early months of 2020, according to director Liz Garbus, who dodged questions about how much control the Sussexes had over the shows – calling the completed series a ‘collaboration’.
Experts have claimed their decision to give up royal duties was a sign they wanted to live more privately.
Harry himself said Megxit, he hoped, would lead him and his family ‘into what I hope will be a quieter life’ and the couple have launched several high-profile privacy court cases in the UK.
But their spokesman Ashley Hansen has ridiculed the suggestion that Megxit was ever about privacy, and told The New York Times: ‘Their statement announcing their decision to step back mentions nothing of privacy and reiterates their desire to continue their roles and public duties.
‘Any suggestion otherwise speaks to a key point of this series. They are choosing to share their story, on their terms, and yet the tabloid media has created an entirely untrue narrative that permeates press coverage and public opinion. The facts are right in front of them’.
VIPs at Harry and Meghan’s wedding include Suits co-star Abigail Spencer and Canadian fashion stylist Jessica Mulroney
Harry and Meghan twirl as they dance at their wedding
Meghan adds: ‘That was our first dance. It was so fun. Just spinning like a whirlwind’
Speaking about their 2018 wedding, the Duchess of Sussex says in an interview for the bombshell documentary: ‘I just really wanted the music to be fun. Even our first dance’
Rift: Harry and William during the unveiling of a statue of their mother, Princess Diana, at Kensington Palace last year
The Netflix series raises questions over when they planned to make a documentary.
Harry’s introductory monologue was him staring down his mobile phone lens from Heathrow Airport’s VIP Windsor Suite as the couple ended their royal duties in March 2020 and emigrated to North America.
Ms Garbus, who took over from documentarian Garrett Bradley after she left the project, said: ‘You’re right there with Harry in the Windsor Suite processing the fact that he’s leaving the royal family for the first time in his life.
‘Then there was another clip with Meghan at home, alone, fresh out of the shower, her hair in a towel, no makeup, processing on her end what their life might actually be like.
‘It’s very personal and raw and powerful, and it made me appreciate the incredible weight that went into their decision. It also affirmed the choice I had made about wanting to unravel how this historic break came to be.’
The row over privacy will no doubt be debated again when Harry’s memoir ‘Spare’ is released in January.
During a speech given in London just hours after Megxit was announced in January 2020, Harry addressed a charity event where he said that he had taken the decision for his family so they could ‘take a step forward into what I hope will be a quieter life’.
Before Megxit, major events were dominated by privacy rows.
In May 2019, when Archie was born, they delayed the announcement so they had the chance to ‘celebrate privately as a new family’.
The Queen’s former spokesman Dickie Arbiter said at the time: ‘The birth of Archie was a complete disaster. The secrecy made a mockery of the whole thing’.
Meghan told Oprah in 2021: ‘I think everyone has a basic right to privacy. Basic. We’re not talking about anything that anybody else wouldn’t expect’.
But she denied Megxit was about privacy itself, pointing to their statement that talked about financial independence from the royals so they could ’embark on the next chapter in our lives’.