We all like playing games at Christmas but here’s one that doesn’t involve sticking Post-it notes to your own forehead. It’s called Describe New Netflix Documentary Harry & Meghan In A Single Sentence.

I’ll start, though I admit at the outset I’m torn between Good-looking Rich Couple Make Self-Regarding Film About Themselves And Illustrate It With Smug Selfies and Oh Dear, What Have They Done?

Which will it be? Let’s go with both but deal with them in turn (my game, I make the rules). What, then, did we learn from the much-heralded documentary, whose first three parts dropped on Netflix last week with all the subtlety of a corgi pooing on the throne room carpet? Apart from the fact there really were lots of selfies, I mean. Well, everything and nothing.

We did learn that Prince Harry is as addicted to scrolling through Instagram as the rest of us, and that dating someone when you’re famous isn’t so different from the way mere mortals do it. Except that the intermediaries and friends-of-friends who put in the good word tend to be equally famous and well-connected.

Courtesy of some ace investigative journalism (or it could just be a wild guess based on something overheard at a Notting Hill kitchen supper) the Daily Telegraph names the mutual friend who posted the all-important snap of Meghan Markle on her Instagram feed as one Violet von Westenholz. In the programme we see the image which so captivated Harry: Meghan, with cute puppy ears.

Violet von Westenholz, by the way, works as PR director for Ralph Lauren, and her dad is Baron von Westenholz, a former Olympic skier and longstanding friend of King Charles. According to a 2014 report in the Telegraph, Violet’s sister Victoria was “once touted as a future bride for Prince Harry.”

What else? We learned the couple took a selfie on their fateful first date at a London restaurant (naturally we saw it too). That in the early days of the courtship they flew to Africa together and camped in the bush (though I wonder if they took a photographer on that jaunt – the snaps were suspiciously professional looking). That he’s in her phone as Haz though they refer to each other as H and M. And that everyone at their engagement party wore animal onesies, with the happy couple opting to go dressed as penguins.

Penguins, by the way, mate for life. They also spend most of the year apart, and some live in zoos where people in wellies throw fish at them. Just saying.

In short, we learned that as viewers we either go with the icky flow and enjoy the lovey-dovey barf-fest, or try to rein in our cynicism and soldier on through in case either of the protagonists says something we haven’t heard before.

Mostly they don’t, though there is a cast of talking heads to add context, recollections and a sort of social glossary. Among this gang are Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland; journalist and historian Afua Hirsch, who has written about race and de-colonisation; and stupidly handsome Nacho Figueras, described by the programme makers as a friend of the couple and by the New York Times as “the David Beckham of polo” (without the visible tattoos, mind).

As for those programme makers, one of the companies involved is Archewell, founded and owned by none other than the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Its mission statement is “to produce programming that informs, elevates, and inspires” and to “utilize the power of storytelling to embrace our shared humanity and duty to truth through a compassionate lens.” Pass the sick bag.

In that respect, it’s easy to dismiss the series as what’s known in the trade as a puff piece. Worse than that, it’s hard not to imagine the couple collecting images and footage with a view to what will play well on television. The Duchess is an actress, after all.

On the other hand, the director of Harry & Meghan is Liz Garbus, a filmmaker of no small account. Her credits to date include two Oscar-nominated documentaries, one about the great Nina Simone, the other a portrait of the notorious Louisiana State Penitentiary. Known as Angola, it’s name-checked in a great many blues songs though never with any great sense of affection. The point is, you don’t tackle either of those subjects unless you have a keen sense of racial justice and a journalist’s eye for bull**** when you hear it, see it, or read it in a documentary proposal.

Garbus’s father, for the record, is a fearsome civil rights lawyer. His greatest hits include defending Lenny Bruce against an obscenity charge, and helping author Peter Matthiessen win a libel case in the 1980s which did much to tip the legal balance in favour of publishers and journalists. The judge in that trial ruled for the “freedom to develop a thesis, conduct research in an effort to support the thesis, and to publish an entirely one-sided view of people and events.”

Interesting words. Some might say that’s a neat summation of Harry & Meghan itself. Especially the “entirely one-sided view of people and events” bit.

Which brings us to: Oh dear, What Have They Done? Well, they have mightily cheesed off a lot of people, mostly on the right of the political divide and what you might call the gammon side of the culture wars (those red-faced blokes who throw the word ‘woke’ around as an insult). Giving two fingers to that shower isn’t a bad thing, but it won’t do the royal couple much good in the long run.

Tory MPs Bob Seely and Guy Opperman are among those who have taken umbrage. Opperman has called for a boycott of Netflix – what? I’m only halfway through Ozark! – while Seely is in a right old seethe and is proposing a private members bill to strip the couple of their royal titles. He wants to amend something called the 1917 Titles Deprivation Act, cooked up to deal with those aristos who backed Germany in the First World War.

Bit steep Bob, surely? He doesn’t think so. For him, Prince Harry has crossed a line. “This is a political issue,” he has said. “As well as trashing his family and monetising his misery for public consumption, he is also attacking some important institutions in this country.”

How strong the attack is and how much damage it inflicts depends on who is watching, I suppose, and how much they care. Figures released by Netflix on Friday showed 2.4 million people watched the first episode, twice the number who watched the new series of The Crown. Meanwhile market research company Mintel puts the number of UK households with Netflix subscriptions at just over 17 million which, if you assume those households conform to the 2.4 people rule, means around 40 million people at least have access to the show.

And who are they? Research in the US finds the typical Netflix watcher to be a liberal, suburban Millennial with modest educational achievements who is slightly more likely to be female. The Netflix shows Ms Average Viewer most likes to watch are Stranger Things (a mash-up of every 1980s horror film ever made), Bridgerton (saucy goings-on in an alternative, Regency-era London) and The Witcher (think Game Of Thrones-meets-Conan The Barbarian but with worse dialogue).

That puts some meat into the demographic pie – but throw it all in the air and you’re still left with a potential viewership which is anything between a whopping two-thirds of the British population and a couple of million Harry Potter fans who think if it’s got a prince in it then it’ll also have wizards, dragons and a Kate Bush song.

There are more episodes to come, of course, so it’s safe to assume the juiciest stuff is in the second ‘volume’. And there are certainly serious issues to be raised. The death threats, for example, the implied sexism of the royal set-up, and the overtly racist tone of much of the press coverage. That now notorious “(Almost) Straight Outta Compton” headline from a 2016 Mail Online article makes a disagreeable appearance early in the first episode.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are winning few new friends with their weird and rather risible documentary. But there is value in it, and the establishment reaction on this side of the Pond tells us the reflection we see in the mirror they’re holding up is perhaps only a little distorted.