Jacinda Ardern today issued a statement about her appearance in a new Netflix ‘docuseries’ presented by Meghan and Harry, with New Zealand’s PM insisting she was unaware of the couple’s involvement when she agreed to take part. Live to Lead will celebrate ‘inspirational leaders’ throughout history. This includes Miss Ardern – who appeared in a trailer released yesterday and leads a country where Charles III is head of state. The seven-part documentary was made by New Zealand-based production company Blackwell & Ruth in association with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Sussexes’ production company, Archewell. While the couple are listed as executive producers, Miss Ardern’s office released a statement in response to journalists’ questions that made it clear her involvement had nothing to do with the Duke and Duchess. The statement said: ‘In early March 2019 the prime minister was approached by the Mandela Foundation to participate in a project to develop accessible resources on key attributes of leadership targeted at aspiring young leaders around the world, based off a one-hour interview. ‘Originally we were advised the outputs would be printed and digital books, short films and audiobooks. ‘The interview was conducted on November 8, 2019. In March 2020 a short book entitled Jacinda Ardern was published based on the interview. Other participants who also had their contributions published based on their interviews included the late US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the feminist activist Gloria Steinem, the climate campaigner Greta Thunberg and the American basketball player Stephen Curry. ‘In March 2021 the Nelson Mandela Foundation advised the prime minister’s office they had secured an agreement with Netflix to broadcast the series of interviews, including the 2019 interview with the prime minister. ‘In May this year the prime minister’s office was notified that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would introduce the series; noting this was nearly two and a half years after the interview had been recorded and permission for its use by the Mandela Foundation had already been provided. ‘All communication throughout has been with the foundation.’ The Duchess of Sussex and Miss Arden have a budding friendship, sparked during their New Zealand Royal tour in 2018. Meghan was pregnant at the time of the tour and Miss Arden later spoke of how she had been impressed by her stamina. She said that year: ‘Pregnancy is an often tiring time, but the way she gave everything her all was incredible. She’s an amazing woman and I’m so glad to have gotten to know her.’ Meanwhile, the book Finding Freedom claimed Miss Ardern sent a floral arrangement to Markle after the birth of her son Archie. While the prime minister is wildly popular among left wingers, she has recently been accused of turning her country into a ‘nanny state’ through policies such as a plan to phase out smoking by 2025. She was also lambasted last week after being heard using derogatory language about an opposition leader. Live to Lead, which will air on December 31, will star other luminaries including the late US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It also features environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg and feminist activist Gloria Steinem, a close friend of Meghan’s. Dressed in matching black outfits against a white background, Harry and Meghan both feature heavily in a new two-minute trailer for the series released on Monday. Harry says Nelson Mandela was the inspiration for the documentary and then goes on to quote the former South African president, saying: ‘What counts in life is not the mere fact that we’ve lived.’ Meghan finishes the quote for him, adding: ‘It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.’ Harry then says: ‘It’s about people who have made brave choices’, while his wife adds: ‘To fight for change and to become leaders.’ The prince concludes by saying: ‘And for giving inspiration to the rest of us, to live, to lead.’ The Sussexes’ Archewell productions company, which has signed a multi-million deal with the streaming giant, has co-produced it along with The Nelson Mandela Foundation. It comes after Meghan and Harry released a six-part Netflix documentary about themselves, which told the story of their split with the Royal Family and their new life in California. It has emerged that Lucy Fraser, a friend of the duchess’s interviewed for the series who warned about dark forces at the palace, is a PR previously called Lucy Meadmore. She told viewers – without explaining how she knew – that the ‘internals’ at the palace were out to get Meghan. Her claims extended to the UK media, which she claimed ‘go through rubbish bins’ and ‘break into accounts’, without offering any evidence. Her appearances in the Netflix series left many viewers baffled about her identity. Ms Fraser was previously known as Lucy Meadmore and she was hired to promote Meghan’s now-defunct lifestyle blog The Tig. According to Companies House records, she was the director of two now closed PR firms, Project Smooth Ltd and LERMEADMORE. It is not clear whether Fraser is her married name or an alias for the documentary. The Duchess is thought to have met her in 2014, when she asked her to help write her blog. She was also seen enjoying ‘single girl summer’ in Europe with Meghan in 2016, as sun-soaked social media pictures showed the friends drinking Campari soda and Aperol Spritz together and posing on a huge hotel bed with producer Lindsay Jill Roth, another friend of the Sussexes. Fraser worked for several PR firms, including Freuds, before branching out and starting her own firm and was also pictured at Harry and Meghan’s Windsor wedding, walking into St George’s with the duchess’s other close friend’s Abigail Spencer and Priyanka Chopra. There was some intrigue around the origins of the Sussexes’ new Live to Lead interview series last night after it emerged that it was actually first announced in July 2019. Then it was lauded as the brainchild of The Nelson Mandela Foundation and Blackwell & Ruth Publishers, who revealed they were compiling a five-year series on leadership inspired by the late South African statesman, entitled ‘I Know This to be True’, interviewing global leaders on their leadership journeys. Several of the interviews – including those with Miss Steinem, Mrs Bader Ginsburg and Miss Thunberg – were announced as having already been filmed. The original project was designed to be an online effort, with videos and booklets being sold and distributed worldwide as a fundraising effort for The Nelson Mandela Foundation. At that time Harry and Meghan were still working royals. They did not announce their Netflix deal until September 2020, around the same time that Mrs Bader Ginsburg died. The timing suggests that the couple, along with their Archewell Productions team, came on board at a later date. The couple’s deal with streaming giant Netflix, said to be worth millions of dollars, is the lynchpin of their new life of commercial freedom in the US. Harry has another project about his inspirational Invictus Games due to come out next year. But Meghan’s animated series about inspirational women in history, Pearl, has been canned.