Prince Harry launched an emotional broadside against the British press, accusing journalists in that country of victimizing his wife, the former Meghan Markle, in a “ruthless campaign.” He compared the media’s treatment of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, to his mother, Princess Diana, writing, “…my deepest fear is history repeating itself. I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”
“As a couple, we believe in media freedom and objective, truthful reporting. We regard it as a cornerstone of democracy and in the current state of the world – on every level – we have never needed responsible media more,” he wrote October 1, 2019 on the couples website.
“Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences – a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son.”
Harry then revealed that he and his wife would be taking legal action (for publication by Mail on Sunday of a letter to her father Thomas Markle), writing, “It is for this reason we are taking legal action, a process that has been many months in the making. The positive coverage of the past week from these same publications exposes the double standards of this specific press pack that has vilified her almost daily for the past nine months; they have been able to create lie after lie at her expense simply because she has not been visible while on maternity leave. She is the same woman she was a year ago on our wedding day, just as she is the same woman you’ve seen on this Africa tour.”
The Duchess of Sussex has been criticized for everything from her clothing choices to the way she holds the couple’s infant son, Archie, to her decision, with Prince Harry, to board a private jet after preaching about environmentalism. Comment threads on British publications routinely fill with harsh criticism of the American-born Meghan for her fractious family relationships, her friendships with celebrities, her physical appearance, and her politics. Some argue it’s fair game to criticize someone who talks about environmentalism while using private jets. Prince Harry recently posed for photos in Africa where his mother once advocated against land mines; he and his wife have enjoyed some positive press during the African tour.
Here’s what you need to know:
Prince Harry Described the ‘Human Cost to This Relentless Propaganda’ & His Wife’s ‘Private Suffering’
In the extraordinary statement, Prince Harry highlighted the cost from such coverage.
“There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face – as so many of you can relate to – I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been. Because in today’s digital age, press fabrications are repurposed as truth across the globe. One day’s coverage is no longer tomorrow’s chip-paper,” he wrote.
“Up to now, we have been unable to correct the continual misrepresentations – something that these select media outlets have been aware of and have therefore exploited on a daily and sometimes hourly basis.”
Continued the Duke of Sussex: “For these select media this is a game, and one that we have been unwilling to play from the start. I have been a silent witness to her private suffering for too long. To stand back and do nothing would be contrary to everything we believe in.”
Here is the rest of Harry’s statement:
This particular legal action hinges on one incident in a long and disturbing pattern of behaviour by British tabloid media. The contents of a private letter were published unlawfully in an intentionally destructive manner to manipulate you, the reader, and further the divisive agenda of the media group in question. In addition to their unlawful publication of this private document, they purposely misled you by strategically omitting select paragraphs, specific sentences, and even singular words to mask the lies they had perpetuated for over a year.
There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behaviour, because it destroys people and destroys lives. Put simply, it is bullying, which scares and silences people. We all know this isn’t acceptable, at any level. We won’t and can’t believe in a world where there is no accountability for this.
Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one. Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself. I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.
We thank you, the public, for your continued support. It is hugely appreciated. Although it may not seem like it, we really need it.
Daily Mail reports that a law firm for the Duchess “filed a High Court claim against the paper (Mail on Sunday) and its parent company Associated Newspapers over the alleged misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act 2018.”