Tabloids need to leave Meghan Markle alone

Abusive publications deserve their day in court

This situation has proven that there's a difference between press attention and press harassment.
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While it’s common to see gossip stories about the British royal family, one royal couple has recently accused some publications of taking things too far. On Oct. 1, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took legal action against the British tabloids The Mail on Sunday, The Sun, and The Mirror.

Prince Harry has published a statement calling out the tabloid press for the sensationalist stories they print, as well as their publication of a private letter between Meghan and her estranged father, Thomas Markle, and alleged phone-hacking.

I’ve followed the royal family all my life, and I’ve seen the tumultuous relationship Prince Harry and his brother William have had with the press since their mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash while being pursued by paparazzi in 1997.

And it hasn’t gotten any easier for them since. In 2012, Prince William sued the French tabloid Closer for photographing his wife, Kate Middleton, while sunbathing topless at a private chateau in Provence. They won, and were awarded more than $100,000 in damages.

However, since joining the royal family last May, Meghan has faced a consistent onslaught of bad press, which Prince Harry describes as “knowingly false and malicious.”

The hypocrisy of the tabloids is obvious: days after publishing articles claiming she doesn’t know how to hold a fork and knife, publications like The Sun say Meghan is “such a good mother.” Most of the positive articles have only been published in the days since the lawsuit was filed.

Many of the tabloids’ prior invasive articles also claimed Meghan “breaks royal protocol” by doing things like wearing coloured nail polish, wearing her hair in a loose bun, and wearing pants.

These, and many of their other outrageous claims, are not actually official protocol—they’re just contrary to the assumed taste and style of Queen Elizabeth II. 

Of all the tabloids’ transgressions, the most painful one for the Duke and Duchess might be the publication of a private letter between Meghan and her estranged father. Markle claims he gave the letter to The Mail on Sunday to defend himself against negative press. In particular, he faced criticism after backing out of his daughter’s wedding, following news that he staged paparazzi photos of himself.

But excuses aside, Mr. Markle is trying to harm his daughter’s feelings and reputation. These tabloids willingly give him a highly public platform to do so.

Some say press attention is the price royalty must pay for life in the spotlight, but there’s a difference between press attention and press intrusion and harassment.

I applaud Prince Harry for taking action against those who have attacked his wife. When these tabloids cover their tracks by publishing positive articles, they only show how money-hungry and desperate they are.

As Harry said himself in his public statement, “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”

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