Meghan Markle and Prince Harry to impose new rules on media coverage in protest at ‘misreporting’

Royals state wish to prevent ‘false impressions’ created by inaccurate stories

Sabrina Barr
Thursday 09 January 2020 10:19
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Harry and Meghan plan to quit royal family

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have revealed an updated media relations policy amid their plans to step down as “senior” members of the royal family.

On Wednesday 8 January, the royal couple shared a post on Instagram detailing their decision to become “financially independent” from the royal family and to split their time between North America and the UK as they raise their son.

Their announcement sparked a huge reaction among royal fans and critics alike, with Buckingham Palace stating that discussions with the duke and duchess are “at an early stage”.

Following their social media post, the Sussexes’ official website has been updated, outlining an updated media relations policy “to reflect their new roles”.

The amended policy states that Meghan and Prince Harry wish to “provide access to credible media outlets”, referencing the “frequent misreporting” that occurs across the globe.

“The Duke and Duchess have chosen to revise their media policy to reflect both their forthcoming change as members of the Royal Family with financial independence, and their wish to reshape and broaden their work,” the policy reads.

The royal couple's website explains that British royal correspondents are “regarded internationally as credible sources of both the work of members of the royal family as well as their private lives”, a fact that can hinder the publication of accurate articles.

“This misconception propels coverage that is often carried by other outlets around the world, amplifying frequent misreporting,” it says.

The statement adds that “regrettably”, sometimes accurate stories that are written by royal correspondents are “edited or rewritten by media editorial teams to present false impressions”.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex “welcome accurate and honest media reporting”, the policy update emphasises, adding that they are willing to be “held to account if appropriate”.

The update to their media relations policy also outlines that the duke and duchess will no longer participate in the Royal Rota system.

The system, which was put into place more than four decades ago, provides media outlets with “exclusive inside access” to official royal engagements.

The amended policy announcement highlights that the system “predates the dramatic transformation of news reporting in the digital age” and makes it difficult for the duke and duchess to “personally share moments in their lives directly with members of the public”, as they first need to go through the “filter” of the Royal Rota.

In October 2019, Meghan and Prince Harry announced they were taking legal action against the Mail on Sunday after the newspaper allegedly unlawfully published a private letter written by the duchess.

In a personal statement published on the royal couple’s website, Prince Harry said they had been driven to take legal action following the “painful” impact of “relentless propaganda” against his wife from the British tabloid press.

A few days later, the Duke of Sussex launched two separate legal proceedings against the owners of the Daily Mirror and The Sun newspapers over alleged phone-hacking.

In the Harry and Meghan: An African Journey documentary, a film that aired on ITV on Sunday 20 October, Meghan opened up about feeling “vulnerable” during her pregnancy.

During her interview with journalist Tom Bradby, which took place during her and Prince Harry’s royal tour of southern Africa, the duchess said coping with the pressure was “challenging” at times.

“And when you have a newborn... and especially as a woman it’s a lot. So you add this on top of just trying to be a new mum or trying to be a newlywed,” she stated.

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