What Prince Harry has said about the British press

The Duke has been vocal against the UK’s media industry in the run-up to the publication of his memoir

Olivia Petter
Monday 09 January 2023 12:04 GMT
Harry says Camilla was 'the villain' in her parent's marriage

The Duke of Sussex has made a number of withering comments against the UK media over the years. Thanks to the publication of his tell-all memoir, Spare, though, he has also become a firm advocate against press intrusion.

Speaking to ITV’s Tom Bradby about the book, Harry referred to the media as the “devil” and blamed the ongoing rift between him and his family on the press.

Asked by Bradby about his love for the royal family, Harry commented: “I love my father. I love my brother. I love my family. I will always do. Nothing of what I’ve done in this book or otherwise has ever been to any intention to harm them or hurt them.”

However, he continued: “After many, many years of lies being told about me and my family there comes a point where going back to the relationship between certain members of the family and the tabloid press, those certain members have decided to get in the bed with the devil, right?”

He alleged that members of the royal family did this to “rehabilitate their image”.

“If you need to do that, or you want to do that, you choose to do that. Well that is a choice,” Harry explained.

“But the moment that rehabilitation comes at the detriment of others, me, other members of my family, then that’s where I draw the line.”

With the official publication of Spare just days away, here’s every time Prince Harry has criticised the media.

‘Wave of abuse’

Harry and Meghan (Aaron Chown/PA)
Harry and Meghan (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

In 2016, Prince Harry released a statement attacking the British press and accusing them of “racial overtones” in its reporting of his relationship with Meghan, who was his girlfriend at the time.

“His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment,” the statement issued via the Palace read.

“Some of this has been very public - the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.”

It continued: “Prince Harry is worried about Ms Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her. It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms Markle should be subjected to such a storm.”

‘Put simply, it is bullying’

Harry spoke out against ‘bullying’ by the media
Harry spoke out against ‘bullying’ by the media (AFP via Getty Images)

In 2019, Harry released a full statement on the royal family’s relationship with the media after Meghan launched legal action against the Mail on Sunday over the publication’s decision to publish parts of a private letter that she had sent to her father, Thomas Markle.

Harry wrote that Meghan had 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”.

He added: “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.”

‘A powerful force’

Following his decision to step down from his role as a senior member of the royal family, Prince Harry delivered a speech at a dinner in London for Sentebale, his Africa-based charity supporting young people with HIV.

“When I lost my mum 23 years ago, you took me under your wing,’’ he said, addressing the public directly. “You looked out for me for so long, but the media is a powerful force. And my hope is one day our collective support for each other can be more powerful, because this is so much bigger than just us.’’

‘It takes me back to what happened to my mum’

Harry and Meghan were interviewed by Oprah (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions/PA)
Harry and Meghan were interviewed by Oprah (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions/PA) (PA Media)

When speaking to Oprah Winfrey in 2021, Harry explained how, following the death of his mother, he remains haunted by the paparazzi.

“The clicking of cameras and the flashing of cameras makes my blood boil,” he told the TV host.

“It makes me angry and takes me back to what happened to my mum and my experience as a kid.”

‘Exploitation and bribery’

In the opening episode of Harry & Meghan, the couple’s Netflix documentary released at the end of last year, he speaks about his relationship with the press.

“I feel as though being part of this family, it is my duty to uncover this exploitation and bribery that happens within our media,” he says.

Camilla ‘sacrificed’ him to her ‘personal PR alter’

Meghan with Camilla, Queen Consort
Meghan with Camilla, Queen Consort

During his interview with Anderson Cooper for CBS’ 60 Minutes, Harry described his step-mother, Camilla Parker-Bowles, as “the villain,” noting that she had needed to “rehabilitate her image” in the press after Princess Diana famously described her as being the “third person” in her and Charles’ marriage.

“She was the villain,” he said. She was the third person in their marriage. She needed to rehabilitate her image,” Harry said in Sunday’s interview.

He also spoke about Camilla’s relationship with the press in Spare, writing, “shortly after our private summits with [Camilla], she began to play the long game. A campaign aimed at marriage, and eventually the Crown, with Pa’s blessing we presumed.”

“Stories began to appear everywhere in all the papers about her private conversation with Willie. Stories that contained pinpoint accurate details, none of which had come from Willie, of course. They could only have been leaked by the other one other person present.”

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