Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have written to four of the UK’s most popular tabloid newspaper editors, telling them that the couple will not co-operate with them.
The letter, which was addressed to the editors of The Sun, The Mail, The Mirror and The Express, was made public just before midnight last night.
The timing of the letter seems odd, and can be construed as the couple “putting their tanks on the lawn” so-to-speak ahead of Meghan Markle’s legal action against the Mail on Sunday, and it’s owner Associated Newspapers, which continues in the courts this week.
What the letter has also done, is kept the couple in the headlines. This, despite them moving to North America in order to refrain from public spotlight.
For the UK’s tabloid press, the letter will undoubtedly act like a massive red rag to an already salivating bull. Instead of putting them in their place, as the letter intended, it will rejunvinate, and redouble coverage in those publications.
The difference now? Those four newspapers will print what they want about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, when they want to, and will be able to simply state, “we approached the couple for comment, however they very publicly refused.”
Harry and Meghan though, know which side their bread is buttered. They have clearly stipulated that they will continue to co-operate with other newspaper titles and UK broadcasters.
This is a very clear, and direct attack from the couple on a section of the British media, and one which whilst garnering the couple publicity right now, will in the long run turn out to be a monumental public relations mistake.
Harry & Meghan Letter to Editors
“As The Duke and Duchess of Sussex now settle into the next chapter of their lives and no longer receive any publicly funded support, we are writing to set a new media relations policy, specifically as it pertains to your organisation.
“Like you, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex believe that a free press is a cornerstone to any democracy— particularly in moments of crisis. At its best, this free press shines light on dark places, telling stories that would otherwise go untold, standing up for what’s right, challenging power, and holding those who abuse the system to account.
“It has been said that journalism’s first obligation is to the truth. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex agree wholeheartedly.
“It is gravely concerning that an influential slice of the media, over many years, has sought to insulate themselves from taking accountability for what they say or print—even when they know it to be distorted, false, or invasive beyond reason. When power is enjoyed without responsibility, the trust we all place in this much-needed industry is degraded.
“There is a real human cost to this way of doing business and it affects every corner of society.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have watched people they know—as well as complete strangers—have their lives completely pulled apart for no good reason, other than the fact that salacious gossip boosts advertising revenue.
“With that said, please note that The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not be engaging with your outlet. There will be no corroboration and zero engagement. This is also a policy being instated for their communications team, in order to protect that team from the side of the industry that readers never see.
“This policy is not about avoiding criticism. It’s not about shutting down public conversation or censoring accurate reporting. Media have every right to report on and indeed have an opinion on The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, good or bad. But it can’t be based on a lie.
“They also want to be very clear: this is not in any way a blanket policy for all media.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are looking forward to working with journalists and media organisations all over the world, engaging with grassroots media, regional and local media, and young, up-and-coming journalists, to spotlight issues and causes that so desperately need acknowledging. And they look forward to doing whatever they can to help further opportunities for more diverse and underrepresented voices, who are needed now more than ever.
“What they won’t do is offer themselves up as currency for an economy of click-bait and distortion.
“We are encouraged that this new approach will be heard and respected.“
This article was originally written for News on News, and republished here after it was first published there.