Just under two weeks ago, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announced that they would be stepping back from their roles as senior members of the royal family. Their statement was as diplomatic as possible given the situation (the couple wrote that they will “work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen”), and Meghan has not released any further statements since the departure. One undeniable factor, though, was the British media vitriol aimed at Meghan. And according to a new study by The Guardian, there has been a lot of it.
The newspaper reviewed 843 articles in 14 print publications since Prince Harry and Meghan married in 2018. As per analysis, 36% of the headlines read as neutral, and only 20% were positive. The other 43% of headlines painted Meghan in a negative light, criticizing her matters great and small, from her relationship with her father to her choice to eat avocado toast. The British press has also gone after her alleged feud with fellow royal Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, but, in contrast, 45% of headlines about Kate were positive, 47% were neutral, and only 8% were negative during the same period.
Prince Harry and Meghan are well aware of the duchess’s mistreatment. In October, the couple announced that they would be suing three tabloids for various reasons: The Mail on Sunday and its parent company, Associated Newspapers, for publishing a private letter Meghan sent to her father, and The Sun and The Daily Mirror over misuse of private information, copyright infringement, and breach of the Data Protection Act. Prince Harry and Meghan haven’t yet gone to court, but should they win their lawsuit, they will donate their earnings to an anti-bullying charity.
Meghan has been honest about the toll the negative press has taken on her well-being. In footage from the documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, a reporter asked if she was “not really okay, as in it’s really been a struggle?”
“Yes,” she said — and, in the same interview, “Thank you for asking, because not many people have asked if I’m okay.”
Prince Harry, on the other hand, has been particularly outspoken about the ongoing “relentless propaganda” against Meghan. In an open letter published on the Sussex Royal website in October, he wrote, “I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized 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.”