Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are severing ties with British tabloids. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who stepped away from royal duties last month, issued an unprecedented letter to editors of The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Mirror and The Express on Sunday evening stating that they will have “zero engagement” with the outlets. According to HOLA! USA’s sister brand HELLO!, a spokesperson for the couple said that Meghan and Harry took the drastic step because of “distorted, false or invasive” stories.
The couple’s communications team will also not engage with the UK outlets. The Duke and Duchess defended their actions saying their new media relations policy is “not about avoiding criticism.” They wrote, “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.”
Meghan and Harry noted that they have watched people, as well as strangers, “have their lives completely pulled apart for no good reason, other than the fact that salacious gossip boosts advertising revenue.” Archie Harrison’s parents declared that they refuse to “offer themselves up as currency for an economy of clickbait and distortion.”
Earlier this year, Meghan and Harry revealed that they would no longer participate in the Royal Rota system, and instead intended to adopt a “revised media approach.” “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 access to their work,” their website read.
Meghan and Harry’s strongly worded letter comes ahead of Friday’s scheduled court hearing regarding the Duchess’ lawsuit against Associated Newspapers. The Suits alum is suing TheMail on Sunday for publishing the contents of a private letter that she sent to her father, Thomas Markle, in 2018. Due to the ongoing health crisis, HELLO! reports that the first hearing is expected to be held virtually rather than in person.
Read Meghan and Harry’s letter in full:
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 a 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 will 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 clickbait and distortion.
We are encouraged that this new approach will be heard and respected.