An opinion piece from Royal Central’s Editor, Charlie Proctor, about why it isn’t Prince Harry who should “get real”, but the media themselves.
On Tuesday, Kensington Palace sent out a strongly worded letter to journalists telling them that their behaviour surrounding Prince Harry and his girlfriend, Meghan Markle, is unacceptable.
In the letter, the Palace accuses the media of harassment and abuse, including allegations of racist and sexist undertones in reports. I have looked into this myself, and indeed covert messages do seem to be presented.
An example of this can be seen in last week’s Mail on Sunday, where columnist, Rachel Johnson, said if the couple had children, “the Windsors will thicken their watery, thin blue blood and Spencer pale skin and ginger hair with some rich and exotic DNA”.
Exotic DNA? What is that supposed to mean? Is it a covert racial smear just because Miss Markle’s mother is African-American? On Twitter, Ms Johnson said: “My col was the opposite of racist and “exotic” means foreign, non-native, or originating in a foreign country. So shoot me now!” I’ll leave you to make your own mind up about this statement.
In response to Kensington Palace’s letter, The Sun called for Prince Harry to “get real”, with the Daily Mail adding that the fact he is in the public eye “comes at a price”.
Does that mean the media are at liberty to harass Prince Harry and Miss Markle? It ultimately depends on where you draw the line between reporting and harassing.
In my eyes, reporting, which is what journalists are supposed to do, is report the news. For example, when the Sunday Express reported that Prince Harry was in a relationship with the American actor – excellent, that is news! Why wouldn’t you report that, harmless right?
Then there are headlines such as “Harry’s girl on Pornhub”, an adult website. Again, one could argue this is news, but is it? The newspaper who published these claims, The Sun, removed the story from their website after much criticism, but of course the damage had already been done. The clip in question was taken from the TV series, Suits, of which Miss Markle is part of the cast. The Sun denies smearing the actress because technically, there is a clip on the website. However, the fact they removed the story from their website suggest otherwise.
Part of the statement from the Palace is below. I have highlighted parts it is important to think about:
“But the past week has seen a line crossed. His girlfriend, Meghan Markel, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. 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. Some of it has been hidden from public – the nightly legal battles to keep defamatory stories out of papers; her mother having to struggle past photographers in order to get to her front door; the attempts of reporters and photographers to gain illegal entry into her home and the calls to police that followed; the substantial bribes offered by reporters to ex-boyfriends; the bombardment of nearly every friend, co-worker, and loved one in her life.
“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 the relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm. He knows commentators will say “this is the price he has to pay” and that “this is all part of the game”. He strongly disagrees. This is not a game – it’s her life and his.
“He has asked for this statement to be issued in the hopes that those in the press who have been driving this story can pause and reflect before any further damage is done. He knows that it is unusual to issue a statement like this, but hopes fair-minded people will understand why he has felt it necessary to speak publicly.”
The smears, racism and sexism speaks for itself and does not need to be discussed any further. But what about the bombardment of Miss Markle’s friends, and photographers surrounding her and her parents’ house? Again, there is no point in me going on and on about why this is wrong and the legalities of it.
The final point I will make is where the statement says “This is not a game – it’s her life and his”. Does the fact that Prince Harry is famous permit the media to literally stalk him? The Royal Family are not the Kardashians, they don’t crave on public attention. I find it very funny that whenever Harry breaks up with one of his girlfriends, the media consider the matter to be a mystery on why they broke up. Maybe the simple fact that Harry and Meghan kept the relationship secret for four months will give you a little indication.
As said before, Royal Central will never report on the gossip – just the news. It is a shame the mainstream media do not do the same.
Do you agree with Charlie Proctor? Where is the line drawn between reporting and harassment? Let us know by commenting below: