When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced that they were stepping down as senior members of the British royal family, there was no doubt the harsh treatment by the tabloid media played a major role in their decision. Markle, especially, has been treated harshly by the gossip hounds.
We here at Gossip Cop cover the royal family a lot, as they are routinely lambasted, attacked, and lied about in the tabloids. The Duchess of Sussex is singled out with nasty, unfair language on an almost weekly basis. She's often called a gold digger, a diva, overbearing towards her husband, and worse. More than any other royal, Meghan Markle is personally attacked all the time.
Prince Harry has said in the past that he worries about his wife and young son, Archie, and the way they are covered in the tabloids and hounded by paparazzi. He, of course, has tragic memories of his mother, Princess Diana, dying in a car crash as she and boyfriend Dodi Fayed fled photographers in Paris in 1997. His sensitive and strong feelings about the gossip media are all too well-founded.
Now, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have announced in a letter to four London-based tabloids, The Sun, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, and the Daily Mirror, that they will no longer be working with them in any way, nor will their PR team. The duke and duchess were clear in their letter what that means to them, saying they would no longer "offer themselves up as currency for an economy of clickbait and distortion."
The letter explains that the duke and duchess will not "engage" with the outlets. "There will be no corroboration and zero engagement," the letter reads. "This policy is not about avoiding criticism. It's not about shutting down the public conversation or censoring accurate reporting." Indeed, Markle and Prince Harry emphasize that they support a free and open press, but they draw the line at falsehoods, writing, "it can't be based on a lie."
The four outlets singled out by the duke and duchess are four of the largest papers in London, which combined have a daily circulation of around three million, and are well-known for what you might say is a causal relationship with the truth sometimes. While the four publications in question are not as ridiculously false as some of the outlets Gossip Cop covers on a daily basis, these papers engage in many of the same tactics, including bait-and-switch headlines and quoting dubious sources with little or no attribution.
This isn't the first time the royal couple have publicly pushed back against these types of publications. In October, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sued the Mail On Sunday for letters it published that Markle had written to her estranged father, Thomas Markle. As that case winds its way through the British legal system, the couple has taken this next step as part of their new life as non-working members of The Firm.
The reaction has been predictable. Piers Morgan, himself a veteran writer and editor for two of the outlets singled out, took to Twitter to attack the couple, saying, "Britain is so well rid of the ghastly Sussexes." His sentiment sums up exactly why Prince Harry and Markle did what they felt was necessary: Why engage with papers that so often personally attack you?
In the letter, the couple succinctly explain something Gossip Cop points out every day, "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." For that, we applaud them.
Gossip Cop has determined this story is totally false.