The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (aka Prince Harry and Meghan Markle) didn’t just shockingly “step back” as senior members of the royal family this week — they gave the UK media a big “fuck-you” for years of what they said was biased and unfair coverage.
The couple’s new website on breaking up with years of royal protocol laid out — among a lot of other things — their media strategy, stating that they will no longer participate in the traditional royal press system that grants exclusive access to a select group of UK outlets.
Britain’s royal correspondents, they said, are seen as reliable sources of information. “This misconception propels coverage that is often carried by other outlets around the world, amplifying frequent misreporting,” they wrote. Removing themselves from “royal rota” coverage has sparked an outcry among UK media and drew a protest from the National Union of Journalists.
This isn’t a new complaint from the royal couple — they just took an unprecedented step to do something about it. Harry and Meghan have said publicly that they believe they have been treated unfairly by the UK press since the moment news broke of their relationship — that they are bullied, that there are racist undertones to coverage of them, and that they have been held to a different standard than Harry’s brother and sister-in-law, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (aka Prince William and Kate Middleton).
The UK media outlets that currently make up the royal rota are the Daily Express, the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror, the Evening Standard, the Telegraph, the Times, and the Sun.
Here is a look at 20 stories from these outlets that appear to show a double standard between press coverage of Meghan and Kate. BuzzFeed News has reached out to all of the outlets featured below for comment;
Kate and William: “Creating their own companies will allow William and Kate to bring out, should they ever chose to, myriad items of officially-endorsed merchandise from tea towels to coffee cups… Kensington Palace officials said they were doing the ‘sensible thing’ in protecting the couple’s rights.” Daily Mail: Jan. 17, 2014
Meghan and Harry: “The Sussexes want to stamp their name on dozens of products including T-shirts, hoodies, journals and gloves for their newly-created foundation Sussex Royal… Experts said Harry and Meghan were actively preparing to quit the Royal Family months ago by filing trade mark applications to commercially protect their brand.” Daily Mail: Jan. 9, 2020
Kate and William: “Prince William yesterday backed brother Harry’s brave admission of his mental anguish — and blasted the monarchy’s ‘stiff upper lip’ tradition… William said: ‘There may be a time and a place for the ‘stiff upper lip’ but not at the expense of your health… ‘
“‘Catherine and I are clear we want both George and Charlotte to grow up feeling able to talk about their emotions and feelings. Over the past year we have visited a number of schools together where we have been amazed listening to children talk about some quite difficult subjects in a clear and emotionally articulate way, something most adults would struggle with. Seeing this has really given me hope things are changing and there is a generation coming up who find it normal to talk openly about emotions.’” Sun: April 19, 2017
Meghan and Harry: “Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have bucked royal tradition once again with their latest TV interview — in which they claimed they were ‘existing, not living.’ The couple ditched the stiff upper lip of previous Royal Family generations and flew the flag for ‘Generation Therapy’ as they revealed their emotions to the world – but were they right to do so?
“What you make of ‘fragile’ Prince Harry and Meghan’s comments may depend on your generation. Sun parents and kids reveal what they think of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex airing their emotions in public – and whether they have the right to moan in such positions of privilege…” Sun: Oct. 23, 2019
Kate: “It was reported that new Duchess of Cambridge requested her favorite scented candles and toiletries from luxury fragrance brand Jo Malone be delivered to scent the Abbey. A selection of candles, handwashes and lotions was requested, specifically in citrus spring scents including Orange Blossom, Grapefruit and the ever-popular Lime, Basil & Mandarin.” Daily Mail: May 4, 2011
Meghan: “‘Meghan wanted staff to go around with these atomizers, like spritzer guns, and spray the chapel with scent before anyone arrived. Royal Household staff stepped in and told her office politely, but firmly, that this was the queen’s chapel and it simply wasn’t appropriate. I don’t believe they said no because they thought it could affect the chapel in any way. It was simply the principle of the thing. This is a place that has held royal weddings, funerals and even contains the royal vault. I don’t believe a request of that nature had been made before.'” Daily Mail: Nov. 30, 2018