Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex were splashed over front pages the day after their announcement. (REUTERS: Henry Nicholls)
The front pages of the British tabloid press have focused on speculation Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, did not consult the rest of the Royal family before announcing their decision to step back from their roles, describing the Queen as “furious” and “deeply upset” by the news.
- The couple’s relationship with the media has soured in recent times
- Harry and Meghan began suing The Sun and the Daily Mirror over alleged phone hacking and invasion of privacy last year
- Harry has described treatment of his wife as “bullying” and likened it to the treatment of his mother, Princess Diana
Following a turbulent year for the couple, as a widening rift with the media led to them suing two newspapers, UK tabloids described Prince Harry and Meghan’s decision to move toward financial independence as “quitting” the family, and a “declaration of war”.
News UK tabloid The Sun, which the couple launched a lawsuit against last year over allegations their voicemails were illegally accessed, focused on Meghan’s role in the couple’s decision, headlining their front page on the day after the announcement went public “Megxit”.
The newspaper cited a “senior source” as saying the couple had broken protocol by deciding to step down from their roles without consulting the other Royals, leaving Prince Charles and Prince William “incandescent with rage” and describing the act as a “declaration of war on the family”.
The paper described the Queen as “deeply upset” by the news.
Another tabloid Prince Harry and Meghan are suing over alleged phone hacking, The Daily Mirror, focused on the couple’s decision not to consult the Queen before announcing their decision publicly, saying the Royal Family was stunned by the statement’s release.
The Sun describes the “palace bombshell” as “civil war” while the Daily Mirror focuses on the Queen being left in the dark.
They quoted a source as saying the couple were “showing complete disregard for the institution.”
Fellow tabloid The Daily Mail took a similar line, with a front-page headlined “Queen’s Fury as Harry and Meghan Say: We Quit.”
The Daily Mail focused on the Queen’s “fury” while the Guardian were more sympathetic to the couple.
Under a headline reading “Harry & Meghan: We Quit”, free tabloid Metro reported the couple’s decision followed “mounting speculation about the couple, including fears for their mental health and claims of a rift between Prince Harry and Prince William.”
Conservative broadsheet The Daily Telegraph described the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s plans as quitting “The Firm”, reporting the announcement was “devastating” for the Queen following Prince Andrew’s withdrawal from public duties over his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.
The Times reported the Queen was not advised of the couple’s decision while The Daily Telegraph said the Royal family were “deeply disappointed”
Stating the couple had gone through “months of anguish” about their role within the institution, The Times described the “upset” couple’s move as opening a rift in the Royal family.
Centre-left broadsheet The Guardian was more sympathetic to the couple, noting their followed “a period marked by open hostilities with the media over claimed intrusion and bullying”.
Relationship with the media sours
Prince Harry and Meghan’s marriage ceremony in May 2018 at a lavish ceremony in Windsor Castle was heralded as a sign of a more modern monarchy.
But last year, their relationship with the press turned sour as they struggled to deal with the intense scrutiny it put them under.
UK media has speculated that Prince Harry and Meghan’s decision has caused a rift in the Royal family. (AP: Matt Dunham, file photo)
There have been negative stories about them, criticising their use of private jets while promoting environmental causes and a 2.4-million pound ($4.58 million) taxpayer-funded renovation of their new home.
Harry described the treatment of his wife as “bullying”, and likened it to that of his mother Princess Diana before her death in a Paris car accident in 1997 when her limousine crashed as it sped away from chasing paparazzi.
“I never thought that this would be easy, but I thought it would be fair and that is the part that is really hard to reconcile,” a tearful Meghan said in a TV interview as she described the difficulty of being a new mother and dealing with incessant scrutiny.
Prince Harry also admitted to disagreements with brother Prince William, who is second-in-line to the throne.