September 24, 2021

PIERS MORGAN: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Responsible For Negative Press


This was going to be a very positive column about Prince Harry and his wife Meghan.

I’ve not exactly been the couple’s biggest fan over the past year, but I believe in giving credit where it’s due and their tour of South Africa has been an unqualified success.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex haven’t put a foot wrong as they’ve toured the country shining an important light on many issues from gender violence to poverty and education.

They’ve both seemed more relaxed and happy than they’ve appeared for a long time, even dancing for the cameras in front of cheering crowds.

I was going to say this tour marked a significant and much-needed turning point in the relentless stream of negativity that’s poured on Harry and Meghan’s heads over the past few months.

And I would not have been alone.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are seen  above today after a visit to a Johannesburg township to learn about critical levels of youth unemployment

They’ve had nothing but praise from the same media that’s been lambasting them, and it’s been entirely justified.

They’ve behaved like royals should behave – with dignity, grace, good humour and empathy.

They’ve also avoided being overtly political, sticking instead to speaking un-controversially about issues where everyone can pretty much agree – like equality, conservation etc.

You might ask why they feel so much more comfortable abroad than at home but that was the generous column I planned to write.

Then came the announcement that they’re suing the Mail on Sunday over a letter that Meghan wrote to her father that he gave to the paper to publish.

That alone wouldn’t have irritated me.

They are perfectly entitled to feel aggrieved at the publication of such a private letter, just as the paper is perfectly entitled to defend itself on the grounds of public interest.

I imagine their defence will be that Meghan’s father Thomas should be allowed to share correspondence with his daughter given she had previously allowed friends to criticise him in America’s top-selling People magazine.

And, full disclosure, I also write a column for that paper.

Harry launched an extraordinary attack on the British media Tuesday. He is pictured above with Meghan and baby Archie in Cape Town last week when they met Desmond Tutu

But that is a legal battle, and the courts will decide its merits.

What did irritate me was the hysterically over-the-top statement that the Sussexes decided to release to accompany their lawsuit.

It is honestly one of the most extraordinary rants I’ve ever read from anyone in the Royal Family, and one of the most inexplicable.

Why would they do this right when they have enjoyed a week of universal acclaim?

Why declare war on the press who’ve just spent seven days saying great things about them?

Why petrol-bomb glowingly positive end-of-tour reports with a furnace of negative fury?

Not for the first time, I don’t understand what the hell Harry and Meghan are thinking.

Particularly as we swiftly learned that they didn’t tell anyone at Buckingham Palace about it.

This seems like another catastrophic PR failure to me, one that has ruined all the good work they’ve done to rebuild their battered image after a long period of sustained criticism.

And let’s be brutally frank: they’ve brought most of that criticism on themselves.

Their constant hypocritical preaching over things like the environment has rightly grated with people.

You can’t lecture us that ‘every footprint counts’ then jump on private jets every two minutes.

You can’t get the public to pay £2.4 million ($2.9 million) to refurbish your luxury (free!) home then refuse to let them take photos of you at Wimbledon.

You can’t throw decadent $500,000 baby showers in New York with your celebrity mates, and blag a lift home on the Clooneys’ plane, then tweet at the exact same time about the urgent need to combat poverty.

You can’t enjoy all the global fame and attention from a royal wedding then refuse to share basic details, or photos, of your baby when he was born.

That’s not how being a royal works.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are seen above on the final day of their Royal South Africa as they learn about the ‘Youth Employment Services’

So Harry and Meghan have careered through the past year on a helter-skelter of hypocrisy, which has rightly led to them being repeatedly held to account for it.

Yet they don’t see it that way.

They see themselves as poor, downtrodden, massively misunderstood victims of horrible press ‘bullies’.

In a viciously worded attack, Harry raged: ‘Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences – a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy, and while raising our newborn son. There is a human cost to the this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face – as so many of you can relate to – I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been.’

Oh please. Give me a bloody break, your royal highness!

The old Prince Harry, the courageous soldier and fun-loving party boy, would never have spewed such sanctimonious guff.

But sadly, he’s been Meghan-ed and that means when he’s not pontificating piously about progressive woke issues, he’s playing the victim card.

My heart sank a few days ago when he actually told an impoverished young South African boy that he empathised with him because some days he worried so much about the world’s problems he can’t get out of bed.

REALLY, Harry?

What a load of preposterous and patronising nonsense.

Relaxed royals: Meghan and Harry are seen above during a visit to Waves for Change, an NGO, at Monwabisi Beach on their royal tour of South Africa on September 24 in Cape Town

I suspect this staggeringly privileged multi-millionaire prince’s main worry each morning is instructing his servants in his palatial home as to how he wants his breakfast eggs cooked.

But when you marry a Hollywood actress, then unfortunately, this kind of pathetic woe-is-me-me-me attitude often comes with the territory.

In the next part of his statement, Harry really upped the pity ante, invoking the memory of his late mother Princess Diana.

‘My deepest fear is history repeating itself,’ he fumed, ‘I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.’


I understand why Harry dislikes the press after what happened to his mother, truly I do.

Her death must have been incredibly hard for him to take as a 12-year-old boy.

But let’s be very clear – the press didn’t kill Diana, a speeding drunk-driver killed Diana.

And if she hadn’t recklessly abandoned her usual royal protection officers and drivers, she’d probably still be alive today.

Prince Harry, and Meghan pose with their newborn son Archie on May 8 this year. The Duke of Sussex accused the press of ‘bullying’ and ‘relentless propaganda’

Yes, she was the subject of huge press attention, but speaking from personal experience as a newspaper editor at the time, I can assure you she played the media game just as ruthlessly as we played it with her.

She was the biggest star in the world, and would happily and regularly collude with the papers when it suited her – just as Meghan happily and regularly colludes with magazines like People and Vogue when it suits her.

But with all due respect to Ms Markle, she’s not in the same league as Diana in terms of fame.

So for Harry to compare them in this way is both wrong and slightly distasteful. (And before the inevitable howls of ‘you’ve no idea what it’s like to lose a parent young’ pour in, let me just point out that my father died when I was very young.)

Meghan was guest editor of September’s Vogue, dedicating it to 15 ‘fearless women,’ including Jane Fonda, Jacinda Ardern and Greta Thunberg

He added that he has been ‘witness to her private suffering for too long’ and ‘to stand back and do nothing would be contrary to everything we believe in.’


It was only a few weeks ago that Meghan was telling people at a function that she never reads any press about herself. So how would she know what the press is saying, let alone suffer from it?

As I’ve often said, I have little time for Meghan after she ghosted me as a friend the moment she first met Harry. It signified a worrying social-climbing character trait that has seen her ditch many friends and almost all her family if she feels they may threaten her ferociously ambitious rise up the celebrity ladder.

But what I think of her personally is irrelevant to the situation that actually sparked this battle with the media, and that is the breakdown of her relationship with her father.

There’s no doubt that Thomas Markle made a big mistake in stunting photos with the paparazzi before his daughter’s wedding, as he has admitted himself.

But did that really warrant him being banished forever in such a heartless manner?

It’s utterly extraordinary that Harry has never met his father-in-law, and that Meghan has now cut him out of her life.

Harry referenced his mother Princess Diana in his statement: ‘My deepest fear is history repeating itself,’ he fumed, ‘I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.’ He is seen above with her and Prince William 

I’ve interviewed Thomas several times and found him to be a very normal and nice, if naïve, guy who just had no idea how to handle the massive vicarious fame that instantly came his way after Meghan announced she was engaged to a British Prince.

Rather then help him, they savagely punished him for a silly mistake, and his erratic behaviour ever since suggests a father deeply hurt and bemused by losing any contact with the daughter he brought up with such love and care.

Thomas Markle gave Meghan’s letter to the Mail on Sunday because he wanted to correct what he believed was misleading criticism of him in People magazine from Meghan’s friends.

Judge him all you like for it, but imagine how tough the past few years have been for him too? He has never even met his own grandchild.

Thomas has been no angel in this family wrangle, but nor is he the devil.

And he should be allowed the freedom of speech to defend himself.

Rather than going to war with the press in this absurd manner, Harry should clamber down off his hysterical hothead high horse and repair the real running sore causing Meghan’s distress – by making peace with her father.

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