London, 9 January 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the duchess of Sussex, have announced plans to restrict media access once they “step back” from their duties as senior members of Britain’s royal family.
The couple made a surprise announcement via Instagram on Wednesday that they plan to seek a lower profile, build financial independence and divide their time between Britain and North America as they “carve out a progressive new role.”
They had previously denounced intrusive and inaccurate reporting in British and international media and vitriol directed toward them on social media, including racist attacks against Meghan, whose mother is black.
In a post later Wednesday on their website, sussexroyal.com, Harry, 35, and Meghan, 38, said they plan to withdraw from a rota system for media coverage of the royal family.
They said Britain’s royal correspondents were mistakenly “regarded internationally as credible sources.”
“This misconception propels coverage that is often carried by other outlets around the world, amplifying frequent misreporting,” they wrote. Originally accurate reports were “often edited or rewritten by media editorial teams to present false impressions,” the couple said.
Harry and Meghan said they plan to phase in a new approach that will see them “engage with grassroots media organizations and young, up-and-coming journalists … give greater access to their cause-driven activities [and] provide access to credible media outlets focused on objective news reporting to cover key moments and events.”
Leading British tabloids reacted to the couple’s announcements on Thursday, with The Sun describing the decision as “Megxit.”
The rival Daily Mail said Harry’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, was angry after the couple dropped a “bombshell” by announcing their plans without informing senior royals.
In a statement late Wednesday, Buckingham Palace said unspecified discussions with the couple were “at an early stage.”
“We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through,” the palace said.
Harry, the second son of the queen’s heir, Prince Charles, married Meghan in a spectacular royal wedding in May 2018.
Meghan was raised in Los Angeles and attended Northwestern University in Illinois. Until her engagement to Harry, she was best known for her role in the legal TV drama “Suits,” filmed in Toronto.
Harry and Meghan returned this week from a six-week break in Canada, a member of the Commonwealth, with their 8-month-old son Archie.
Meghan was known as “Canadian royalty” while working in the country, according to local media.
She became close to the leading political families of former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney and current Premier Justin Trudeau.
One of her best friends is Jessica Mulroney, who is the daughter-in-law of the former premier and a fashion adviser to Trudeau’s wife.
In an emotional statement in October, Harry hit out at a “ruthless campaign” against Meghan in British media.
He said his late mother, Princess Diana, had been a victim of “the same powerful forces.”
Meghan told broadcaster ITV later in October that she had found it “challenging” to cope with intense media scrutiny following her marriage to Harry.