Prince Harry and Meghan Markle spoke to ‘Buckingham Palace about restructuring press system’ last summer, their royal biographer has revealed.
The Duke, 35, and Duchess of Sussex, 39, are currently living in their $14 million Santa Barbara mansion having stepped back from duty and withdrawing from the ‘royal rota’ system in March.
Omid Scobie, who co-wrote the couple’s explosive biography Finding Freedom, has now revealed how the couple began discussing ‘restructuring that press system’ in the summer of 2019, just one year after the royal wedding.
Speaking to The Cut, he revealed: ‘In the summer of 2019, Harry actually had a conversation amongst his team and his senior aides within Buckingham Palace about restructuring that press system and making him and Meghan more accessible to a wider, more diverse media landscape.
‘And the answer was well, “If you want to do that, you can pay for your own engagements”.
‘And so that was the first seed of, “Well, maybe we will break away, maybe we will do our own thing.”‘
It is another insight into the couple’s war against the media and comes weeks after the release of flattering ‘unauthorized’ biography of Harry and Meghan Finding Freedom which features a host of intimate information about the couple from an army of anonymous friends and sources.
The couple insist they were not interviewed for Finding Freedom despite an authors’ note contained in the back of the book appearing to acknowledge some involvement from Harry and Meghan – which one author has brushed off as a ‘few words at engagements’ rather than a ‘full interview’.
Particulars of voicemails Meghan sent to her father and tense conversations between Harry and William have been published in the book, which its authors say was based on interviews with more than 100 sources including ‘close friends of Harry and Meghan’s, royal aides and palace staff (past and present)’.
In October last year, while they were on a royal tour of southern Africa, Harry attacked newspaper stories about him and his wife.
The prince said: ‘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.’
Referring to Press coverage of his mother, Princess Diana, before her 1997 death in a Paris car crash while being pursued by paparazzi, the duke said his ‘deepest fear is history repeating itself’.
He wrote: ‘I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.’
Meanwhile in January, the Duke and Duchess announced their plans to officially withdraw from the ‘royal rota’ system, which allows British newspaper, television and radio organisations to cover their work in recognition of the monarchy being a publicly-funded organisation.
Since officially stepping back in March, the couple have become vocal critics of ‘salacious’ journalism.
In an interview last week, Meghan stressed the importance of reporting done through a ‘compassionate and empathetic lens’ — while slamming what she and Prince Harry describe as the ‘toxicity’ in the ‘economy for attention.’
Meghan was the finale event for The 19th* Represents 2020 Virtual Summit, sitting down for a one-on-one virtual interview with The 19th* co-founder and CEO Emily Ramshaw.
The former Suits star offered her own opinions on the state of journalism, opening up about how her ‘personal experience in the past couple years’ has changed her view on the media, noting that both she and Prince Harry believe that there is too much emphasis based on ‘salacious’ details.
During the Q&A, Meghan discussed how much influence that media can have — and that quite a bit of that influence can come from a single person or a single place.
‘What’s so fascinating, at least from my standpoint and my personal experience in the past couple years, is the headline headline alone, the clickbait alone, makes an imprint,’ she said.
‘That is part of how we view the world, how we interact with other people.
‘There is so much toxicity out there in what is being referred to as, my husband and I talk about it often, this to the economy for attention,’ she went on. ‘That is what is monetizable right now.
‘So if you’re just trying to grab someone’s attention, you’re going for something salacious versus what is truthful.
‘And I think that once we can get back to the place where what you’re creating is so important, where people are just telling the truth in their reporting, and telling it through a compassionate and empathetic lens, it’s gonna help bind people.
‘It’s gonna build community in a way I think that at the moment we’re feeling much more of a disconnect in a space where it could be one more of connection.’