Good afternoon guys 👋
So… The long-awaited second half of the BBC series The Princes and The Press aired yesterday, fronted by the BBC editor Amol Rajan. As of what I’ve heard, you can confidently bet that the pinstriped legal hordes who bill Buckingham Palace by the hour were tuned in, Mont Blancs at the ready.
You see, it must generally be relatively relaxed to be the Royal Family’s lawyers. It’s pretty easy to avoid negative coverage by selling information about your son or brother to the press and staying good friends with them that way. But not this week, dears.
Let’s just quickly summarize last week’s episode: The first episode of The Princes and The Press charted “the years leading up to and including the engagement and marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.” And included “suggestions that courtiers leaked negative stories about the Duchess of Sussex and that there were rivalries between different royal households.”
In yesterday’s episode, it recounted the period from Harry and Meghan’s wedding to them stepping down as senior royals – including the birth of Archie and their tour to South Africa, bringing up some important moments in Meghan and Harry’s lives at the time.
Meghan bullying staff
The first thing that was brought up in the second episode of The Princes and The Press, was the bully claims. Meghan’s lawyer Jenny Afia denied the claims that the duchess bullied staff and left them “severely psychologically traumatized”. The bullying claims, which Meghan has denied, and which are the subject of an ongoing inquiry at Buckingham Palace, emerged just days before Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey. Hmmm, coincidence??
In an interview for The Princes and The Press, Jenny Afia said: “The overall allegation was the Duchess of Sussex was guilty of bullying. No, absolutely not. I think the first thing to be really clear about is what bullying is. What bullying actually means is improperly using power repeatedly and deliberately to hurt someone, physically or emotionally. The Duchess of Sussex absolutely denies ever doing that.”
When asked if she had any evidence to refute the allegations, she added, “It’s really hard to prove otherwise. So, if you haven’t bullied anyone, how can you prove you haven’t.” she asked. “Simply denying the allegation doesn’t solve the real problem that the allegation was made.”
I think it’s evident to anyone that this attack against Meghan was the royal family’s attempt to remove the focus from the Oprah interview that aired a couple of days after. Usually, when someone feels threatened, they tend to go on the offense. Or they start defending themselves, even though no allegation has been leveled at them yet.
I also find it very odd that there is no investigation about the very damaging fact that Meghan went to the Palace’s main HR office and was denied help when she was pregnant and then later dealing with postpartum depression – and being turned down again when a senior royal advisor refused Meghan help when she was suicidal.
You would think that it would have also triggered an investigation. No? But a three years old “complaint” – from an unwilling witness who was not aware of any complaint being filed, demanded not to be involved— is to be investigated and not the Palace HR refusing to help someone contemplating suicide, let alone racial allegations with the Queen being the head of State of many African countries? hmm…. Do you see the narrative?
Another issue: does Meghan have a track record of being a bully? No, she has worked in a professional setting, and nobody has leveled these kinds of accusations at her before. Yes, I agreed with Meghan when she said that she has been bullied. Have you seen her half-sister Samantha in action? That there is a bully! Samantha has, from the beginning, dragged Meghan’s name in the mud, all the while Meghan has remained silent. Then, of course, the press, they are bullies. NO ONE can deny that. Then there is the advisor, who has come at a very convenient time to put this allegation forward. Why would the Royal family press say they will look into it only before the interview with Oprah aired? That’s pathetic. From the very beginning, this whole thing has been mishandled. Another interesting observation. Bullying.
The South African tour
In the episode of The Princes and The Press, the tour to South Africa was brought up as well. According to Sky News reporter Rhiannon Mills Harry didn’t engage with the media or “talk to us in the ways that he would have done.” Fellow royal reporter Robert Jobson also said Harry looked “furious with the media” while giving a speech in Johannesburg. He said: “He didn’t want to look at the cameras. He didn’t want to interact.”
Rhiannon Mills also recalled an exchange at the Mauwa Health Centre in Malawi with Harry where she called out to ask him a question while he was on an engagement.
“That short conversation, what do you hope to achieve through it?” she asked Harry – “What?” Harry responds, seemingly surprised, and said. “Ask them.” She then pressed: “Is that why it’s important for you to come here and talk to them?” Harry got mad and responded: “Rhiannon, don’t behave like this.”
Rhiannon admitted she was “slightly pushing her luck” with the question and added: “Most people look at it and think, well hang on, it was a polite question, why did it blow up. But looking back at it now, I had basically kicked the wasps’ nest, and I didn’t realize it.”
I mean… can you blame him? Imagine him engaging and being friendly with the same people who harassed and bullied his pregnant wife to a suicidal extend??
Omid Scobie said it very well in his interview: “For Harry to see some media organizations represented on their tour of southern Africa by the same publications that had spent much of the year in his eyes harassing his pregnant wife, or writing ill of her, I think that’s where they really struggled.”
What shocked me the most was when Rhiannon described how William took the time to greet the traveling media to thank them for traveling to Pakistan to cover their tour just a couple of weeks after Meghan and Harry returned from South Africa. She said: “We were on the plane to Pakistan and asked to go to the front of the plane, and basically told by Prince William, ‘thanks for coming’. It was really unexpected, he said ‘you should all take this as a group hug’.” – a group hug? Really? For what? Ruining your brother’s life? That man disgusts me.
The episode also touched on the ITV documentary that accompanied Harry and Meghan’s tour to Southern Africa. You’ll recall that Harry opened up about his rift with William for the first time while Meghan talked about her struggle during her pregnancy.
Jonny Dymond, a BBC royal correspondent, said he heard William was “very unhappy” with the program. He added: “I heard he was very, very, very unhappy. And I put that to the palace, and the response was he was very worried about his brother.” – well. Nothing surprisingly there Willy.
The private jet drama
At one point, the documentary analyzed how the media covers the Sussexes and the Cambridges differently. They talked about the backlash Harry and Meghan received in August 2019 when they took four private jet trips in 11 days. Just late that exact month, The Cambridges were spotted taking a budget airline from Norwich, England to Aberdeen, Scotland. According to FlyBe’s website, the cost of a one-way ticket from Norwich to Aberdeen can start at around £73, which is equivalent to $89.
I said it back then, and I’m saying it again: I have NO doubt that this was a major PR stunt “ Hey, look, we are flying commercial while my brother is flying private”
The backlash for Meghan and Harry was so intense, though, many of their friends spoke out in their defense. Elton John, Ellen Degeneres, Pink, and Jessica Mulroney all made public statements of support for Meghan and Harry.
Meghan made Kate cry?
In November 2018, the Telegraph reported that Meghan made Kate cry at a bridesmaids’ dress fitting for Princess Charlotte. We all know that it was a big lie; in fact, it was Kate who made Meghan cry. Despite that, Kensington Palace never commented on the story when it was published. You can watch Meghan revealing the real story below:
I can only imagine how stressful and intimidating it is to prepare for a wedding that will be viewed and commented on for years by millions of people. Any bride might find herself on the verge of tears throughout the lengthy and exacting process, and I’m sure Meghan was no different! Add to the fact that it wasn’t Kate’s show, so she had little to no say in the proceedings when it came to her daughter’s participation. Kate had also just had a baby and her hormones were understandably all over the place, so it was probably just a momentary lapse on her part when the over-tired, anxious and irritable side of Kate spilled out. It happens to all of us and, according to Meghan, the issue had already been resolved by the time the gutter press printed their version of the events – though none of those spreading the rumors were there when it happened!
Meghan herself said to Oprah she never wanted the story to receive any press attention. Though the issue between the duchesses was resolved, the most hurtful part of the situation, according to Meghan, was how the media reacted by reversing the blame. “I would have never wanted that to come out about her ever, even though it had happened,” Meghan said. “I protected that from ever being out in the world.”
For me, this story is still one of the cruelest false narratives Kensington Palace let the press pursue. It started a brutal media hate campaign, and although Meghan called it the beginning of her “character assassination” and struggled to the point of suicidal ideation, they never denied it. The real story didn’t have to come out. By defending Meghan they did not have to expose Kate, but they could have denied the story – calling it a big fat lie. As simple as that.
During the Oprah interview, Meghan also revealed that the monarchy prevented her from clearing the air. “I think it’s really important for people to understand the truth,” she said. “But also, I think a lot of it that was fed into by the media—and, look, I would hope that she would have wanted that corrected, and maybe in the same way that the palace wouldn’t let anybody else negate it, they wouldn’t let her, because she’s a good person. I think so much of what I have seen play out is this idea of polarity, where if you love me, you don’t have to hate her. If you love her, you don’t need to hate me.”
Omid Scobie also said in The Princes and The Press that he had realized that journalists had to choose between the couples.
“It was only when someone asked me … ‘What team are you on, are you Cambridge or Sussex?’ I thought, ‘Do I have to pick? Is this how it works? But actually, what I have found over time is that you almost have to pick, because sometimes the narrative you’re reporting goes against the narrative that another aide or household wants out there.”
As we all know, Meghan is suing The Mail on Sunday for printing a letter she sent her father on the grounds it violated her privacy and copyright. However, it was revealed that the hypocrite Jason Knauf is not the only palace insider to have provided material to the tabloid. Meghan’s lawyer, Jenny Afia, revealed in the second episode of The Princes and The Press that an anonymous palace figure is trying to undermine Meghan’s case against the newspaper.
“Ted Verity, the editor of the Mail on Sunday, said in his signed witness statement that he had been given information that helped support Associated’s Newspapers case. He said that this information came from a senior palace source, and he said in his witness statement that this was “not gossip or tittle-tattle”
When asked what this meant, she replied: “What it means is that a senior figure in the royal household, according to the Mail on Sunday, was passing him information in order to help defeat the Duchess’s case.”
The birth of Archie Mountbatten Windsor
As we all know, Meghan and Harry decided to break royal protocol by forgoing a photocall on the hospital steps after Archie’s birth, something that was previously royal tradition.
This decision, according to Trevor Phillip, broadcaster, became a turning point in Sussex’s relationship with the press as they appeared to “not want to play the game.”
“They made it clear that the historical convention, for example about pictures of a new infant, they weren’t going to go with it. And at that point, it became clear that either they had not grasped that in return for the fairy tale, you have to give the people outside the castle something, or they just decided they didn’t want to play the game. And the point at which you decide you’re not going to play the game, don’t expect other people to play by the rules.”
In my opinion, he just failed to add that the media never really played by the rules in the first place when it came to the sussexes. The sentence should have been, “Don’t expect the Sussexes to play by the rules when you harass and bully them to suicidal ideation.” You get what you give – period.
Like the previous week, a rare joint statement was shown at the end of The Princes and The Press slamming some of the claims in the show as “unfounded”.
The statement, from Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, and Clarence House, said:
“A free, responsible and open Press is of vital importance to healthy democracy. However, too often overblown and unfounded claims from unknown sources are presented as facts and it is disappointing when anyone, including the BBC, gives them credibility.”
This whole documentary really demonstrates the Cambridge’s jealousy of Meghan and Harry. Boris Johnson’s sister, Rachel Johnson said it perfectly during the episode:
“There are women journalists, who basically say, ‘Kate is perfect, she’s our English rose. They have a perfect template of what they want a royal female to be: not political, doesn’t open her mouth very much in public, who makes very short, scripted speeches on very safe subjects. Meghan Markle will talk about period poverty. She will talk about racism. She will talk about female empowerment. These are trigger subjects in this country, where the Royal Family, despite being led by the Queen for 70 odd years is still a very patriarchal, hierarchical country”
That’s it from me! If you missed my first blog post about episode 1 of The Princes and The Press you can read it here
Have you watched The Princes and The Press part 2 yourself? Let me hear your thoughts!