Prince Harry and Meghan Markle said Sunday that they are cutting all ties with four major British tabloid newspapers and declaring a new policy of “zero engagement,” alleging the papers knowingly publish articles that are “distorted, false, or invasive beyond reason.”
In a letter to the editors of The Sun, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, and Daily Mail, Harry and Meghan wrote that they refuse to “offer themselves up as currency for an economy of clickbait and distortion.” The couple said that as they “settle into the next chapter of their lives after stepping down from their “senior roles” in the British royal family, they are “writing to set a new media relations policy.”
People familiar with the matter told The Daily Beast the letter to the tabloids was sparked by an article in The Sun that was promoted on the front page of the tabloid Sunday under the headline “Prince Harry slammed for claiming UK coronavirus crisis is not as bad as public are being told.”
The article was based on an interview Harry had given to the “Declassified” podcast that documents stories from members of the military, and sources told The Daily Beast that his comments were taken out of context.
Harry served 10 years in the British military, including two tours of Afghanistan.
In the wide-ranging interview, he discussed topics including disaster-relief efforts led by Team Rubicon UK, being a member of the veteran community, and volunteering.
“I’m so incredibly proud to see what these individuals up and down the country and across the world are doing on a day-to-day basis,” Harry said in response to a question about how the veteran community is responding to the coronavirus crisis. “I think what has happened, especially in the U.K., is it’s the very best of the human spirit, you know things are—it’s also proving things are better than we are led to believe through certain corners of the media. You know, again Rich [CEO of Team Rubicon UK] was touching on the isolation piece. It can be very worrying when you are sitting there and the only sort of information you are getting is from certain news channels, but then if you are out and about or you are on the right platforms, you can really sense this human spirit coming to the forefront, and I think the most important part for me is the veteran community will always volunteer.”
Harry went on to say that he hoped volunteer work continues after the coronavirus pandemic has passed, and he highlighted the “youth engagement” the pandemic had sparked.
“This policy is not about avoiding criticism,” Harry and Meghan wrote in the letter Sunday of their new “zero engagement” rule. “Media have every right to report on and indeed have an opinion on The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, good or bad. But it can’t be based on a lie.”
They added: “When power is enjoyed without responsibility, the trust we all place in this much-needed industry is degraded.”
The couple is now residing in Los Angeles after leaving Canada, where they stayed temporarily in a $14 million mansion with their son, Archie.