By any measure, Meghan Markle has led a whirlwind life. She went from an aspiring actress to a major TV star to a royal princess in a short period of time. With her and Harry’s unprecedented exit from the royal family, you’d think Meghan’s life would calm down a bit.
Sometimes, though, Meghan’s life is insane due to one reason: the press. Meghan’s battles with the press have informed every step of her relationship with Prince Harry.
Now that there is some distance between Meghan and the newspapers tormenting her, we can take a closer look at her ongoing battle with the press.
Fighting against racist comments in the media
It’s easy to imagine that Meghan’s battle with the press began when she became a royal. In reality, though, the battle started long before her wedding day.
When she first began dating Prince Harry, she endured a metric ton of racist comments from the British tabloids. For example, in November 2016 the Daily Mail she looked “(almost) straight outta Compton.” Sometimes, the Daily Mail settled for more coded racism, like saying Meghan had “exotic DNA” and that her mother is from “the wrong side of the tracks.”
It got so bad that Prince Harry released a public statement on November 8, 2016 excoriating the press. He didn’t hold back.
Meghan “has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment,” he wrote. “Some of this has been very public — the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.”
The statement summed things up by saying, “This is not a game — it is her life.”
But rather than having its intended effect for the press to back off of Meghan, it just ended up cranking the conflict to the next level.
Fallout from Harry vs. the press
Perhaps the saddest thing about the press attacking Meghan Markle is that this has never truly been her battle. Instead, this represents a continuation of strife between Harry and the press that has gone on for decades.
Harry and the general public believe that the press are responsible for the death of his mother Princess Diana. After Diana’s tragic death in 1997, in a car accident that occurred while she was fleeing paparazzi, the press seemingly backed off the royal family.
But in 2002 when Harry was caught drinking while underage and smoking marijuana, his family was back in the tabloid cycle.
When scandal-ridden Harry began dating an American celebrity, the press seemingly couldn’t help themselves. Though it seems like everyone involved believes they went too far in attacking Meghan Markle.
Negative press about Meghan’s father disrupts the royal wedding
A royal wedding is more than just the union of two loving people. It also represents an international day of celebration
Unfortunately, Meghan’s big day was ruined by some bizarre daddy drama with the press. Her father (the scandal-prone Thomas Markle) was caught staging some photos to make himself look good before the wedding. And after he was busted, he allegedly faked a heart attack and ultimately avoided walking his daughter down the aisle.
To hear Thomas tell the story, the staged photo thing happened because he listened to a photographer who said he could make Thomas look good before the wedding. To Meghan and Harry, this was just one more press-related disruption to their relationship.
Meghan’s open and emotional struggle
You can’t always tell what royalty is thinking. After all, British royalty basically invented the notion of “stiff upper lip.”
However, Meghan Markle was very open about her emotional struggle during the 2019 documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey. She was actually overjoyed when the journalist Tom Bradby asked how she was doing.
She pointed out that very few people have asked how she was doing, and how she was warning about dating Harry. “My British friend said to me, ‘I’m sure he’s great, but you shouldn’t do it because the British tabloids will destroy your life.’ I didn’t get it.”
Soon, Meghan was living the reality of being hounded by the press, and the pressure seemed like it would be too much at times.
Meghan’s drama with her father turns into a press war
You might have thought that the drama with Meghan’s dad was a thing of the past. Unfortunately, Thomas Markle joined forces with the British press to make her life miserable once again.
In August 2018, a few months after her wedding, Meghan wrote her father a letter that detailed how disappointed she was in him.
“Your actions have broken my heart into a million pieces,” she wrote. “Not simply because you have manufactured such unnecessary and unwarranted pain, but by making the choice not to tell the truth as you are puppeteered in this.”
The letter had an emotional conclusion that basically begged her dad to back off. “If you love me, as you tell the press you do, please stop. Please allow us to live our lives in peace. Please stop lying, please stop creating so much pain, please stop exploiting my relationship with my husband.”
He didn’t back off, though. Instead, Thomas Markle ended up selling the letter to the Daily Mail.
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Meghan and Harry take legal action
The Daily Mail wasted no time publishing excerpts of the letter in February 2019. In turn, Harry and Meghan took legal action, feeling that not only had Meghan’s privacy been violated, but that they were trying to sway public opinion against her by withholding certain parts of the letter from the public.
They sued various media outlets in October 2019, and Harry did not mince words. “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,” Harry wrote in a statement.
Harry was quite fiery on Meghan’s behalf. “There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behavior because it destroys people and destroys lives,” he wrote. “We won’t and can’t believe in a world where there is no accountability for this.”
Unfortunately, this fight didn’t go like Harry and Meghan planned.
RELATED: The Harry & Meghan Lawsuit Explained
A judge dismisses some of Meghan’s claims against the press
Meghan brought several legal claims against several outlets. But regarding her claims against Associated Newspapers, London’s High Court Judge Mark Warby threw several of them out in his ruling on August 5, 2020.
For example, the judge dismissed claims that the paper was “dishonest” in how they edited the letter. And the judge similarly dismissed claims about the outlet’s “agenda” and their goal of stirring up problems between Meghan and her father.
The legal battle continues, but these early losses may be a bad sign for Meghan’s chances against the power of the press.
The press led to ‘Megxit’
Arguably, the biggest news about Harry and Meghan remains “Megxit.” This cheeky term refers to their departure from royal life to raise their son Archie overseas, away from the British press.
Harry and Meghan announced their decision to step down as senior royals in January 2020. They stayed in Canada for a while, but ultimately decided to move to Los Angeles when the coronavirus pandemic threatened to close the borders.
It turns out that this move may be in response to the British press. In a statement about their move, Harry said he looked forward to “providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter.”
While the term is relatively neutral, it seems like “the space” refers to literal space between Harry and Meghan as well as the British press. And this may be, finally, a way to control the narrative about their family.