Where were you when you heard that Harry and Meghan were dating? According to Meghan, they started seeing each other in July of 2016. They were exceedingly successful in keeping their relationship private for a little over 5 months. Most people couldn’t keep a secret that juicy for 5 minutes. In an interview given in 2012 and again in 2015, Harry admitted to the challenges of finding a partner willing to take on the life of a Royal. When Meghan ‘fell into his lap’, he was determined to keep her.
The stark differences in the media coverage of the U.S and the British press was immediately and glaringly obvious. Whether you knew of Meghan or not, the stories in the U.S were generic, biographical, with a hint of titillation but all in all, wishing the couple well. In the UK, however, the media was immediately negative and filled with racism, so much so that Harry released a statement in November, basically telling the tabloids to ‘back off’. Avid fans of the two raised their collective fists in the air at Harry’s protective gesture. Unfortunately, blood was already in the water and the sharks swooped in. Photos and articles appeared of them at the Gielgud Theatre in London, reports of her meeting Kate and Charlotte, of them having dinner at Soho House in London, seen at a wedding in Jamaica, etc. And let’s not forget the trouble her half-siblings caused, who were in their teens when Meghan was born, by giving interview after interview with contradictory details on what they claimed to know of Meghan. Yet still, all seemed to be going well. but fans still side-eyed the British press and their dog-whistle commentary on the relationship. Goes with the territory right? We were all curious and happily clicked every article documenting their budding relationship, providing receipts to the press when they got their information wrong. Meghan met the Queen in September, on November 27, 2017, they announced their engagement and on May 19, 2018, they were married.
We were consumed with the story of Harry and Meghan. Some might even say, obsessed. We saw two public figures that were easily likable, are you kidding? Loveable! A couple whose stories touched us in deep, profound ways. All over the world, we saw division and chaos. The election of a white-supremacist president, the daily insecurities and debates regarding Brexit, mob lords and dictators taking over countries and territories, attacks on Muslims, Christians, Jews, immigrants, blacks, whites, the list continues. Harry and Meghan became a beacon, a beautiful example of love, acceptance and a willingness to work hard. Very early on, they were showing the world that in spite of the chaos around you, you can still make a positive difference in the lives of others. The attitude of, what can I do to help? Permeated their story. We were still side-eying the British press, of course. They were still getting their digs in, but for the most part, it was business as usual. We soaked up every word, every photo, discussed and dissected every event. We watched the Lifetime movies, documentaries, created youtube videos with photos, backed by love songs. We were proud of Charles and the Queen for taking our Meghan in with public displays of support. We understood that monarchy does not change with the wind or a fad but we believed it was making every effort to catch up to the world around them. We hoped oh God we hoped! But a villain never sleeps. While our heroes, and us, were basking in the glow of marriage, impending parenthood and one of the most successful Oceanic tours since QEII visited decades ago, the villains had been plotting and were ready to execute their sustained attacks on this modern American Princess.
Since October 2018, the attacks have been relentless. We were shocked, angry, crushed! Why? we said, shouted, screamed, cried. Why were they attacking the most successful Royal couple in modern history? Why were they printing obvious lies about Meghan? Why are they trying to reduce her to nothing more than a brainless actress? But we fought back, at least we tried to. I’ve written before about the diligence the Sussex Squad has shown in their support of Harry and Meghan. We have supported every initiative, encouraged participation in every project, helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for Meghan’s charities, celebrated every success. We were very vocal, reminding the press daily that their characterization of Meghan is wrong, unjustified, unfair, racist. In our relentless concentration, we began to learn and decipher the origins behind these attacks. The Squad are not just fans, but gatherers of information. One reason, we learned, for the onslaught was Harry and Meghan’s lack of press cooperation. so the press attitude was ‘you screw us, we screw you’. Press jealousy. Ok, you mad? Then in April, we learned (according to sources) of William’s cooperation with the tabloids after the outing of his affair and his jealousy of the spotlight Harry and Meghan received over him. It was apparently discussed where they could send the Sussexes to keep them out of the limelight. To sum it up, the press is angry because Harry and Meghan don’t kiss their arses, and Kensington Palace is angry because, in spite of all the negative headlines they helped to create, Harry and Meghan are still as popular as ever. Yes, villains never sleep, and like frogs in water, the heat turned up.
Attacks continue through Birth of King Archie:
The birth of a Royal baby has always been a most joyous occasion. Discussions were had for months on the sex of the baby, what his or her name would be, would he/she be a ginger? What role will the 7th inline play in the Monarchy? Will he/she have a title? But the months and weeks leading up to the birth were filled with attacks that had ratcheted up to an extraordinary level with hit piece articles doubling to up to 8 a day, The media onslaught was fought on social media, television, print articles and online tabloids. The more Harry and Meghan tried to rightfully manage how they wanted to connect with the world, the more the British media attacked them for it. For Meghan’s entire pregnancy she was insulted, shamed, bullied and victimized. There was no way we could keep up, so we focused, rightly so, on Sussex Royal and celebrating the joy of baby Archie. The iconic photo seen around the world, that included Meghan’s mother, Doria, of baby Archie’s introduction to the Queen, was incredibly moving. The birth of a mixed-race baby, great-grandson to the Queen was a hopeful and historic moment. Surely, this photo, this moment, this caption of history would be obvious to those seeking to vilify her, that she is indeed an accepted member of the Family and should be treated as such. But the British press were working on a very different narrative. They knew that no one in the Royal family was supporting Harry and Meghan. Wiliam had dropped them entirely, Charles soon followed, and the Queen never says anything anyway. The wagons were circled around Andrew and William, so Harry and Meghan were left apart from the family physically, and emotionally. Villains never sleep and now the water was close to boiling.
Southern Africa and the Documentary:
During the Southern African tour, we saw Harry and Meghan in their element. Their initiatives were clear, but behind the scenes, Harry was ready to blow. On the final day of the tour, Harry put the British media on blast with a passionate rebuke and announcement of their intent to sue, Once again, Sussex fans raised our collective fists in the air. Yes! It’s about time! While there was the expected prattling from the press, the number of negative articles decreased, but the emotional damage to Harry and Meghan suddenly became obvious when clips of their African tour documentary were released by ITV. Harry speaking passionately about how much press persistence reminded him of what happened to his mother creating the intense desire to protect his family. ‘I will not be bullied into playing a game that killed my mother.’ he says in the documentary. Meghan, in another clip, and seemingly near tears admits the spotlight has been hard. Members of the Squad have mused, carefully, that the intense and unfair scrutiny could harm Meghan emotionally especially through her pregnancy. Where other Royal women were historically left alone, the bullying of Meghan escalated. It was as if they Wanted something to happen to her, and/or the baby. Now, for the first time in three years, we hear Meghan speaking out, admitting that she has truly been affected and seemed at a loss as to how to cope with it. We too are at a loss. This couple that we spend so many hours of our lives supporting have been cast aside as fodder by the very Monarchy they work for. They are in pain, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s like having a job you hate, but can’t leave. I hope they saw the #WeLoveYouMeghan hashtag that trended on Twitter at #2 in the U.S and #4 in the UK. I hope they pay as much attention to the support the Sussex Squad and many other fans give them. I pray our voices are loud enough to cut through the clatter of negative stories. We hurt for our Meghan, we feel her pain and we are all as shocked as she to find that the water has been slowly boiling this whole time.
After the documentary aired, there has been speculation that Harry and Meghan might leave the Royal Family. Many of us have always considered this possibility. Harry, as the spare, has often been seen by the Family and the press as one to go ‘rogue’, and the Family will likely try to spin it that way if that’s what he decides to do. What they fail to capture, because we know the British Royal Family is often slow on the uptake, is that they are the ones who will ultimately be blamed for Harry and Meghan leaving. Yes, the British press fired the weapon, but the bullets came directly from Kensington Palace.