The press has spoken and has decided that Prince Harry is delusional and not of sound mind, he’s overreacting and seeing slights when there are none. They have decided the problem isn’t with the press, it is the hot-headed, unhinged Prince making a “monumental misjudgment”.
After three years of unrelenting harassment by the press, harassment which was amplified all through her pregnancy and maternity leave, Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex filed a lawsuit against the Daily Mail and its parent company. The lawsuit was over the publication of a private letter, with the publication accused of infringement of copyright and violations of the Data Protection Act. The notice was posted on the Duke and Duchess’s website along with a statement by the Duke. It was a heartfelt, empathetic statement. Prince Harry expressed concern that the media’s unfair treatment of his wife, so reminiscent of the way his mother was treated, could lead his wife to a similar end as his mother. Those who saw it can never forget the sight of a little boy walking behind his mother’s coffin, his face stoic, his pain palpable and his bewilderment heartbreaking.
His belief that the media contributed to his mother’s death was not the fanciful belief of a child; the editors of the major tabloids all admitted that their behavior contributed to Princess Diana’s death. She was newspaper fodder, her every action photographed and scrutinized, written about and analyzed. Just as his feelings about his mother being commoditized were valid, so too are his feelings that his wife is being subjected to a similar treatment. The newspapers may not wish to admit this, but it is self-evident. There has not been a day where all the tabloids have not had several stories about The Duchess of Sussex. Outside of their engagements the stories make scurrilous claims about her actions and subject her to unrealistic expectations where, even when she meets those expectations, her accomplishments are dismissed or minimized.
Immediately after their wedding, there was public debate about whether the Duchess was too old to get pregnant, and when her pregnancy was announced, the media seemed almost gleeful in pronouncing it a geriatric pregnancy fraught with danger to mother and the baby. Given this, the expectation was that the tabloid harassment would abate, even temporarily. That hope was never realized. While other royal brides have been given a reprieve from the incessant and mean-spirited tabloid scrutiny during their pregnancy such a privilege was not afforded to Duchess Meghan. The very actions for which others had been admired or viewed with indulgence, Duchess Meghan was mocked and questioned.
Given all that has transpired, Prince Harry’s heartfelt statement that accompanied the notice of Duchess Meghan’s lawsuit was understandable. With an economy of words, he succinctly, candidly, evocatively, and with precision laid out a damning indictment of the British media’s coverage of the Duchess of Sussex. Prince Harry was lauded for his candor and clarity, by everyone, except the perpetrators. Their resistance in admitting complicity was excepted, but their method of attack was unconscionable.
Imagine how diabolical, you as the perpetrator of the campaign of harassment, have to be, to not only cruelly dismiss Prince Harry’s concern, but questioning his mental state. The tabloids called on the usual suspects (Ken Wharf, Piers Morgan, Penny Junor, Ingrid Seward, Rihannon Mills …) to weigh in on his action and they delivered with their usual innuendo-laden diatribe. Doctors none, but they ALL questioned his mental stability and demeaned and diminished his justified concerns. We mentioned here as soon as the lawsuit was announced they started questioning his mental health. They dismissed his comparison between his wife and mother but then engaged in revisionist history by telling him he needs to be more like his mother who cooperated with the press and received favorable treatment in return.
Questioning someone’s mental state is the favorite tactic of those without a valid argument for their actions. The damage in weaponizing mental health was insidious and could have far-reaching consequences far beyond Prince Harry. Prince Harry has openly shared his personal struggles in coping with the horrific death of his mother when he was 12 years old and his attempt to adjust to civilian life after ten years in the military. He sought help for himself and found solace and a purpose. Determined to reduce the stigma of mental health he founded Heads Together through the Royal Foundation he started with his brother.
With first-hand knowledge of the toll mental illness takes on his fellow veterans, Prince Harry founded the Invictus Games open to military veterans from countries around the world. UK Ministry Defense does not keep official records of veterans who commit suicides, but an unofficial tally says over 75 veterans committed suicide in 2018 due to some form of mental illness. In the US, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ figures show an average of 20 veterans per day take their own lives.
Editors Note: If you feel overwhelmed and need someone to talk to please contact a professional don’t make permanent decisions for temporary situations.
Imagine being a person struggling with your own mental health, hesitant to seek help and witnessing a champion of reducing the stigma, someone at Prince Harry’s level, being labeled unhinged and publicly shamed. How would you feel?
As they have in their treatment of Duchess Meghan, the tabloids, in their response to Prince Harry’s statement shows there are no depths to which they will not sink in a quest to not only capitalize on the demand of the couple but to rob them of their humanity and deny them the privilege of keeping their private life, private.