View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. News
April 20, 2020updated 30 Sep 2022 9:11am

Duke and Duchess of Sussex tell tabloid editors there will be “no corroboration and zero engagement”

By Dominic Ponsford

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have told the British tabloid press that they are ceasing all co-operation because of “distorted, false or invasive” stories.

The couple sent a letter to the editors of The Sun, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express and the Daily Mirror in which they said they will not “offer themselves up as currency for an economy of click bait and distortion”.

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have watched people they know – as well as complete strangers – have their lives completely pulled apart for no good reason, other than the fact that salacious gossip boosts advertising revenue,” the letter said.

The letter added: “It is gravely concerning that an influential slice of the media, over many years, has sought to insulate themselves from taking accountability for what they say or print – even when they know it to be distorted , false of invasive beyond reason. When power is enjoyed without responsibility, the trust we all place in this much-needed industry is downgraded…”

The non-engagement policy means there will be “no corroboration and zero engagement”.

Instead the pair said they are looking forward to working with “grassroots media, regional and local media, and young and up and coming journalists, to spotlight issues and causes that so desperately need acknowledging…

“What they won’t do is offer themselves up as currency for an economy of clickbait and distortion.”

Content from our partners
Five ways to fail in media job interviews
How Germany's Ippen.Media mastered content planning across 86 newsrooms
Free journalism awards for journalists under 30: Deadline today

The Guardian reported the new treatment would apply to the four newspapers, their Sunday editions and their websites. The Daily Star has not been named, though it is published by the group that owns the Mirror and the Express.

The shift means Harry and Meghan’s press team will not even answer calls from the papers.

The couple have stepped back from their royal duties and are living in California.

Prior to stepping down, they launched an attack on the UK’s newspapers in a dedicated media section on their new website Sussexroyal.com.

The couple, who said they would be adopting a “revised media approach” from the spring, criticised Britain’s royal correspondents and said they would no longer participate in the “royal rota” system which has been used by Buckingham Palace for decades.

Meghan is involved in legal action against Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Mail On Sunday and Mail Online, over an article which reproduced parts of the handwritten letter sent to Thomas Markle, 75, in August 2018.

Harry described the media as a “powerful force” in an emotional speech just a day after saying he and his wife would be stepping back from royal duties.

The duke has had a complicated and difficult relationship with the press through the years.

His dislike of the media has seemingly intensified since the birth of his son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor last year.

Harry grew up fully aware of the impact of the media intrusion on the daily life of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales.

He was only 12 when the princess was killed in a crash after her car, driven at speed by a drunk chauffeur, was chased through the streets of Paris by the paparazzi.

Soon after he began dating Meghan, Harry attacked the media over its “abuse and harassment” of his then girlfriend, with Kensington Palace warning on his behalf: “This is not a game – it is her life.”

Topics in this article : ,

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network