Britain’s royal couple Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced the shocking decision to step back from their roles as members of the royal family and seek financial independence. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex hope to be financially independent by setting up a charity and moving to North America.
The news dominated the front pages in the UK as social media debated the move without realising the role of the media in the decision. It has been a turbulent year for the royal couple who have struggled with the spotlight and intense scrutiny from the media. This even created differences and harmed the relationship between Harry and his elder brother Prince William.
Last October, Prince Harry had lashed out at the British media, claiming that the treatment of his wife was similar to the hounding of his mother Prince Diana who died in a 1997 car crash while trying to elude the paparazzi. He expressed fear that history was repeating itself, and he will not be a silent witness to the suffering.
This rebuke to the press is a reminder of the consequences sensationalism has. The lack of media ethics is a serious cause for concern. Every individual, including celebrities and royalty, have the right to privacy and cannot be objectified for the sake of media ratings. The media has vilified Meghan on multiple occasions and published several controversial reports about her.
The British media still seems uncomfortable with the fact that Markle is an American actress of mixed origin and has been divorced before. Her estrangement with her father was seen when he didn’t attend her wedding in May 2018. She is most known for her role in the ‘Suits’ series and several risqué scenes. When the couple tied the knot, it was hailed as the most diverse wedding in history, while the royal family was praised for moving into the modern era and accepting a woman of colour.
The media continued with the ruthless campaign against her, highlighting the feuds between her and Kate Middleton and the Queen displeasure with the new lady in the house.
The couple were criticised for receiving public funds, using private jets, and even spending lavishly on home decor. This harrowing treatment shows that British media needs to confront its problem with race. It is not clear what Harry and Meghan’s new lives will be and how they will achieve financial independence. Nonetheless, many celebrities have praised the move as they know what invasion of privacy feels like. The media needs to realise that intrusion into personal lives has grave repercussions.
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