Harry and Meghan: An African Journey
The overwhelming response by fair-minded people to ITV’s documentary on Harry and Meghan’s Southern African tour across the world have been positive and sympathetic. As expected, the British media has led in the minority negative response. Bitter, cruel, vitriolic, threatening, derisive and mocking. They have been joined in their negative response by the expected cohort of individuals: right wingers, white supremacists and jealous women. Yes, jealous women, because most of the people who have been slandering and telling lies about Duchess Meghan in the British media are white women. Individual reporters from the royal press pack are busy showing up in the US and Australian media markets to lope invectives at The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, in an attempt to spread their poison to fair-minded people and media. It’s been revealing and traumatising, in the last three years, to observe the coordinated British media smear campaign against Meghan when she has done nothing wrong. The acerbic treatment has been extended to Harry in the last few months.
Harry and Meghan are finally fighting back with legal actions and have let the public know they are unwilling to be unjustly maligned and defamed by the British tabloid media. In the precious last few minutes of the ITV documentary, packed with meaningful content from their massively successful 10-day Southern African tour, they let us know that the relentless media attacks have taken an emotional toll on them.
The foreign and commonwealth office which sent The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on the tour is happy with their tour performance, and the countries visited during the tour, as reported in those countries, are happy with Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan, and the outcomes from the tour. The additional donations from the US and UK that the Halo Trust has received will move them closer to their objective of ridding Angola of landlines by 2025. This is the type of tangible results and impact Prince Harry described when he was interviewed for the documentary.
The Relentless UK Media Attacks and Lies
The swift reaction to the clip of Duchess Meghan admitting she’s “not really ok” as a result of the British media’s relentless attacks, lies, and unimaginable cruelty targeting her was followed by the hashtag #WeLoveYouMeghan becoming a top trend on Twitter, worldwide, for a period of two days. In the following three days up to and including the day the documentary aired on ABC, the hashtag and a second hashtag #HarryAndMeghan were also top trends. The clip of Meghan posted by ITV on its Twitter page has 29.5M views and hundreds of thousands of likes, not counting where else it may have been posted. I belabor these points because the UK tabloid mob would like us to believe Meghan is hated.
Any fair minded person can concede that the British media have dehumanised and demonized Meghan for the very things other royals are doing or have done in the past. The attacks, which in reality are bullying and harassment, increased in intensity once it was announced that she was pregnant. It continued throughout her pregnancy, even while heavily pregnant, and while she was on maternity leave and not performing any public engagements.
In the month of May when their son, Master Archie was born the British media alone wrote 451 articles about Meghan, mostly negative. When Rebekah Vardy of WAGAgathaChristie fame allegedly betrayed her friend, a tabloid doctor was quick to remind us that Rebekah Vardy is pregnant so people should stop attacking her. That’s the right thing to remind everyone, but the British media did not give the same courtesy to Duchess Meghan. The media’s behaviour was sinister and one wonders what they had hoped to achieve. Biracial and black women have higher than average maternal mortality rate during child birth.
Harry’s Concern: A Husband and Father Protecting His Family
Imagine how terrified Prince Harry felt as he watched while the media crucified his pregnant wife with no care for her humanity or the humanity of their unborn first child. Ponder that for a minute. At one of the most vulnerable times in a woman’s life the British media, who profess to love Harry, acted as a cabal of wild dogs intent on destroying his happiness, and he could not do anything to stop them. They could have cost him his wife and son due to increased stress on Duchess Meghan. The irony of them demanding that The Duke and Duchess subject Duchess Meghan and their newborn to a photo call right after birth while viciously attacking her was not lost on fair-minded people, but the British media bullied on. Recognizing their obligations to the British public, The Duke and Duchess still had a photo call two days after Archie’s birth.
On the penultimate day of Southern Africa tour, I cheered like many others, when Harry issued a scathing statement about the media’s abhorrent behaviour towards his wife and announced the filing of her suit against Mail on Sunday for publishing her private letter to her father. When the news broke about his suit against The Sun and The Mirror for hacking his phone, I cheered even more loudly. Some of us were unhappy with the press, when a few days later, we saw a trailer of Prince Harry in which he admits the relentless negative media coverage, lies, and intrusion are taking a toll on his mental health. When two days later, ITV teased Meghan’s response to a very personal question of whether she’s ok, her response broke my heart and many others as we are now confronted with the real cost of the relentless global bullying and harassment targeting her. She’s a human being with feelings just like any of us. When the full documentary aired two days later, the clear takeaways were:
- Harry and Meghan did their jobs brilliantly on tour as usual, and we learned a lot and became invested in the places they visited. We learned about gender based violence in South Africa and what grassroots organisations are doing to combat it. We learned about the brutal legacy of uprooting a whole community as a result of apartheid policies and the resilience of the community, how they are rebuilding connections many years post-apartheid. Who can forget the Halo Trust and Harry retracing his Mum’s walk through a landmine-ridden field. The ultimate showcase was seeing that land clear of mines can be re-purposed for development. Finally, the QCT grants announced by Meghan during her visit to University of Johannesburg for ACU students who are deserving of those grants. This is just a sampling of meaningful impact on the various people and organisations featured during the tour.
- Prince Harry and Meghan connect naturally with people and make it look effortless.
- They have a knack for inspiring and connecting with the young.
- Harry has to constantly manage his mental health as a result of the relentless bullying and propaganda targeting him and his wife by the UK media cartel.
- Meghan is “not really ok” with being incessantly bullied and harassed by the UK media, it especially compounded the natural stress of pregnancy and postpartum period.
The Case Against Angela Levine
Right after the ITV documentary aired, the UK media, with the exception of Brexit, drowned out all other news by breathlessly writing, tweeting and talking about Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan on tv and radio. They conveniently ignored the one truly toxic royal family news. The credible allegations of paedophilia against the Queen’s son, Andrew, what was viewed as her very visible and problematic support of him, and his continuing role as a working member of the royal family. Compounded by his decade long and intimate friendship with a convicted and registered paedophile, Jeffrey Epstein. One can understand a mother supporting his son, but to continue to foist him on the public for engagements is egregious and will be known as the permanent stain on her rule. It was obvious to any reasonable observer that the coverage was slanted to bully and harass the Sussexes.
Getting back to the coverage of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The UK media reaction to the ITV/ABC of their Southern African tour was loud, incessant and ferocious. They doubled down instead of listening and reflecting on their behaviour towards Duchess Meghan, after 3 years of crucifying her with a barrage of lies and negative spin. They disingenuously insist they cannot understand why Harry and Meghan might be upset with their treatment compared to other members of the royal family. They systemically derided and mocked them using his brother’s statement that he is “worried” about Harry and concerned that Harry and Meghan are “fragile” to attack the status of their mental health. They, speculated on and dangerously exaggerated what they wanted readers to believe was a dire situation regarding the couple’s mental status. Some of the media outlets even purport to be advocates of good mental health and against bullying, but saw nothing wrong with what they were reporting. It is not rocket science to see that any person will have a problem with the way Harry and Meghan are treated by the media. In fact a lot of people pushed back against the bullying, especially during her pregnancy. In a way the disproportionate and dishonest media response was not surprising as it serves their pockets to generate clicks with all the hyperbolic prose and also having a thoughtful response would require the media to examine their own malpractice. We know their heads are in the sand about that.
The shame award should go to book author, Angela Levin. Being less coarse in her discourse, compared to other self-described “royal experts”, she may deceptively come off as reasonable. Far from it. She has proven to be one of the more insidious of attackers. One of her claims to fame was being given access to Prince Harry in 2017 to write a book. She abused that privilege during this bout of UK media’s hysteria and barrage of poison darts thrown at The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The British media have to some degree corrupted the US and Australian media with their corrosive talking points. It’s mind boggling that the media is belittling an amazing humanitarian like Prince Harry. Beyond being a blood prince he has worked hard starting from an early age to help others and make the world a better place. Angela Levine should know better. For the days following the airing of the ITV/ABC documentary Angela Levin, trading on her access to Prince Harry, hopped on every tv show that would have her, to provide commentary about The Sussexes. She lied quite liberally on things that can be proven false.
For example, she lied that Michelle Obama had told Meghan to not do anything in the first year, and of course, “defiant” Meghan had to hit the ground running as she said she would during the interview. Also, she lied that Harry had discussed how he’s making sure Meghan “could cope with the attention from the media”. She further said William had done everything he can to make sure Meghan can cope with the attention, which is a lie. We all saw William publicly come to Gareth Thomas’ defense when he tangled with the media recently. In the three years of relentless media bullying of Meghan I have not seen anything from William expressing support, unlike the instances Harry came to Kate’s defense on camera when the media targeted her. Levin also lied about the media supporting The Duchess of Sussex in the Together Cookbook launch. Some may recall seeing Duchess Meghan’s girlfriends – Serena, Priyanka, Jessica – promoting the cookbook on their respective Instagram pages. The UK media saw the Cookbook’s success and decided to jump onboard after Robert Jobson said the media shouldn’t and won’t cover it. After Duchess Meghan invited the media to go with her on a scheduled visit to the kitchen, who can forget her conciliatory action being rewarded with a nasty article by Camilla Tominey linking the Duchess Meghan and the women of the Hub Kitchen to terrorists and the resulting credible death threats.
Levin piling on so publicly in the abuse and harassment of the Sussexes is quite abhorrent and undignified, to borrow a word she threw at Harry and Meghan for being honest about their emotional well-being. Below are some of Angela’s lines of attack.
She would have us believe that The Duke and Duchess are desperately unhappy with each other and miserable, and she brazenly asserted that it is all Meghan’s fault, if she’d only keep quiet and take the bullying and harassment like a champ, with no consideration for her humanity. To cap it off, she recommended Harry and Meghan should just quit the royal family and become private citizens.
Levin argued quite callously that they should not have responded honestly to the questions from the interviewer in the documentary about, as she carelessly put it, “being mentally unwell.” She thinks they should have held it in until a more convenient time agreeable to the media and their other detractors, regardless of the ongoing damage to their mental well-being. The issue of timing she argues, has to do with them being in poverty-stricken Africa where locals would not appreciate their candor given Harry and Meghan’s privileged lives. More so, in her view, their privileged lives mean they should keep a stiff upper lip and endure. She further argues that they have a cushy life that most of us can’t afford so they should not dare say anything to us about mental health – a ridiculous argument. There are many wealthy people who seemed happy and have committed suicide. Robin Williams and Kate Spade two very successful and adored individuals committed suicide at the height of their professional and personal lives. Needless to say, status/privilege does not immunise one from the impacts of external stressors. Such a position exposes her fundamental failure to comprehend mental health, and for which reason she and her ilk just need to shut up.
When challenged on the obvious double standard that Harry, Meghan, Kate and William had been advocating for people to feel free and safe to share the state of their mental health, and yet Harry and Meghan are now being told they shouldn’t have spoken up, Levin found a new angle of attack: timing, arguing that it overshadowed the good press from the Southern African. Not true, with clear evidence in the reporting from Southern African media and subsequent outcomes seen by the organisations they visited. She was also unhappy because it supposedly overshadowed William and Kate’s 3.5-day Pakistani visit. A visit that ended two days prior to the airing of the ITV documentary with the first trailer featuring Harry released by ITV on the last day of the Pakistani tour before Kate and William flew home. How could a 1-minute trailer overshadow “the most complex tour yet”? Harry does not control ITV programming and the nonsensical part of this is that, ITV was also running a trailer about a two-part documentary about Prince Charles and the Duchy of Cornwall. The media didn’t bully or harass him about that timing. Obviously, a double standard is being applied to the Sussexes by the media.
Levin had the audacity to falsely claim that Harry and Meghan tell us what to do and do something different. First, Harry and Meghan never told anyone what to do. That was yet another tabloid lie Angela Levin was eager to peddle on TV. The irony is Levin and the UK tabloid mob cannot see that they are the ultimate hypocrites with this line of attack. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are the only ones they label hypocrites for championing conservation and the environment when they use private jets. We had two weeks of relentless faux outrage over the use of a private jet to travel to Nice on vacation. Duchess Meghan supports her husband, Prince Harry in his conversation and environmental efforts, but has never spoken independently about conservation. Conservation and the environment as a portfolio is covered in the royal family by the Prince of Wales, Prince Harry and Prince William. There are no two-week long media meltdowns over the Prince of Wales and Prince William preaching conservation and being eco-warriors when they use private jets. Their respective spouses are unmolested for their spouses’ advocacy, unlike Meghan who’s been crucified for Prince Harry’s advocacy. For any fair-minded person this is a blatant double standard and hypocrisy, but not so according to the UK media cartel. Some of the media in the US and Australia lazily copy and paste the lies without doing any further research.
At any rate, Ms. Levin herself has failed to conceal her personal dislike of Duchess Meghan in her “professional” capacity as a commentator. Nothing the duchess does meets with her approval and lets be honest, no one is seeking it. With such a foggy disposition, she might just be a Debbie Downer who views everything through a despondent lens, so … but I digress.
Public Support for Harry and Meghan
While the British media is willfully obtuse as to why The Duke and Duchess of Sussex refuse to continue to be bullied by them, the public gets it. We understand that Harry and Meghan refuse to accept the incessant lies written and told about them by the British media. The relentless and at times unwarranted scrutiny of everything they do, reported with a negative spin or mocking, while others in the royal family who copy them(to rebrand themselves), are praised for the same things is not fair. All they are asking for is fairness in coverage.
Harry said at the end of the documentary that he’s unwilling to play the game that killed his mother. They want to keep their personal lives and especially their son’s life private as much as possible, and have refused a title for him for that very reason. They want the media intrusion in their private lives to stop. Earlier this year, they had to give up the lease on a private residence for security reasons because the media flew a helicopter low enough to take pictures of the interior of the home, including their bedroom and published it. Harry sued and won the case, and a public apology was issued by the “replorables”( deplorable reporters). They want the media to not write lies about them, particularly when they have been told that something is not true. Like the Sun running a story about the car park at Windsor and only being required by IPSO to print a tiny apology.
The examples of media abuse are ubiquitous. Harry and Meghan are not expressing anything that supporters and some non-royal watchers alike, across different spaces, have not already expressed: The media treatment of the couple is wrong, its unconscionable, falls far short of journalistic standards and needs to stop. Simple.
One final thought, Harry and Meghan did not single handedly modernise the British royal family, but their becoming a couple ushered in a new era in the monarchy’s history. Take it or leave, Meghan brought a new audience to royal watching and they will leave with her and Harry if they leave the royal family. Why? They have surmised she was never welcomed by the British Media and the British royal family and like her husband, The Duke of Sussex, they have watched while she’s being publicly flogged and crucified by the media while members of her new family have remained silent. The world is watching and despite the purposefully loud noise generated by the UK media, people are carefully documenting this time in history, and we will not let the British royal family rewrite her history. Her supporters welcome and thank the 72 women MPs of the British parliament that sent a public letter to The Duchess of Sussex in solidarity. The silence from the British royal family is now deafening and damning. Any offers or protestations of support now will be seen for what it is, hollow and self-serving.