The Abuse of The Duchess of Sussex: The Protagonists. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for Meghan, Duchess of Sussex to be over scrutinised and unnecessarily critiqued every single day for the last three years, whether or not she was actually involved in any public engagements. None of it positive, and even where the journalists could not actually find any questionable behaviour, there were always comparisons made with at least one other figure, who apparently did something similar and got it right!
Any reasonable and kind person would initially give those so called journalists the benefit of possible poor judgement, but it became clear that there was a theme emerging, with the same members from the Royal Rota, writing similar headlines and photos about the same activity, it went beyond conclusive proof. Can you imagine what that must have felt like for the newest members of the Royal family, in a new country, with none of her friends or family nearby? Harry, who hitherto truly believed that she had found the “family she never had” must have been disappointed as the months turned into years and the viciousness of the attacks intensified. History was repeating itself. A painful one at that.
Not one word of public support from any member of his family, yet there were a number in respect of other family members within hours of something said or published about favoured members of the family. The adage “never explain, never complain” clearly was very selective in its use. Naturally, the Duke became the sole defender of his wife. With the repeated denials of bias from the media about their behaviour, the blatant refusal to even consider the ethical failures in reporting and the deliberate gaslighting that followed each challenge, it became obvious to supporters that there was no real interest in fair or substantive reporting around the Duchess; the charge was to create the most controversy and negative sentiment about the Duchess of Sussex and it seemed a co-ordinated effort.
From tabloid columnist to TV presenters, there seemed to be constant feedback loop where newspapers write nonsense, Tv presenters bring on so-called “experts” to review and discuss said nonsensical content, then newspapers write new articles about “expert’s” opinion on Meghan’s crime of the day, or week or whatever timeframe the puppet masters had set. These segments are usually billed as royal news but it might as well be called Sussex news. We all saw the nonsense that went over December 2019, with the Royal family trying to fill the gap with a range of contrived scenes in an effort to grab their moments in the headlines.
Pierce Morgan is a poster child for the journalistic malpractice that was entertained on a major television network. His regularly generated vitriolic outburst about The Duchess of Sussex was devoid of any objectivity or substance but simply rooted in his mind boggling unhealthy obsession and fixation with the Duchess, whose acquaintance he may have made. Their supposed meeting is still questionable, given the lack of proof and credibility or lack thereof, of the messenger. He hailed her as a fantastic and suitable choice for Harry when he had hopes of getting an invite to The Sussexes’ wedding. Mysteriously, and for no apparent reason other than reportedly ceasing to communicate with him, his opinion of her soured.
If she embodies all the virtue that he described prior to the wedding, then his bilious take of her after the wedding, without any further contact or interaction cannot be credible. He was either lying ante or post nuptials. At best, his post nuptial tone is down to sour grapes and really should be a conflict of interest for him to be allowed to discuss Meghan, as his objectivity is supplanted by spite. Any rationally thinking person can see that. His unhinged obsession with Meghan has crossed the line by miles. The verbal and written attacks should have attracted legal intervention by now. Absolutely certain in my opinion, that if a man of colour had done a quarter of the things that this TV presenter has said and written, that individual would be unemployed by now, because no other network would risk such a controversial figure.
Apart from white privilege definitely in force here, the fact that this abuse from this journalist has been tolerated and in a sense legitimised, lends credence to notion that when it comes to Meghan, there are no rules or ethics. The goals is maximum sensationalism. This theme has pervaded the coverage of Meghan across all media platforms, where they literally will stop at nothing to write stories or produce commentary that will provoke the most hostile response from readers/listeners. From outright lies and fabrication, to purposely withheld context details, nothing was off the table. We just got the report of Simon Rex being offered $70,000 by British tabloids to lie about the nature of his association with Meghan. This was before the wedding, so you can see that right from the beginning, they’ve had it out for Meghan and still do to this day.
Add to that, the audience that support all this venom being spouted by the media, ensure that their abuse is also profitable, hence enabling the cycle. It says a lot about the state of the UK today, and the media’s hostility towards the Duchess of Sussex could be described as a microcosm of UK in the era of Brexit. With the number of situations where racist and other extreme views are openly spoken about now, without challenge, and an increasingly hostile environment now in existence for many immigrants in the country legally for many years and working to contributing to the economy, it is no wonder that in the last few months the Sussexes have decided this isn’t a place they want to raise their family. The media in the UK have created a hostile environment for Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and they need to take responsibility for their actions and especially the ensuing increased risk to their safety.
The Firm, as The Royal family call themselves capitalised on Harry and Meghan’s wedding to present a progressive image, and lapped up every ounce of PR that came in its wake but, behind the scenes it is pretty evident that this was never the case. As stated in part 1 of this series, there is documentary evidence to suggest that there were attempts to undermine the wedding. Looking back now, I don’t believe that the Royal Family believed it would go through, and they certainly did not expect a child to come along as soon as he did. If anything it seems that the family hoped Meghan would leave, but never for one moment expected Harry to leave too. My opinion but one I firmly believe. As things are unravelling in the Royal camp it is clear that there are alliances between the Royal family and the Press. A decades old agreement between the two bodies. Royal Rota get first bite at the cherry in terms of royal stories, and agreements about the things that the press will not write about, in return for the pick of other stories before the wider press audience get an opportunity.
The issue with this approach, is that for the last three years there has clearly been a concerted effort to focus on the Sussexes, in particular the Duchess, as a distraction from reporting on other matters within the family that they would prefer not to be discussed at all. It became easy to predict what story was being pushed to the background, when there was a definite push to be controversial about the Duchess. The polarising stories usually attracted a massive response. The media loved it, as it was good income for them, and the Royal family loved it even more, because they kept certain news out of the public eye or at the very least, less prominent.
We are told that the Royal family runs itself like a Firm, and yet we’re led to believe that it is a family too. My view is that, they seem to be doing very poorly on both accounts.
Organisational structure is a system that outlines how certain activities are directed in order to achieve goals. i.e., rules, roles, responsibilities (Mintzberg). The structure determines how information flows between levels within the organisation. A Hierarchy is a system which brings things, categories, values together, and orders them. A visual way of connecting activity; a way of seeing how components relate to each other, directly or indirectly.
The dilemma I see with the UK Monarchy, unlike a corporate hierarchy as in the military for instance, is that their structure is not based on competence or skill. The monarchal hierarchy prioritizes birth order and until recently, male gender. It solely concentrates on maintaining a Royal family presence and string of heirs, regardless of ability or interest. The rest of the family is somehow expected to stifle their personalities, creativity, skills and passions and metamorphose into a docile cadre of plain Janes and Jacks, who should instinctively know just the right amount of their God given nature to retain, so as not to overshadow the heir. Crazy, if you ask me. The institution is unforgiving of deviations from this artificial standard. This is quite simply abusive. It could even be called a form of enslavement, that strips individuals of part of their humanity.
The Firm does not seem at all interested in a collectively strong workforce/ family, which goes against organisational success. There are those who would argue that The Firm is different blah, blah, blah. I’ll give them that. In that case however, it should be pretty obvious that there will be needless discord within their ranks. Any situation that prevents another human from advancing upward the summit of Maslow’s hierarchy, would and should elicit a resistance of sorts. Given these norms, it is not surprising that often the Firm has stood aloof while some members are abused and dehumanised by the media, and have on some occasion been the instigators. It is their language of survival. What is stranger is that the so-called royalist who condone the actions of the Firm are themselves free to live their particular lives how the choose; if they feel unappreciated at work, they may find another one. They will remove themselves from unhealthy associations and will likely not accept these situations for their loved ones. There seems to be a huge disconnect in their endorsement of these conditions in the monarchy.
Many have racked their brains trying to understand just what would motivate a father to publicly and so crassly spar with their daughter, strained relationship and all. The discord stems from the fact that, his actions continue to undermine the filial relationship that he claims to be on a mission to salvage. The man is obviously greedy and cares nothing about the relationship. The least said about the spectacle of him and his older children’s media antics, the better. Their greed has made it easy for the British media to weaponize them against Meghan. The father has repeatedly been offered money to offer comment issues that frankly are above their pay grade, to be honest. In any other instance, it would be unthinkable how the media have repeatedly dragged that family into the thick of everything. In this case however, according to Tim Shipman that William sanctioned the use of the father to cast Harry & Meghan in a negative light.
With each appearance, he seems more emboldened and sounds coached. It was reported by Bylines Investigates that, the US editor of the Daily Mail, who happen to always have the Thomas Markle exclusive articles, spends her weekends traveling to Thomas Markle’s house, ostensibly to “babysit” him. Why would that kind of action be necessary from a media operative? This, I think is another ruffle in this whole sordid mess, that we can easily unpick. In much the same way that this father has been emboldened, so have social media trolls who posted the most shocking and abusive comments about Meghan on Kensington Palace social media, and saw them ignored in spite of social media guidelines and cyberbullying advocacy by the principals. What is worse is that less offensive comments about the Cambridges were promptly deleted and posters were even blocked. Records of those exist.
The Royal family is a company whose structure is there to ensure its survival. It has zero interest in having any impact, and the same applies for any type of meaningful measurement of any of their activities. Someone new entering into their protected environment made them uncomfortable. Everyone would have much preferred to have members from the established gene pool, who were raised like them, and who wanted to be part of the elite. Being born into such affluence was considered sufficient, and there was no aspiration other than to be a figurehead. Women are there to purely produce heirs and ‘spares’ and to be in the background to smile, cause no drama and not have any independent thought.
Harry has had this all his life. He’s been the fall guy for others, with next to no recognition of his skills, abilities and experiences in the armed forces. How soul destroying must that have been? The only person who loved him for himself was his mother, and she was taken out of his life by a media machine. Then he met someone who loved him as Harry the man, not Harry the Duke, and look what is happening all over again. Harry was correct in removing his family from this toxic situation. The damage to mental health would have continued, because the aim was and is, to break them until they comply. The Royal family and the newspaper industry are dying structures, and their mutual support of each other is there purely to ensure survival; survival of the system that is in existence now.
A final thought. When you observe the Christening photo of Harry, Archie and Prince Charles. That was posted on father’s day, the distance between father and son cannot be missed. Prince Charles looks as though he is peeping over a garden fence. There is no affection there, more like bemusement to me. I saw no warmth in that photo from grandparent to grandson. I saw a love beyond words from Prince Harry towards his son. I saw a boss standing next to an employee and their baby, not a grandfather and son and his new baby. That image seems to embody the reality now.
The emotional abuse that has gone in both families is clear to me, and they all are responsible for any negative outcome should any occur. Now that the Sussexes have removed themselves from the equation, will the family be content? Will the attack dogs now stand down? Early indications suggest a big no. What gives? Will the pending litigation provide any answers? Not all is currently known, but what is for certain is that one party is resolute in their refusal to play games. For that, I say more grease to their elbows.
Emotional abuse involves exposing a person to behaviour or language, through verbal speech based harassment, that can result in psychological trauma. Dependant on the circumstances, the victim may be able to sue for damages. Source
Coercive control is an act of pattern of acts of assault, threats, harassment and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim. Coercive control creates invisible chains and a sense of fear that pervades all elements of a victim’s life. Source: www.womensaid.org.uk > information-support > what is domestic abuse.
Canada. National Clearinghouse on Family Violence. Psychological Abuse: A Discussion Paper. Prepared by Deborah Doherty and Dorothy Berglund. Ottawa: Public Health Agency of Canada, 2008. ISBN 978-0-662-48994-8 Cat.: HP20-12/2008E
Fisher, Judith. “Healing Beyond Emotional Abuse” (2019). Lake Union Herald. 841.
(This book showed up in many different searches that I made for reference material, and was recommended by a number of people. It may be of interest to some of the readers).