It is a brave person who takes on the might of the Royal Media machine in the UK. A media in terms of the newspaper and magazine industry that has been allowed to gain such power over the years, that they have become brazen in their daily coverage both in terms of their articles and their clickbait games with social media algorithms. The technique in any publication from the start in the UK press, was to have a headline grabbing end game, and then to write something which took the reader to the perspective that was being sold. The process was to keep repeating that perspective in a series of ‘articles’ (I would describe them as hit pieces) for a week or so, and then put that particular view on the back burner for a while. Introduce another perspective, and then repeat the process.
Over a period of a few weeks, a character profile is being developed, and innocent and trusting readers in parts of the customer base, were slowly being fed a character profile as seen/decided upon by the newspaper industry. Every so often use a key phrase from one of the pieces put on a back burner previously, and slowly but surely the character profile is being reinforced with a particular narrative, and some people are being drawn in to believing that this is accurate, and that it has all been put together by astute journalistic skills.
When the media really want to bring their point home, they drag out so called experts from their dark holes which they inhabit, dust them off and present to the world their view on life. All of them are either individuals who are no longer in the limelight, others have never been in the limelight despite trying for many years throughout their working life, others are new to the industry and would like to be in the limelight and be called upon time and time again in the future, and the final group, are former employees of the Royal family, who in their minds have convinced themselves they are blood relatives by proxy and that somehow being servile to a group of people, suddenly makes them ‘family’. All of these groups want to be relevant.
It has absolutely nothing to do with providing accurate information or opinion based on credible data. Some newspaper targets have been recipients of glowing, positive character profiles, and others have been painted out to be the complete opposite. If those who are painted in a negative light, would prefer a more positive ‘profile’ the usual game has been to ‘work with the media’ and reach agreements on what can be stated and when etc. Equally it seems that those who fall out of favour, can very quickly have a new profile created for them, which is far from flattering. There is an old adage that implies that before anyone embarks on a suspect relationship/partnership, one should ensure who has the most to lose if things go wrong. In other words, who holds the real power in these arrangements?
It is clear that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex never entertained the idea of entering into any kind of arrangement with UK media, and in particular anyone from the Royal Rota, that private elitist group of individuals who have fooled themselves over the years, that they will always have the upper hand over the Royal Family, because they can make or break any character they wish, or rather the media barons who own the newspapers concerned. The power game going on at that level, is another book waiting to be written – definitely not by me, as my only concern is the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. In fact the treatment of the Duchess and how she has been accepted or not, into Royal life has led to, in my case anyway, a complete lack of interest in any of the Royal family, purely because of the game playing.
I have zero interest in anything that any of them do from day to day (and I used to have interest in a handful) and I will take no interest in any of the charitable projects that any of them are patrons of or on paper give support. If my approach to having a Royal family in the UK is replicated across the country, and increases over time, I would say that the approach by the media barons has backfired. As each day goes by, my view is reinforced that the British Royal Family (BRF) has no place or relevance in modern society, and I see no adult within it that gives me hope that the situation will fundamentally change. The way that the Duchess of Sussex has been treated from the start has ensured the approach that has been covertly being rolled out, is doing great harm to the monarchy and the industry which is peddling this approach, will find a future where a substantially reduced number of employees and publications will be needed.
My concern is not with any of those who are likely to end up in some kind of Dooomsday scenario but is to ensure that another Princess Diana situation ever occurs again. Never. No one ever challenged that status quo regarding media and BRF courtiers covert arrangements until the Sussex Squad came along. Now the support group is known world wide, and has members in over 75 countries. I am one of those supporters and I felt strongly that this situation which has grown steadily worse since 2016 was not acceptable, and what part could I as an individual play in trying to reverse this trend?
My initial thought was to compile a report and make a formal complaint using the established process of how to contact the relevant Regulatory bodies for newspaper/magazines and TV, i.e., IPSO (Independent Press Standards Organisation) & Ofcom (Office of Communications). Initially I thought the coverage and the heightened interest would be temporary, but the reporting in the media was negative from the start, and the racist, misogynistic tone of the reporting had no signs of checks and balances. It was an all out assault. No sign of any of the regulatory organisations having a problem with this approach. The hunting instinct was on full display. The engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (as she was then known) led to increased sales of any kind in media, including increases in the number of YouTube accounts devoted to the couple – in good and bad ways.
I began to save articles and social media posts about how the Duchess of Sussex was described in the various narratives being portrayed on a number of platforms; these would become my ‘receipts’ to be included in some kind of subsequent action once I decided what would be the best route. My notes that I started to write daily covers the last three years. It covered how the tabloid press in particular and those designated as Royal Reporters made themselves famous in their chase of their new prey, and in so doing a proliferation of books appeared about the soon to be new member of the Royal family, written by the very same Royal Reporters (RRs) who appeared to make it a daily mission to write toxic articles on subjects that were and never have been written about any other member of the Royal family.
I noticed that something was written about the soon to be Duchess every day, and it continued leading up to the marriage and post wedding day. The only day I was proud to be British was the wedding day itself. The coverage and the level of interest from international news teams was wonderful to see. The daily toxic coverage was soon back on full display to the citizens of the UK and the world at large, including the Commonwealth where the Queen is the Head of the Commonwealth Trust. That phenomenon did not happen, with any other member of the BRF, not even the senior members. It was clear that this toxic coverage/attack was reserved for the only person of colour in the family; everyone else was left to live in peace, with no hint of jealousy about their respective lifestyles.
The language used in articles became more toxic, more threatening, and it was clear that different publications were working together. Similarity of key words in the headlines of body of the articles. The phrases changes from being covert to overt in the tabloids, as if this shift clearly had to be approved by various Editors and by default IPSO and Ofcom. I could not ignore this increasing thought that for all these tabloids and tv presenters using similar words, and the timing almost synchronised, that this was a co-ordinated attack on a person of colour, and that this individual was being treated like a commodity on a supermarket shelf and not as a human being with feelings and with absolutely no regard to risks to health and well being. Dehuminsation of people of colour is a classic element in racist coverage and treatment of individuals; in fact, it is one of the early signs to look for.
I had finished the draft outline of my now mammoth Report to be submitted as my evidence base for my complaint to the regulatory organisations, and then I looked in details how the press treated the Duchess of Sussex during her pregnancy, and post birth. I looked at the way the media continued to write toxic pieces during the Duchess of Sussex Maternity Leave. No other member of the Royal family had that type of coverage. The number of pieces written by the tabloids over the three years, and in particular when the Duchess was on Maternity Leave is frightening. We can only begin to imagine the distress it would have caused, and the BBC did not help with its coverage, and in particular one programme which appeared on the tv screens under the heading of satire??
I complained like so many others, that our national broadcaster, for which people have to pay a licence, deemed it acceptable to air this on national tv. In my complaint to the BBC I stated that I had given up my Licence earlier in the year due to its coverage of certain topics and that I felt my funds as a pensioner could be better spent elsewhere. I made it clear that I would not see the programme in question, but I fundamentally disagreed with such a production being aired, for all the reasons that any decent person already knows how the Duchess was depicted. Beyond offensive and adding to the list of encouraging hate crimes.
It was clear by Spring 2019 that submitting any kind of complaint to regulatory organisations, would be a complete waste of time. I go into detail in the book about the funding arrangements for these organisations and their Terms of Reference. It was clear to me that it was yet another private elitist club, with much of its funding coming from the very organisations that they are meant to be regulating?? Conflict of interest? So, then my idea of a book was formed. Not to make money out of the Sussexes pain, but to increase interest and hopefully subsequent knowledge about was what going on here in the UK with our Royal Reporters, and their communications and associations with white supremacist groups, and in some cases quoting individuals from said groups in their hit pieces. Again, I reiterate, this would not have been acceptable years ago. I am sure the views were held, and no doubt certain groups contributed to articles written, but this was different. This was blatant, written with confidence that there would be no objection from anyone.
I knew that this (writing a book) would be difficult to convince some Sussex Squad members, let alone anyone else, but I was prepared to live with that, because my strategy is long term, and this book, and the Complaint if I had submitted it, is at the start of a long term Strategic Plan. My end game is not to have a successful book (as much as that would be something positive) but it is to be part of the movement which eventually brings self regulation in the media industry to an end. Self Regulation is not working, and no one should have to endure what so many people have had to experience from the bullying and harassment of the media industry in their quest to write clickbait articles, with no concern to the damage being done to the individual and their friends and relatives.
The stark contrast in the way people of colour are treated in the media is an added abomination to their activities. The treatment of the Duchess of Sussex has been unprecedented, and it has to stop. I am happy that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have decided to take legal action, and I am beyond happy that more and more people are coming forward with litigation plans. My only concern is that the Sussex family reach a level of peace and happiness and security that their lives are not at additional risk due to the activities of a racist media group. It is not ok. I want them to live a life of happiness, not least because both of these lonely souls have had difficult situations in their upbringing, and I am so pleased that they have found each other.
It has not gone unnoticed that neither family has been a support to this family, and for that there is no excuse. One family has less resources but basic respect for family members should exist. That side of the family tree has a different set of values, so we just leave them out of the equation. The other side of the family tree has enormous resources at their disposal, and their silence over the last three years cannot be ignored or forgiven. I don’t count rides on trains, or patronages as being signs of enough support for me as a member of the public to accept that as being enough. In practical terms, of the senior Royals available, some of whom are not exactly busy despite on the pay roll, there is no one that the Queen could hand those patronages to and not have to worry about the roll out. I don’t call that support. I call that being pragmatic about the business of The Firm.
If statements can be produced about botox use and hair extensions, or possible liaisons with questionable individuals over late night suppers, then there is absolutely no reasons why a number of interventions could not have occurred in the name of the Duchess and her treatment, which were and still are, high risk to health and well being, and more than anything, personal safety, which none of the other above mentioned Statements needed to address. I don’t mind where the Sussex family live in the future, or whether or not they choose to remain part of the Firm. I want them to be happy and to feel safe. I am confident that their Foundation will be successful regardless; the BRF cannot say the same. The choice is theirs to make.
To my knowledge, every book about the Sussexes have been written by the most racist and vile RRs and that situation does not sit well with supporters. It is bad enough for people to write books with the soul aim of making money on the back of the popularity of the couple, but to see every week, one of these so called Royal Reporters appear on screen saying the most negative things about the Duchess in particular, as well as writing the most negative articles, and then to compound it, retweet or Like social media posts from fellow toxic individuals or worse, members of race hate groups – and then proclaim love for this couple and their baby in their books afterwards just does not sit right with me at all. I do not recall seeing one book from a fan, not least because we have less resources at our disposal, and the majority of Royal family images can only be used under licence for a fee.
Comes as no surprise that most of those belong to the Press Association and the price for images of the Duchess are the most expensive. Talking here hundreds of pounds per image – that is just one source. Let alone additional costs in the publication journey. I did not use the PA because I did not want to alert any of them as to what I was doing; you have to state what kind of project the photo will be used in etc. By publishing a simple book and being able to reach people globally meant that I could do the same with news teams. So if/when UK RRs decide to retaliate, as we know they can and do in the most unsavoury ways, I will have a number of people outside of the UK, who work in the media, who will be there hopefully to challenge their uk counterparts if that proves necessary, if they are willing to do it.
I do not wish to bore anyone, and I could write so much more, and hopefully over the months I will do so on certain aspects in more detail than outlined here, if there is interest. Hope that this gives some background. I really think the UK media have had their way too long, and they are in shock about the push back from Sussex Squad. My response to that is this, we are not going away. The network is global. We all keep receipts. The BRF and the media need to show the Sussexes respect, and tidy up their house, because the only people who can operate even more successfully outside of the BRF than being in it, are the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
If there is no interest in the BRF being seen as relatable to the wider population of the UK, not just extremist groups, then the damage that is occurring in view of the world stage, will continue and will be self inflicted. The Sussexes are not to be used as collateral damage for other issues any longer.
If my little publication can add to the great work already being done by Sussex Squad, which leads to a better quality of life and appreciation of the added value that the Duchess of Sussex has brought to the BRF, then I will be happy. End of Self Regulation in the media is the end goal, because no one should have to go through what the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and others have had to experience. It is clear that the industry cannot regulate itself adequately. Time for Leveson 2.