Prince Harry has lashed out at the British media for its treatment of his wife, Meghan, accusing it of hounding her the way it did his mother, Princess Diana, who died in a 1997 car crash while trying to elude paparazzi.
“My deepest fear is history repeating itself. I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces,” Harry said.
His rebuke of the press, and a lawsuit filed by Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, against the Mail on Sunday newspaper for publishing in February a letter she had written to her estranged father is overshadowing the final day of his family’s tour to southern Africa.
Harry and Meghan — with infant son Archie in tow — are scheduled to fly home Wednesday evening from South Africa following their day 10-day trip.
The ginger-haired, bearded prince — often seeming so light of mood in public — said he could no longer be a “silent witness to her private suffering.”
Releasing what appears to be years of pent-up anger at the press, he said some newspapers have repeatedly “vilified” Meghan and published “lie after lie” about her.
Harry and his older brother Prince William have long had a strained relationship with the press. They grew up in the spotlight and were young boys when their parents’ acrimonious divorce received wall-to-wall coverage.
In the civil lawsuit, Meghan’s lawyers accused the newspaper of copyright infringement, misuse of public information and violation of data protection laws.
The Mail on Sunday said it stands by its story and will fight the case in court.
Harry and Meghan enjoyed almost worshipful attention from the press when they married in May, 2018, but the tone has changed in recent months. The couple has been criticized for using taxpayer money to renovate their home and for traveling on a private jet while calling for more action on climate change.
They did receive generally positive coverage on their trip to southern Africa, which also served as a debut in global diplomacy for four-month-old Archie.
Archie’s sole public showing was also a rare public appearance by ailing Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who greeted the baby with a gleeful smile and a gentle kiss on the forehead.