MEGHAN MARKLE and Prince Harry have released several furious statements about what they see as unfair press scrutiny but it was actually Princess Diana who helped end the “era of deference”, according to a royal expert.
After the Princess of Wales separated from Prince Charles, and especially after the divorce, she started to become more independent and had her own channels to the press, without needing to go through the Royal Family. In this way, Diana working against the Royal Family in the press, at times, is what spelt the end of the “era of deference”, when the royals could tell an editor not to run a story and they would not run it. Journalist and author Catherine Mayer, who has been covering the Royal Family since the Nineties, said that in essence the “royals themselves helped to blow that out of the water” with the collapse of the Charles and Diana marriage.
Now, they are operating in a “take no prisoners” environment where royal press secretaries have little control over the papers and even less control over the Internet.
In other words, the royals themselves helped create the environment that causes Meghan and Harry so much anguish, and Diana was the turning point.
Ms Mayer said: “One of the things that has been very interesting for me, because I have covered the royals for such a long time ‒ I first started covering the royals in the early Nineties and covered them right the way through to now ‒ so I have seen the evolution of royal press management.
“And I have seen it become much more sophisticated, much more aware of the issues, but even so they cannot even begin to keep up with what is going on with the development of the press and the development of the world at the same time.
Princess Diana helped end the “era of deference”; Meghan and Harry are furious at the press (Image: GETTY)
Journalist and author Catherine Mayer (Image: YouTube (Timeline))
“In the early days ‒ and why they got so blindsided by having Princess Diana there actually working against them and having her own direct line to the press ‒ but in that era, that was the end of the era of deference when you could say to an editor ‘don’t run this’ and an editor would not run it.
“You could put out statements saying ‘we won’t answer any more questions about this’ and that would be the end of the story.
“That is so far gone, and that was the royals themselves who helped to blow that out of the water with the collapse of the royal marriage.”
She added that Diana was not the only factor, however, but also the changing shape of the media.
Former royal press secretary Dickie Arbiter (Image: FOX Image Collection via Getty / Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty)
With the decline of physical newspapers and the explosion of news on the Internet, it is very difficult for royal press secretaries to control what is said about any of the royals.
Indeed, even if the relationship with the mainstream press is maintained through the royal rota, there are thousands of online news sites ‒ and fake news sites ‒ as well as social media, where people can say whatever they like.
Ms Mayer said: “Now, you have them operating in this ‘take no prisoners’ environment where, even if the royal press managers can stop the mainstream media from reporting things that they don’t want or can encourage them to report things they do want, they have no control over the wider online world.
“And that is huge and it also presents very new and big challenges for the royals.”
Meghan and Harry have attacked the press for “bullying” Meghan (Image: GETTY)
Indeed, this links into Meghan and Harry’s fury over the press and how negative things are written about them.
Not only do newspapers not kowtow to the Royal Family anymore in the way they used to, the online world has opened up so that anyone can say what they like about them.
Indeed, much of what seems to upset the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and anyone in the public eye, is verbal abuse from people on social media.
Social media sites like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook can be incredible for keeping in touch and finding out about the world, but when trolls get involved it can mean individuals suffer a bombardment of vile messages.
Meghan, for example, was subject to more than 5000 abusive tweets that contained the most commonly used anti-Meghan hashtags.
Some of these tweets contained sexist and racist language and around 70 percent came from just 20 accounts.
She and Harry have spoken up numerous times about hate online and even supported a boycott of Facebook in July, whereby businesses were urged not to advertise on Facebook for a month, thus starving it of money and forcing it to crackdown on abuse and fake news.
The couple even spoke about “negativity online” in a Time100 video posted yesterday.
Harry said: “When one person buys into negativity online, the effects are felt exponentially.
“It is time to not only reflect, but act.”
They went on to urge Americans to register to vote in the upcoming presidential election that will see Donald Trump go head to head with Joe Biden.
Source: EXPRESS CO UK