Prince Harry and Meghan have announced they are cutting all communications with four British tabloid newspapers and will refuse to co-operate with them on any stories.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex,who are now living in Los Angeles, have sent a letter to the editors of The Sun, The Mail, The Mirror and the Express to make clear that they will no longer engage with them.
“There will be no corroboration and zero engagement”, they say in their letter.
The new policy from the couple will start with immediate effect and comes as Meghan’s legal fight with the Mail on Sunday’s owner’s Associated Newspapers enters a new phase in the British courts this week.
The refusal to cooperate applies to the four tabloids including their Sunday editions, such as the Sun on Sunday, and their online operations, such as Mail Online.
When Harry and Meghan announced their plans to quit as working members of the Royal Family earlier this year, they pledged they would create their own media operation – free from the confines of the Royal Household’s longstanding system, known as the Royal Rota.
That system gives equal access to members of the Royal Family to all newspapers and broadcasters.
They will still cooperate with UK broadcasters, like ITV and the BBC, as well as the other major newspaper titles - the Telegraph, Times, Guardian and Financial Times.
But Harry and Meghan say they fundamentally disagree with the “style of reporting” of the four tabloids which they claim has destroyed the lives of many individuals.
They claim the way these newspapers operate have led to “the most tragic outcomes” which is likely to be a reference to what happened to Harry’s mother, Princess Diana.
In the letter to the editors of the newspapers, the couple wrote: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have watched people they know—as well as complete strangers—have their lives completely pulled apart for no good reason, other than the fact that salacious gossip boosts advertising revenue.”
Their new aides say that the couple hope their action will encourage others to take on the tabloid press although they maintain they are committed to the a free press, which is free to criticise.
High quality journalism, they insist, is fundamental and they wrote that ”a free press is a cornerstone to any democracy” but they say they object to reporting which has a “real human cost”.
They said: “Media have every right to report on and indeed have an opinion on The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, good or bad. But it can’t be based on a lie.”
In practice, Harry and Meghan’s new operation means they will not communicate with, respond to, or answer any enquiries from journalists working for these four newspaper operations.
It applies to the staff working for them, including their communications team.
However, in light of the world’s current focus on the coronavirus pandemic, there will be questions raised about the timing of this announcement from the couple.
But with legal action against the Mail on Sunday moving forward in the High Court, the couple said it was “necessary” to set out their new agenda now.
Prince Harry and Meghan have now settled in Los Angeles with their son Archie after leaving the Royal Family.
Some newspapers have run paparazzi pictures of the couple out walking their dogs.
ITV News does not publish paparazzi photographs but Harry and Meghan were pictured wearing face masks as people are supposed to do in California.
The Duke and Duchess maintain this is not a blanket policy for all media but their letter to the four tabloid papers ends by saying: “What they won’t do is offer themselves up as currency for an economy of clickbait and distortion.”