Tomorrow, Netflix’s Harry & Meghan volume II will drop, with its final three episodes exploring just why the couple stepped back from their senior royal family roles. This morning, the streamer dropped a preview clip with a pretty damning confession: That the Palace purposely planted negative stories about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry to bury stories about other members.
Meghan herself said, “You would just see it play out, like a story about someone in the family would pop up for a minute, and they’d go, ‘We’ve got to make that go away,’ but there’s real estate on a website homepage. There’s real estate there on a newspaper front cover and something has to be filled in there about someone royal.”
Schillings Law Firm’s Jenny Afia, who represented Meghan in her successful lawsuit against British tabloid the Mail on Sunday’s publishers, added, “There was a real kind of war against Meghan, and I’ve certainly seen evidence that there was negative briefing from the Palace against Harry and Meghan to suit other peoples’ agendas.”
“Meg became this scapegoat for the palace,” friend Lucy Fraser said, “and so they would feed stories on her, whether they were true or not, to avoid other less favorable stories being printed.”
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In a piece for Yahoo UK, royal reporter Omid Scobie confirmed himself that the Palace briefed against the Sussexes, calling a royal source denying that happened “gaslighting to the extreme.”
“The reality is, people working at the Palace did brief against Harry and Meghan while they were working royals. Regularly,” Scobie wrote. “And it was hardly a secret, either. While writing the book Finding Freedom, a number of the staff I spoke to complained about the culture of leaking and negative briefings within the institution. Some felt it was out of jealousy of the couple’s unrivaled popularity at the time, others shrugged and said that’s just how it goes, and a couple believed that much of it came from a place of disliking Meghan.”
“Palace aides also brief against other royals,” he continued. “With three different households back then—Clarence House, Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace—all with their own teams, it wasn’t (and still isn’t) uncommon for an aide to look out for their boss by using information about another member of the family (from a different household, and usually less senior) as currency to curry favor with the outlets you never want to be on the wrong side of. This doesn’t really happen with TV media, but is common with print and online press.”
Senior News and Strategy Editor
Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.