Longstanding media lore has it that it’s the tabloids ~ as opposed to broadsheets such as the one you are reading ~ which have the most attention-grabbing and provocative headlines. Or, to use the jargon of the trade, the best ‘hook’. The latest from the UK’s Daily Mail, with a readership that laps up details of the goings-on in the British royal family, had this on offer over the weekend ~ ‘PIERS MORGAN: After these shocking allegations, please spare me anymore of halo-cracked hypocrites Meghan and Harry’s women-empowering victimhood garbage’.
It is moot if one needs to actually read the comment piece by the eponymous Morgan given the headline writer has bet on the attention-span of the reader not exceeding that of the love life of an ant, as the saying goes. The subject of the article, however, is a very serious one.
For, it brings into sharp focus allegations of systematic bullying of her personal staff by the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, as reported by The Times, which are now the subject of an official inquiry. The hypocrisy referred to in the comment piece is aimed at a 20-point guide on how to empower women released by the Sussexes timed to coincide with International Women’s Day on 8 March, at a time when Ms Markle faces allegations from two former female personal assistants that she bullied them out of their jobs. Both have lodged formal complaints while a third senior female member of staff has alleged mistreatment at her hands.
Morgan, a well-known journalist and commentator, may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he has the right to point out that these allegations were duly recorded in an email by the couple’s communications secretary Jason Knauf before their estrangement from the royal family and sent to a senior official now serving as the Cabinet Secretary. Not just that. Prince Harry, The Times reports, “pleaded (with Knauf) not to take the complaints further” though the Duke of Sussex has denied this claim.
The couple has also been accused, even before their wedding, of being “outrageous bullies” by a former aide, the report added. A spokesperson for the Duchess of Sussex has, meanwhile, said that she is “saddened by this latest attack on her character… (and) is determined to continue her work of building compassion around the world.” What the couple has not done, however, is respond specifically to the jaw-dropping details – female staff members saying they were “reduced to tears” and aides speaking of being “humiliated, feeling sick, and terrified” due to the behaviour they were subjected to by the Sussexes.
The couple’s much-awaited talkathon with US TV host Oprah Winfrey which has already been canned may end up being a nonevent given their long-running battle with the British media has created a gotcha! moment for the latter.