Tabloid rule is rule by intimidation. It has long rested on the presumption that no one – not even the royals – would dare to stand up to the papers. The ongoing barrage of fury against the Sussexes is motivated therefore by more than the usual strategy of selling newspapers by monetising hate. It also reflects a creeping realisation that, for all their toxic and unwarranted power, the tabloids are ultimately incapable of destroying this couple.
NB: The English tabloids, owned by the likes of Rupert Murdoch, could win an Olympic medal in gutter journalism. They cater to the most base instincts of the reading public, and gave voice to persons like the corrupt joker Boris Johnson. Their thirst for paparazzi photos contributed to the death of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana. Meanwhile his dad, the present King was having an extra-marital affair. Then they went after Harry’s then girl friend, made racist remarks about her, and all this was compounded after their marriage. The other day a black invitee to a royally-hosted event was racially profiled by a senior ‘lady in waiting’ to the late Queen. The same tabloids are lax with a Prince accused of pedophilia. Why on earth should anyone forgive and forget people who drove his mother to death? The most polite thing I’d like to say to the tabloid editors, op-ed writers and readers is Go to hell. DS
The howl of exasperation from tabloid commentators – who spoke almost in unison last week like a dismissive Greek chorus – was that Netflix’s Harry and Meghan documentary series contains no new revelations. The supposed dearth of suitably titillating details left Britain’s ever‑growing legions of royal commentators, and even some TV reviewers, pouting and foot-stamping like 12-year-olds told to do their homework, as if access to salacious royal gossip is our birthright and the Sussexes are contractually obliged to provide it.
What was quietly and purposefully revelatory about the documentary went largely uncommented upon. The more open-minded of the 2.4 million people who clicked through to the first episode experienced a simple but central revelation: they heard the voices of a young woman of colour and her husband, who have been subjected of an unprecedented campaign of abuse and vilification, telling us what that all felt like….