Prince Harry’s legal action against the Mail on Sunday has sparked speculation over whether senior royal aides, members of Team Sussex and even the Royal Family had been informed of the Duke’s move before he released his statement. Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams believes that, if royal aides had advised Prince Harry against launching this attack on tabloid press, their opinion was “ignored”.
He told Express.co.uk: “Royalty usually takes note of precedence which this does not and if they [Harry and Meghan] were advised this was unwise, this advice was ignored.
“If ever there was an instance which made it clear they wanted to do things their way this is especially given in Harry’s emotive words.
“They are intentionally playing for very high stakes indeed!”
Following the publication of the statement, dated October 1, royal sources reported by The Times branded its timing “unfortunate”.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s tour lasted for 10 days
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry returned to the UK last night
The newspaper also understood some of the Duke of Sussex’s senior aides warned him against publishing the statement before the end of the tour – with some aware of the damage the announcement could do even trying to distance themselves from it.
A source reported by The Times said the timing “was based on specific legal advice” and had nothing to do with the tour.
Earlier today it has also been claimed Prince Harry didn’t speak to his grandmother the Queen, father Prince Charles and brother Prince William about his plans before releasing the statement.
Prince Harry’s statement may be perceived as a ‘war’ against the way the press reports on the Royal Family, the expert said
Mr Fitzwilliams said: “Reports indicate that courtiers advised against this being announced on an official royal tour but Harry and Meghan do not seem concerned by precedent.
“It appears that the case was finally ready but it remains totally unclear why they could not have waited until their tour was over.”
The royal expert also highlighted the wider impact the statement is likely to have.
The legal action has been launched against the Mail on Sunday for publishing extracts of a letter written by Meghan
Prince Harry spoke of a “disturbing pattern of behaviour by British tabloid media” in his statement
The legal action has been launched against the Mail on Sunday for publishing extracts of a letter Meghan wrote to her estranged father Thomas Markle Snr.
However, Mr Fitzwillaim believes Harry’s action could be perceived as a “war” against the press as a whole and their way of reporting on members of the Royal Family.
He said: “Royal tours are usually predictable.
“The 1992 tour of Charles and Diana was a famous exception with Diana posing alone in front of the Taj Mahal and avoiding kissing Charles after a polo match and these images went around the world.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s romance – a timeline
“The news that Meghan is taking legal action against the Mail on Sunday and Harry’s statement, which was a ferocious attack on the British tabloid press at the end of their highly successful tour, came as a bombshell.
“Also, apart from the specific case which, if it actually went to court, would be a global sensation, there is Harry’s statement which is far broader and though specifically directed at the tabloids will be viewed by many as a declaration of war on the way the royals are covered in the press.
“After a sensationally successful tour, with so high an international profile, it is probable that they chose this moment deliberately believing it would have the maximum impact.”
In his statement, Prince Harry spoke of a “disturbing pattern of behaviour by British tabloid media”.
Meghan and Harry got married in May 2018
He continued: “The contents of a private letter were published unlawfully in an intentionally destructive manner to manipulate you, the reader, and further the divisive agenda of the media group in question.
“In addition to their unlawful publication of this private document, they purposely misled you by strategically omitting select paragraphs, specific sentences, and even singular words to mask the lies they had perpetuated for over a year.
“There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behaviour, because it destroys people and destroys lives.
“Put simply, it is bullying, which scares and silences people. We all know this isn’t acceptable, at any level.
“We won’t and can’t believe in a world where there is no accountability for this.”