Why is Prince Harry attacking the press again? According to Sky News’s royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills, it would appear he’s lost his mind.
An article by Mills on the Sky website carries the headline ‘Is Prince Harry’s decision to come out fighting against newspaper a step too far?’, but her opening lines are not about his judgement but his sanity.
The statement revealed yesterday, we are told, reveals him to be ‘an angry, frustrated and it would appear fragile man’, and he is also ‘scarred’ by the way the press treated his mother, memories of which now haunt him because he has a young family of his own.
There is only one way to read this: Mills wants us to believe the prince’s actions result from a disturbed mental state. That’s quite an allegation, and it comes from a surprising quarter.
When the national newspapers are attacked you expect them to fight very dirty, but you don’t expect Sky to do their dirty fighting for them. After all, even the Daily Mail, the paper being sued by the Duchess of Sussex, has not (yet) stooped to questioning the prince’s sanity.
But Mills is not finished. Having laid the groundwork she goes on to imply, while offering no evidence, that the prince acted without the queen’s support: ‘We understand the Queen and Prince Charles had been informed about it, but you have to wonder what they think about Harry’s decision to come out fighting in this way.’
‘You have to wonder’? What kind of journalism is that? It’s not even informed speculation. It’s just pulling ideas out of the air. And she’s still not done.
Observing that ‘Harry’ is ‘fed up of’’ (really?) ’continual misrepresentations’, Mills strides back into Wonderland: ‘Some may wonder’, she writes, ‘if he has been wise to go so far, especially after 10 days of hugely positive coverage about the duke and duchess and their African tour.’
That punchline, as it happens, is addressed explicitly and clearly in the royal statement, where he refers to ‘the positive coverage of the past week’ and says it reveals the double standards of the press. Mills must have missed that.
It would appear that she also missed the facts about the genuinely relentless campaign against the duchess, which has included, to take just one example, the Daily Mail’s ‘How Meghan’s favourite avocado snack … is fuelling human rights abuses, drought and murder.’ You might think, in the context, that a royal correspondent would find space to discuss such evidence and its justification and impact. You might think, too, that she might relate it to the recent experiences of Gareth Thomas and Ben Stokes – surely relevant to any consideration of whether the prince has gone ‘too far’.
But no, the best she can do to support a headline asking whether the prince has gone a step too far is to state, airily, that some people may wonder whether he has gone too far.
Every week we speak to victims bullied and harassed by parts of the press.
Enough is enough.
Most members of the public cannot afford to sue newspapers, they too deserve justice.