Prince Harry recalls how excessive media scrutiny had a harrowing effect on his mother's life.
“They haunted me and hunted me. It wasn’t like Marilyn Monroe publicity. Clicked a heel and the world was at her feet”. - Diana
If there was one thing that the global media was overly obsessed about from the early 80s to the late 90s, it was the Princess of Wales. Right from the day Lady Diana was revealed to the world as the woman who would marry the heir to the throne, the paparazzi went into a tizzy. Prince Charles' young bride was constantly under heavy scrutiny and wasn't spared a single peaceful moment by the photographers, when out in the public.
As a kid, Prince Harry would watch his mother being relentlessly followed by the paparazzi who showed no empathy. He went through a childhood where his mother had to struggle to walk him to school as a bunch of photographers would follow them without having any respect for her need for space or privacy.
A child who grew up in a world where he saw his mother suffer mentally and emotionally due to excessive scrutiny, would obviously want to safeguard his close ones from any such experiences now that he could.
The 35-year-old prince has spoken on multiple occasions about their struggles with keeping their distance from the media. Earlier, in a BBC documentary, Diana, 7 Days, he revealed how the paparazzi would "follow her, chase her" every time she stepped out of the home. "About every single time she went out there'd be a pack of people waiting for her," he said, as quoted by Independent.
He continued, "And I mean a pack, like a pack of dogs, followed her, chased her, harassed her, called her names, spat at her, tried to get a reaction to get that photograph of her lashing out, get her upset."
Decades later, he is trying to save another very special woman in her life from falling prey to a trap that took his mother's life when he was kid. The Duke of Sussex has recently opened about how deeply Meghan Markle's criticism and scrutiny have impacted him. In a statement, he mentioned that it is unfortunate to live in a world where people victimize other people for personal gains. In this case, using Meghan Markle's pregnancy as tabloid fodder.
"Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences – a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son," the statement read.
As someone who is well-acquainted with the pain and suffering this can cause, he said, "There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face – as so many of you can relate to – I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been."
Many are of the opinion that the Prince's concern is justified, especially considering the fact that he was watching his wife go through the same level of media scrutiny his mother did, if not more.
Prince Harry's strongly-worded statement comes after a British publication unlawfully published a handwritten personal letter that Meghan Markle had addressed to her estranged father. It has not only upset him to see his wife being put through the same suffering his mother once bore but also leaves him bothered about her safety. He knows that intense media glare can cause deep and sometimes irrevokable emotional impacts on an individual and he does not want history to repeat itself.
"...My deepest fear is history repeating itself. I've seen what happens when someone I love is commoditized to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person," he said. "I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces."
Meghan Markle's media scrutiny is not something that began recently, she was subjected to harsh criticisms and undue judgments right from the time their dating rumors were doing rounds on the internet. Many also believe that the judgments are racially driven which is why she is criticized for almost everything she does. Back in 2016, a statement was released from the Kensington palace pointing out how Markle "has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment," according to The Guardian.
"Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her," said the statement, dated November 8, 2016. "It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm. He knows commentators will say this is 'the price she has to pay' and that 'this is all part of the game'. He strong disagrees. This is not a game - it is her life and his."
Prince Harry also mentioned how the unsympathetic behavior of the media "destroys people and destroys lives". He added, "I have been a silent witness to her private suffering for too long. To stand back and do nothing would be contrary to everything we believe in."