How Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are choosing to speak for themselves

Watch: Meghan praised for revealing miscarriage

The Duchess of Sussex chose to make a very personal announcement this week, with an essay in the opinion section of the New York Times.

Meghan Markle wrote about her experience of a miscarriage, which happened in July, and shared her feelings of “unbearable grief” and a “shattered heart”.

While the Royal Family has certainly been experimenting with communicating via different forms of media, like podcasts, bearing their souls has not been a common part of their strategy.

Meghan’s essay, along with the alternative ways she and husband Prince Harry have communicated with the public, indicates how they will continue to share news and updates.

It’s the second time the couple has chosen the New York Times, having used the publication to announce their plans for a production company as they won a multi year deal with Netflix in September.

Zara Tindall, Harry’s cousin, has also suffered miscarriages, but her announcements came via a spokesperson, and then in an interview with The Sunday Times.

It could show the Sussexes want to speak for themselves and retain more control over how their words are used.

Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, arrive to attend the Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Britain March 7, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/Pool
Prince Harry and Meghan, at the Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall in London in March 2020. (Reuters/Simon Dawson)

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Popular culture expert Nick Ede told Yahoo UK using “one trusted news outlet” would help the couple “have control of their own narrative”.

He added: “In so many other situations they have had their own words manipulated to create click bait – this way of picking one source allows them to get copy approval before print, creates a loyalty between the publication and the author and drives eyeballs to the outlet which is a win win for everyone as all quotes will mention the publisher.

“This careful relationship with one media source allows them to drive their agenda and promote themselves as they wish to be promoted which can only be a good thing considering all the scrutiny they have been under in the past.

“Trading an ‘exclusive’ is nothing new, authors do it when touting their memoirs, to telling their side of stories that may have been manipulated – it’s an ‘on the record’ account in their own words which stops speculation and media manipulation in its tracks.”

In January 2020, Harry and Meghan announced their intentions to step back as senior royals, and hoped they would be able to spend some of their time representing the Queen on duties, and some of their time earning their own money.

Part of their desire to step back from duties was the British system of reporting on the royals, which allows certain correspondents particular access at engagements.

Instead, the couple wanted to work with a wider range of reporters and specialists. It was reported that they wanted to work with US networks and papers as well as British media.

Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, holding their son Archie, meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation in Cape Town, South Africa, September 25, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool
Harry and Meghan welcomed baby Archie in May 2019, seen here with them in September the same year. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

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Part of their statement in January said: “The duke and duchess have chosen to revise their media policy to reflect both their forthcoming change as members of the royal family with financial independence, and their wish to reshape and broaden access to their work.”

They launched a website, and continued to use their @SussexRoyal instagram account, including to share health advice during the early days in the coronavirus pandemic.

But the social media page has been mothballed, and the website appears to have gone the same way, in part as the couple agreed not to use the word royal in any regions.

Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, have launched the website for their new non-profit, which will be called Archewell, but the site is currently just a holding page with an email sign-up for updates.

They have not set up public social media to match and Meghan recently spoke about not using social media, raising questions about how any future account might work.

The couple hired two new members to their public relations team, but it’s likely with Meghan’s focus on authenticity that she will want to continue speaking for herself.

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