Harry and Meghan caught up in an ‘age of vilification’

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are caught up in an age of ‘vilification’ thanks to social media, a former national newspaper editor has said.

Eve Pollard, former editor of the Sunday Mirror and Sunday Express, said social media has completely changed the way the royal family are viewed, as well as how they are reported on.

“There’s two problems,” she tells Yahoo UK’s The Royal Box. “There’s social media, so that has changed the press totally.”

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The first edition of The Sun on Sunday (top C) is seen on a news stand in Longwick, southern  England February 26, 2012. Rupert Murdoch bid to grab back the huge audience his News Corp lost when it closed Britain's best-selling News of the World over a phone-hacking scandal with a new Sunday edition of his Sun tabloid filled with gossip, girls and celebrities.  REUTERS/Eddie Keogh    (BRITAIN - Tags: MEDIA BUSINESS SOCIETY)
People may have once waited for newspapers for royal news, but now they find it on social media, says former editor Eve Pollard (Picture: REUTERS/Eddie Keogh)

Whereas people once waited for their morning or evening paper to hear about what the royals were doing or wearing, now it “flashes up immediately” she said.

“So number one - you don’t need to read a paper to find out about them.

“Number two, social media itself is far more aggressive than newspapers, is far more screaming - screaming pitch. I think this is the age of vilification.

“And again of course, whatever you think of newspapers, a lawyer does go through everything. Things can appear on the internet just like that. So that’s changed.”

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Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Louis of Cambridge, Prince George of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, Queen Elizabeth ll, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace following Trooping the Colour in London
Social media has changed the way the royal family is viewed, says former Fleet Street editor Eve Pollard (Picture: PA)

Pollard said social media has changed the atmosphere in how the royal family is viewed, with them becoming “part of the fodder”.

“We still admire them , we still respect them, we still know that they do so much for Britain. We stand out because everybody in the world knows exactly who the Queen is. But it’s changed the whole atmosphere.”

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The attitude towards money and the royal family has also changed, she says.

There may have been some critics, she says, but adds: “I don’t remember, when I was first in journalism, anybody really talking about how much money the Queen cost us.

“Money didn’t come into the discussion - now money does. So for example when Harry and Meghan did up Frogmore Cottage, immediately that money was released and the British - who would have told you more about their sex lives than how much they earned - suddenly became fascinated because money has become discussed, open, a different attitude to it.”

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 10: A general view of Frogmore Cottage at Frogmore Cottage on April 10, 2019 in Windsor, England. The cottage is situated on the Frogmore Estate, itself part of Home Park, Windsor, in Berkshire. It is the new home of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. (Photo by GOR/Getty Images)
The amount of money Harry and Meghan spent on Frogmore Cottage hit the headlines (Picture: GOR/Getty Images)

“So I think both those things have changed in a way our relationship with the royals and in a way it’s sad. In a way it’s inevitable, it’s part of the way life goes, but it’s a pity.”

Despite the negative sides of it, Pollard says it’s right that the Royal family have embraced social media.

“That is the way the world gets its news now and why not try and control it? Why not give out the best pictures? Why not give out new pictures?

“When they had their first wedding anniversary Harry and Meghan put out new pictures we’d never seen before.

“I just think that social media has changed everything - everything in the world and that includes the royals.”