The couple outlined their plans to “amend their media relations policy” on their official website: “Following their decision to adjust their working model in 2020, it is appropriate to amend their media relations policy to reflect their new roles. Their sincere hope is that this change in media policy will enhance access and give The Duke and Duchess the ability to share information more freely with members of the public.”
Launching this spring, the new approach is meant to “ensure diverse and open access to their work.” Instead of participating in the royal rota — a system created more than 40 years ago as a way of giving print and broadcast media exclusive access inside official engagements royals — Meghan and Harry plan to “engage with grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists.” They also want to “invite specialist media to specific events/engagements to give greater access to their cause-driven activities” and “provide access to credible media outlets focused on objective news reporting to cover key moments and events.”
Meghan, 38, and Harry, 35, will also share information directly from their official communications channels, such as their joint SussexRoyal Instagram page.
The couple added: “The Duke and Duchess believe in a free, strong and open media industry, which upholds accuracy and fosters inclusivity, diversity and tolerance. Both The Duke and Duchess have collaborated with media organisations including: Time Magazine, National Geographic, The Daily Telegraph, British Vogue, and various others. Their Royal Highnesses recognise that their roles as members of the Royal Family are subject to interest, and they welcome accurate and honest media reporting as well as being held to account if appropriate. Equally, like every member of society, they also value privacy as individuals and as a family.”
The move comes as the couple are embroiled in several lawsuits with the U.K. press. Legal documents filed at the High Court in London show that Meghan is suing the publisher of the Mail on Sunday for printing a “private and confidential” letter to her father, Thomas Markle, 75, at a “time of great personal anguish and distress.”
Additionally, the palace confirmed in October that claims have been filed on behalf of the Duke of Sussex against News UK (owner of The Sun) and MGN (former owner of The Mirror) at the High Court regarding alleged illegal interception of voicemail messages.
“Any woman, especially when they’re pregnant, you’re really vulnerable, and so that was made really challenging,” Meghan told ITV journalist Tom Bradby about the stress of living in the spotlight during her pregnancy and following Archie’s birth. “And then when you have a newborn, you know. And especially as a woman, it’s a lot. So you add this on top of just trying to be a new mom or trying to be a newlywed . . . thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I’m okay.”
When Bradby asked if it “would be fair” to say that she’s “not really okay” Meghan responded, “Yes.”
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In addition to their new roles, Meghan and Prince Harry revealed that they will split their time between the U.K. and North America.
“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wrote on Instagram. “We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.
“We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages. This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity. We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”