Harry and Meghan launch website with new media plan to ban tabloid press

Cape Town – Prince Harry and Meghan have launched their own, new website and announced that they plan to work around gossip media and tabloids in a radical shake-up of their media management process.

The royals who shocked with a late-night announcement on Wednesday that even caught Buckingham Palace off guard said in their words that they've decided to "step back" from their role as "senior royals" to focus on earning their own money and to build a new life split between living in North America and the United Kingdom.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex unveiled their separate and new website at sussexroyal.com that interestingly was developed by Article, the website development company in Toronto, Canada that was responsible for creating Meghan's lifestyle blog, The Tig. 

Under "Media" Prince Harry and Meghan explain their "new media relations policy" and say that following their decision "to adjust their working model in 2020, it is appropriate to amend their media relations policy to reflect their new roles".

They plan to bypass the tabloid press which are getting cut out of access as the couple will break with using the traditional royal press pool used by Buckingham Palace and known as the "royal rota" and which guaranteed the tabloid media access to them.   In 2019 Prince Harry accused the tabloid media and some royal correspondents of allegedly being involved in a "ruthless" campaign of vilifying Meghan and said that the couple's South African tour late last year exposed the "double standards of this specific press pack".

On their new website, the couple explains their problem with the credibility of some of Britain's royal correspondents and the royal rota saying that "Britain's Royal Correspondents are regarded internationally as credible sources of both the work of members of The Royal Family as well as of their private lives".

"This misconception propels coverage that is often carried by other outlets around the world, amplifying frequent misreporting. Regrettably, stories that may have been filed accurately by Royal Correspondents are, also, often edited or rewritten by media editorial teams to present false impressions."

They say that they believe in "a free, strong and open media industry, which upholds accuracy and fosters inclusivity, diversity and tolerance" but that they are going to continue to use social media, and use it even more, since they believe that "their updated media approach will enable them to share more, with you, directly".

Historically, the understanding with the royal rota is that if royals like Harry and Meghan were to release a photo that has never been seen, they would be expected to give the image to the rota, of which four of the seven are UK tabloids) simultaneously or in advance of their own release.

"This formula enables these select publications to profit by publishing these images on their websites/front pages. Any breach in this understanding creates long term repercussions," the couple says on their website.

"The current structure makes it challenging for The Duke and Duchess of Sussex to personally share moments in their lives directly with members of the public (via social media for example), without first going through the filter of the royal rota."

Because of this, they are deliberately breaking with the royal rota system and phasing in a new approach with media that they deem to be credible.

As part of this, they plan to "engage with grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists", "invite specialist media to specific events/engagements to give greater access to their cause-driven activities, widening the spectrum of news coverage", and to "provide access to credible media outlets focused on objective news reporting to cover key moments and events".

The couple says they will "continue to share information directly to the wider public via their official communications channels" but will no longer participate in the royal rota system.  

(Photo: Getty Images)