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Media claims over Harry and Meghan privacy ‘have distorted narrative’

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex never cited privacy as a reason for stepping back from their royal roles, a spokeswoman for the couple said (Jonathan Brady/PA)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex never cited privacy as a reason for stepping back from their royal roles, a spokeswoman for the couple said (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have insisted they always intended to keep up public duties after quitting the royal family, and said a “distorted narrative” had been created to “trap” them into silence.

Harry and Meghan never cited privacy as the reason for stepping back as senior working royals more than two years ago, a spokeswoman said.

A statement from their global press secretary accused the tabloids of creating “an entirely untrue narrative” around privacy, and said the royal couple “are choosing to share their story, on their terms”.

Duke and Duchess of Sussex Netflix documentary
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The statement comes after the first three episodes of the couple’s Netflix series aired.

In it, Harry accused the royals of having a “huge level of unconscious bias” when it comes to race, and Meghan alleged that the media wanted to “destroy” her.

On Friday, a statement from the couple’s global press secretary said: “The Duke and Duchess have never cited privacy as the reason for stepping back. This distorted narrative was intended to trap the couple into silence.

“In fact, their statement announcing their decision to step back mentions nothing of privacy and reiterates their desire to continue their roles and public duties. Any suggestion otherwise speaks to a key point of this series.

“They are choosing to share their story, on their terms, and yet the tabloid media has created an entirely untrue narrative that permeates press coverage and public opinion. The facts are right in front of them.”

The couple have received criticism over the six-part series – the final three episodes of which will air on Thursday – for apparently attacking British institutions as they discussed their experiences including racism.

On January 8 2020, the Sussexes revealed they intended to “step back as ‘senior’ members of the royal family and work to become financially independent”.

They said they had chosen to “make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution”.

They officially left the monarchy on March 31 2020, having opted for personal and financial freedom over remaining as working members of the royal family.

Harry and Meghan signed lucrative deals, thought to be worth more than £100 million, with Netflix and Spotify after quitting, with the docuseries this week the first major output for them on the streaming giant.

Conservative MP Bob Seely questioned why Harry continues to use his title of duke, while “at the same time trashes the institution of monarchy and his family”.

The Isle of Wight MP said he plans to bring forward proposed legislation that could eventually strip the couple of their royal titles, but a No 10 spokesman said “we do not support” the proposal.

Downing Street also dismissed a Government minister’s call for a “boycott” of Netflix over the documentary.

In the series, Harry said members of his family questioned why Meghan needed more protection from the media than their wives had been given, but he said they failed to grasp the “race element”.

The couple also took aim at the British press, with Meghan claiming “salacious stories” were “planted” in the lead-up to their wedding, and the couple saying they were “playing whack-a-mole” as the articles appeared.

Harry said he felt it was his duty to uncover the “exploitation and bribery” within the media who “know the full truth”, and he spoke of the “harassment” his mother – Diana, Princess of Wales – suffered and the fear that Meghan would also be “driven away by the media”.