'Colonial' coverage of duchess criticised by lawmakers

The British tabloids' aggressive coverage of Ms Meghan Markle has drawn criticism from her supporters.
The British tabloids' aggressive coverage of Ms Meghan Markle has drawn criticism from her supporters.

LONDON • Seventy-two women in Britain's Parliament condemned the "outdated, colonial undertones" of newspaper coverage of Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle in an open letter that echoed attacks made by Prince Harry against British tabloids this month.

Led by lawmaker Holly Lynch, the MPs wrote to the duchess that they stood in solidarity with her against "the often distasteful and misleading nature" of some articles about her and her family.

"On occasions, stories and headlines have represented an invasion of your privacy and have sought to cast aspersions about your character," the lawmakers said in the letter, posted on Twitter by Ms Lynch.

"Even more concerning still, we are calling out what can only be described as outdated, colonial undertones to some of these stories."

The lawmakers who signed the letter dated Tuesday came from across Britain's fractured political parties. They said they understood the "abuse and intimidation" that is often directed towards high-profile women, and would "use the means at our disposal to ensure that our press accept your right to privacy and show respect, and that their stories reflect the truth".

The British tabloids' aggressive coverage of the duchess, a former actress, has drawn criticism from her supporters.

When rumours of the prince's relationship with Ms Meghan, who is biracial, spread across Britain in 2016, Prince Harry denounced the "racial undertones" of the coverage and social media harassment.

That year, columnist Rachel Johnson, the sister of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, wrote in The Mail on Sunday that Ms Meghan would contribute "some rich and exotic DNA" to the royal family.

The Daily Mail headlined an article about her upbringing in Los Angeles: "Harry's Girl Is (Almost) Straight Outta Compton".

 
 
 
 

The lawmakers' letter did not single out any articles or news organisations.

This month, Prince Harry revealed that Meghan had filed a lawsuit against The Mail on Sunday and its parent company over the publication of a private letter, saying that his wife had been targeted by "relentless propaganda" and "bullying". The Mail on Sunday denied any wrongdoing.

Prince Harry also started legal proceedings against the owners of two British tabloids, The Sun and The Daily Mirror, over allegations that they hacked his phones.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2019, with the headline ''Colonial' coverage of duchess criticised by lawmakers'. Print Edition | Subscribe