Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have told four tabloids in the UK they will no longer work with them, as Meghan prepares for her court battle with the Mail On Sunday.
The couple sent a letter to the editors of the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror, The Sun and the Daily Express to cease co-operation with them over “distorted, false or invasive” stories.
Harry and Meghan worked with the papers as senior royals through a system called the royal rota.
In a letter to the four tabloids, they said: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have watched people they know – as well as complete strangers – have their lives completely pulled apart for no good reason, other than the fact that salacious gossip boosts advertising revenue.”
The letter also states the couple believe in the free press, and do not intend to avoid criticism.
It adds: “Media have every right to report on and indeed have an opinion on The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, good or bad. But it can’t be based on a lie.”
It comes as Meghan prepares for the first day of her hearing in the High Court in a case again the Mail On Sunday, who she is suing after it printed excerpts of a personal letter to her father.
According to The Guardian, the treatment applies to the four newspapers, their online editions, and the Sunday papers.
However it’s not clear if other papers owned by the same groups are included. For example, the Daily Star has not been named, but is owned by Reach Plc, who also owns the Daily Mirror.
The BBC said the shift means the couple’s PR team will not take calls from the four papers.
Harry, 35, and Meghan, 37, are starting a new chapter of their life in Los Angeles, having previously been linked with Canada.
They have been seen helping to deliver food parcels for Project Angel Food in LA, a charity which supports those with serious illness.
The decision by the duke and duchess to put out the letter has been met with criticism from some. Mail On Sunday showbiz editor Katie Hind shared an article she wrote in November 2019 which recalled a 2013 meeting, with Meghan “determined to raise her profile”.
Piers Morgan tweeted: “Imagine announcing this in the middle of a global pandemic? Imagine thinking anyone cares about their hurt little me-me-me egos as health workers around the world are dying at work? What a pair of repulsive, deluded narcissistic tools.”
However some have praised their decision. Producer Lex Croucher wrote “love your work” on Twitter next to the couple’s statement.
When the Sussexes returned to the UK for their final engagements in March there was a shift in the way their events were covered, with some select media invited to the Duchess of Sussex’s last meetings with Commonwealth leaders in Buckingham Palace.
They also used a specific photographer for several events, which they put out on their Instagram account after they happened.
Many engagements were never listed in the Court Circular despite the couple still being senior royals when they were carried out.
When Harry and Meghan were dating, the prince released a powerful statement about the treatment of his then-girlfriend, speaking about “abuse and harassment” and “racial undertones” particularly by trolls online.
He was 12 when his mother, Princess Diana, was killed in a car crash in Paris when she was being pursued by paparazzi.
They both spoke about media intrusion in a documentary filmed during what turned out to be their final royal tour abroad in South Africa in October 2019.