‘People actively prevented’ Duchess Meghan from responding to untrue stories

Royal Ascot, Portrait of TRH Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex and TRH Meghan the Duchess of Sussex in front of HRH Queen Elizabeth the Second

There are always comments about whether or not we should “believe” royal stories coming out of People Magazine. From where I sit, as someone who consumes a ton of royal media, I find it almost quaint to see the way People Magazine is basically the only celebrity media outlet really trying to do balanced coverage of the royals. People Mag will also publish anything, any story, any PR fluff piece given to them by publicists or royal communications offices, whether it’s Clarence House or Kensington Palace or even the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s new PR representatives here in America.

Which leads me to this – People has an exclusive story about Meghan’s lawsuit against the Daily Mail, a lawsuit which includes a side-issue of whether or not Meghan authorized her friends to speak to People Magazine in early 2019. Last week, the British media made a big deal about Meghan’s legal filings in reaction to some actions taken by the Mail, and Meghan has now said on the record that she felt “unprotected by the institution” while she was pregnant. She was definitely left out in the cold by the institution, meaning the various palaces and communications offices. The same people who were smearing her were telling her she couldn’t defend herself. So now *someone* went to People Mag to talk about that issue:

Meghan Markle was left frustrated by the way the palace handled “untrue” tabloid stories, says a source. Court documents that surfaced last week as part of Meghan and Prince Harry’s lawsuit against a British media company revealed that the Duchess of Sussex felt unable to defend herself against media intrusion.

“The go-to position [at the palace] was no comment or to ignore stories, and people actively prevented her from responding to stuff that we knew to be untrue,” a source close to Meghan and Harry tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “That is what she is taking issue with.”

The new documents filed by Meghan’s legal team claimed that the false reports caused “tremendous emotional distress and damage to her mental health,” leaving her feeling “unprotected by the institution and prohibited from defending herself” during her pregnancy with 1-year-old son Archie.

A source with close knowledge of the workings of the royal household tells PEOPLE that the royal family’s history of silence on news stories comes from their desire to not heighten the situation.

“The palace teams are faced with the difficulty that when things go wrong — particularly on private life matters — quite often any action taken with the media makes it worse,” says the source. “It’s not that the royal household doesn’t want to help — more that they don’t want to make it worse by giving a gossipy story more oxygen.”

The source close to Meghan and Harry notes that the remarks in the documents are not aimed at the royal family. “Some people are making [these documents] about individuals. It is about the [institution] as a whole and its practices.”

[From People]

Personally, I believe that some of these quotes came from someone authorized to speak on the Sussexes’ behalf, but I don’t understand why. I don’t get the purpose of underlining that particular point, that “Some people are making [these documents] about individuals. It is about the [institution] as a whole.” It can be both! It can be about how the institution failed Meghan and Harry AND how certain individuals failed to protect Meghan and Harry as well. Blaming this solely on the institution is a distinction without a difference.

As for the larger disagreement about how the palace can or should respond to certain stories… none of this is happening in a vacuum. For the past few years, every royal-watcher has seen how the Sussexes were handled and treated versus how other royal figures were handled. Prince Andrew riding to church with his mummy and getting authorization from Buckingham Palace to do that dreadful interview. Duchess Kate threatening to sue Tatler because they called her thin and boring. It seems like only *certain* royals are free to respond and engage in PR.

Meghan Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry Duke of Sussex pictured at Field of Remembrance in London

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, WENN and Avalon Red.

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44 Responses to “‘People actively prevented’ Duchess Meghan from responding to untrue stories”

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  1. ABritGuest says:

    Not sure this is an exclusive as this is literally what the court docs say -inability to respond to stories& Huffington post and Newsweek reporters said they came up against this too.

  2. Aurora says:

    All of the comments from the Sussex “source” came straight from the court papers. People does not have a Sussex source.

    The editor in chief of People Is a big fan of resident anti-Meghan misogynist Gary Janetti.

  3. Brit says:

    All of this nonsense has shown how dull, archaic, unnecessary, pointless, racist, sexist, pathetic and any other verbs you can think of to describe this institution is. It’s one big scam that people continue to fall for. I’m starting to think someone is sabotaging the whole family. I mean, the leaks, Andrew, the obvious smear and running out of Harry/Meghan, William/Kate are puppets and losers, Charles and Camila are irrelevant and the Queen doesn’t seem to have any awareness. What is going on here?

    • Nyro says:

      It’s a total scam. And Meghan exposed the scam. When someone who, by virtue of her birth, is supposedly “lesser” than the royals yet outshines ALL of them at every turn, then it exposes this whole bloodline anointed by God thing for the farce it is. The Black American woman was smarter, better looking, harder working, more charismatic, more empathetic, more accomplished, and more interesting than all of them. She royal-ed better than the royal institution she married into. And did so almost effortlessly! She had to go. Her very existence exposed them all for what they are: bland, boring, poorly educated, bigoted, unattractive, lazy grifters.

      • clomo says:

        Oh god you are so right, I never much thought about how dysfunctional they really are until she came along. I had an idea but she shined her light so bright there was no denying they are a bunch of lazy bums on the worlds best dole.

      • Florence says:

        This is such a perfect comment. They’re royals by name – she stepped up and was royal in action, deed and thought. She took that position and NAILED it.

        It’s a shame because I always thought my country (UK) loved a princess who is pretty, hardworking and humble. Turns out that’s only when she’s white :/

      • MJM says:

        I agree with everything you said.

      • Ennie says:

        She was even more keen and actually doing things Starting from zero than the Keen-in chief with an experience Of over 10 years in keen-ess.

      • Babz says:

        You know, I find a certain beauty, symmetry, and serendipity in the idea that Diana was the first one to shine that big, glaring spotlight on this family. She was the one who let it be known that the men in gray were in charge of the monarchy, and that this family is not all that nice, especially to married-ins. Most especially to female married-ins who were basically cast aside once their baby-making jobs were fulfilled. Now, it’s “Diana’s youngest son” and his brilliant biracial American wife who have completely exploded the lid off by not being willing to be treated any way except with respect and dignity. By standing up for themselves and their son, they went a long way towards finishing what Diana started. Her eldest has proven himself to share all the worst traits of that institution, with a few of his own nasty little twists thrown in. There is a plan at work here, and I don’t mean in a deliberate way, but in a way that says what’s happening to the BRF right now is exactly what’s meant to happen. And they are failing miserably at dealing with it. I only wish Harry and Meghan hadn’t had to endure all the pain and anguish in the process, and I am so glad they stepped away from that toxic mess.

      • Guest with Cat says:

        Well said, Meghan outclassed them all. And so did Doria. From keeping a dignified silence to rocking designer formalwear with a regal posture and bearing at the wedding and christening, she put paid to those straight outta Compton insults that were aimed directly at her personally despite her status as a private citizen. Doria has been grace and dignity personified through all the smears and betrayals of personal details and photographs that she also endured. Now we see how a strong radiant woman like Meghan was able to emerge from the toxic sludge of…yeah let’s be kind and leave it right there.

      • Anance says:

        @Babz stated

        “She was the one who let it be known that the men in gray were in charge of the monarchy and that this family is not all that nice, especially to married-ins.”

        I always thought a big problem with Meghan’s presence in the BRF is that the “gray men” did want to take orders from a black woman. Most of them are aristocrats of various – like Holder of the Silver Stick and stuff like that.

        We all know how a faction in an office can create a toxic atmosphere for a newcomer. I am sure they created a poisonous cesspool of gossip and exaggeration. So, it became easy for everyone to go along, even the ever not-to-bright BRF.

        They left out to dry, which we now know was completely intentional. After all Prince Andrew, a suspected pedophile who once was accused of “coming to blows” with an aide, still goes to church with Mummy. And, the BRF has claimed up about this sordid affair.

    • ArtHistorian says:

      They are just sabotaging themselves because they aren’t that bright and the institution hasn’t adapted to the present.

      • Harper says:

        In theory, the not giving oxygen approach is smart. Case in point: The original Turnip Toff story would have faded into strange nothingness but for Will’s explosion/panic and his running to Richard Kay to refute it all. So the theory of no comment may be a nice, abstract thought but when dealing with human emotions and reputations it goes out the window whenever a senior Royal feels like it should. Charles sat down to an interview to respond to his bad press; Andrew sat to respond to his bad press; Will pounds his fists and runs to his lawyers for his and Kate’s bad press. But someone in charge–Will or Charles–deliberately stopped Harry and Meghan from responding. It was a disgusting, dishonest power play that dehumanized the couple and has to spring from some unhinged, uncontrollable emotion such as jealousy.

        I can just imagine the pain and disbelief Harry must have felt to see the “institution” turn on him. In such an instance, any rational person would bolt. It is absolute proof of the stupidity of the “institution” that it dared Harry to leave and shows how completely they underestimated him.

      • notasugarhere says:

        Some royal houses may never adapt. Denmark has, they’ve embraced Mary. Netherlands have, they’ve embraced Maxima.

        Spain? Sexist former king and unhappy queen consort sided with their criminal daughter against Letizia. Sidelined Letizia for years, wouldn’t let her do international work because Sofia didn’t like sharing the spotlight.

        Sweden? Sexist king still complaining his son isn’t the heir. Tried to stop his daughter from marrying a self-made businessman. Kept manoeuvering to keep the son and DIL supported by taxpayers until he was forced to reduce the size of the working royal family.

        Japan? Masako abused for years because she was intelligent, a trained diplomat, and fluent in several languages. She could have been the Maxima for Japan but the IHA wouldn’t have it. Then there’s the rightful heir shoved aside because she’s female.

      • Nyro says:

        Their standing in the world stage is going to plummet massively when the queen dies. Younger people in their own country do not care about them. Also, in the era of BLM and the “eat the rich” sentiment among younger peoole, it’s going to be hard for them to keep up this farce. This generation will not accept ribbon cutting and hopping into a bakery to pick up a cake for your birthday as “work”. Harry and Meghan understood that. The rest of them do not. Baldy and Ofwilliam are like something out of the queen’s era. Even Charles is more progressive. Those two think that we still live in a world where their mere presence is enough. That’s it’s enough to just “be” instead of “do” and that everyone should fall at their feet and pay for their royal lifestyle. They are not going to be able to survive. Diana is an icon but she is now a figure for the history books for younger people. It’s crazy to think about but there are now full grown adults who weren’t even alive when Diana was killed. So they don’t have that “personal” connection to her that those of us who grew up watching her did. She’s a historical figure to them. So the BRF aren’t going to be able to exploit the Diana magic with these young people . They’ve been riding off of Diana’s starpower since 1980 and those days are coming to an end. H&M were their only hope for relevancy and they screwed that up. Twenty years from now, the BRF will either be abolished or they’ll be of no consequence like the other European royals.

    • Indiesr says:

      I couldn’t agree more.

  4. Priscila Bezerra-Fischer says:

    Well, last time KP spoke, they were not helping Meghan because ” all stories were true”, so I really do not understand why Meghan and Harry would go out of their way to stress she understood the royal policies at play, especially when their reasoning is that they are not going after anyone in particular, but the practice?

    Is that what they are trying to say?

    If so, it seems an unnecessary courtesy when KP made sure to throw them under the bus and will continue to do so.

    The only reason for they to try and make this distinction, in conjunction with Meghan asking the name of her friends not to be divulged- is to try and steer the lawsuit back to being about copyright infringement. If they confirm there were people in KP actively giving them bad advise and refusing doing for them what they have been doing for others, this opens the window for the Royal Rota to keep pesteriung the Judge to pester them to ” explain” the points being made, thus providing even more gossip fodder?

    That is the only reason for this mind gymnastics IMO.

  5. Golly Gee says:

    I disagree that this is from the Sussex camp. The context makes a lot more sense coming from the palace: making excuses for why Harry and Meghan weren’t supported, and taking the heat off of individuals by vaguely blaming the institution.

    • beatrix kiddo says:

      I agree. No sources from the Sussexes ever speak to People. Plus, they specifically told us no sources will speak on their behalf.

  6. Faye says:

    The palaces engage in tabloid stories to put an end to them when they want to, and it was never for Meghan. Will cheating, Kate botox or hair extensions quickly refuted, but anything goes when said about Meghan.

    Why Harry said, fuck this, and left with his family.

  7. Becks1 says:

    “The institution” is made up of people. When we say “the palace” we don’t mean that the actual physical building of Buckingham Palace made a decision. It’s a building. We mean the people who work there. So the royal family can try to hide behind this idea of “the institution” but the institution is made of the family and courtiers.

    I don’t think this is a Sussex source, I think it’s another palace source, but one who may be more pro-Meghan – so this person understands the palace’s rationale, but also understands why Meghan was upset and over which specific stories. That’s why these quotes are both defending the palace and are sympathetic to Meghan.

    As a final point – the problem with this whole line of defense from the palace is that any serious royal follower knows its BS. They respond to stories all the time. Kate doesn’t wear extensions, that was a scar from a childhood accident! Andrew is willing to talk to the FBI, Andrew’s whole car crash of an interview. William threatening legal action against coverage of Rose Hanbury, William and Harry issuing a statement that there was no bullying (ha, no one believes that), etc.

    People push this idea of “never explain, never complain” but its simply not true. That’s not how the royal family operates. It’s just how Meghan was expected to operate.

    • MsIam says:

      I agree, this is from the palace and that part about the “ institution, not individuals” is them trying to doge the bullet. But we know it was allegedly an “individual “ who was paid money for leaking stories don’t we? Besides, after the last few “Kate is the victim of mean Meghan” stories, I can’t see the Sussexes speaking to People ever again. At least not as long as that editor is there.

      • Ginger says:

        Someone on twitter said that Meghan isn’t going to point fingers at Will and Kate because they are heavily protected. Saying it is KP staff
        (Christian Jones) is pretty much saying it is W&K because they are the boss and tell them what to do. She isn’t going to out anyone in the RF.

    • Faye says:


  8. JaneDoesWerk says:

    I believe that Meghan is not saying what I’m thinking because she doesn’t want to blow up Harry’s relationship with his brother, but I think she is probably aware that a TON of those false stories were probably rolled out by sources within the palace to distract from Williams affair with Rose Hanbury.

    I sort of interpreted Meghan’s frustration as being that she was prohibited from responding to false information by the people who put it out there in the first place and it lead her to feel distrustful of the entire institution knowing she had become their sacrificial lamb.

    • Emily says:

      William strikes me as so asexual. I know he probably has affairs, but I can’t picture it. It doesn’t seem believable that he has sex.

  9. February-Pisces says:

    The Tatler article is proof that when it comes to the Cambridge’s KP will defend them in a hot second. It’s also proof that the Cambridge’s have a dictatorial control over their image and if any press dares to cross them, they will feel the wrath of their lawyers.

    Every single article or picture William has ever disagreed on, he’s had his lawyers on the case, every single time.

    All public figures have publicists who manage their image. If there is anything unflattering written about them, the publicists are usually on the case, and will figure out the best way to handle difficult situations. Imaging that those same people who are supposed to be looking after you are the ones actively working against you. It seems like harry and Meghan are the only public figures have had their right to reply taken away from them. They were not even allowed to make their own decisions regarding their own public image.

    Harry and Meghan deserve their right to reply and they deserve to have their truth told.

    • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

      @FebruaryPisces It’s not ‘their’ truth, it’s THE truth. There’s only one, and it’s in possession of the Sussexes.

  10. hmmt says:

    I think the royals are in a tough spot. They are and have always been a huge part of gossip and tabloids. Responding to each rumor or story would be incredibly time consuming. I can see that by largely not commenting is just the easiest way to deal. Then every other small thing could be be perceived as true if they dont comment. I’m not a UK taxpayer, but I’d be pretty upset if my money went to a whole section of communications (and one in every palace) just to deal with rumors of their behavior vs actually policy, charities, etc. Either way they can’t win.

    • ABritGuest says:

      I agree it’s a tough balance as to when to respond especially when thousands of stories are published on royals. But if they can deny hair extensions claim then they can comment on more serious articles eg linking Meghan’s cookbook project to funding terrorism. They were quick to comment on court filings about Meghan feeling unprotected by the institution.

      Unfortunately palace wanted certain stories out there eg the staff issues so there’s that.

      Not sure if one thing she would have wanted to deny was Markle Snr saying he had no help. Subsequent drama & current court case could have been avoided if he had been shut down early& I do think his many rants on TV& in articles did some damage to her reputation in the U.K.

    • Harper says:

      This was a vendetta against Meghan, staged to turn public opinion against her. Will and Kate participated in the vendetta (commercial jet stunt). It was not little gossipy stories that aren’t worth the time of day. It was a mean game that Will and Kate sanctioned and probably orchestrated and they drove the son of the future king and his family out of the country.

    • Sid says:

      They don’t ignore stories. They are just selective in deciding which stories need a response. If they can complain about weaves, adultery allegations, and about an entire article that was mostly rehashed gossip from 10 years ago, then making one or two statements admonishing the press for their blatant racism towards Meghan or their harassment of her during her pregnancy would have been no big thing. But that didn’t happen in part because they were complicit in some of it.

    • The family not having the smarts to realise they needed to revise their communications strategy the moment the engagement was announced was their first blunder. Then the refusal to stand up against racism, xenophobia, bullying and misogynoir was their second blunder. All the revisionist history doesn’t change that the senior royals look like moral cowards. Even Martin Luther King III acknowledged the mistreatment the Duchess of Sussex received from British establishment. Their brand is cowardice and hiding from the FBI now.
      Good luck with that.

  11. Molly says:

    Harry won’t directly criticize his family. He criticize s the courtiers and the institution. Both Sussexes can be too wordy and overexplain (just like the Cambridges are repetitive and uncreative), so I can see their camp making sure to stress they are not in any way possibly criticizing individuals like family members.

  12. Harla says:

    But the Queen is the head, the CEO of this institution so why can’t she change the way it runs? This “excuse” makes the royals look incompetent as “employers”, allowing their courtiers to run their business right into the ground.

    As has been pointed out time and again, the palaces respond to “rumors and gossip” when they feel like it or when their principal instructs them to. But Harry and especially Meghan were just supposed to take not only “rumors and gossip” but vile racist and misogynistic lies without hitting back?

    As I’ve said before the tabloids have now seen that they can attack a senior member of the royal family with impunity, imho, it won’t be long before they come after W&K and C&C and they have no one to blame but themselves.

    • Dee says:

      It’s time to phase out this anachronism. Keep one person as head of state to perform any constitutional duties and then start opening up the estates and palaces as museums and community spaces.

      • Mary says:

        As an American, I have no interest at play here but I do think it must be tiring to face the notion of having to pay for a family’s incompetency, misdeeds and crimes in perpetuity. At least here we get to try to kick them out every four years.

  13. RoyalBlue says:

    this is so weird, because last week the story was that Meghan was left frustrated by the way the palace handled “true ” tabloid stories, and now it’s that the stories were untrue. the narrative keeps changing and it’s so tiresome.

  14. Ty says:

    I don’t remember, but did Harry and Meghan every threaten to sue the tabloids? Or is that what this article is saying that not only could they not respond but also not threaten to sue the tabloids?

  15. TheOriginalMia says:

    For an institution that doesn’t give air to all the tabloid nonsense, they sure gave not only air, but gasoline to the fire dumpster that was the Tatler article. So, in other words, it’s a whole lot of bs about being silent. That may be what BP/CH do, but that isn’t how William runs KP. Meghan was supposed to take the abuse and smile, while pregnant and vulnerable, but Keen FFQ Kate can’t be called lazy, jealous and uninspiring. All of which is true. FFQ can’t be called out for wearing weave or using botox, even though, we have eyes and can see the truth.

  16. Abena Asantewaa says:

    The Cambridges had all manner of Royal Reporters using their publications to defend them. eg; Richard Kay, Chris Ship, Rebecca English, Camilla Tominey, Emily Andrews, R Fitzwilliam, Dan Wooten, Richard Palmer, Ingrid Sewell, Piers Morgan, Loraine Kelly, Dickie Arbiter, I could go on all day, and I am not talking about stories they have written about The Sussexes, especially Meghan, but all these names above, actually used their medium to defend The Cambridges. If you have all these journalist all singing from the same hymn sheet, then I call this a conspiracy, to alienate the Sussexes. What a disgraceful family. They are all supposed to support one Crown, but they will draw the knives to backstab any family member who becomes more popular than them, irespective of the fact that hierachy rules. These Windsors, are a bunch of ‘ geniuses’ It must have been a revealation for Meghan. ‘ All that glitters is not gold’

  17. Mariane says:

    People mag didnt get any exclusive! The court docus were released yesterday and alot of people (like myself) are only now catching up.
    Personally I kinda hope the judge releases their 4 women’s names.
    I kinda sense that they’re waiting hoping the mail takes the bait (like the letter) and they’ll sit down with oprah to do an interview on how the gutter rag is threatening them and how they’re mentally struggling with this pressure & invasion of their privacy.

    It might also trigger Harry to finally sit down with tom bradby to do a similar Diana panorama interview. Hopefully naming those inside the palace who made his life living hell