The Daily Beast’s Royalist column has some interesting analysis of the Daily Mail’s unsuccessful appeal. Again, they were appealing the Duchess of Sussex’s summary judgment victory back in February. For the appeal, the Mail had “new evidence” in the form of selected emails and texts between Meghan and Jason Knauf. Knauf provided those communications to the Mail’s lawyers, and he did so with either the implicit or explicit approval of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Considering Knauf still had a job after he turned over the evidence, I think we can safely say that everything he did was approved of by the Cambridges. Knauf was even front and center during the Keenshot rollout months after he contacted the Mail’s lawyers. So, yeah. It is what it is. Curiously, the Royalist’s sources claim that with all of Meghan’s legal victories, suddenly William is more powerful? It’s a reach, your honor. Some highlights from this piece:
Meghan wasn’t conciliatory: It’s arguable whether ANL would be threatening to go on in their (probably) futile battle had Meghan’s statement been a little more conciliatory. But there was no, “I want to put this behind me and move on” for Meghan. Instead, Meghan called the Mail’s modus operandi a “daily fail,” the derogatory nickname used by the paper’s critics, and called out owner “Lord Jonathan Rothermere” by name.
Why the Mail published Meghan’s letter, even knowing they were wrong to do so: As a former senior figure at one of the Mail group newspapers told The Daily Beast, the paper decided to publish the letter anyway because it “unlocked” the “mystery” of why Meghan’s dad Thomas had missed the royal wedding. “Royalty and a mystery is a fascinating combination, and has been for hundreds of years. A royal bride whose father was not coming to the wedding? It was such an unlikely series of events. This was an amazing story, this document fell into their lap and what were they to do? Royals don’t usually sue, so they decided to take a chance.”
David Yelland, a former editor with Rupert Murdoch-owned outlets: “The relationship between Harry, Meghan and the press plays out on many different planes. On the legal plane of this three-dimensional chess game, there is no doubt this is a huge win for Meghan… technically they were right, they were always going to win, there is no public interest defense for the Mail. But being right and being wise aren’t always the same thing. Meghan’s victory statement was an example of an extremely unwise PR strategy. Personally namechecking Jonathan Rothermere, the proprietor, in that statement is hugely significant. It’s a deeply personal attack on him. So Harry and Meghan have won this battle, but the effect of that statement will be to intensify their war with the Mail group. These newspapers come out seven days a week, and their website updates every 10 seconds. The old PR axiom that it’s best not to fall out with anyone who owns an ink factory springs to mind.”
Another “British tabloid source” speaks: “The judges were ruling on a very narrow area of law and we didn’t expect them to overturn Warby’s original decision. Associated have always been indignantly convinced of their right on this matter, but the law was pretty clear… But this result won’t change the press’s attitude to Meghan. That changed hugely for the worst when she and Harry launched their broadside at the end of the royal tour to Southern Africa in 2019. I can see from a moral point of view why they cut off most of the British press, but from a strategic point of view it was the worst thing they could have done.”
The same unnamed British tabloid source: The source said that one unintended outcome of Meghan’s victory was that it “put all the power into William’s hands.” The source said: “Now no one can afford to write anything negative about the Cambridges, as then you’d have both the Sussexes and Cambridges cutting you off. Hence the hugely flattering press about the Cambridges… Look what has happened to the poor BBC who tried to get to the bottom of the story.”
David Yelland says Meghan should have invited Jonathan Rothermere round for tea. “Imagine that world for a moment. Where would they be? They would be 20 times better off. But they just seem unable to let go of this very binary approach that something’s either right or wrong. Life is subtler than that. Meghan is playing to an American audience, but her husband is a prince of the realm and will always have a British audience. He can leave this country physically, but he never leave this country in terms of media coverage. Because of who he is, he will always be a news story. For them to go around destroying relationships with the British press may not have much of an effect on her, but it will have a profound effect on him. He has an audience here and people care about him.”
The thing about “putting all the power into William’s hands” is so curious and it feels like such dumb, twisted logic. Either the British media is all-powerful and royals must bow down to the strength and authority of the British media OR Prince William is in a brilliant position because no paper will ever risk alienating him now that Harry and Meghan are so reviled by the British media. Make it make sense. That part sounds like a keen fantasy. As for the rest of it… the British media simply cannot handle the fact that they’re taking Ls constantly, that they lost access to their two golden geese, that Harry is still suing them and that the Sussexes are holding them to account constantly. That’s why “former tabloid editors” are whining about how Meghan and Harry should have simply invited them around for tea or given them access.
Photos courtesy of Instar, Avalon Red.