There’s no questioning that Prince Harry has undergone a transformation in the past few years. The prince was once believed to be a carefree partyer, a mischievous member of the royal family.
Harry has turned that image around quite a bit.
Harry has proven his dedication to causes dear to his heart, including mental health awareness and conservationist efforts. Through this work, he’s proved that there’s more substance to the him than was once assumed. Then there are the transformations Harry has made as he’s become a husband and father. He’s fiercely protective of his family, as evidenced by his recent statement regarding the press’s treatment of Meghan Markle.
The couple recently released a statement slamming the press and announcing a lawsuit against the Mail for publishing a private letter penned by Meghan. While the beginning of the statement expresses both of their views, it turns to Harry discussing his own experiences. He drew from a painfully personal place to get his point across.
“I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person,” Harry said. “I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.” The comparison to the late Princess Diana has many considering how the press may have played into her death and makes palpable Harry’s fear for his wife and child.
For fans of the royal family, Prince William and Prince Harry hold a special place in their hearts. It seems that the world has held them close, protective since watching the brothers lose their mother, Princess Diana, in a tragic car crash.
Now that they are grown up, there’s an immense interest in their lives. We saw it first when William married Kate Middleton and welcomed three children. We’ve seen it again as Harry married Meghan Markle and welcomed their son.
The press has been rather vicious toward Meghan from the start. As a woman of color and divorcée, many questioned whether Harry was making an appropriate choice in a partner. The bias around Meghan was then spun into a series of stories claiming no one in the royal family could stand her.
Meghan has kept her composure and been the epitome of grace, even as she’s publicly torn apart day after day. For Harry, this treatment hits too close to home, as he boldly proclaimed in a statement slamming the tabloid media’s treatment of his wife.
At one point in the statement, which also announced a lawsuit against the Mail after the publication of a private letter penned by Meghan, Harry draws a startling comparison to his wife’s treatment and that of his late mother.
“Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one. Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself,” Harry said. “I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”
Harry opened up about Diana’s death when commemorating the 20th anniversary of her tragic passing two years ago. He and William openly discussed their own coping with mental health issues in the aftermath as part of a larger mental health initiative with Kate Middleton.
In interviews during that time, Harry discussed his regret that he didn’t open up about his feelings sooner, getting the support he so desperately needed. He also held no punches when discussing how the press played a role in his mother’s death.
“I think one of the hardest things to come to terms with is the fact that the people who chased her into the tunnel were the same people who were taking photographs of her while she was still dying on the backseat of the car,” Harry candidly says in Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy.
“She’d had quite a severe head injury, but she was still very much alive in the backseat,” he continued. “And those people who caused the accident, instead of helping, were taking photographs of her dying in the backseat. Then, those photographs made their way back to news desks.”
No one can even begin to imagine how traumatizing growing up knowing all these things have been for Harry, who was only 12 years old when Diana died. Now he works to keep the same thing from happening to Meghan.
Like Diana, Meghan has a mixed relationship with the public and the press. While people love her and her personality, questions of whether she’s a good fit for the royal family have permeated the news since the announcement of her and Harry’s engagement. She’s also shaken things up by taking on royal protocol in some respects, which is very reminiscent of Diana.
Harry has taken steps to protect his wife and child from the kind of hounding by the media that his family endured as he grew up and particularly after his parents’ divorce. Sadly, it’s clear that limiting access to Meghan and Archie isn’t enough to ease Harry’s mind.
The sad reality is that Harry is justified in being concerned about his family after what happened to his mother. As we see more heinous acts of violence become the norm and public figures endure increased run-ins with scary situations, Harry is right to speak out publicly and do what he can to protect his family.