Negative stories 'were NOT fed' by Palace in 'war against Meghan'

Any suggestion negative stories were ‘fed’ to the media by the Palace as part of a ‘war’ against Meghan is categorically untrue – in fact I ignored Harry’s frankly rude and unprofessional behaviour towards the press, says Royal Editor REBECCA ENGLISH

The suggestion that negative stories were routinely ‘fed’ to the media by Buckingham Palace as part of a ‘war’ against Meghan, or to negate less favourable stories about other senior royals, is categorically untrue.

Why can I say this with absolute confidence?

Well, because as a long-standing royal correspondent on the country’s biggest-selling daily newspaper, I can only presume that those stories would have, on occasions, been leaked to me.

And if my job was as easy as sitting by the phone waiting for a friendly man (or woman) in grey suit to ring me, then I wouldn’t be the walking candidate for Botox that I so badly am.

Meghan says dramatically in the latest Netflix trailer: ‘I wasn’t being thrown to the wolves. I was being fed to the wolves’

The final three episodes will be released worldwide tomorrow, after today’s trailer (pictured)

Harry’s ‘treacherous collaboration with Netflix’ has ‘destroyed his relationship with William’, a royal expert has claimed.

Tom Bower also suggested that the public acrimony between the heir to the throne and his brother is a bad look for Britain.

Mr Bower said: ‘Their mother Diana would be appalled by Harry’s disloyalty. 

‘Not only is that rupture distressing for William and King Charles, but also for the country. 

‘The image of warring brothers is terrible for Britain’s global reputation.’

It comes as a friend of the Prince of Wales told the Sunday Times that he will ‘definitely’ not be watching the controversial series. 

According to friends William is upset by Harry’s assertion in the first ‘volume’ of the docu-series that he married Kate because she ‘fits the mould’ rather than for love.

I can honestly say that I never heard a negative word said about the couple until at least six months after their marriage – and then not from anyone inside the palace walls.

Indeed the opposite was true. As the trickle of hints that all was not well in their household became a torrent, palace aides did nothing but firefight for the couple.

Staff, they insisted, were leaving for personal reasons or because they had an exciting new opportunity to pursue. Never because of Meghan.

Even when I personally witnessed her round on a member of her team, leaving this individual in tears of humiliation, I was told – with a straight-face – that it had merely been a ‘security incident’.

I had stand-up rows with palace staff when I suggested they had been economical with the truth and my fact-checking calls regarding stories I intended to publish were met with open sighs of frustration.

Harry’s frankly rude and unprofessional behaviour towards the Press was also never reflected in my copy. The impressive charity work he was doing deserved to be the star of the show.

In fact I have always had great sympathy with the prince’s historic hostility to the media in general and wanted to try improve relations.

When, for example, Harry fell off his polo pony during match and appeared to have a very un-regal tantrum on the field, it was me who approached his team to say that it was clear something else was wrong and would it not be helpful to explain what, so that the incident wasn’t presented in a negative light.

This was quite a daring move, I have to say, in the normally rather formal relations between palace and Press.

My request resulted in Harry ringing me from the airport in Barbados on an aide’s phone to say that yes, he had been bet a significant amount of money for his charity, Sentebale, not to fall off and he was upset and frustrated at losing them that much-needed money.

REBECCA ENGLISH: Harry’s frankly rude and unprofessional behaviour towards the Press was also never reflected in my copy. The impressive charity work he was doing deserved to be the star of the show. (Pictured: The Sussexes and Waleses watch a flypast on balcony of Buckingham Palace in 2018) 

Ms Afia said the ‘final straw’ was negative press about her relationship with Thomas Markle

Footage of Buckingham Palace was used as Meghan’s allies described a briefing war against her

Instead of a story regarding our favourite petulant prince, my quotes ran around the world about what a good egg Harry was – and, from memory, the businessman concerned stuck to his side of the deal and paid out regardless.

The suggestion that I might be persuaded not to run a story about another member of royal family by being offered something far more diverting about the Duchess of Sussex (or indeed Harry) can only come from someone utterly ignorant of the media.

The royal households have always respected the fact that I may, on occasions, run stories that show their principles in a less than flattering light (indeed, one of my less helpful stories about Prince Charles prompted a major diplomatic incident) and that is part of the role of a free Press.

The important thing is that is is accurate and, importantly, reflects their side of the story – something that the Sussexes’ refusal to allow their press team to even speak to most British media makes it frustratingly hard to do.

The truth is that negative stories about Harry and Meghan only began to eek out when their behaviour became so obnoxious that it was impossible to hide.

And that’s not something I expect you will hear about when today’s dramatic finale lands on Netflix.

‘Palace leaked false stories about me to bury bad news’: Incredulity at Meghan’s most direct attack yet in final Netflix trailer

By Vanessa Allen and Rebecca English for the Daily Mail

The Duchess of Sussex’s allies claimed yesterday that Palace officials deliberately used her as a ‘scapegoat’ to deflect criticism away from other senior royals.

False stories and negative briefings against her and Prince Harry were given as part of a ‘war against Meghan’, she and her associates alleged in the latest attacks to emerge from the couple’s Netflix series.

Their lawyer Jenny Afia said she had seen evidence of ‘negative briefing from the Palace against Harry and Meghan to suit other people’s agendas’.

And the duchess’s friend Lucy Fraser, who attended the couple’s wedding, said the Palace had used the duchess as a scapegoat, adding: ‘They would feed stories on her – whether they were true or not – to avoid other less favourable stories being printed.’

The Duke of Sussex continues: ‘They were never willing to tell the truth to protect us’

But the Sussexes have failed to provide any evidence for these extraordinary claims by either Ms Afia or Ms Fraser.

The allegations were included in a new teaser for the Netflix series, ahead of the final three episodes released today. They appear certain to contain further incendiary claims as the duke and duchess continue to share their ‘truth bomb’ version of events.

In the latest trailer, Ms Afia said: ‘There was a real kind of war against Meghan, and I’ve certainly seen evidence that there was negative briefing from the Palace against Harry and Meghan to suit other people’s agendas.’ It was not clear whether any of the ‘evidence’ described by Ms Afia would be included in the latest episodes.

The duchess recounted seeing stories about her appear if there had been criticism of other senior royals. 

She said: ‘You would just see it play out. A story about someone in the family would just pop up for a minute, and they’d go, ‘We gotta make that go away.’ But there’s real estate on a website homepage, there’s real estate there on a newspaper front cover, and something has to be filled in there about someone royal.’ 

Royal sources condemned the claims of leaking false stories and negative briefings as ‘fanciful’. 

One well-placed source said: ‘The latest claims are absurd and show a level of paranoia that simply wasn’t – or isn’t – borne out by reality. The Sussexes’ team did nothing but fire-fight to protect them for three years, both in the run-up to and after their wedding. 

During the trailer, Harry makes the astonishing claim that he and Meghan were victims of ‘institutional gaslighting’ 

‘The suggestion that negative stories were deliberately leaked against Meghan as some sort of ‘war’ against her or to prevent stories about other members of the Royal Family being printed, is not just fanciful but untrue.’

Another pointed out that last year Meghan was herself forced to apologise to the High Court for failing to remember authorising a senior aide to brief the authors of the flattering Sussex biography Finding Freedom.

The couple have made a series of accusations about their treatment by the Palace and the media, with Meghan claiming she was ‘fed to the wolves’.

Ms Afia said the ‘final straw in a campaign of negative, nasty coverage about her’ had been a series of articles about the breakdown of Meghan’s relationship with her father, Thomas.

In a previous trailer for the tell-all documentary, Harry said Palace aides were ‘happy to lie’ to protect his older brother William, but would not tell the truth to protect him and his wife.

The six-part series, Harry & Meghan, forms part of the couple’s multi-million-pound deal with Netflix, which they signed after quitting as working royals.

It has been a global hit, but has seen the Sussexes facing calls for them to give up their titles.

Critics accused the couple of using the series to settle old scores and launch a disinformation campaign against the Royal Family and the media. Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace declined to comment.

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