Just days after Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, expressed support for Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry’s reported plans to take a six-week break from royal duties, more than 70 women MPs from across the UK have sent a letter to the Duchess of Sussex voicing their concerns about some of the media coverage she has received.
On Oct. 29, Holly Lynch, Labour MP for Halifax in West Yorkshire, tweeted a letter that was signed by dozens of female MPs and sent to the duchess at Clarence House. In it, the lawmakers “express... solidarity” with the duchess over “the often distasteful and misleading nature of the stories” about Meghan and her family they say have been printed in some UK publications. The letter was signed by some of Holly’s fellow Labour MPs along with Conservative Party representatives.
“On occasion, stories and headlines have represented an invasion of your privacy and have sought to cast aspersions about your character, without any good reason as far as we can see,” it reads.
“Even more concerning still, we are calling out what can only be described as outdated, colonial undertones to some of these stories.”
Women MPs from all political parties have put aside our differences to stand in solidarity with the Duchess of Sussex today and are sending her this open letter. pic.twitter.com/ytLHG5qPf4
— Holly Lynch MP (@HollyLynch5) October 29, 2019
The letter goes on to say those who signed it feel a duty to challenge the coverage they have seen.
“Although we find ourselves being women in public life in a very different way to you, we share an understanding of the abuse and intimidation which is now so often used as a means of disparaging women in public office from getting on with our very important work,” it continues.
“With this in mind, we expect the national media to have the integrity to know when a story is in the national interest, and when it is seeking to tear a woman down for no apparent reason. You have our assurances that we stand with you in solidarity on this. We will use the means at our disposal to ensure that our press accept your right to privacy and show respect, and that their stories reflect the truth.”
Earlier this month, Meghan and Harry drew worldwide headlines for appearing in an ITV documentary titled Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, shot during their 10-day tour of southern Africa. In it, they both discussed the press coverage they’ve received. Harry said every time he sees and hears a camera, he’s taken right back to the death of his mother, Princess Diana.
In a particularly heart-wrenching clip, Meghan told ITV’s Tom Bradby she found media scrutiny she’s received, at a time when she was becoming a new mother and making the transition to royal life, very difficult.
“You add this on top of being a new mom or trying to be a newlywed,” she said, before trailing off. “Yeah, well, I guess… and also thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I’m ok, but it’s a… very real thing to be going through behind the scenes.”
“And the answer is… would it be fair to say, not really ok? As in, it’s really been a struggle?” Tom asked.
“Yes,” Meghan said.
Over the weekend, the Archbishop of Canterbury told The Sunday Times he supported Meghan and Harry’s reported decision to take a six-week leave.
“All members of the Royal Family are under a pressure that none of us outside it can possibly imagine,” he said. “Every personal action is scrutinized. Every statement is over-interpreted, over-read.”
Justin said he saw nothing unusual about the couple taking some much-needed leave, saying it made sense for them to do so since if one looks at their roles as jobs, they did not take the full time off to which they were entitled after their son Archie Harrison was born.
“I don’t know why it should be a point of criticism that they take leave to spend time with a new baby in the way that the law provides for every single employee in this country,” Justin told the newspaper.
“They’re not superhuman. They’re a very remarkable group of people, all of them. But you can’t lay that kind of extra burden on people.”