The Heartbreaking Reason the Royal Family Has Such a Complicated Relationship With the Press

With social media and the 24-hour news cycle these days, members of the British royal family are under more of a microscope than ever before. But because they are public figures and receive public funding their recent demands for privacy haven’t gone over well with some royal watchers.

However, there is a reason Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, for example, have kept so many details about their son, Archie Harrison, under wraps. Here’s the heartbreaking reason the royals have such a complicated relationship with the press and why some family members like the Duke and Duchess of Sussex want to be more private.

Princess Diana
Princess Diana | VINCENT AMALVY/AFP/Getty Images

Princess Diana’s death

From Prince Charles to Sarah Ferguson to Prince William and Kate Middleton, many royals have argued that their privacy has been invaded far too often.

Back in 1992, photographers captured the infamous pictures of Fergie with her toes in another man’s mouth and other compromising positions while she was still married to Prince Andrew. Two years later, Prince Charles was photographed in the buff while vacationing in France. And in 2012, the paparazzi snapped pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing topless.

But the constant following and hounding of Princess Diana are where the deepest wounds lie as the press chased her to her death in 1997.

Hours before she died, Diana and her boyfriend at the time, Dodi Fayed, decided to try and throw off the relentless paparazzi who were waiting for them to leave the Ritz Hotel in Paris. The couple tried to slip away quietly out a back exit but were still spotted and as they drove off were followed by photographers.

Princess Diana in vehicle with Trevor Rees-Jones, Henri Paul, and Dodi Fayed
Princess Diana in a vehicle with Trevor Rees-Jones, Henri Paul, and Dodi Fayed | Jacques Langevin/Sygma via Getty Images

The Mercedes S280 they were in, driven by Henri Paul, was traveling at a high rate of speed in an effort to lose the paps, however, the car crashed into a pillar in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel. Paul and Fayed were killed instantly but Diana was still alive and while she lay bleeding the photogs took pictures.

The princess was transported to a local hospital where she died several hours later.

In 2008, an inquest jury concluded that Diana and Fayed were “unlawfully killed” as a direct result of their chauffeur driving drunk and the actions of photographers hounding their car. The parties were blamed for the crash due to their “gross negligence.”

Prince Harry wants more privacy for his family

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle | Aaron Chown – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Many royal experts believe Prince Harry is so protective of Markle and is trying to be more private because of what happened with his mother.

“There is no doubt, of course, that again, what happened to his mother haunts him, and is behind a lot,” said royal expert, Richard Fitzwilliams. “The sentiments expressed do appear to be reflected in the way they are currently behaving.”

Royal insider Melanie Bromley agreed and opined that Harry must be feeling that way given the media scrutiny surrounding his wife the past several months.

“We also know how Harry and William feel about the media’s role in the mother’s death. There must be some PTSD, I imagine, ” Bromley said, adding, “But there has been a learning curve of tough situations and how to handle things. Meanwhile, we are living in a much more difficult world.”

Read more: Why Prince William and Prince Harry Are Still Haunted By Their Last Phone Call With Princess Diana