Why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Royal Tour Got More Attention Than Kate Middleton and Prince William’s

Just days ago, Prince William and Kate Middleton finished their five-day royal tour of Pakistan.

The Cambridge’s tour was marked by a heavy focus on safety. Precautions included leaving their three children out of the tour, utilizing 1,000 members of the Pakistani police force, and bringing along a staff of fourteen from home.

This trip to Pakistan marks the first royal visit to the country in over 13 years, and focused, among other things, on Pakistan’s response to climate change in the wake of last year’s devastating flood.

With so many newsworthy events highlighting the tour, however, media focus is still intensely focused on another royal tour that came weeks before.

The Sussex royal tour

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on their tour in Africa
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, are no strangers to media attention. By most accounts, their tour of southern Africa went exceedingly well.

Highlights of the trip include meeting politician and humanitarian Graça Machel, visits to local charities and projects that aim to improve life for underserved communities, and the unveiling of three new projects as part of the Queens Commonwealth Canopy, which works to preserve forests.

With all of the goodwill garnered by a successful trip, however, some believe it was overshadowed by the personal dramas of the royal family.

Prince Harry’s statement

On the second-to-last day of their royal tour in Africa, Prince Harry released a statement that many found shocking, addressing his choice to take legal action to stand against the bullying his wife Meghan has endured.

He refers specifically the publishing of a private letter she had written to her father, and brings to light his fears about the negative impact of the media on his family because of the loss of his mother, Princess Diana.

“Though this action may not be the safe one, it is the right one. Because my deepest fear is history repeating itself. 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 & Meghan: An African Journey’

In addition to the usual media coverage, this royal tour was followed by cameras for a different purpose, the creation of an ITV documentary called Harry & Meghan: An African Journey.

In the documentary, along with footage of the trip, the couple gives one-on-one interviews with News at 10 anchor Tom Bradby, and open up about their struggles with the media and the effect it has had on them mentally and emotionally.

Among the revelations aired in the interviews, Meghan Markle agrees with Bradby that she is “not ok” and expresses how vulnerable it is to be pregnant and in the spotlight. Prince Harry echoes his concerns over the safety of his family after the loss of his mother, just as he had in his official press statement.

He also touches on the rumored falling out between Prince William and himself, saying that they are on “different paths”

The aftermath

TV personalities are having a field day debating and discussing their opinions on the actions of the Sussex’s, with shows such as Good Morning Britain broaching the topic on multiple occasions.

Show host Piers Morgan even went as far as bringing the debates off-air and onto Twitter, ending an angered rant about the couple with, “I mean, FFS.” Opinions range from a smattering of empathy to outright disgust that a family so privileged would dare to discuss their own struggles. 

Whereas royals in the past may have taken to responding to media aggression with a stiff upper lip, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have shown that they will not be following that tradition.

As he expressed in his statement, “There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behaviour, because it destroys people and destroys lives.”