Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were pretty vague about why they decided to “step back as ‘senior members’ of the Royal Family,” saying that they were “providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter.”
But in the months since “Megxit,” more details have emerged about the decision, and the revelation that Markle had to keep quiet about tabloid dishonesty feels like a big piece of the puzzle.
Documents filed by Markle’s legal team in a lawsuit against British tabloids claim that false reporting about her family caused “tremendous emotional distress and damage to her mental health” that left her feeling “unprotected by the institution and prohibited from defending herself.”
In other words, Markle wasn’t allowed to dispute the false claims that circulated about her in the media, a prohibition that was put on her by Buckingham Palace. A source told People that “the go-to position was ‘no comment’ or to ignore stories, and people actively prevented her from responding to stuff that we knew to be untrue.”
The muzzling of Markle is part of a longstanding royal strategy,.
“The palace teams are faced with the difficulty that when things go wrong — particularly on private life matters — quite often any action taken with the media makes it worse,” the source continued. “It’s not that the royal household doesn’t want to help — more that they don’t want to make it worse by giving a gossipy story more oxygen.”
Honestly, this strategy makes a lot of sense on paper, but it should have been reconsidered when it became clear that forcing Markle into silence was doing more harm than good.
“I really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a ‘stiff upper lip’—I really tried,” Markle said in a 2019 documentary, “but I think that what that does internally is probably really damaging.” A desire to avoid that damage — and protect her son from it — was clearly a big factor in Markle’s desire to leave the Royal Family.