Prince Harry & Meghan Markle’s final public appearance as royals – International news media perspective of the same event

UK Guardian – Photograph: Reuters

The Royal family arrive at Westminster Abbey for the prestigious annual Commonwealth Services Day, global media are waiting. The main character had been Queen Elizabeth II but on March 9th, 2020, the focus was on younger grandson Prince Harry and his new wife, American bi-racial actress Meghan Markle, as they arrive to perform their final public appearance as royals.

The media has its place in society, and it is to report a story as opposed to creating one. January 8th, 2020, the Sussexes made the official announcement they would be stepping back as working royals and moving to Canada, after Meghan had been exposed to continuous harassment from the UK tabloids.

The couple received global attention; we look at how three different countries reported their last public appearance as royals.

Author Caroline Davies, writes with the UK Guardian newspaper and her sub-heading reads, ‘The couple were ushered to their seats before the Queen’.

This immediately portrays an image of awkwardness towards the couple. Davies describes Prince Harry as ‘solemn and pensive at times during the hour-long service’ and the chosen photograph strategically following that comment shows the royal family depicting the same emotions, except Meghan who is smiling. This article did not show the couple favourably, could this be reminiscence of the tabloid abuse Meghan had encountered?

Irish Times author Tanya Sweeney titles her article, ‘Farewell Meghan Markle, you’re finally free of the firm’.

Sweeney is complimentary about Meghan and identifies with the problems that Meghan had encountered trying to fit in with the British ideals and classism’s. She portrays a romantic couple embracing their departure from royal duties making them more free to be themselves. Sweeney may have been unconsciously influenced in her writing to favour the leaving of the monarchy on behalf of a society previously under British rule for centuries.

Irish Times - Photograph: Steve Parsons / PA
Irish Times – Photograph: Steve Parsons / PA

In America, we read the same story but with a theatrical spin and more dramatic language, author Mark Landler writes for the New York Times, his title is ‘Prince Harry and Meghan Exit Britain, Stage West’.

Landler does not pick on any one of the family instead uses the dramatic tension of the situation to make a story, albeit the American public hold less sentiment for the British monarchy after their liberation from British rule which began with the Boston Tea Party 1773. The main interest in this story appears to be the sensationalising editorial value for the mass media.

New York Times - Photo: Frank Augstein
New York Times – Photo: Frank Augstein

The varying perspectives of the three countries indicates that media can write what will suit their narrative and capture their diverse audiences, but what is it that instils our bias? History has shaped and created our present lives, how we act, think and interact with other people. History instils our patriotism which perhaps can inadvertently influence our writing.

The Guardian, Caroline Davies, 9 March, 2020

The Irish Times, Tanya Sweeney, 10 March, 2020

The New York Times, Mark Landler, 10 March, 2020