15 March 2023

Duke of Sussex ‘declined to respond’ to royal reporting debate invite

15 March 2023

The Duke of Sussex declined to respond to an invite to take part in a debate about the future of royal reporting at a media freedom conference, the panel’s moderator has claimed.

Associate editor at The Telegraph Camilla Tominey opened a discussion at the Society of Editors’ Media Freedom Conference in London on Wednesday by telling the audience Prince Harry did not respond to a request for participation.

The panel, which included royal editors from the Daily Mirror and The Sunday Times, discussed a number of criticisms Harry made about the media in his tell-all book Spare.

“We did invite Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, to take part in this panel but he declined to respond,” Ms Tominey said as she opened the panel discussion.

Before the beginning of the debate, the panel moderator read out a number of quotes from Harry about the media, including that the press had “gone to bed with the devil” and the claims of “the leaking and planting of stories”.

“So we know where one member of the royal family stands,” Ms Tominey told the conference.

Harry has spoken publicly a number of times about his views on the British media, as well as taking legal action against publishers for libel and alleged unlawful information-gathering.

At the conference, the Daily Mirror’s royal editor Russell Myers defended the media’s coverage of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, saying when Meghan first came on to the scene it was “overwhelmingly positive”.

During a question and answer session with representatives of the British press, Ms Tominey said a question she wanted to ask Prince Philip, the late Duke of Edinburgh, was what he thought of Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, adding: “I’m not sure that would be printable”.

The debate also covered a number of other controversies, including Jeremy Clarkson’s heavily criticised column about the Duchess of Sussex.

The Sun newspaper apologised and said it deeply regretted the article, in which Clarkson wrote he had dreamed of Meghan being paraded through British towns and publicly shamed.

The panel agreed they would “absolutely not” defend the column, with royal editor at the Sunday Times Roya Nikkhah saying the presenter himself had acknowledged he was wrong to write it and that it would “not have been printed in the Sunday Times”.

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