Prince Harry is pulling no punches when it comes to dealing with the press, and it appears tension has been bubbling under the surface for some time.
Just before announcing wife Meghan Markle would be taking DMG Media, the publisher of The Mail on Sunday to court over the publication of a private letter from the former actress to her father Thomas Markle, Prince Harry let loose some stern words to a reporter on the ground in Africa.
Footage shared from the royal tour shows the Duke of Sussex leaving a health clinic in a remote area of Malawi where he had met with officials, practitioners and patients suffering from AIDS and Malaria.
While leaving, Prince Harry momentarily lost his cool at Sky News journalist Rhiannon Mills, who sprung an unscheduled question on him.
“That short conversation, what do you hope to achieve through it?” she asked Harry.
The royal initially kept up his typically playful attitude, gesturing back to the clinic saying, “What? Ask them!”.
“Is that why it’s important for you to come and talk to them?” she insisted, to which Harry issued an unusually terse response.
“Rhiannon, don’t behave like this,” the prince said with a dismissive gesture, before climbing into the car.
Reports suggest palace officials told the press similar behaviour would no longer be allowed.
Prince Harry taking on the press
The footage came after the Duke of Sussex’s explosive statement, addressing the British tabloid media’s treatment of his family, but reportedly unfolded in the hours preceding it.
Now reports suggest the statement was shared ‘against the advice’ of senior palace aides, and from Harry’s attitude in the video it’s clearly a personal issue.
According to a report published in The Times, advisors “warned that it would inevitably push the tour itself off the news agenda” and considered the timing of the statement “unfortunate”.
Royal aides were ‘visibly embarrassed amid the fallout’, and neither Sara Latham, the couple’s communications secretary, nor Samantha Cohen, the Sussexes’ private secretary, had any input into writing the statement.
It is believed the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge were not aware of the statement, either.
Instead, the separate Sussex Royal website intended to keep the ‘private’ statement separate from the official Buckingham Palace website, according to the report.
The Duke of Sussex, 35, released the emotional statement on Tuesday evening, on the newly-published Sussex Official website.
It accused select British media outlets of “bullying” the duke’s wife, Meghan Markle, 38, and referenced the couple’s forthcoming legal action against DMG Media, the publisher of The Mail on Sunday.
Additional reporting by Francesca Specter
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