The British press was mostly unfair to Harry and Meghan: Omid Scobie

The Finding Freedom author says that the royal couple represents a modern UK - multicultural, pluralist and progressive
Harry and Meghan got married in 2018(Photo: AP)
Harry and Meghan got married in 2018(Photo: AP)
Updated on Aug 17, 2020 06:16 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Mumbai | By Navneet Vyasan

January 8, 2020 announced the dawn of a new age when, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex announced – on Instagram – that they have decided to step back as senior members of the Royal Family. This invited a furore of theories and gossips within the ruthless British press. Furthermore, the startling decision was followed by another announcement stating that the couple would “no longer be working members of Britain’s royal family”. The couple then moved to the US from the UK, sending the British press into a tizzy. British author and journalist Omid Scobie, who co-wrote the book Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of A Modern Family, with Carolyn Durrand traces the journey of the couple and the subsequent reported rift that developed in the Royal family and the accuracies and inaccuracies of British reporting.

 

Through their research, the authors have tried to debunk numerous rumours that cropped up. “The British press was mostly unfair to the couple. Through a lot of the coverage that we have seen in the tabloids in the UK, they were not really being treated as humans,” he says, adding, “Carolin and I started to notice that certain sections of the press in the UK were reporting a very different narrative than the one that we were seeing happen behind the scenes. This was even before Harry and Meghan got married.”

Markle’s background was thoroughly scrutinised by the press and the fact that she was a divorcee ruffled some feathers. In the book they write about how Markle’s first husband, Trevor Engelson, started growing uncomfortable after her show Suits became a hit propelling her to stardom. Scobie adds, “It felt that there were a lot of differences that others were choosing not to talk about or go into so what we wanted to do was to create a book that not only told the story of how the couple came together but also to correct a lot of tabloid gossip.”

The book also delves into the discomfort that became evident among the puritanical British aristocracy after the couple announced their relationship. The very fact that the Royal family would now have a member of a mixed-race unmasked the racial bigotry among many. “Along with their marriage there came a lot of criticism. It is true; there are many people who are still uncomfortable with change and difference,” he says.

 

“Harry and Meghan’s marriage signified to the world a new chapter of the Royal family. For the first time, we had a couple who were not of the same racial background. We had a biracial woman and a British,” the author says adding that this was a significant incident because they make for a very relatable couple. “Today, when we look out the streets of the UK most couples are of mixed background,” Scobie reasons, whose book is a result of two years of research involving interviewing over a hundred people including the friends of the couple, people who’ve worked for them and people currently working with the other members of the royal family and people who’ve worked in the TV show Suits.

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Sunday, October 17, 2021