The United Kingdom’s Prince Harry is at the center of another firestorm, this time over whether British media have exaggerated the severity of the country’s coronavirus pandemic.
U.K. health officials erupted over the weekend after Prince Harry, who escaped the U.K. and now lives in Los Angeles, California, with his wife, former actress Meghan Markle, and one year old son, told a podcast that the situation in Britain is “better than we are led to believe through certain corners of the media,” according to the Daily Mail.
“I think what has happened especially in the UK is the very best of the human spirit and it’s proving that things are better than we are led to believe through certain corners of the media,” Harry told the “Declassified” podcast.
“Certainly when you’re in isolation it can be very worrying when you’re sitting there and the only information you’re getting is from certain news channels, but then if you’re out and about and you’re on the right platforms you can really sense this human spirit coming to the forefront,” he added.
Health officials, including one former advisor to the U.K.’s government, called the remarks “outrageous,” particularly given that members of Prince Harry’s own family — his father Prince Charles — was struck with COVID-19.
The head of the U.K.’s National Care Association complained that Prince Harry “hasn’t seen all the evidence,” and although there are heartwarming stories of people enduring coronavirus-related lockdowns, raising money for the U.K.’s National Health Service, and even miraculously recovering from the virus, the effects of the disease are devastating, both on patients and health care workers.
Others interpreted Prince Harry’s words less as an attack on the NHS and health care workers and more of an attack on the press — part of a war he and his wife, Meghan, are waging against certain members of the British media.
On Monday, Harry and Meghan announced, in an extended statement emailed directly to members of the press, that they would no longer speak to at least four of the U.K.’s largest media outlets, including the Daily Mail, over concerns about reporting quality.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have watched people they know — as well as complete strangers — have their lives completely pulled apart for no good reason, other than the fact that salacious gossip boosts advertising revenue,” they said in their letter.
The pair have long claimed they are the victims of a sustained attack from the media that threatens to infringe on their right to privacy, though the targeted outlets seem to among those most critical of the pair, who divorced themselves from the British Royal Family back in February. Monday’s announcement served to reiterate that they plan to carefully manage their public relations.
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