In Depth

Is Meghan Markle being ‘vilified’ like Diana?

Actor George Clooney claims ‘history repeating itself’ as pregnant Duchess ‘pursued’ by press

George Clooney has claimed Meghan Markle is being “pursued and vilified” by the media in the same way that Princess Diana was in the 1990s.

The Hollywood star, who is friends with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, said it was “frustrating” to see how the Royal wife and former fellow actor is being treated.

Speaking at a press event in California for his new Catch-22 TV miniseries, Clooney said: “She’s a woman who is seven months pregnant and she is being pursued and vilified and chased in the same way that Diana was, and it’s history repeating itself. And we’ve seen how that ends.”

As CNN notes, Prince Harry’s mother “had a notoriously difficult relationship with parts of the British media” and died in a car accident in 1997 while being pursued by photographers.

“Meghan has also faced intense interest from the unsparing UK press since her engagement to Prince Harry was announced in 2017,” says the news site.

Her estranged father, Thomas, and half-sister, Samantha, have taken part in several “tell all” interviews, even leaking details of a personal letter allegedly written by the Duchess.

A supposed rift with her sister-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, has also resulted in online abuse against both Royals.

But The Times’ Valentine Low insists that the comparisons between the treatment of Meghan and Diana are “utter fantasy”.

“There are no crowds of paparazzi waiting for her every time she leaves Kensington Palace. No one is spying on her in the gym. No one is listening in on her phone calls. Her private life is not being exposed in the tabloids on a weekly basis,” he writes.

Aside from a couple of incidents that overstepped the mark, it is “remarkable how little intrusion there has been”, Low continues.

Indeed, more than two decades on from Diana’s death, we are living in an era that “has arguably never seen royal privacy more respected by the press”, says Camilla Tominey, The Daily Telegraph’s associate editor.

She claims royal protection officers are now “so scrupulous about unauthorised images that they even make members of the public delete illicit mobile phone pictures and footage”.

An unnamed photographer told Tominey that new regulations introduced by the Independent Press Standards Organisation in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry “have had a massive effect on us, which is why you simply don’t see pap shots of the royals in the papers any more”.

Veteran royal reporter Robert Jobson added: “The only vilification of Meghan is coming from her own family and a few online lunatics.”

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