Writer warns Harry and Meghan about dangerous tabloid culture in the US

The press alerts Harry and Meghan that their children Archie and Lilibet are considered "valuable prey" for paparazzi and news outlets in the US

Harry and Meghan
(Image credit: Getty)

In a new opinion piece on the NZ Herald, writer Daniela Elser explains how Harry and Meghan's decision to leave the Firm and relocate to California has left them open to becoming prey to American tabloid culture.

Although Harry and Meghan decided to step away from the public spotlight two years ago in the hopes of protecting their children Archie, now 3, and Lilibet, 1, from the perils of public life, writer Daniela has just penned an essay arguing that, perhaps, the couple has miscalculated the demands of living in America as a famous duo and what freedom would actually look like for the family.

"Harry and Meghan might not be enjoying Beyonce-levels of popularity (the most recent polling shows that less than half of Americans view them favourably) but there is no end to the fascination with the nation's very own branch of the Royal Family," Daniela writes in her article. "What will it mean for Archie and his little sister Lilibet to grow up in a country where there is a ready market for iPhone snaps of them? The Sussex family might live on a seven-acre estate but the minute they set foot outside those gates, they are unprotected from the glare of lenses, both professional and amateur."

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and their baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe at the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation during their royal tour of South Africa on September 25, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa.

(Image credit: Toby Melville - Pool/Getty Images)

"A huge backyard, children's playhouse, tennis court and a pool might provide more than enough entertainment and space for little ones to play and roam safely away from the gaze of the public and press, but the couple can't keep Archie and Lili cooped up at home forever," Daniela writes matter-of-factly.

The writer goes on to compare Charlie and Lilibet's upbringing to that of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, Prince William and Kate's kids. 

"For the last five years these kids have been raised in the very centre of London (and less than 1km away from the head offices of the Daily Mail) and yet they are by and large left totally alone to get on with the business of growing up," Daniela argues. "It's not that eagle-eyed locals lack opportunities to record or photograph the Cambridge Three, but be it out of politeness, British reserve or an abiding desire to respect their privacy, people just don't seem to ever do so. So, what about in the so-called 'land of the free'?"

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and their baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu

(Image credit: Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty)

Calling out tabloid culture in the US as a "far cry from that in the UK," the journalist then mentions websites like TMZ and Radar Online, "which will happily pay the public for smartphone images of celebrities out and about doing such scintillating things as standing, walking and stocking up on loo paper."  To put simply, Daniela writes, "the whole family is [...] valuable prey for anyone who might come across the family out and about."

Whether Daniela’s warnings will turn into reality or amount to unwarranted panic is yet to be seen, but one thing is for sure: there is something about members of the royal family, no matter where they live, that turns them into perennially interesting news subjects.

Anna Rahmanan

Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers culture, entertainment, food, fashion and travel news. Anna’s words have appeared on Time Out New York, the Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Us Weekly, Bon Appetit and Brooklyn Magazine, among other outlets.